From the eyes of a child, they often see what is directly in front of them, and learn through experience. It is up to us as parents to enlighten our child’s perspective and to educate them about life in both future and present tense. It is important to highlight other cultures within this globe. One year, when my children were in the elementary school years, we met up with friends in our neighborhood and studied different countries. We made this into an educational co-op led by moms.  We would meet once a week and read about what other children experienced in their lives. Details such as clothes they wore and games that they played. We also read together and made a dish from the country we were studying. This was a dinner so that the dads could be included too. It was a neat experience on many levels; it helped them to respect these new things through food, games, friendships, and laughter.

I found this Around the World Lesson Plan (posted below) and just love how it breaks down the way in which you could implement any culture. We would often start with studying our own heritage and then move on to our friends’ or neighbors’ heritage. 

Often, we fear what we don’t know. When I first did my Special Needs training, I feared not knowing how to interact with a child who had specific needs. But once I was educated and trained, the fear disappeared. Just like another child can dress differently or eat different foods, that can seem strange to our own child until they learn or experience for themselves. Children are so inspiring as they are often very slow to judge someone who is different from them. They may stare at them, but it usually has to do with having a sense of curiosity more than anything else.

Education doesn’t have to be complex, and it doesn’t necessarily have to take up a lot of time. My goal every year is that our sons continue to love learning. And the rationale behind having a lesson plan with a stem activity, fine motor, creative gross motor etc.…. is so that they have a fully enriched learning experience. You could study a country every day or even every week. You could even just study one a month. That is the beauty of home education: it’s whatever works for you, your child, and your family.

Just like the song says, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” We are called to love one another. And if we can’t travel the world, then we just need to bring the world to our house.

around the world

I love looking at the snow fall ......when I am warm in my house and don’t have anywhere to go. I guess it would be more accurate to say that certain days and certain times I appreciate the snow a lot more than other days. When the kids were younger, we lived in Kelowna. It snowed a lot more than what I was used to and when it snowed, the temperatures were refreshing. Unlike here in Alberta where it feels like it is white for at least 6 months of the year. We started a tradition in our family years ago of drinking hot chocolate and eating timbits on the first day of snow. I would also give my son’s mini marshmallows to eat but before they ate them I would have them count them first. What they thought they were doing was making sure that they were given the same amount of marshmallows. Whether they knew it or not, they were doing Math. Once they mastered counting by 1’s then we worked on counting by 2’s and then 5’s and so on. When a Math pattern is discovered the brain starts to remember information that has been taught to them.That is one of the amazing things about teaching a young brain, they can always learn more!

Here’s to new beginnings and a new school year! Don’t you just love the fall! It’s my favorite season. Oh how I fall in love with all of the glorious fall shades, every year.

A kindergartner can also be passionate and enthusiastic towards many things. At this age it really is all about the senses. What can you see? What can you feel? What can you taste? What can you smell? What can you hear? The key to meeting your child to where they are at is to physically get down to their level and emotionally engage in what they are doing.

We are going into our 10th year of homeschooling. Due to my educational background, I often found myself documenting my children’s progress. But the longer I live the longer I realize that there is a difference between thriving and surviving. Don’t get me wrong, there were times that my sons and I thrived, however sometimes I was so focused on checking off the boxes that I forgot to live in the moment. I know it’s not always realistic to have the feeling that you are thriving or succeeding but one can try, right? Homeschooling really is a way of life. Yes, we do have a routine throughout the week but education in our family doesn’t stop when we put the books away. I encourage you to be open to teaching your children when they are searching more or when an opportunity presents itself. It doesn’t have to be formal to get the job done. It can be in the form of a discussion at home or with other adults. I enjoyed encouraging our children to teach other children their own age or younger something that they know or just learned about. One of the best things about homeschooling is that your children often encounter others that are younger or way older than them. It makes them more well-rounded as individuals.

All About Me Questions:

One way to document memories is to ask these questions at the beginning and at the end of the year. Then you can see your child’s personality as to whether their answers have changed or stayed the same.

Here are a few questions to ask & document:

What is your favorite color? What is your favorite number? What is your favorite animal? What is your favorite food?

What do you want to be when you grow up? Encourage them to draw a self-portrait 

Have them write their name

(Even if it’s not legible, that's okay. At the end of the year, you will be able to see the progress as they practice writing their name throughout the year).

Leaf Art:

There are so many ideas to use leaves for crafts. You can make animal leaves or people leaves. It’s fun to analyze the different colors and types of leaves that grow. It’s neat to teach Science too! Leaves have veins just like we do. Simply put, the vein in the leaf transfers water throughout it and then sugars are transported out of it to the rest of the plant. At this age I just loved facilitating the desire to learn and increase my boy’s knowledge.

Bake Cookies:

I just love how baking encompasses Math, Science, Self-Help Skills and Reading. Your child gets to learn about measurements including liquid and solids. They get to watch how mixing in the baking soda or baking powder helps it to expand. They learn how to find things in the kitchen and be helpful. And learning about kitchen safety too! They also love to feel like they did something important.

Painting Fun:

I know painting can be intimidating to some so I would like to offer a few suggestions.

Pick select days to paint so if you are like me and don’t like messes you can find great comfort in knowing that this is a “sometimes” activity.

  • Always have all of the supplies you will need before you start. Extra paper is highly recommended as some children really get into the process. When I did my Early Childhood training, we learned that “it is the process, not the final product.
  • To prevent messes, never leave your child unsupervised. Sometimes it’s the future Van Goghs or Michelangelos that want to express their talents on the walls.
  • Make sure you know have a designated spot to allow the art to dry (often clotheslines, clothes drying racks, a table that you don’t need).
  • My kids loved expressing themselves through art for a good hour and then they got their fix and didn’t desire it until next time.

