Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!
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Teaching Tip 6 — Storytelling

Teaching Tip 6 — Storytelling

 

The art of storytelling has been valued for millennia. From tribal peoples to Hollywood producers, telling a good story is one of the most powerful means of teaching the next generation.  Stories well told capture our minds, inspire our hearts, provide a model, and occasionally tickle our funny bone, don’t they?  

Stories exists in fiction and fairy tales, in real-life adventures on land and sea and air, in all countries and cultures and languages, in times past and times present. Stories can be written, filmed, painted, danced and spoken.  But if we were to go back to the earliest people, the keeper of collective memories, of oral traditions, and of remembered history would be the storyteller.  

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Need more time for homeschooling?

Need more time?

Time. Don’t you wish there was more of it in your life? Time to accomplish more, rest more, read more, laugh more, play more? Especially when your life is filled to the brim with to-do’s? I have written about this before in Slow Down and Enjoy This Time, Intentional Living, and Give Yourself a Break.

But, when it comes to homeschooling our kids, how do we find more time? After all, they’re kids, not robots! They don’t just sit and absorb endless amounts of data. And they have this habit of going off on tangents, don’t they?

Poof! There goes the schedule. . .and your stress levels.

Stop and smell the rosesSo, what do we do? How do we find more time for learning? Well, I’m going to share a radical suggestion: Instead of pushing harder, stop and smell the roses. Surprisingly, this produces HUGE educational benefits.

Here’s a story to illustrate.

Years ago, as we were driving cross-country, my son saw on the map that we were not far from Galena, Illinois, home of President Ulysses S. Grant. This held a special fascination for Michael, because he had just recently learned that he shared a birthday with this famous man. Though we were under pressure to get to the next homeschool convention, we decided to drive the extra hour to Galena. After all, it’s not every day that a teenager wants to learn more about history!

Our Objective: Learn more about President Grant.

Truthfully, though, it grated on my nerves to leave the interstate for this slowly winding road. As time kept ticking, I became more and more anxious. . .until, finally, around one more curve, we arrived. And, it was literally breath-taking—gorgeous, stately, historic, a survivor from a different century.

At the local Tourist Bureau, we found someone who explained why this place looked so amazing. He said that, prior to the Civil War, Galena had been the site of lucrative lead mines, resulting in lots of wealthy people with lots of money for spectacular architecture. And, unlike most places in America, this mid-1800s architecture was not torn down to make room for new styles. When the city was unable to afford to dredge the river, business dried up and most folks moved away, abandoning their mansions. This was, essentially, an elegant 1800s city, frozen in time.

Remember our one objective? In taking a few extra—and incredibly fun—hours to visit Galena, we learned so much more than we had planned:

      • the geography of northwestern Illinois, its topography and river systems;
      • river-dredging on a tributary of the Mississippi;
      • river transport;
      • flood gates and river levees;
      • lead for military weaponry;
      • architectural styles popular among the wealthy in the early to mid-1800s;
      • economics of town planning, and of housebuilding;
      • U.S. Grant’s home (yes, we did get there!);
      • U.S. Grant’s presidency.

All that learning, and we had a fabulous adventure, too!

Learn more than one factAnd, that’s what slowing down and smelling the roses can do for you, when it comes to education. Your kids learn far more than one fact. With time to explore and discover, they come up with their own questions and find their own answers. They engage the material. They become self-motivated. Spending this extra time makes learning fascinating and memorable. And, amazingly, they will accomplish more, read more, laugh more, and play more—all while learning far more—than you would have thought possible. Go ahead, give it a try!

If you would like a curriculum to help you with this exploration and discovery, with engaging your students, and making learning both memorable and fascinating, here's a place to start:

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Teaching Tip 5—Different Tastes

Teaching Tip 5—Different Tastes

If you were only allowed one kind of taste in your cooking, which one would it be?

Categories of Taste

You’ve probably taught your kids about the four basic taste categories in food—sweet, sour, salt, and bitter.  (Note: There is a fifth and sixth category, too—umami and piquant— but kids may not understand these flavors as easily.)

If there were only one?

Now, with all those flavors floating through your mind, let me ask you a bizarre question:  What one flavor would you serve your kids day-in and day-out? Really, which ONE would you choose?

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Humor at Home

Humor at Home

Do you remember the saying,

"Give me a fish and I'll eat for a day, teach me to fish and I'll eat for a lifetime"?  

It is as true for laughter as it is for seafood!

"Tell me a joke, and I'll laugh for a minute.

Teach me good humor, and I'll laugh for a lifetime."

This actually became one of my parenting goals: to teach my kids good humor in the context and safety of home. In the process of learning how to do this, some basic principles began to emerge. I call them my 10 Rules & Regs for Humor.  (This quick list is excerpted from one of the most popular workshops I ever presented, The Hilarious Homeschool.)

1) Don't gain a laugh at someone else's expense—If it makes fun of someone else, don't do it.

2) Snide remarks, put-downs, and demeaning sarcasm  are NOT allowed—Speak the truth in LOVE.

3) Ethnic jokes CAN be, "We belong, they don't!"—Making fun of other cultures and people-groups devalues those made in God's image.

4) Crude jokes are in bad taste—Adults need to be the ones who set the standard for wholesome humor.

Teach them WHY it is funny5) Puns are FOUNDATIONAL—Start with a basic "Knock, Knock" joke, and teach kids why it is funny.

6) Memorize a few good jokes—Give your kids success through tried-and-true laughter makers!

7) Play with language—Try traditional ways, like limericks or "spoonerisms."

8) Home must be safe—Make sure your entire family plays by these rules: demeaning, disrespect, and making fun of others is NOT ALLOWED.

9) Practice makes funny—Take time and make the effort to play with humor. . .Put it on your calendar and in your schedule!

10) Good humor at home uses wisdom—"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8

According to Proverbs 17:22, "A cheerful heart is good medicine. . ."  And, believe me, you need this kind of prescription!

Remember, laughter is one of the best ways to cheer up a home, especially one filled with fun-loving kids!!

For more explanation of these ten rules and regs, along with some of the funniest stories from my homeschool adventures, check out my Hilarious Homeschool Workshop on CD.

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Teaching Tip 4 — Learning Styles

Teaching Tip 4 — Learning Styles

If you think back to your days in a classroom, can you remember the kid that was always fidgeting? And, what about the one who was always talking? You probably noticed the studious types who knew every answer in English, history or science class, and the gregarious types who knew every person in school. In P.E., some kids could run laps without breaking a sweat, while others could barely make it once around the track. In art or music, some made it look easy while the rest tried to not look stupid. There were labels—from top student to teacher’s pet to ADD to daydreamer to troublemaker—whether positive or negative, given by teachers and other students. Do you remember?

Why do some students thrive when they sit at a desk with a book and an assignment, while others struggle? And, more importantly, why do we consider the former “smart” and the others not? Why do we find some easy to teach—dream students—while others frustrate us? These questions are critical to answer because we want ALL of our kids to thrive in their learning experience.

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