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Conversations: The Secret Ingredient of Homeschooling

Overwhelmed by all the materials available to help your child succeed at homeschooling? Items that promise to help your child learn better, faster and more? If I were just starting to homeschool today, the sheer volume of products would confuse me. I’d be panicking because my budget couldn’t cover the cost of all that’s available and I’d be worried that I’d make the wrong choices and jeopardize my children’s future.
 
It is so easy to get bogged down when you homeschool. It’s similar to how you felt when you had a new baby and you felt like you never accomplished anything because you did the same things day after day. But, when you look back you realize that you accomplished quite a lot.
 
 
The Best Things about Homeschooling
*Time to sit and read to your children out loud
*Time to stay in your pajamas all day and play
*Time to watch your children as they put on plays
*Time to listen to your children
*Time to look at spiders
*Time to go for a walk when the sun is shining,
or the rain has just started to fall…
 

Play Is Self-Directed Learning

About 15 years ago I helped a ten-year-old boy at the beach build a dam across a little stream. I was assisting my husband with a class field trip.  We live in Victoria, B.C. While the air gets warm, the Pacific Ocean never gets much warmer than about 12 or 13 ° C in the summer. So instead of swimming, children often build sandcastles or climb around on and/or build things with the logs that have been washed ashore.

One of the boys wanted to build a dam across a stream quite a way down the beach from where the group was. He needed an adult to go with him, I volunteered. I found it fascinating to be with this child as he built a dam. He had lived in Victoria for most of his childhood. One of the best things about Victoria is that there are many accessible beaches that have lots and lots of driftwood. I watched as Hayden (not his real name) carried various pieces of wood to his dam location and started building. I asked if he wanted help to carry more driftwood. He said sure. Soon we exhausted the supply that was light enough for us to lift.

Play-selfdirected-learning  PDF

For Reading Outloud

When to start
You can begin reading to your child as soon as you talk to your child – in other words – from birth. However, reading a story to a baby won’t be the same as reading to a toddler. The baby will enjoy the sound of your voice but it will be a while before your baby understands the meaning of the story.

At about 6-9 months many babies respond to books – especially ones with pictures and simple words. They enjoy being read to and respond to the story by getting excited or anticipating what will be on the next page. You can make simple “baby-proof ” books
from small plastic photo albums by slipping family photos or pictures from magazines into the pages and sealing them with transparent tape. Board books are also good books for babies. Toddlers seem to especially enjoy books with animals in them.

Why is it important to read to your children?
When you read out loud to a child, you show your child that reading brings pleasure. You and your child are caught up in another world, enjoying the characters, how they cope with the situations they find themselves in, and how the story resolves. Because reading is such an important skill for children to develop, being read to gives children real experience with the written word. It helps them to see that reading is fun and is a worthwhile skill to develop.

Reading out loud stimulates your child’s imagination. You can travel to a farm and “see” the animals. You can visit a garage and “see” the different cars and trucks, etc. Both of you can travel to places that you might never visit in real life – imaginary worlds where animals talk or people live on other planets.

For Reading Outloud PDF

Christmas Read Alouds
The months of Nov. and Dec. bring holidays that celebrate the importance of love, family, and the rebirth of light. When my children were small, a big part of our holiday tradition was to read Christmas stories out loud. The magic, the warmth, and the re-affirmation of love that fill these seasonal stories were part of our celebration of the birth of new hope in the midst of darkness. The ritual of reading these stories at the same time each year added a sense of predictability and comfort to the holiday season.

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Playing with Little Ones

Plays is one of the joys of parenting. It’s fun and it’s also a vital part of your baby’s development. More and more research proves what grandmothers throughout time have observed, a baby who is sung to, talked to, played with and held is a happier baby, toddler, child.

So just how do you play with little ones? One of the ways is with song. You may not remember many songs from your own childhood. One song that you may remember is Row, Row, Row Your Boat. This song has a lot of possibilities…

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Castor Oil – A great remedy for bumps and bruises
 
A few days ago, I opened a window and smashed my finger in the process. It hurt!!! It throbbed and began to get more and more painful. I went to the bathroom, put some castor oil on a piece of cotton and wrapped it around my finger, holding it in place with a piece of Scotch tape. Within a minute, the pain stopped although it continued to throb a little bit. Ah relief!!
 
I worked in the garden for the next few hours, wearing a glove over my bandaged finger. When I came in I removed the cotton and castor oil to wash my hands. I thought the pain had stopped. Within a few minutes of washing my hands, it started to hurt again, so I re-bandaged it with the cotton and castor oil and a new piece of tape.
 
At bedtime, I removed the cotton, and it had stopped hurting. I was so pleased to be reminded again of what amazing pain relief castor oil applied to the outside of the body can bring. When my children were little, we used it all the time.
 
 

Download a copy of a collection of Christmas seasonal fingerplays and songs that I used in my baby and parent classes. Enjoy!

Santa’s Workshop
Here is a tall, tall Christmas tree
Trimmed with lights and balls.
(Put tips of fingers of both hands together,palms apart)
Here are Santa’s little elves.
They run when Santa calls.
(Hold up ten fingers and wiggle them)
This is Santa’s workshop,
Filled with gifts and toys
(Use both hands to form a house)
The elves and helpers fill the sleigh,
For all little girls and boys.