As I conclude, I would encourage you to have fun homeschooling. Remember to take time to smell the flowers (between all of the dishes and laundry, that is). Life goes by so very quickly. And these little ones don’t stay little forever. I now have a 14 year old teenager that’s taller than me and I am still in disbelief! May the Lord bless your year and may it be full of lifelong memories!

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

Fairy tales are often what colors our childhood and facilitates our dreams. They are filled with sadness and happiness. Love and loss. Good vs. evil. When researching the top fairy tales, Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast and Hansel & Gretel came up in the top 10. It is interesting to realize that most fairy tales introduce a family that already has suffered a loss of either a mother or a father. The topic is briefly addressed but the “why’s” are not explained in detail.

When I think about the many fairy tales that I have read or watched, the first thing that comes to mind is a dream to find a prince, marry him and live happily ever after. I love the idea that a fairy tale takes your imagination to the next level. Where the mice design dresses, where commoners live in castles and where candy houses exist. You have to admit that these stories would be pretty bland if it weren’t for these elements of opportunities. 

When I think of the movie line "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My," it makes me think about the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. For those of you who haven’t seen it or need a refresher, I will summarize some of my favourite characters.

There were 3 characters that all needed something. They figured if they met the Wizard of Oz, he could give them what they needed.

There was The Scarecrow who needed a brain. A Tin Man who needed a heart and The Lion who needed courage. 

Thankfully we are born with a brain and a heart. And I think it’s fair to say that courage can come and go in our lives. But as parent’s, we are responsible for facilitating growth in all 3 of these areas.  And I believe that the Lord has designed us all uniquely. We are all born with different gifts and talents. That’s what makes us special.  When my sons were younger at times I felt overwhelmed towards the great responsibility it was to raise them. What if I make a mistake? What if I forget to teach them a life skill? What if I am too strict? What if I am too lenient? Yet as our children grow up, so do we as parents. We adapt to their needs and opportunities that facilitate character building.

Happy Home Schooling! This eLetter (Terry’s Terrific Learning Connections or Terry’s Tender Loving Care) is meant to encourage and inspire families homeschooling their children. 

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and break with your family. Many of us are back at homeschooling now and perhaps some are wondering what to do. (What to do with the kids, what to do with homeschooling, what to do as a couple, what to do with current events, what to do with life, and more….)

My best advice is just to keep going. Pull yourself up and just keep going. Don’t make permanent decisions in troubled times. If you are tired, rest. If you are discouraged, look for encouragement everywhere you can. If you are anxious, quit worrying and trust God for each day. Easier said than done, I know. Try going on a media fast - even for a few hours a day - and reading your Bible more. I do like to keep up with Current Events, but I also know Who is in control and I will continue to trust Him.

One thing I learned years ago is that the *official* Homeschool Year is half over at the end of January. You still have another five months to go and so much homeschooling can still be accomplished. (And I homeschooled unofficially through the summer most years, too. It’s not the same *heavy* homeschooling, but a lot can get accomplished then, too. Homeschooling quickly became our life – 24/7 – and it was so good. I hope it is good for your family, too!) 

So, this is the Official FUN TLC of the year. I love homeschooling and I love having fun – AND I love combining the two! What better time of the year to focus on fun than right now?

Happy Home Schooling! This eLetter (Terry’s Terrific Learning Connections or Terry’s Tender Loving Care) is meant to encourage and inspire families homeschooling their children. (*If you would like to opt out of receiving this email, simply click the button at the bottom of this eLetter to unsubscribe.)

Christmas is just about here. No matter what year it is, time marches along. Christmas is a relatively short season – as is Summer. I try to appreciate each and every day.

Happy Home Schooling Christmas Style! This eLetter (Terry’s Terrific Learning Connections or Terry’s Tender Loving Care) is meant to encourage and inspire families homeschooling their children. 

Christmas is getting closer each day. Perhaps you are looking forward to it – perhaps you aren’t. Perhaps you are wondering how you will get everything done or perhaps you already know you won’t get everything done (like me!). Perhaps you are hurting over the loss of what could have been and are aching over what is. Wherever you and your family are, I’d like to remind you God is with you and nothing in the past year has been a surprise to Him. Sleep in peace. 

In the next month or so, we have an opportunity to slow down, focus on the meaning of the season AND to continue bonding with the hearts of our children. I’d suggest making every effort to do so – because while the days are long, the years are, oh, so short. We really don’t have much time with each of our children. What you do today – each day – counts! 

AND how lovely it is, that you have made the decision to home school your children. No, it isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. It sometimes takes all our energy, time and money, but what else would we rather spend our energy, time and money on?  (Smile)

So often, we lose ourselves in parenthood. Our own desires are often set aside as the demands of parenthood are so constant. I hope that you can just take a deep breath as you make it through another day - and so did your children.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” 

— Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Home Schooling to all of you – especially to the families new to WISDOM. This eLetter (Terry’s Terrific Learning Connections or Terry’s Tender Loving Care) is meant to encourage and inspire families homeschooling their children. 

We are living in uncertain times. Some of us have homeschooled for years, while others leaped into homeschooling this September. No matter what lies ahead of us, homeschooling our children is a great choice! There were times when I got distracted by academics or parenting issues and those were what I focused on. 

Today I encourage you to focus on your relationship with your child / children. Why not add relationship building activities to your daily / weekly plant? 

Make a list of what each child loves and try to include that in your homeschool week / life as much as possible. Talk often.  Eat good food together slowly. Play games. Go for walks. Read great books aloud. Read the Bible and pray together to relieve stress and anxiety. Hug often. 

Do whatever builds your relationship with your child as much as possible. Our days together might seem long, but the years are so short. 

Part of The Gilbertine Institute