The Season of Kindness


Yesterday, our family attended the matinee performance of The Nutcracker ballet. Before the beginning of each performance, Michael, the ballet’s director, addresses the audience. At the close of his presentation he veered toward the topic of “showing kindness to our neighbors this holiday season, especially those who are elderly.” Throughout the afternoon, I replayed Michael’s words in my head. Kindness is a virtue parents strive to teach their child in the formative years. When a child learns the virtue of kindness and practices it on a daily basis, it becomes a way a life.

As someone one said, “More is caught than taught.” In order for a child to learn the virtue of kindness, their parent needs to show them how this looks on a practical basis in every day life. Sarah McClure has authored an article titled, 100 Easy Random Acts of Kindness for Kids on her blogspot Happy Brown House

Through a simple act of  kindness, your child will experience the ripple effect. The ripple effect simply means their act of kindness will continue and spread to others. Compassion and love for our fellow man all begin with one simple act of kindness. As Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Kathy Alphs





Family Friday

blackfridayfamilyYears ago, when our daughter was a tot, my husband and I made the decision not to participate in Black Friday. Over the years, we have designated the Friday after Thanksgiving as Family Friday. Each year, on this day, we spend the day together as a family, celebrating God’s gift of family.

Several years ago, I came across this article titled, 10 Family Friendly Black Friday Alternatives on the Personal Creations blog.
Family oriented activities include holiday festivities, an autumn scavenger hunt, and taking a family photo just for starters.

As Desmond Tutu once said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” Best wishes to you and your family as you celebrate this season of Thanksgiving!

Kathy Alphs

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

bowthanksgivingToday, I am going to share with you one of our daughter’s favorite Thanksgiving themed books from her childhood. Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, tells the story of Sarah Hale, an author and publisher, who saw the celebration of Thanksgiving going by the wayside and decided to do something about it.
First and foremost, Sarah was a writer, a wordsmith. She is the author of one of childhood’s most beloved rhymes Mary Had a Little Lamb. Through the use of her literary talents, she wrote thousands of letters and magazine articles petitioning politicians and the public to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. After thirty-eight years of perseverance, Sarah finally saw her vision become reality. On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be set aside as “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” (1)

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving teaches us that if we are bold, brave and persevere, we can accomplish extraordinary feats for the benefit of mankind.

Kathy Alphs




How Children Lived: A First Book of History

howchildrenlivedI stumbled across this book by accident while doing a library catalog search while our child was in the Grammar Stage of the Trivium. I checked it out to go along with our Introduction to World History. Interestingly enough, my surprise find turned out to be the hit of the school year!

How Children Lived: A First Book of History is written in a similar style to Children Just Like Me but in the context of children around the world through historical time periods. You and your child will travel through Egypt, Greece, China, Rome, Norway, Spain, Italy, Mexico, India, Japan, Mali, Australia, France, Britain,American Plains and America.
During your travels you will discover the differences and similarities of children from then to now.

How Children Lived: A First Book of History  is a great way to introduce children to the concept of world history in a child friendly format, and is a nice supplement to V.M. Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World.

Kathy Alphs

Introduction to Logic

critical thinking skills

Before embarking on a “formal” logic course, my husband and I decided it would be best to give our fifth grader an “introduction to logic.” While doing an internet search, I came across “The Critical Thinking Series” by Remedia Publications.

“The Critical Thinking Series” is based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking skills. The activities begin at a simple, concrete level and as the student’s abilities increase, more abstract and complex activities are introduced. The series consist of sixteen work texts: Analogies, Classification, Absurdities, Similarities and Differences, Sequence, Drawing Solutions, Using Logic, Finding Facts, Following Directions, Relying on Reason, Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Each work text is consumable and includes the answer key.

“The Critical Thinking Series” will give your student a firm foundation to think logically while preparing them for “formal” logic. I would recommend following this series with “Critical Thinking Book 1 and Book 2” by Anita Harnadek.

Kathy Alphs

Encouragement for Your Day

ladybirdThis past week, our high school junior finished her first of three final writing projects. As I read through her paper, I thought back to where she was six years ago. At the time, she was struggling to get the ideas from her mind onto the paper in front of her. Thankfully, I was able to locate a writing curriculum which “clicked” with the way her mind works. Yes, there were moments of frustration, when she wanted to give up. There were days when it felt like she was stuck in the same place, going nowhere. However, through it all she has learned that perseverance and hard work do pay off in the end.

When I came across this article titled, “How to Measure Progress When It Feels Like You’re Not Making Any” by Shawna Wingert, I had to smile. The article encouraged me to look back at where our daughter was six years ago, and how far she has come during this time period. May you also be encouraged as you read.

Kathy Alphs