Pre-School

7 Favorite Field Trips

One of the great things about homeschooling is the ability and opportunity to experience interesting field trips. An exciting excursion, an all-day outing, or family holiday -- no matter what you call it, you're sure to create some lasting memories when you venture out for a day of discovery and fun.

I absolutely loved coordinating field trips, and orchestrating a variety of unique learning experiences through day-time or over-night traveling. 

Good Old Map Reading

"Trust the GPS," Jay told me on the phone before I installed the new contraption on the dash board of my old white van a few years back.  It was a breeze finding my way to the Science Center in Baltimore, Maryland that afternoon. I loved having help on every turn, and eventually became quite dependent on my new navigator. Then, one evening several months later while the twins and I were on our way home from a music recital, I realized that I often allowed my brain to switch to autopilot, and had neglected many great opportunities to teach the boys how to read a real road map...

Summertime- Learning Time!

Whatever happened to the good old days of summer vacation? When I remember the "hazy and lazy days" of summer, I think of hide-and-seek until dark, bike riding, climbing trees, reading books, swimming, roller skating, going fishing, camping trips, and making mud pies! My summers also often consisted of helping my mom and grandparents in the garden by picking vegetables and strawberries, as well as watching and lending a hand in the process of canning. I did not know it, but I was learning!

Celebrate Father's Day

What characteristics stand out to you as you think of your father? What do you admire most about him? Perhaps it's his gentle manner or quick smile. Maybe it's his generous nature, or his wit and wisdom. Now matter what good things we remember about our dads, I'd like to encourage all of us not only to give tribute to our fathers, but to think of ways we can express appreciation to our husbands in their vital roles as dads.

The Yard Sale

 It was 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit the Atlantic. I remember because it was the end of August, and we had just kicked off a new year --- 6th grade.  Maryland wasn't hit badly, but we listened to the news to hear which states had been hit the hardest. In the days that followed, Samaritan's Purse ministry deployed personnel and equipment to help those who were the most devastated all along the coast.

3 Helpful Tips As Your Kids Study Music

 

I kept my eyes on the highway as our old white van whizzed past small towns in Maryland's rolling suburbs.  Monday night, 5:25, three years ago.  The twins had only recently gotten their driver's permits, so I decided to drive Austin to orchestra rehearsal that night.  His straight-forward comment broke the silence.  "Mom --- I have to tell you --- I'm quitting orchestra tonight..."

Music, Part II

I sat outside the violin lesson that afternoon while I graded math papers and wondered, "Is this worth it?" I taxied the twins to lessons once a week, encouraged them to practice every morning, and sat through many long recitals and rehearsals ... 

   Our family found that studying music is about so much more than simply learning songs. It takes a big commitment from the parents and the students!

Teacher Mode

My oldest child is becoming very interested in learning how to spell and write words. The other day, she wanted to write her little sister’s name which begins with the letter K. Like most children her age, that letter ‘K’ was a booga bear!  I made a mental note that we’d work on forming that letter correctly the next time we practiced handwriting. When that glorious teaching moment occurred (keep reading- it didn’t start off too gloriously), I found myself moving very quickly from mommy mode to teacher mode. In reflection, I realized that there were certain things I did that helped keep us from getting derailed. I thought I’d share these ideas and tips with you today.

Music, Part I

He positioned the guitar to the left side of his body and held its long neck like a hunter with his prized goose. He looked straight ahead, his new dress shoes creaking as he ascended the three steps to the vast stage which consisted of one lone chair. The audience was oddly silent except for one lady who coughed. I sat there in the second row and wondered if my nine-year-old son had practiced enough. This was his first recital.... 

Twelve Reasons To Start Homeschooling This Fall

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach at home? Are you new to the whole idea of homeschooling? Maybe you're in the information-gathering stage, or perhaps you're already planning to begin homeschooling after summer.

Maybe you and your husband are ready to start teaching your kindergartner, or maybe you're just curious about the whole idea. Perhaps you're taking your kids out of the public school system. If so -- fantastic! You won't regret it.

Ten Things I Discovered About Motherhood

 

Here are 10 things I discovered as I lived and learned as a teacher of little boys:

Pulled from my journal entries over the years...

The years will fly.  Enjoy your kids today. Tell them (and show them) how much you love them!

Spring

I positioned myself between and behind each swing that sunny morning almost fourteen years ago.  That way, I could alternate pushing each four-year-old.  My mind wandered as I reflected on some of the things I wanted to accomplish that day... 

   The sound of those old swings at Baker Park lulled me into a thoughtful state.  Creeeeeeek... I gave a little push with my right hand.  Creeeeeeek... my left hand offered a gentle shove to the other twin's back.  I reviewed my grocery list and today's errands. 

Good night! Tuck Your Little Ones In Tonight

What can give our children a more secure and soothing feeling than being tucked in at night?

     I think it's easy to underestimate how valuable it is to tuck our children in at night.  Whether you like to briefly exchange hugs, kisses and good-night prayers, or opt to take a big chunk of time and go all out with story telling and a whole bedtime routine, your kids are sure to remember those nights when mom or dad tucked them in...

Easter Joy! Activities and Traditions

 

Happy Easter, my friends. I just love Easter—it is absolutely my favorite holiday! The beauty of spring, new life, and most importantly, the message of this season and rock solid foundation of the Christian faith—Christ crucified, risen from the dead, and coming again—are all reasons I enjoy celebrating this special, holy time with my family. 

Conversational Competence, Continued

As a follow-up to the first blog, Conversational Competence, I wanted to clarify what I meant by reminding our kids that "shyness isn't a virtue." Here's the heart behind the message...

Obviously, people have different personalities, and that's a wonderful thing. I want to gently encourage moms to be aware of opportunities to teach our kids how to be loving and polite, and how to train them to be good conversationalists as they grow up.

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