Friday, April 7, 2017

Returning to Joy: Perspective & Obligations in Daily Home Education

Having decided to welcome joy back into the home educating experience, I sat down to seriously consider the Joy-Givers and Joy-Drainers in my day with my children.  The joy-drainers are those activities and perspectives that suck the energy out of me.

Obligation and a Time-Starvation Perspective were two of the first things I added to my list of Joy-Drainers. I found myself wondering about all those dreams and hopes I had; about home educating when I would have my own children to teach one day.  All those fun, creative things I thought I would do with my children.... Why wasn't I not doing them? They would be on my Joy-Giving list, if I were doing them.

Well, it turns out I was not doing them because I believed I didn't have time and there were other, higher priorities. What was hogging all that time? At first it appeared to be the core program of my children's education.... However, looking more closely, I recognized that first, it was my feelings of obligation to that core program that was draining my energy. Secondly, there are a couple subjects  -no, not subjects- simply a few topics or concepts within a subject that really have me dragging my feet. (I'll share more on that in an upcoming blog and how I've been able to mitigate some of the pressure and some of the surprise blessings that came to me just when I needed them).

Understanding that my time-pressured perspective played a huge part of draining the joy out of my day, I knew I needed to do something right off the bat, and that was simply deciding I do have time for those things that breath life and joy back into our home!   

With that self-given permission, I freed myself  to get creative and re-purpose an old toolbox into the preschool and kindergarten toolbox that is shown in the pictures on this post. I felt refreshed (being creative has a way of doing that for me) and come fall my littlest two loved -and still do- using their toolbox for their workbook time.  Putting this new perspective into action has taken some time and although not perfect, our more formal schooling hours have taken on a lighter, more gentle feel.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Returning to Joy: Letting Go of Fear in Home Education

I made an important necessary decision this past fall. And-it has been like a breath of fresh, day-lit, sparkly-spring air for my family and I.

I made a decision to return to joy. 

Fall 2017 I decided to return to the joy I had known in those early years of home educating my first child. Those were playful days; days of laughter and enjoyment! No, every day was not picture-perfect. But the difference was, that back then I didn't wear this cloak of heaviness that somehow I later found myself under. Somewhere along the line I lost joy. Somewhere along the line I changed; I was more hesitant, more uncertain. I was afraid.

In those first days I didn't know fear. I didn't have fear of being inadequate. I didn't fear falling behind. I didn't fear what other home educating mothers might think about my approach in schooling at home. I certainly didn't doubt my education plans and goals, or if my children were missing out on something. In fact I felt quite confident. I couldn't understand how some of my home educating friends were getting bogged down and burdened in the process of trying to figure things out in their new journey as home educating families. I just assumed that perhaps it was because it was completely new to them, not having been home educated as children themselves.

How then did this fear sneak in? -This sense of I'm not doing enough; This, I can't seem to keep up feeling? Was it the drain on energy that comes with the financial lows we experienced and the divided attention it caused me at times? Was it when my friends with children in public school had kids entering grade school and the gap between our child rearing styles-despite my awareness of them-became more obvious in so many ways? Was it the time it took to carve out our own way in grade school when everything was so obvious and natural in preschool through to the end of grade 1? Was it trying to figure out the juggle of educating multiple children at different stages?

So many areas could've been a possible open door for fear to creep in. But one thing I know. I am certain that fear kills joy. I have no doubt that fear drains the life out of a person. I also know that fear isn't always obvious. Often I don't recognize it when it arrives in my thoughts and settles into my heart. Yet, I am not designed to live in fear. My creator commands over and over again that I am not to give way to fear. And so I need to be on guard against fear. And when it comes -as it surely will- I need to stand firm and fight back so that I can live (and educate) the way I was designed to: in joy, not fear.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind."
-2 Timothy 1:7 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Home Educating Multiple Ages & Grades

Spreading myself over four children and keeping all of them busy at the same time without having them waiting around, or getting distracted was one thing I had hoped to deal with efficiently right from the start of the school year. At the beginning of the year I had prepared for this challenge but my plan of scheduling independent work for the older two while I provide instruction for the other two did not go as planned. Sometimes they finished their work quicker than I anticipated, sometimes they took longer than I had thought and sometimes our schedule simply changed for one or more people in our home and that change would send ripples through the schedules of the other family members.

