Monday, July 30, 2012

Is unschooling a 4-letter word?

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." 
~Albert Einstein

I'm always surprised when the subject of how to homeschool comes up, and a mom will automatically stiffen when the term unschooling is uttered.  Like I just said a curse word, or something. 

When families consider themselves unschoolers, you can ask for a definition and get as many different answers as there are families answering your question. 

As to the question, do *we* unschool, we over here at BreadwithHoney, well, we really don't know what to say.  We know what we do, we like it, and we notice that we're awfully different than most of the other homeschoolers we know, regarding how our days and learning unfold.  

If someone asked *me* for a definition of unschooling, I'd say, "Unschooling is a lifestyle where parents consider learning to be happening always, not just during 'school hours.'  This generally leads to a greater respect for the learning that happens in everyday life."  Formal learning may not happen in the same order as it would for a family sticking to a pre-designed curriculum because children might spend quite a lot of time developing a subject of interest to them during a particular time period.

I notice many homeschoolers want it both ways:  they want their 3rd grader working "at grade-level," yet they want the flexibility to stop and develop material that is poorly understood, or well-understood, when the child clamors for 'more, more, more!'  In fact, that flexibility is why many of us chose to homeschool in the first place.

Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in any mother's day.  And wanting it both ways often seems to lead to what I call "May Syndrome."  This is when many homeschool mother's are running around in mid-May with worried foreheads, realizing, "We're behind!"  When moms suddenly forget that the f;lexibilty to spend 3 extra weeks on fractions in February naturally means the book isn't finished by the third week of May!

So, what does this have to do with unschooling?  Well, as a group, one thing that seems to define unschoolers as a group is a LOT more comfort with children, especially younger children, working and learning outside the bell-curve.  Some unschoolers have a lot of structure and some have little to none.  Some use wrkbooks and texts, some use none of the above. 

But there's a very specific attitude I find amongst unschoolers, which is: the material is here to serve US.  We are not here to serve the material!  Which means that there is less fretting over when books get finished, how easily a child 'forgets' material he already 'knew', and whether he or she is doing X by age Z.

I'm not planning to go into detail about unschooling here, let alone defend it against the myriad criticisms usually leveled when the term comes up.  Instead, I'd just like to challenge you, if you've always considered 'unschooling' to be a dirty word in the homeschooler's dictionary, to learn more about unschooling, what it can look like, and how it might help you expand your thinking as a home educator.

The very best books to introduce you to the subject (in my ever humble opinion) include:

How Children Fail
How Children Learn
Learning All The Time

all by John Holt, the talented school teacher, turned homeschooling advocate, who first coined the tern 'unschooling.'  If you are less interested in philosophy and more interested in some nuts and bolts, creative, super-simple learning ideas for young children, skip straight to Learning All The Time.  And check your library, because all three are likely available to you there!

"The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men." 
~Bill Beattie

Friday, July 27, 2012

Crazy Quilts

Today, we are thrilled to welcome a guest post by Kim from Garden Tenders.  

