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Traditional and Contemporary Scrooge Stories (2 Free Christmas Stories!)


A Christmas Carol, Gift of the Magi, If You’re Missing Baby Jesus, The Christmas Tapestry, The Burglar’s Christmas, The Birth, The Luke Chronicles, Cosmic Christmas.….these are just a few of our favorite “young teens and up” stories that we read or listen to at Christmas. Just because our kids are all over twelve doesn’t mean we have to stop reading aloud at Christmas time. (As a matter of fact, we still read a favorite Christmas short story on our family decorating night and another one on our family Christmas Eve—with twelve adult kids!)


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Punctuation Puzzle: Homophones and Parentheses


by Zac Kieser & Donna Reish

“Homophones. Homophones. Homophones. Homophones!” Did you sing along with the old Veggie Tales song? I have never seen a Veggie Tale video, and I can even sing that! (Along with “Where Is My Hair Brush?”) The song is catchy, but the homophones are often not! They can be downright tricky at times! And then there’s parentheses (unrelated to homophones…well, not really…read on!), but tricky nonetheless.

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Families and Co-Ops: Online Writing Classes by Donna Reish (Character Ink Press)


I had a wonderful experience teaching my first live, online writing class this fall! Super students! Super material! 🙂 (My new Jump Start II “remediation” writing book—watch the blog as it is coming out the first of the new year for everybody–after six semesters of testing!) Super fun! I was concerned about the technology, but it turned out to be easy peasy–students just hopped on a link in my free Zoom room, and we were off!


I am excited to open up a couple more classes–and extremely excited for the interest from co-ops and small groups to join me! I’m still working out the details of the small group or co-op classes, but I would love to talk you people on the phone to work your group in!

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Christmas With College & Adult Children: Invitation vs. Obligation



In my last blog post, I talked about how to determine which traditions to keep for everybody and which traditions will likely go by the wayside. These are obviously very personal decisions – and you will probably want to discuss these with your older children.


There are some other traditions that we have kept in part. These traditions are ones that we still do with our at-home kids, but we invite the olders to as well.

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Christmas With College & Adult Children: Continuing Earlier Traditions

One of the things that was difficult for me in having college and adult kids with Christmas was not being able to continue all of the traditions that we had formally done. I mentioned earlier that through homeschooling, we actually spent a lot of time on Christmas. Our entire December was centered around Christmas readings, unit studies, Christmas baking and cooking, and more.


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Fix Those Christmas Grammar and Usage Errors!


Merry Christmas from Language Lady and Character Ink Press! It is the time of good cheer, festivities, magical moments with children, celebrating the Nativity–AND grammar errors galore! Usage errors are to be expected since many of the things we are writing this time of year are things we only write once a year. It’s hard to remember grammar and usage protocols that we use daily, much less ones that we only use yearly. I hope this post will clear many of your Christmas grammar issues up!

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Christmas With College & Adult Children: Tips for Keeping Traditions with Grown Children


In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of finding out those traditions that mean a lot to your college and adult kids so that they do not feel left out of the things you are doing in your home – especially the things that you used to do when they were little. In another post, I talked about the invitation versus obligation. (Read that here…that’s important!)


This post will focus on the latter. We try to continue many traditions with our high school kids and our college kids living at home, but at the same time, we don’t want to leave out the adult children who are away from home–or impose upon them either. This is a fine balance. Because of this, we recommend that you invite them to some of those things, but be sure that they do not see those things as obligations.


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Opening and Closing Paragraph Instruction for Research Reports



Which came first–the chicken or the egg? Or which comes first–the body or the opening paragraph? I have some strong opinions about this that I answer in today’s blog video/live class! 🙂 Additionally, this post contains a video lesson on creating opening and closing paragraphs for research reports. I teach my students (and I use this approach in my books) that there are over a dozen ways to create an opening paragraph. (See idea list below.) I also teach them that in upper level writing, they should be very specific in their opening and closing paragraphs. No more summarizing here and there (or restating everything you say in the paper!). I teach them HOW to write the various opening and closing types so that they can use them in their writing. Watch today’s video and follow along with a few pages of the text we used. (Jump Start II–coming out this month!)

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Christmas With College and Adult Children: Our Christmas Eve Games


One of the ways that we make our Christmas Eve super special is through special gifts and games (besides the traditions from long ago of singing carols, reading Christmas stories, and having the sibling gift exchange). Our Christmas Eve is a full evening of food, fun, fellowship, worship, reflecting, reminiscing, and play!


In the past few years as our family has grown, we could no longer fit around the table for Uno, Kemps, or Pit, so Ray did some research on group games and discovered something called “Minute to Win It” (we have been without television for years…and only in the past few with Netflix and Hulu do we know what’s out there! LOL). Anyway, he found things online, our daughter found some things for him on Pinterest, and he was off with new Christmas Eve traditions—Minute to Win It games.


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