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No. 5

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By MaryAnn Gaver
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Be a Blessing
Columnist Host
MaryAnn Gaver

Do you ever wonder if your teaching efforts are really making an impact on your kids? Before teaching, perhaps it would be good to ask, “What am I really trying to achieve? Do I simply want to have smart scholars? Or do I truly desire to have children who love God with all their hearts, love people, and strive for excellence in everything they do?”

Are you giving your kids a message of acceptance, love, and encouragement? Our words need to be loving even when we’re being firm.

Share Your Tips

This new column is designed to feature teaching tips, encouragement, and advice from homeschooling parents.

Our topic for the Jan./Feb. issue is “battling the bumps.” What has helped you get through a rough day? Send us a brief description (250 words or less). Submissions may be edited for space. Mail submissions to:

Attn: Parent to Parent, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134

Or email us (include "Parent to Parent" in the subject line) at ComDept@hslda.org

Please include your name and address. Submission deadline is October 29, 2007.

I notice that my twins excel in their work when I stop looking for mistakes and start encouraging what they do well. As good managers are told, try to catch your employees doing something right. Telling your budding mathematician, “Wow, you’re really mastering those fractions,” will work 10 times better than over-commenting and emphasizing a weakness. When I see improvement in something, I tell my guys that I notice the effort. Work done in an outstanding manner is definitely recognized, and work done in a sloppy or halfhearted manner is to be redone.

So, teachers, let’s look at our words and teaching style, and love our children while striving for excellence in all that we teach. And as we start each day, may we ask, “What will my children learn today?”

MaryAnn Gaver and her husband, Jay, have been homeschooling their twin sons for six years.

Creative Teaching Methods

Profitable Education

My husband came up with a creative idea for teaching our seven children math and business skills. When our oldest was 14, the kids started selling baked goods at the local farmers market. The first summer was discouraging sale-wise, but my husband reminded us of the good things our kids were learning: How to talk to people, count change, and more. As the children grew, so did their business.

The girls bake, make jellies, and grow flowers, while the guys pick fresh fruit and crack pecans. Their dad has them figure out the exact production cost and retail price of each item. The kids keep inventory and cost spreadsheets, pay taxes, and make bank deposits. They also help decide what is needed to make their sales more successful.

—by Shari H. / Potwin, KS

Using Extremes in Learning

I found a way to combine science, geography, writing, and research in one lesson. Each day, my daughter would use the weather section of our daily newspaper to identify the hottest and coldest cities in the U.S. and locate the cities with a travel atlas and the internet. Then, she would label the cities on a large U.S. map and place color-coordinated stickers on them. My daughter also sent letters to the chamber of commerce in several cities, asking for a city brochure, postcard, or sticker. Nearly every city sent her something. She mounted the items on a display board around the map and enjoyed it so much that she asked to do it again next year!

—by Melli H. / Garden Grove, CA