There is nothing like a quilt to make you feel loved and comforted.  All the pieces of the colorful blanket loving fitted together; each stitch a labor of love.  Some quilts are arranged neatly with a set pattern but the ones I love the most are the crazy quilts.  They’re pieces of life, in all sorts of shapes, sizes , and colors that are only matched by a wildflower meadow patched and pieced by God.   Crazy quilts are fitted together with a hope and a prayer.  It reminds me of motherhood. 
No one ever said it would be easy, in fact I remember my own mother telling me it would be hard sometimes; but well worth the effort.  Nearly five years into my own career in Mommyville I can begin to see what she means.  Some days are lessons in patience and it’s only by God’s love that we seem to make it through and other days the pieces all have matching sides with no odd ball angles or slices taken out.  Those days make the other days a little easier to bear, so we piece on.
Part of the key for my family is to accept the crazy days as beautiful in themselves.  I know this can be easier said than done, but when I accomplish this we sure have better days.  I remind myself that God made valleys, craggy cliffs, winding rivers, and jagged peaks; when He was done He said it was all good.  Not just the fields of wildflowers and mountain lakes were called good, but everything was good.  Besides, even the wildflower fields have stones in them.
You need to stock your sewing kit with a few things as you piece this quilt of life together.  First, you need a strong support system.  You and your spouse need to be on the same page.  If you aren’t there, get there.  You need to agree on how you will educate and discipline your children.  If you both have similar goals in mind those crazy patterned, uneven days will fit together better.  Two working on the puzzle piece makes for light work.  There is nothing is worse than fighting over a piece of a puzzle and where it should fit in. When this happens, no one wins and the piece may never find a way to fit in. 
Secondly, you need faith.  You really need to have a reliance on God, not just sometimes, but all the time.  There is someone in charge and it doesn’t have to be you putting your finger in the cake.  Just like a cake that is constantly bumped and poked, your plans will fail when they are not based on something outside of your own visions.  As you piece this crazy quilt called life you need to remember that God is the pattern maker and He knew the piece you are fitting before it was crafted.  He never said it would be easy, for nothing worthwhile is come by easily.  He uses the difficult lessons to refine us.  While rejoicing may be difficult during those bad times, remembering that they serve some purpose helps us to keep going forward.  I find the purpose is generally revealed before too much time has passed.
In addition you must have a willingness to fail.  Well, you don’t really fail, you change.  You need to be adaptable.  One day all your quilt pieces will be straight and have identical sides and the next you may find that you need to change up and your methods of fitting the pieces together have to change.  Prayer helps more than you can imagine.  If nothing more than it’s God’s way of giving you quite time to listen for Him.  He hates competing for your attention between the TV, computer, the never ending to do list….  In my life I have learned that when I neglect listening to Him when he is trying to speak to me, that He MAKES me make the time.  It’s much better to listen early on than after we have fouled things up beyond easily mending the damage we caused, from not listening.
God enjoys the crazy quilts of life.  Take a deep breath and a few minutes to enjoy the one you have been given.  It really is beautiful. 
Happy tending gentle friends,

Kim is a wife, mom, friend, part of a homeschool family, garden tender, and a fur mommy.  She blogs at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You Want Me to What...?

Perhaps my favorite aspect of blogging is the incredible people I meet! 

It is my privilege to introduce you to Mountain Mama.  I first met her through a weekly link-up over a year ago and have been blessed by her words ever since.  She blogs about faith, family, and life with posts that make me laugh and cry, depending on the topic.  More importantly, her words inspire me to step out in faith, to live the adventure life was meant to be.  Today, Brooke is talking about homeschooling right here at Growing Your Homeschool.  So, if you are currently homeschooling or have ever considered homeschooling, you will be blessed to read this encouraging testimony...   

I'll never forget how I felt when the Lord was leading us to homeschool.  There was a feeling of shock mixed with uncertainty and insecurity. I didn't think I was up to the challenge and in all honesty I didn't want to be "one of the families."  We tried it for a few weeks but the new Christian school across the street from our home looked very appealing.  It was just too easy to send our eldest out the door every morning in her cute little uniform with piggy tails swinging in the air.  It freed up my time, gave her new friends and put my focus on our two younger children.  But, deep down, I knew we were not obeying what the Lord wanted us to do.

Fast forward to a couple of years and we find ourselves living in the remote Idaho Mountains.  Remote as in: a single neighbor and one hour from our mailbox on a death defying road.  Not to mention bears, coyotes and rattlesnakes.  To say living there was a challenge is an understatement.  We had to face our fears head on.  But, more importantly, we grew as a family.  We were always together and we HAD to homeschool.  Doesn't the Lord have a sense of humor?  We even held our own church service on Sundays. We bonded as a family and for the first time I realized what homeschooling is all about.  I wouldn't trade those humbling few months for anything.

Now that we are home in Oklahoma we try to apply what we call "Mountain Life" to our days.  Mountain life includes a lot of family time both with just us and everyone who is in our family tree.  Mine is full of nuts by the way.  I'm only kidding.  We love our families!

Another thing we strive for is simplicity.  In the mountains the kids didn't need many toys or entertainment.  They made their toys creating their own see-saw, rock climbing "walls", swings, playhouses, etc.  I was blown away by their creativity.  Did it frighten me when they were climbing on boulders and running down mountains at full speed?  You bet. I practiced placing my trust in the One who moved us there to begin with and learned to relax and let kids be kids.  Not without a few rules on my part mind you.

Mountain life also means guarding our time.  We don't watch TV and we are very strict with the movies we watch.  Why?  We want to honor God in all that we do.  There is so much junk in the world, especially in the media.  Plus, we would much rather play a round of "Go Fish" or actually go fishing then sit and be immobile.  Making family memories is so much fun!

