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!

Body Smart — Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence

Child doing a handstand—a Body Smart intelligence!

Today's blog is about those who are Body Smart—an intelligence that is seldom recognized unless you happen to be a highly-paid athlete. So, to get started, let me ask:

Do you remember that student in class who was always drumming their hands on the desk, fidgeting in the chair, and grabbing any excuse that came along to get up and DO something? What did the teacher always say?

“Stop making that noise. Stop fidgeting. SIT DOWN!”

The class realized right away that moving and making noise was wrong, and that anyone who did it was in trouble. And now, here you are, with a child in your homeschool who is exhibiting the same behavior! And you keep trying to do what that teacher tried to do—take the bounciness, the fidgetiness out of that distracting kid—with the same amount of success the teacher had. . .

It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

What if I told you that that student is actually BRILLIANT? And that the drumming on the desk, fidgeting in the chair, and the constant movement shines a spotlight directly on their intelligence!!

It’s called Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence, or, more simply, Body Smart.

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Picture Smart — Spatial Intelligence

Working with color and design is the joyous stuff of life

Do you have a doodler? Someone who is constantly drawing pictures when you think they're taking notes? Maybe you've got a Lego-loving kid, who only seems interested in building the latest set of Lego structures. Perhaps you've got one who really comes to life when creating animals with Play Dough—or sculpting a pyramid with styrofoam. If so, you may have wondered why they can't stop "messing around" and get down to real work.

Guess what? For those gifted in Spatial Intelligence—whether expressed in something like painting, architecture, flower arranging, sculpture, or Lego masterpieces—working with color and design is the joyous stuff of life! 

(The following is excerpted from my book, Reaping the Harvest.)

This intelligence could be described as being "Picture Smart." People who are strong in this ability tend to think in pictures rather than in words. They can visualize solutions to problems, can see the answers to questions, and can understand the dimensions of a possible scenario. They are brilliant when it comes to using maps, drawing diagrams, designing landscapes, loading cars, painting three-dimensional masterpieces, and more. They have a grasp of the foundational architecture and artistry of the space that surrounds us. Painters, architects, landscape designers, interior decorators, web designers, traffic engineers, design teams who create new styles for cars and trucks, map makers, draftsmen, sculptors, cabinet makers, and more all display the wonderful gift of this intelligence.

Some of the characteristics of this intelligence are:

      • thinks in pictures rather than words
      • learns more from the picture than from the caption underneath
      • inventive
      • draws random images on paper while learning
      • enjoys learning how to paint, sculpt, draw, etc.
      • able to learn and utilize the information from maps and charts
      • can easily picture the location of items in his/her environment
      • finds lost items that have been overlooked by others
      • has a natural ability to draw in perspective
      • appreciates receiving information from visual sources such as photos
      • enjoys visual games and picture puzzles

Spatial Intelligence

If you or your children are strong in this intelligence, then come to grips with the fact that, somewhere in your house, a place needs to be set aside for art projects. Yes, it will be messy at times. But that is a very small price to pay for opening the door for these kinds of learners! 

Provide opportunities and encouragement (perhaps even lessons!) in drawing and painting. For an at-home approach to teaching art, check out the curriculum of Visual Manna, How Great Thou Art, and Artistic Pursuits. Legos and other three-dimensional materials allow students to work with another aspect of Spatial intelligence, giving opportunities for exploring space and design. Encourage students to follow their interests in garden design or interior decorating—playing with color and texture—even if on a very small scale. Photography, graphic design, PowerPoint, craft projects, cake decorating. . .all fall within this intelligence. So have fun, make a mess, and watch your—or your child's—genius blossom!!

We welcome the use of Spatial Intelligence in the History Revealed curriculum. The following is from Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries, Unit 4 (the Holy Roman Empire & the Vikings), Phase 4:

Design a T-shirt for the Normans who are about to invade England with Duke William of Normandy. Since the outcome is still undecided, create a motivating "You can do it!" type of design.

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When it's impossible, look up

Homeschool Blog by Diana Waring

Sometimes, our circumstances are so difficult that it seems impossible to keep going. But, I’ve learned that when you look to God—seeking His help, provision, and strength to make it from one day to the next—the impossible yields to something greater than you could’ve imagined.

