Building a Family Culture Through Holiday Traditions

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

When I was studying for my teaching credential, I took a class on Culture. I remember that it was really important to the professor one day that we share our cultural background. Back in the 90’s the focus was on ethnic culture.

Well, my family tree was a hodge-podge of European nationalities that had lived in the US for about 100 years. There was no language, dress, or habits that tied me to my ancestors. I felt bereft of “culture” for a moment.

But then I thought about the concept we were studying. While it has many definitions, culture can be defined as the unifying characteristics of a certain people group. Well, I had that. I belonged to my family.

My parents may not have passed down the language or habits of their forefathers, but we most definitely had a family culture.
[Read more…]

Homeschooling with the Seasons of Life

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

With the coming of fall, we tend toward stories and learning activities about apples and pumpkins. A study of Columbus or the Pilgrims naturally fits well during this time of year. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there’s no shortage of learning to be done.

But there’s another kind of season that fits naturally into our homeschools: the seasons of life.

Life, Death, Sickness, Health, Richer or Poorer — they’re seasons we all walk through. As we certainly can’t ignore them, they provide learning opportunities, whether we are purposeful about them or not.

Life Happens

I remember hearing a mom lament her family’s past school year that had seen them walk through both serious and terminal illness with family members. She felt guilt over her children’s lack of academic instruction that year.

[Read more…]

Addressing Reluctance in Your Homeschool

Last month we talked about balancing academics with character building. Truly we can’t have one without the other. As I mentioned then,

We have the privilege and responsibility to help our children grow into responsible, diligent, persevering, kind adults. We are not just shaping their minds, we are guiding their characters into adulthood.

But how do we make this happen? What do you do when your third grader miraculously disappears when you bring out the math books? How do you respond when your enthusiasm for history and literature fall on deaf ears? How do we handle the whines, grumbles, and general reluctance as relates to school studies?

If you and your child have engaged in formal study for any length of time, you’ve probably encountered moments of

  • Do I have to?
  • I don’t wanna….
  • I won’t.

Ah yes, there’s the rub. As we live the life of both parent and teacher, challenges present themselves. Parenting is hard enough sometimes, but then children drag their feet through what should be a stimulating, educational, enriching moment.

While there is no foolproof, one-size-fits-all, answer to this dilemma, there are things you can do as a parent and a teacher. Read the cues from your child because he may be communicating a number of different reasons for his reluctance.

Considering the following questions may help you get to the bottom of the struggles. [Read more…]

Balancing Character Education with Academics

Written by Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

After two months of a blissful summer vacation, our little school started back into full swing last week. Thanks to several weeks of planning and more than a few book deliveries, I was excited to dive into new subjects and continue this formal exploration of the world with my children.

We were going to expand our horizons, jump into foreign language study, and engage in animated discussions of history, literature, and science. Our homeschool was going to be characterized by a love of learning and the hum of studious industry. My children and I were going to achieve academic greatness this year. My enthusiasm for learning was infectious!

Or so I thought.

By the time lunch break rolled around on that first day, I had been keenly reminded that academics, while important, were not the sole purpose of teaching my children at home.

Motivation? Attitude? Living peacefully with one’s fellow man? I had forgotten to add those subjects to the syllabus. [Read more…]

Nature Study for Wimps

Written by Simple Homeschool contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

Spending time with your children in the great outdoors can be a wonderful learning experience. Not only are fresh air and sunshine essential to good health, but exploring God’s creation firsthand can be a fantastic way to solidify what our kids have read and studied about nature in books and videos.

If you didn’t grow up as an outdoors person, however, then creating hands-on experiences for your children may go against the grain. That’s okay. Just take baby steps and learn together.

Here are some ideas to get you started: [Read more…]

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