This leads me to a question people ask: Do I feel like we're protecting our kids too much from the world?  No way.  Our goal is to build a strong foundation for our children, one built on God's word so when they do come into contact with not nice things they will know what to do and the best choices to make.  They are learning that there are problems and issues in the world and that not everyone can be trusted.  However, we are also teaching them to serve and love people and to show them honor and respect.  We are NOT better than anyone else, period.  We are to be a light in this world and how can we that if we are too proud, afraid or never mix with the world?  {Matthew 5:16}

Guarding our time also means we don't say "yes" to everyone who asks us to do something.  We've skimmed down our schedules and are sure to do things several times a week to be a blessing to others.  Mountain life = less stress. We eat dinner as a family almost every night.

Another question I receive is, "How long does school last on a daily basis for your family?"  My answer is always the same.  Learning at home is a lifestyle.  We learn ALL the time.  When we cook together, serve at church together, run errands, work in the garden, go to the library...there are literally teachable moments everywhere.  It's not all workbook pages.

Another statement I hear often is, "I just don't think I could stand my kid for eight hours a day."  I try to laugh this statement off but it cuts deep into my heart.  For starters, God knows what He's doing when He places a family together.  He knows our personalities will clash.  He knows that at times the worst of us will come out and I daresay He hopes we will venture to learn, grow, change and rely on Him for help.  I tell the kids that learning to get along with each other will prepare them to get along with the world and future relationships.

Do I think all families should homeschool?  No way.  There are too many variables and every family is so different.  Each family should pray about the Lord's will for their child's education.

I believe there is a generation of kids being taught at home that will no doubt be world changers and that's just what we need.  It is an adventure to say the least.  If you are "crazy" enough to be homeschooling already, and I say that with love, then I want to pat your back and give you a hug.  You are going against the flow, doing something that is challenging while at the same time growing right along with your kids and no doubt making a lasting impact on them and God's kingdom. Way to go!!


Brooke D. lives in her home state of Oklahoma with her husband of thirteen years and their three children.  She is known as “Mountain Mama” in the blogging world.  She is passionate about serving the Lord with her whole heart.  Brooke recently earned a degree in natural medicine.  She enjoys exploring new places, reading, spending time with family and volunteering her time to help others.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Me Time?

Today, I am excited to share with you a guest post by Janet who shares her heart and adventures at Janet Rose.  She just recently returned from a mission trip to Alaska!  You can read about her adventures on her blog, but first we invite you to pull up a chair, and read over these words of wisdom she shares with us today...  

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out,
and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.
Simon and his companions went searching for Him.
They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!”
And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages
so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.”
So He went into all of Galilee,
preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 
Mark 1:35-39

A conversation that I had last week with another homeschooling mom finally gave me the best answer to the most asked question I have received over the past 4 years of homeschooling... 
"How do you spend all day, every day, with your kids?"

Often following this question is a statement about needing "me time".  I have always just spoken from my heart that spending time with my kids is a joy and it is what God desires of me right now. 
I am then usually asked about when I have "me time".  I speak of having a wonderful support system of grandparents and friends who watch the boys time to time.  I do not feel a need for time away from my kids every day.  I actually really miss them when they are with someone else.

Now, though, thanks to one simple statement from my friend, I have a great answer to the question about being with my boys all day long, but I also have a new perspective on "me time"...
"The Bible doesn't mention anything about 'me time'." 

Not in the sense that we use that phrase, anyway. 
And, I realize that I have some changes to make.
But the news about Him spread even more,
and large crowds would come together to hear Him
and to be healed of their sicknesses.
Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
Luke 5:15-16

Jesus set an amazing example for us in that, when He desired "me time", He spent it in prayer with His Father.  His down time had a purpose greater than that of putting up His feet and browsing FB, catching up on a TV show previously recorded on the DVR, or even reading a book from a favorite author. 

He went off by Himself to pray. 

I am convicted in epic proportions.  

Prayer is not the first item on my list of things to do when I am able to get away by myself.  Getting my nails done, maybe, but not giving my first minutes of free time to Jesus.
Oh, but wait.  It gets better.