A little over three ago, my husband and I moved from the Seattle area to Anderson, Indiana. Having just completed a three-year revision of World Empires, World Missions, World Wars, we felt like it was time to be geographically closer to our “work place”—the homeschool conventions where I spoke from year to year. If we were close enough to drive to conventions, we knew we would also be close enough to drive to support groups in a six-to-seven state region. That meant more year-round opportunities for speaking and displaying our products.

This has always been a major component of our business—and the main marketing effort for our products. So, this move to a central location was a great plan. . .until I got debilitatingly sick. Now, instead of greater exposure and increasing freedom to travel and speak, all I could do was sit quietly and try to recover my strength. And when convention season rolled around again, it became increasingly obvious that this was no longer going to work.

In April, 2015, after 27 seasons of convention speaking, knowing this was an absolute necessity for my health, I finally retired from speaking.

So, there we were, knowing only that we needed to transition our business from being physically present at conventions to being “visible” on the internet, but we didn’t have a clue how to do this. The future looked bleak, hard. . .impossible. All we could do—all I had the energy to do—was pray and seek God’s generous wisdom and help. (James 1:5 )

One month later, at a business meeting on social media, a professor from Anderson University (AU) introduced himself. Sam had overheard my questions about how to make a website “mobile-friendly,” and suggested that he had a team of university students who might be able to help. From that small beginning—and with the assistance of Sam’s team—things began to change for our company.

Anderson University Enactus TeamIn October, we learned of a nationwide competition for marketing students called Enactus, which paired student teams with local businesses to help them with their marketing for a limited time. Sam had mentioned our company to the business professor overseeing the AU Enactus teams, and, as it turns out, they thought it would be a good fit for their competition.The AU Enactus team that worked with us was absolutely amazing! They listened to us, they learned about our market, they researched strategies, and then they presented a marketing plan which would help us attain our goals.

The biggest shock to me in their marketing plan was the idea of doing “vlogs” (video blogs). I had never even heard of this, much less how to make it happen! But, amazingly, students majoring in film at AU had all kinds of ideas for me, and on December 2, we started.

Within eight months of ending my “speaking career,” a new door had unexpectedly opened—one that meets every need we have:

      • my travel time is now 10 minutes (rather than 10 hours),
      • my monthly speaking time is 20 minutes (rather than 20 hours),
      • my recovery time is measured in hours (rather than weeks),
      • with the internet, our influence is growing beyond what we've seen in years.

We are convinced that it is God who has taken our “impossible” and transformed it into “immeasurably more” than we could ask or even imagine. (Eph 3:20) And we are utterly grateful!

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Are we teaching our kids or helping them learn?

When it comes to teaching your kids, what model of a "teacher" do you have in your mind? For me, one of the wisest teachers I ever met was the man who taught my daughter violin. His approach to education transformed my understanding of what it means to be a teacher. . . If I were teaching parents Homeschool 101, this would be my first class!

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Kindness in our hearts and words

Kindness in our hearts and words

I’ve been pondering the concept of kindness this weekend. It’s not something we see modeled in our culture, it's not an attribute generally valued in movies, in magazines, and certainly not in current political speeches.Yet, it can change your world—and transform your children’s lives.

One of the most stunning characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman, in my opinion, is that she “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” 

Frankly, I think this is the most difficult and demanding thing she does because it reflects what is in her heart—you know, from Matthew 12:34: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Ouch. This is where the rubber meets the road. Our words reflect our hearts.

So, here we are, working morning till night, feeding our kids, teaching them, making sure homework is done, dealing with sibling rivalry, balancing the checkbook, going to the grocery store, getting everyone to co-op or music lessons or soccer. . . Whew! We’re tired, we’re overwhelmed, we’re busy, and there’s no end in sight. And now I’m talking to you about the words that come out of your mouth??

Yes. 

Words have powerWhy? Because our words have power, particularly in the lives of our children. Words can affirm and words can accuse. Words can build up and words can tear down.

By the way, it is not just women who need to be careful and kind in their speech.  In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul makes an interesting and similar connection between teaching and a heart attitude when he writes to Timothy: “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient. . .” (2 Timothy 2:24)  He also describes (in Galatians 5:22) the fruit of God’s Spirit in a human heart: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Did you notice that? Kindness is just one of several attributes that can revolutionize our parenting and teaching! 

If you're interested, here’s a more in-depth article, The Surprising Ingredient in Teaching.

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