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.

handsonaswegrow.com/kids-leaf-crafts

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.

allrecipes.com/recipe/9870/easy-sugar-cookies

superhealthykids.com/pumpkin-cookies

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.

Many students are thinking about the spring-times of their future careers, or summer jobs, or 'after school' jobs.

But with that thought comes anxiety:  as a home school grad, what do I put on my resume and what do I say in a job interview? What will I say when they ask “do you have your high school diploma?” I have some ideas…

(Note: this article isn’t a comprehensive list of everything you should put in a resume or say at an interview, but simply a few ideas for you to consider and get you thinking).

I was somewhat thrust into home schooling without a great deal of preparation.  About all I knew was that I had the right to teach my children at home, and in my first year I simply brought home all our daughter’s textbooks from school.  It soon became clear that importing the school into our home wasn’t going to work very well so, in our second year, I copied both method and curriculum from another home schooling family.  This whole time, in an effort to research what other options might be available, I spent a lot of time reading books on education in general and some on home schooling.

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For some reason, teaching writing is or has been perceived to be an arduous and formidable task for most. I recall, with dread, introducing my classroom students to the Writing Process - a nebulous construct that was meaningless and impractical for many students. Planning (mapping), prewriting, revising, editing, and finalizing the draft seemed to be a logical and systematic approach, but unfortunately it lacked the elements of a scheme or strategy a child could easily follow without constant supervision and continual qualification. Will the frustration ever end?

Although it is entirely speculative by its nature, the FUTURE is a big subject to talk about. In fact, perhaps because it is so big, it sometimes dominates our present. The future presents us with a plethora of "what if's" at every turn, and if we aren't careful we can become overwhelmed by its possibilities: intimidated, scattered, swamped or even terrified. On the other hand, because the future is speculative, it is possible to desire it more than the present; because the future contains a glimpse of the eternal, it is extremely appealing to the believer.

Influence has directed history, enabled art, effected education, formed lives; in short, influence is significant. It is the means by which we are prompted to make decisions in our lives, it is the means by which we grow, and it is certainly required if we are going to be able to impart anything of value to someone else, especially our children.

In the 21st century, influence is something people write books about, recognizing the benefits it can provide and profits it can garner; but effective as techniques of influence may be, they leave most people quite cold. Influence is more valuable, effective, and permanent when it is a by-product of something greater, rather than a goal in itself.

Observations of a Large Adoptive Family

In May 2005, having an approved international home assessment in hand and seeking God about international adoption, we connected with a relief organization (WACSN: West African Children Support Network) working in Liberia, West Africa. Their work involves, among other things, finding homes and processing adoptions for abandoned/orphaned children living at the WACSN orphanage in Monrovia.

 
 

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