He was often interrupted during His "me time"...and He willingly gave it up to teach and heal the people.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14

How many mornings were my showers interrupted by a little voice calling from the other side of the curtain?  How many times do I long to not hear my name called during the few minutes I am getting dressed?  Will the day ever come when no one will be asking me questions while I am on the phone with a friend?  I could go on.  In having my boys with me all day long there are times I long for a few minutes to do something alone and probably run short on the compassion that I should feel for those who interrupt those few and far between minutes.    

God wants the first of the best of every thing, including my free time.  Consequently, when interrupted, I am to do as Jesus did and have compassion on those wanting to be with me and who need me.  In my calling as a wife, mother, and homeschooling parent, I have the greatest example ever by Jesus Himself on how to handle the demands from others on me and my time.  It is time to start following that example wholeheartedly.  Things are about to get even better around here, I think, and I could not be more excited! 

Janet Rose...I am a daughter of the King, wife of 10 years to Scott, and mom to Alex and Tim.  Life for me includes homeschooling, spending time with family, mission trips to AK, traveling whenever and wherever possible, being a youth leader at church, helping at Bible Memory Camp during the summer, and whatever else that comes along.  God has shown me that finding my identity first and foremost in being His child gives me all the energy, power, and comfort I need to handle the ups and downs in life.  Our God is an awesome God, indeed!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reading Nonfiction with Young Children

In our house, we love books.  We spend hours and hours reading.  We enjoy all books and every day, we read both fiction and nonfiction books.  Occasionally, I have friends ask me how I can get my girls to sit and listen to a nonfiction story.  Their children think that nonfiction books are boring and that fiction stories are more exciting.  I remember feeling like that as a kid, so when I became a mom, I decided that my children were going to love all types of books.  In order to make this happen, we have done several things in our home:

1. We started reading both fiction and nonfiction to our children even before birth.  In fact, when Abigail was a newborn, I was in graduate school.  I had hundreds of pages of research to read each week, so I held her in my arms and read it out loud to her.  As a baby, she heard more research articles than children's stories!

2.  We make sure that the girls see us reading nonfiction books, magazines, and newspapers.  Young children love to do what they see grownups doing!

3. Our nonfiction books are housed with our other books, so my girls don't even know that they are different from fictional stories.  Don't get me wrong; we talk about "real" and "pretend", but they don't see one type of book as being better than another.

4. We choose nonfiction books that are related to their interests.  For example, Abigail LOVES George Washington, so we read many books about him.  Charlotte loves babies, so we have several iBooks about baby animals.  We also read books related to animals we see on trips and about places we've been or that friends/family are visiting.

5. When we read books, we take turns choosing the books.  When I notice that it has been a while since we have read anything nonfiction, I choose nonfiction books during "Mommy turn".

I am thrilled that my girls love books so much and that they get excited when we read all stories.  It makes me smile when they ask to read a nonfiction story, as I love when our story times can be so educational!  I worry that it won't always be this way, but I am thankful that, for now, they love nonfiction books too.

Marla is a former special education teacher and current PhD student and stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of two little girls (ages 1 and 4).  She blogs about homeschooling at Marla's Motherhood Musings and her family's experiences living in Zambia at Our Life in Lusaka.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Simple Science Experiments

My girls and I LOVE Science experiments!  We spend a lot of time doing them.  During the summer, when families are on a relaxed and fun school schedule, Science experiments can be a great way to continue learning.  Today, I would like to share a few simple Science experiments for you and your children to enjoy.  My girls and I have tried some of these and we are looking forward to trying the rest of them soon!  In fact, the process of creating this post made my "Science" board on Pinterest double in size!  I guess we have a lot of Science in our future!  

For each experiment, just click the link to find instructions for conducting the experiment.

It is amazing how many simple and fun experiments you can do with your children!  Do you have any other suggestions that I might have forgotten; I know that this is not a comprehensive list!

Happy Experimenting!

Marla is a former special education teacher and current PhD student and stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of two little girls (ages 1 and 4).  She blogs about homeschooling at Marla's Motherhood Musings and her family's experiences living in Zambia at Our Life in Lusaka.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beginning Your Homeschool Year With Excitement

I remember so clearly how excited I was for the first day of each new school year as I was growing up. It was like having a birthday - it clearly marked the beginning of a new level, a new age, a fresh start.  Here are five ways to create an exciting and positive start for your homeschool.

1) Teasers

Nothing gets my children begging for school to begin as quickly as opening the boxes of next year's books.  Getting to see, touch and hear what they will be learning about actually makes them drool.  Talking about the new things they will get to learn in now that they are older (cursive! an instrument! touch-typing!) is a great validation of their continuing progress in learning.