So my second attempt or perhaps backup plan was to have a list for each of my older two children that they can work independently on while I am working with the younger two. They don't necessarily do the whole list in one shot. Sometime I simply had them their clipboard when an interruption that I have to tend to comes up. they know to work on the list until we can resume where we left off.

What I love about these lists is that I make them once for the whole year and just print of more as needed! I don't need to make them daily. I also love when my toddler needs some urgent one-on-one I can hand my older kids their clipboards, step away for a few moments without offsetting the day's progress. If you like to get creative and make your own clip boards, I've included step by step instructions on how to make your own unique clipboards as I have (see steps and pictures below).

To Make Your Own:
1- Cut wooden board to desired size or buy ready-made ones that come in a variety of sizes at DeSerres. 2- Use a Beeswax polish or other safe wood polish (olive oil will work). I used a Lemon Lavendar Beeswax Polish by Three Beautiful Bees purchased online from Palumba. This step is optional but will help keep the wood from drying up, becoming cracked or warped. I also love the smell of this step!! Use an oil or suitable wax to cover the back of your board, being careful not to get any on the front where you want a strong bond when you glue on your paper.

3- Choose a fun print of paper and trace around the board onto that paper. Cut paper to size. 4- Modpodge the paper onto the board. Next apply a thin layer of modpodge ontop of the paper to give it a protective coat. Work quickly as it will begin to dry in no time. Allow it dry completely. Add one more layer of modgepode stroking in a perpendicular direction to the first layer of strokes.

5- Allow a day for the modgepodge to dry and harden before adding large clips to secure your child's list to the cutting board.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why Home Education?

One of the most common questions I get as a home educating parent is "What made you decide to home school?" The answer is.... Well actually there is no single answer to that question. There are so many things my husband and I absolutely appreciate about home education.

Here are a few of our reasons for choosing to home educate our children:

  • We can move through our curriculum at the appropriate rate for each of our students.   We pace our studies for the readiness of our individual children. We can camp on a concept longer if needed or move through it more quickly if it is not challenging enough.
  • Flexibility and quality family time. My children's father works many an evening and weekend. Home educating allows us to be flexible with our formal learning times so that my children can spend more time with their father. Also because my husband's work has seasons of intense demands on his time and seasons that are not as intense we can alter when we take our holiday breaks to work around his schedule.
  • We currently have the freedom to choose our children's curriculum. We can choose one that we believe to be academically rigorous, one that supports our values, and one that is unique to our children's learning styles.
  • Influence. Who's opinion matters most? Our children spend more time around their parents than their peers. We are older than their friends, have learned more from life than their little friends about the big, wide world. Who should they being taking their ques from? Who sets an example of what is appropriate social behavior? Our children are taught and mentored by their parents. Yes, they socialize with other children. Yes, they experience peer pressure. Our children spend time with a variety of children their age and other ages; some who share our values and some who do not. My children interact respectfully with both. When it comes to opinions for the most part we've found that our children value our opinion over the opinions of their peers. As. They. Should! There will come a day when our children will decide for themselves. Right now WE train them, give them guidelines, lessons on acceptable behavior, and freedom to explore but with limits. I am not saying you cannot do these things if your child is in public school. I am saying the amount of time you have to model these things will differ and the window of available time you are able to teach these things is more limited. We have our kids at their best moments when they still have plenty of energy left for their day.
  • We wanted to give our children the opportunity to interact with people of all ages. Nowhere in the "real world" do people only interact with their peers. Life is richer when all the generations are able to benefit from each other. 
  • It was a positive experience for us as children. Both my husband and I are second generation homeschoolers and enjoyed the way our parents chose to educate us.

