Teachable Moments

Joy is Like a Whale

Recently, my husband and I were able to get away for a few days to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My favorite part of our trip was watching the humpback whales. They have their babies in the waters off Cabo and then migrate back to Alaska for the summer months. We saw many whales, from the balcony of our room, and on a couple of boat trips we took. They would flip their flippers and their tails often; on more than a few occasions they would jump clear out of the water.

Tending a Budding Reader

I’m a book person. I love to read lots of different kinds of books for my own pleasure and learning and I also love to read children’s literature out loud to the kids.

It always thrills my heart when I see my older two kids pick up books and read of their own volition.

The Challenge With Chores

Many families seem to struggle with getting a good chore system to work. Chore charts, rewards, stickers, pocket organizers…there are so many good systems out there that it can be overwhelming!

In our case, I’ve never actually had a problem with chores not getting done. My biggest struggle is ensuring that the chores are assigned appropriately. Delegation comes pretty easily to me: with so many young children in the house, it became essential to find a good way to share the load, and outsourcing was the logical choice.

 

Tadpoles

Some things about your future are impossible to envision when you first become a parent and hold that sweet-scented, swaddled-up newborn in your arms. Like the fact that just nine years later you will be standing over your stove boiling romaine lettuce leaves for 10-15 minutes to make tadpole food. 

Passion in Our Kids … fruit or goal of homeschooling?

A couple years ago, I shared a post about one of my children, John, who sort of fell into a short acting career during our homeschooling journey. John was only 11 when this adventure started. He was just going into junior high, and though clearly undecided on what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, he was pretty passionate about wanting to act in this season of his life. I shared about his first couple year’s experience in this post, with a promise of an update.

How We Always Did It

There are a dozen variations of the “Pot Roast Parable”. It is essentially a story about a newlywed bride who is preparing a meal for her husband. She peels the potatoes and chops the carrots. Just before putting the pot roast in the oven, she cuts off the end. Curious about why she does this, her groom inquires, “Why did you cut the end off of the roast?” She said, “I don’t know, it’s just what my mother always did.” She calls her mom to pose the question. The mother answers with a laugh, “I always cut the end of the roast off because it wouldn’t fit into my roasting pan.”

A Mother’s Love (of Books)

Mom grew up in a tiny Mississippi town, attended a three-room schoolhouse until high school, and never traveled extensively. But Mom was, and still is, a reader. She read everything from novels to science magazines. Google didn’t exist when I was ten, but my mother did, and that was pretty much all I needed.

Remembering Gilbert Blythe

When I heard that the actor who played Gilbert Blythe had died, I was sorry, of course. I heard it from a lady at church, who has loved the Anne movies a long time. Then I talked to my friends, who really do care. I read their blog posts and a bunch of articles and a Buzzfeed tribute. Then I explained about Crombie’s loss to Meg, who at the ripe old age of five has never heard of Anne or Gilbert (ack!), and now I’m crying.

Planting Seeds

As I write this, the weather is finally starting to get consistently warm in our neck of the woods. So this week, it was time to get started on our little family garden.

My husband grew up in farm country. Each year, he would spend many an hour helping to tend the family's large garden. With twelve mouths to feed, this garden played an important role in providing for the family's needs. My childhood gardening experience, on the other hand, was a bit more limited...

Rain Days, Snow Days, School Days

I’m fairly confident by now that the last snow of the season is over. (I thought so once before, but then a surprise snowstorm in late March proved me wrong.) Of course, now that we’re finally free from winter’s icy grip, we’re facing the inevitable deluge of vernal showers. The stormy transition from winter to spring provides a good opportunity to reflect on yet another reason I’m glad to be homeschooling: the freedom to set our own pace.

Family Reading Time

When our family decided to pull our oldest daughter out of kindergarten and bring her home, we only knew two other homeschooling families. These two families were very different in their homeschooling styles, and yet on one thing they were in passionate agreement: a well-rounded education involves reading, reading and more reading. More importantly, it involved sharing good books as a family.

The Study Sheet of Doom

The intrepid adventurers scurried through dank corridors, snatching up artifacts and pocketing treasure. They stumbled into a pit, navigated a runaway mine cart, and swung over stagnant water on decaying ropes. At long last, they possessed not only the Diamond of Ancients, but both of them scored 91% on their three-page history test...

Nature Studies

Nature studies is a thing. It’s a good thing. Preschoolers do well with the “oh look” method of nature studies. You may want some structure and books, but beyond them every outing becomes an informal science lab, no beakers required. If those are cumulonimbus clouds, we’ll have to go inside.  Bicyclists are fast and have a lot more mass than you. The sun is hot and a major source of ultraviolet radiation as well as visible light, so wear your hat. You can pick all the dandelions and violets you like; these purple berries are pokeweed and will probably make you throw up, so don’t eat them.

Slowing Down for the Important Things

What’s more important: checking off “get BSF homework done” or having a meaningful conversation with my daughter about Christ being her personal savior and providing atonement for her sins?

Relationships are more important than tasks. My daughter’s relationship with God is most important of all. All the details, and the daily busyness, can keep us from the big picture, and the most important things, sometimes.

The Glass Catastrophe - A Good Lesson Learned

Recently my sweet and helpful daughter offered to fetch me a drink of water. Somehow in the course of things, the glass slipped from her grasp and shattered on the kitchen floor. Fortunately, it was an otherwise low-stress moment, and I had the patience and presence of mind to assure her that it was fine. While I gave her comforting platitudes about how this wasn’t the first dish to be broken in this house by children, nor will it be the last, she brushed tears from her eyes, clearly far more upset by the incident than I was.

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