2) Sprucing Up

We always take time before our new year begins to put away all the items we used last year (giving us time to discuss all the things we loved about learning during that time) and clean a bit.  The shelves get wiped down and reorganized, leaving clean and empty areas just begging for the year to begin.  We clean up our learning spaces and sometimes add a new place that would be fun to work.

3) New Supplies

Remember the brand-new box of crayons?  The fresh, unsharpened pencils?  Each year I provide the children with surprises at the beginning of our school year, including things like erasable pens, character pencils, rulers and counting charts.  Older children can be given protractor sets, staplers, binders and sketch books.

4) A Count Down

We do not run on a tight schedule.  We have started our schooling at a different time every year and tend to make our decisions about when to begin based on what is happening in our lives RIGHT NOW and plan around it.  However, we always manage to include a count down to the new school year, even if it is only a week.

5)  Create Traditions

Find a special way your family likes to celebrate the first week of school.  My children love having their pictures taken to mark the beginning of a new grade.  They spend time choosing a location, setting the stage and reviewing the photos to decide if we need to take another one.  Other ideas would include a special meal, a first-day field trip, or a surprise activity after lessons (like roller skating or going to a restaurant with Dad to tell him all about the day).

Whether you are preparing for your first year of learning at home or your tenth, the start of the new year is a wonderful time together.  What helps your family build excitement?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Homeschool? I Could Never Do That.

"I could never do that."

This is the single most common statement made to me by other parents when they hear that we homeschool.  It always makes me smile.

In fact, I made the same statement myself (many times) in the years before we became crazy homeschoolers ourselves.

I am going to tell you something today that you may not want to hear.  You may not be ready to hear it just yet.  You may, in fact, be avoiding hearing it.  I know all of those things were true for me when my homeschooling friend finally said to me "Yes, you can."

You totally, completely and absolutely could do this.  This homeschooling thing? Yes.  You could do it.

I can hear what you are saying to me.

I don't have time!  My child and I butt heads over everything!  I don't have time!  My husband/wife won't want to!  I'm not qualified!  I don't have time!  I don't really even like kids!  I have no teaching experience! And I don't have time!

and then we come to the root of your struggles:

*whispering now* How will I be sure they are learning enough? Learning the right things? What will other people think of them, of me? Will we turn into one of those weird, awkward homeschooling families I've heard about?  I don't know anything about homeschooling or anyone (well, other than you) who homeschools...

And worst of all, what you can't even bring yourself to say out loud:

What if I ruin my child? 

I'm going to tell you what my friend told me, when I finally couldn't lie to myself anymore about my goals and desires for my children, about their needs and abilities, about homeschooling and what it meant.

1) Homeschooling is a completely reversible decision.  If it doesn't work out, you can always go back.
2) You know, understand and love your child better than any professional educator ever could.
3) Homeschoolers are everywhere. And their kids are awesome.
4) There is help and support available (everywhere!) for new homeschoolers trying to navigate the learning curve.

And worst of all, what I couldn't even bring myself to say out loud:

5) What if institutional education ruins your child?

None of the above items means that I think everyone should be homeschooling their children, nor does it mean that institutional school is bad for every child.  It doesn't mean that homeschooling would be best for every family, or for your family.  But if you are reading this, if you are on the internet exploring homeschooling, if you are struggling with what might be the best fit for your children, this may be just what you need to face.  You certainly could do it.  Does it mean that you should or will?  Only you can answer that.

But you certainly could.  If I can, anyone (including you!) can do it as well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Reading - Book Series

Summertime is a time for fun, games, playing outside, swimming, and relaxing.  For our family, it is also a time for reading.  We always participate in our local library's summer reading program and visit the library often to return and check out more books.  During these frequent visits, our children are given a bit more freedom in reading choices.  They have no assigned reading during summer, and often select books from series they enjoy to fill their reading logs.  Series my children enjoy include:

Book Series For Boys*:
Sugar Creek Gang, by Paul Hutchens
Concord Cunningham, the Scripture Sleuth, by Mat Halverson
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Ten Boys series, by Irene Howat
The Hardy Boys, created by Franklin W. Dixon