Other reasons some have chosen to home educate
-Their child was bullied at school and no solution was found
-Their child's health made it difficult to get to school or had to miss too many school days due to health issues.
-Religious reasons
-Traveling as a family frequently or for extended periods of time

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education's Death Valley

Once again Ken Robinson hits the nail on the head. When it comes to our children's needs within the classroom, Ken's passion, humor and genuine authority on our education system,  is a breath of fresh air amongst the stale onslaught of false reasoning as to why so many children are struggling in school.
... ten percent of kids... are being diagnosed with various conditions under the broad title of Attention Deficit Order/ADHD. I'm not saying there's no such thing. I just don't believe its an epidemic... If you sit kids down hour after hour, doing low grade clerical work, don't be surprised if they start to fidget. Children for the most part are not suffering from a psychological condition- they're suffering from childhood."
This video is bursting with little gems of truth.  Be inspired.  Most of all commit to playing an active part in keeping your child engaged in learning.  Your child's education should serve your child.  Not the other way around.  Under no circumstances should your child loose him/herself in mindless compliance to a system.  I am not saying that children should be without discipline, structure or respect for authority figures.  What I am saying is that if your child is beginning to loose his or her first love of learning or is failing to be engaged, it is time to take a step back and consider what you can do to nurture your child's natural love of learning. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our Education System

Traveling Famly 5

Who says you can't enjoy traveling with kids?

Well, I suppose if your idea of travel is arriving at a single destination with the sole purpose of joining several hundred half-clad bodies, seeking uninterrupted R & R while basking in a heat-drenched oven of sun and sand, then perhaps traveling with children isn't your best choice after all.

As for my family and I, we love to explore.  Exploration is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of travel.  At large our love of exploring has mostly been manifested

Sunday, March 31, 2013

FREE Tots Ebook Give Away!

Today & Tomorrow ONLY!

My tots ebook is available for FREE Sunday, March 31st and Monday, April 1st, 2013!  If you know someone who might enjoy this short read with their child/grandchild, please let them know about this promotion.

If you download and enjoy my book, would you kindly click the like button and leave a brief review?  This would be a huge help to me.  Thanks in advance for your time!  Have a blessed Easter.

To download a free kindle reader app click here.

Click on the link appropriate for your location & enjoy this FREE read:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


My New ebook for Toddlers Now Available on Amazon!    


Going on a road trip with your toddler this Easter?  Ebooks are great ways to break up long stretches of travel while keeping your luggage light!  

Book Description
"In celebration of spring time, this brief read is perfect for the busy toddler. Spring's use of word repitition is well suited for the early developmental stages..." To read more or to purchase this book, US readers can click here, for Canadian readers click here Readers from other Countries can search for Spring by Dagny J. Olson or send me a message for a link to Spring.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Documentary: Class Dismissed - Trailer 2

Couldn't resist throwing in one more teaser.

Class Dismissed - A Documentary

Looking forward to seeing what comes of this intriguing project!

Gone Fishing

Supplement those bright number books and numeral flashcards with this hands on learning activity.   This game can be played with your toddler who is beginning to read numerals or can be played with a Kindergarten aged child who is starting to read double digit numbers.  This playful approach is a great way to relieve the pressure if reading numerals is a struggle for your child.

The Game
For this game you'll need paper fish with one number written on each of them and a paper clip on the front of each fish.  You'll also need a magnetic fishing rod (use string, a dowel, a small magnet and hot glue to make this).

Give your child the magnetic rod after spreading the paper clipped fish over the floor.  When he makes a catch read the number on it to him: "You've caught an 8 fish" or "this fish is called 8".  If your child is ready have her read the numeral on the fish's body.

Meet Glori Meldrum, founder of Little Warriors

I had the privilege of speaking with Glori Meldrum and learned a little more about Little Warriors -how it began and where she would like to see it go in the future.  Here is a sneak peak into our conversation... (read more)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is Your Child Safe?

Are you doing all you can to prevent sexual abuse in your child's life?  Contact Little Warriors and register for the Stewards of Children program (a prevention and response program for adults).  You will learn the 7 effective steps to preventing child sexual abuse, become aware of the signs of abuse, know how to respond appropriately to suspicions and how to respond to a child who confides in you concerning his/her experience(s) with sexual abuse. This course is highly empowering and equipped me with the tools and confidence I need to be effective in preventing child sexual abuse.  

Is This how You see Child Sexual Abuse?

Did You Know...

One in every 4 girls and one in every 6 boys are sexually abused?  That means that you most likely know several victims of sexual abuse.  It is also likely that you know a couple of  abusers.  The greatest risk to your child is dose not come from strangers but rather from someone you and your family know and trust (eg. your friends, a family member/relative, your child's teacher or babysitter).  "Over 90% of children who are sexually abused know their abusers" (Darkness to Light -confonting child sexual abuse with courage).  Abusers look and act like normal people, often going out of their way to be seen as trustworthy.