Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Borrowed Book

I have really enjoyed getting to know a young mother in my bible study.  She has three children and homeschools them, which fascinates me.  I ask her a lot of questions because I love that, in theory, homeschooling allows you to personalize the material and procedure to each child... hopefully fostering a love of learning.

She is a wealth of knowledge and has loaned me some great books probably so I'll stop asking her so many questions!  Last week I made her some book plate labels to thank her.  Her book below was almost overwhelming but a few of my takeaways are:

Educating the Wholehearted Child
1. Reading aloud with the kids each night before bed.  We usually did this but we were just pulling books out of the bookcase- old favorites, short, finish-in-one-night types.  And those are fine... but this book listed some classics that their entire family (of different aged boys AND girls) enjoyed.  And now we are!  Adam, who doesn't enjoy reading aloud so much, has turned out to be quite the storyteller instead!  His grandmother's "Mildred Cates" stories are getting better and better!  I don't know where he gets this imagination!

2. Writing Mother's Day letters to each child, each year.  I thought this was a sweet idea but I kind of put it on the backburner until watching Rabbit Hole.  Oh my!  So sad!  But I really enjoyed it.  I found it so interesting to see how the mother and father dealt with the loss of their son.  (And it has a good ending)  I used to think movies/books like this were depressing but instead I am inspired that people can survive the most terrible tragedies.  Needless to say, after watching that movie one night by myself, I stayed up even later with puffy eyes writing the darn Mother's Day letters!

3. Setting up the playroom to encourage learning and play.  Most mothers probably already do this. When we moved, we got rid of most of the kids' toys so what remains (games, puzzles, Legos, doll items, craft items) fits inside a large closet with shelves in the playroom.  Instead, I love their idea of having a distinct little cubby or space for:

  • globe, GeoSafari
  • library of books and comfy sofa
  • computer/printer/scanner
  • instruments/piano
  • Legos, labs, puzzles, educational games
  • writing, drawing, boxes for storage of drawings
  • fine arts corner- art books, easels
  • music, video, CD player
  • arts and crafts (messes allowed)
  • dress up trunk/box
  • and even a carpentry corner in the garage!
We have a nice-sized playroom but I'm not sure we have space or need for each one of these suggestions, but I appreciate the concept and I hope to do some organizing this summer!

4. Buy art-quality colored pencils! 

5. Encourage lots of reading over the summer!  Make a poster-board into a large "game board" with like 50-100 segments and as the children read books, they move to the end with a big reward of their choosing- one of their kids chose to stay in a hotel one night and order room service.


  1. Some great ideas! We read the classics aloud together too and then the little books at bedtime. I'd like to start utilizing books on tape!
    I love/hate movies like that.....I want to see it but I don't. :)

  2. LOVE your suggestions - thanks for sharing!
    I also admire women who homeschool and would love to offer that to my children. Sadly, I just don't think it's my gift but I am fascinated to hear how they do it.