Book Series For Girls*:
Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Nancy Drew, by Carolyn Keene
Ten Girls series, by Irene Howat
American Girls, historical series with various authors and time periods
Rachel Yoder, by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Book Series For Both:
Christian Heroes: Then and Now, YWAM Publishing
The Chronicles of Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis
Childhood of Famous Americans
Magic Tree House books, by Mary Pope Osborne
Box Car Children, created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Book Series For Younger Readers:
Animal Friends, Janette Oke
The Lighthouse Family series, by Cynthia Rylant
The Three Cousin Detective Club series, Elspeth Campbell Murphy
Jigsaw Jones mystery series, by James Preller
Magic School Bus chapter books

* For the most part, these titles can be enjoyed by either boys or girls, but the two categories are for readers looking for a gender specific suggestion.

Please Note: Each title is linked to the series or a book in the series for reference and your convenience. 

What is your child(ren)'s favorite series?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Making the Most of Every Opportunity to Learn

Just because we have slowed down our schedule this summer, it doesn't mean we have slowed down our learning.  Everyday there is an opportunity to learn something new and different.  We simply have to be willing to find it, ask about it, or try it. 

Getting out in the community provides wonderful opportunities for learning. 

Every summer I schedule the children's appointments. In these warm months, we will visit the eye doctor for annual eye exams, the pediatrician for well visits, and the dentist for a cleaning. It is simply just easier for our family to schedule these appointments during our summer break.

Today, as I write this, two of my children had an eye doctor appointment. {When you have multiple children with multiple appointments, combining appointments is a necessity.} All the children and I went. If it weren't our summer break, I would totally count today as a field trip, as we asked all kinds of unrelated questions about how the machines work, who does what, etc. During this trip we even got into a discussion about how many combinations the lens machine has, who cleans it, and how he does it. As an added bonus, our tour guide, I mean, eye doctor's assistant, told us how much it costs to have it cleaned. We completed our visit with a lecture about eye anatomy, development, and degeneration from our eye doctor. He even showed the children the charts he filled out on each of them. Our youngest got to 'examine' the forms up close, and 'sign' his name.

Our recent trip to the doctor for physicals resulted in a discussion about how urine is tested, why it is tested, what is checked for, and what each of those results could indicate. The time before we discussed some of the tools the doctor uses for examinations. The children particularly liked learning about reflexes.

Dental trips typically result in teeth related discussions. How best to care for them is always a top priority for our dentist. However, last time, we asked about the technology they use. There are x-rays, digital and old film. There is a computerized program tracking patient progress, complete with digital diagrams. There are microscopic drills, and special glasses and plates that help the dentist see to use them better.

Each time a child asks a question, they are met with in depth answers and patience. Never once has someone declared they did not have time to answer a child's question. In fact, quite the opposite. It has been our experience that people respond quite positively to our children's curiosity.

Aside from these appointments, we run errands differently during the summer.  When we have to do some banking, we will skip the ATM and drive thru.  Instead, we will go inside the bank and make a deposit while conversing with a real live person.  At the grocery store, we will have our older children wait in line at the deli and place our order with the deli clerk, not through the computerized system.  We will visit the post office to ship packages or purchase stamps, in lieu of using the automated pick-up and delivery system.

Conveniences are fantastic, and I feel blessed to live in a country that has so many technological advancements to offer people.  We use most of them frequently.  However, I still want my children to know what the inside of a post office or bank looks like.  I want them to realize a lot of people work to make these automatic conveniences happen. 

Summertime, when we have slowed down our pace just a bit, makes for a great time to learn these lessons.

This summer, might I encourage you to seize the learning opportunities that naturally surround you and your children?  Facilitate your child's curiosity.  Ask some questions of your own.  Encourage them to think of something they would like to ask.  If a child is unsure how to inquire, ask the question for them.  One of our children had the best questions, but was too shy to ask them.  She needed to see me modeling how to ask questions and listen to responses.  Now, she asks her own questions freely and often. 


By making the most of every opportunity to learn something new with your children, you will be helping to create a pattern for lifelong learning. 

Dorie enjoys being outside, photography, art, writing, a strong cup of coffee, and good conversations seasoned with much laughter. She and her drummer husband, Jerry, share a life built on faith in Jesus, love, and grace. They have been blessed with four active children. Each day, whether easy or trying, is a wondrous part of this grace filled journey, and Dorie blogs about them all at These Grace Filled Days. Their homeschooling adventures can be found at Homeschooling Just Next Door.
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