How do you develop an appreciation for nature?

TOPIC: What do you do to develop an appreciation of nature and the outdoors in your family? Are there any activities you particularly enjoy? What resources have you found most helpful? Any other tips you have for other homeschooling families? ANSWERS: I remember a time when on our nature walk we "collected words". We had a notebook in which we jotted down phrases that came to mind - for example, "waters sparkling like diamonds", or "ducks squawking", or... Then we went home and created a free verse poem with our words. Our efforts were collective and we were all quite happy with the result. Another time we brought home leaves and sticks and moss and used them to create a 3D collage of what we saw. I love the times we take our books to a park and hang out in the great outdoors. Of course just playing and being in nature is good and we enjoy gardening and feeding the birds in our own back yard. ------- We love to go for walks through forested parks. We take our time pointing out interesting plants, birds etc. along the way. Many times we bring home leaves, cones, and mushrooms to see what they are using our field guides. We also keep our bird field guide handy so whenever an unusual bird appears in our yard we can find out what it is. After we identify the bird, we use http://AllAboutBirds.org to hear the birds song, see where it lives, migration habits and similar birds. We LOVE that website. Also, http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com has a wealth of ideas for nature study. There...

What are your Christmas traditions?

TOPIC: What are your best tips for homeschooling in December? What Christmas resources have helped you most both as a homeschooler and as a Christian family? What is your favourite Christmas tradition? What are you most looking forward to doing or focusing on this Christmas? Are you trying any new traditions this year? ANSWERS: Generally we don’t homeschool in December as the season is too busy and stressful, but this year, thanks to the suggestion of a friend, we’re going to adopt a country (Germany), and study and do their Christmas traditions so that we can tie school in. We’re learning about Martin Luther as he was the one who started a lot of the German traditions. We’re also reading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, as well as a Dickens biography. ------- Here are some resources and traditions that my family has enjoyed during Advent. Reading together -- "Jotham's Journey" by Arnold Ytreeide is a fictional story set at the time of Jesus birth which is meant to be read one short chapter a night during Advent. "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens is a good family read, probably for grade 4 or 5 and up. While not a story about the birth of Jesus, it is a story about values and priorities. "The Family Under the Bridge" is a great read for younger children (I think it is in the Sonlight grade 1 read aloud list). It is about a homeless family in Paris. Advent Wreath -- We always make an advent wreath. Every Sunday we light another candle and have a family devotional. Singing -- We...

What did you do in the summer?

TOPIC: What has been the highlight so far about your summer? What are you doing to get yourself ready for the new school year? Are you making any significant changes in how you do things? What are you most looking forward to about the new year? ANSWERS: Our highlight has been TIME with each other and just spur of the moment happenings- like fun camping in our yard, having a camp fire and tasting smores (our first time), bicycle rides in the rain, sailing our boats, VBS camps, friends over for tea or for supper and sleep-overs. We had a good holiday and enjoyed the family time together! At the moment I am tidying up our school room and putting new posters on the wall and getting our books ready for the new term. I am not making any major changes at the moment. It will just be a new year filled with excitement and learning together. I would like to do more experiments and hands-on activities with my boys. I also want to get more involved in field trips and outings. My 4 year old wants to learn to read - so that will be something to look forward to. ------- We had a great summer! We went to family camp, several VBS/daycamps, camping and enjoyed a Vancouver "staycation"! Our family is rested and ready for the fall! The year will be different for us because our second oldest is now in grade one. With two of the kids "doing school" I’m feeling some need to be a little more serious and methodical with regards to our studies....

How do I deal with kids who are bored or struggling in their work?

TOPIC: How do you deal with your children’s attitudes when they say "I don’t want to" or "I don’t feel like it" when it comes to their schoolwork? How do you deal with their attitudes when it is because they are struggling with the work? What do you do to help them when they are struggling with the work? And for those of you with perfect children who never have a bad attitude, what factory did you buy them at? ANSWERS: When my kids say that they don't want to do their work, there is always an underlying cause. Is it because they need a short break? Is the work too difficult? Is it boring or mundane? Do they need to be challenged more? How much time have they spent sitting? Do they want to go ride their bikes?.... the list goes on, but there is always a reason. Generally speaking, I know my kids quite well and can pinpoint quickly why they don't want to work. Sometimes it's a reflection of me and my lack of creativity to make a lesson more interesting. But, like us adults, sometimes it's just plain laziness, and the work has to be done somehow, so I will insist that they do it. We talk about how long it might take to complete and then break it down into chunks so that it seems more manageable in their minds. I will often give an incentive to motivate them like a walk to the park, a small treat, permission to watch a short cartoon... I find that when they know a reward is in...

How do I take care of myself as a homeschooling mom?

TOPIC: Someone was reminding me today of the importance of self-care. What do you do to take care of yourself on a daily basis (physically/ spiritually /mentally/ emotionally)? How do you refresh yourself on an ongoing basis? What do you do when you are struggling? ANSWERS: I know I don't take/make the time every day to take care of myself as I should, but generally speaking I find that if I get outside for even a short walk that I am better off on every level. Something about getting fresh air, and enjoying God's creation that lifts my spirits and clears my head. If I get the luxury of going for a walk by myself, I like to use that time to talk with God and have Him work on my heart. I also am in the process of spring cleaning, so if I can get through one small thing such as a drawer or cupboard, then I feel better; a sense of accomplishment that I am working towards a goal. On a weekly basis (generally) I need to create something. I enjoy sewing and crafting and making cards, so I take time to indulge in my art and always come away refreshed and excited to be with my family again. I don't always go out and work on my projects; usually I stay at home in my craft space (which is really an area I have carved out in my laundry room), but the very act of creating something lovely is invigorating for me. God is a creative God and I believe that He has created us, as...