When I wrote about our kids' current elementary homeschool curriculum I mentioned the fantastic program called Herb Fairies that Brienne is using for her science studies. (This is not a science "program" but it fits the bill in our house for exploring nature during the elementary years.)
Herb Fairies is a learning resource produced by LearningHerbs.com. The product was available for a limited time last summer, at which time I snagged it for Brienne. It will be available for purchase again next month.
Brienne really enjoyed the stories and learned a lot about herbs also. Learning how to identify plants and how to make herbal remedies. The pairing of a fairy with a particular plant is genius if you ask me. But I will let her tell you all about it in this short video.
The folks at LearningHerbs.com are running a video contest right now. No doubt, to generate some buzz around the upcoming release.
When Brienne found out about this contest she was very keen to produce a video. Video Production 101 (we use iMovie on my Mac) has been her homeschool curriculum for the last couple weeks. Herb Fairies has really facilitated a lot of learning around here. I love that. (pst. This is what interest-led, project-based learning looks like in our home.)
Brienne would be thrilled if you would "Like" her video on the Learning Herbs facebook page.
Here's a little message, written by her (I do the transcribing, she tells me what to write), that she sent to her e-mail buddies - the grandmas and aunties mostly.
I made a video for a contest. The video is talking about Herb Fairies. Herb Fairies is a series of 13 books where you learn about different plants and herbs along with a fairy. I made a video about Herb Fairies for a contest by the company that publishes Herb Fairies.
The person who gets the most likes on their video has a chance of winning an iPad mini.
I was wondering if you could go to this site, find my video and "like" it.
Look for the video that has this picture on the front of it.
The winner will be chosen by the 19th so if you're going to "like" my video it needs to be done by then.
You can also tell your friends I made a video so they could like it to, so I could have more chances of winning.
I agreed to help Brienne's cause by sharing her video and e-mail here also.
I'm proud of Brienne. She's an articulate and creative ten year old. And in the same way that I've shared the talents and skills of Laurent and Céline on the blog over the years, I am happy to share Brienne's. It's so much fun to watch our youngest blossom in her strong communication skills.
Laurent turned twelve last week. We had a small family celebration in his honor.
Laurent is at the threshold of adolescence. This is a slow journey. We don't rush our children to grow up and we afford them as much childhood as we can possibly give them; that also means a long threshold at the entrance to adolescence.
I've mentioned already this winter that I am walking across my own threshold into a new stage of parenting. As I shared in a recent weekend newsletter "...our kids' growth has rattled me this winter. I'm excited to see them grow but I'm not entirely comfortable letting go (even when it's just Damien taking charge in areas that used to be my domain). I feel stretched."
I am crossing thresholds in more areas of my life than just parenting. That's in part what last week's learning posts (with more to come this week), are all about.
As I cross thresholds in parenting, in personal knowledge and learning, and in my work as a homeschool mom, homemaker, encourager and teacher, I sometimes get caught in a place of looking back at what I'm growing away from.
You can't grow into new places and new experiences attached to old routines and ways of doing things.
The lessons we learn always stay with us and our core values remain the same. The personal growth - who we are - is what we carry forward across the threshold. It's the old routines and mindsets that we often have to leave behind.
But crossing that threshold can be scary. A threshold is an in-between place. No longer are in you in the place you were but you are not completely in the place you are moving to inhabit either.
I have wondered if it's time to pass the book on to someone else, so last week I leafed through it to decide if I still wanted to keep it. I came across the following passage that I highlighted sometime last year. Words I feel were written "for such a time as this" in my life.
It remains the dream of every life to realize itself, to reach out and lift oneself up to greater heights. A life that continues to remain on the safe side of its own habits and repetitions, that never engages with the risk of its own possibility, remains an unlived life. There is within each heart a hidden voice that calls out for freedom and creativity. We often linger for years in spaces that are too small and shabby for the grandeur of our spirit...
Looking back along a life's journey, you come to see how each of the central phases of your life began at a decisive threshold where you left one way of being and entered another. A threshold is not simply an accidental line that happens to separate one region from another. It is an intense frontier that divides a world of feeling from another. Often a threshold becomes clearly visible only once you have crossed it. Crossing can often mean the total loss of all you enjoyed while on the other side; it becomes a dividing line between the past and the future. More often than not, the reason you cannot return to where you were is that you have changed; you are no longer the one who crossed over.
So I'm keeping the book because its words still speak strongly to me. And I need this kind of support in my life for learning, change and growth.
I have one more thing to share with you this morning, from the blessing For the Interim Time from the same book.
What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.
As my kids rolled onto the floor in front of the laptop for another episode of one of their favorite cartoons, the Anne of Green Gables animated TV series, I considered the opportunities we have as homeschool parents.
We can take our time. We work to focus on our kids’ strengths, helping them fall in love with the gifts and abilities they’ve been given and develop them to their full potential.
Writing is a chance to express ideas, share thoughts, and tell stories. It is real communication with others, like their cousins with whom they’ve been creating a running mystery, each letter containing a new clue or a secret code. Reading is no longer homework, but something you do for fun, for hours at a time and in your favorite chair, on the floor, or even in your bed.
That’s the goal anyway.
Homeschooling is not always easy. At the end of some days my wife is exhausted from the work of getting the kids to buy in, to do their share and pull their weight. On some days the rewards feel far less than adequate to keep at it. But for us there is another reason for homeschooling and it goes back to what the kids are watching - Anne of Green Gables, the animated television series - dubbed in Turkish.
I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t think that learning another language was a good idea. I suspect that you too - if you don’t already - would like to know another language. And you would love for your kids to know it as well.
Whether you are an individual wanting to learn for yourself or a homeschool mom or dad wanting to add a foreign language to the curriculum, I have a message for you:
Now is the time to begin the language learning journey.
But It’s Hard
As adults we tend not to repeat experiences that were difficult or painful in our past. The unfortunate reality for most of us however is that the foreign language classrooms of our youth were both difficult and painful.
Why would we do that again? I wouldn’t.
But thankfully, we don’t need to. Schools too often treat languages like a frog on the dissecting table. But the place to learn about frogs, at least in the beginning, is out at the pond, in its natural surroundings.
Language is the same. We should experience language before we have it explained to us. We should get exposure before we analyze it. And in the case of learning another language, play should most definitely come before work - for us and especially for our kids.
But I’m Busy
You're a mom. A homemaker. A dad. A homeschooler. A writer. A photographer. A cross country skier. You’re making a living. You’re raising kids. You’re doing your level best to create a life that brings freedom and joy and growth to you and your family.
And the thought of adding “learn another language” to the list seems overwhelming and out of the question.
I want to encourage you - don’t add it to the list. Rather, think about incorporating the language into your life, into your existing activities. Think fun. Think play. Think purpose.
What does that look like you ask?
Here are some ideas to help you wrap your mind around it. Renee and her crew are on the journey to learn French so I’ll tailor the ideas to the Tougas family:
And more importantly, why should you learn another language with your kids?
Learning another language with your kids offers a rare opportunity for you and your children. When you learn with your children they will:
see you as a learner - a real learner working, struggling even, to learn a new language.
see you when the rubber meets the road; as a mentor, a model, and as a fellow learner.
be able to collaborate and interact with you in ways that other topics just don’t allow - topics that by their standards you are the expert in.
be empowered because you are choosing to be dis-empowered, to step down and learn beside them.
The opportunity to learn a new language and to include your kids on that journey is an amazing blessing. You will learn from them and them from you in ways that math and science just don’t allow.
A new dynamic is created, one in which you are no longer the teacher but rather a fellow learner. And in this we can be confident that we will be teaching the lessons of hard work, discipline, problem solving and lifelong learning to our kids because we are with them on the journey.
That is why you should learn another language with your kids.
But I Don’t Know How
There is perhaps no more pressing question for learning a new language than the question of ‘how’.
How do we learn it? And for homeschool moms, how do we teach it?
It's not as hard as you think. I'm going to show you some ideas in a video.
At The Everyday Language Learner my passion is to empower learners from all over the world to know both why and how to learn other languages. I write regular articles to that end but have also created a number of great resources to empower learners on the journey.
I want to give FIMBY readers a special discount. Use the coupon code FIMBY to get 20% off of any guide.
Also, The Ten Week Journey, offered through my blog, is a free email course I developed to help walk ordinary people into the extraordinary life of the independent language learner.
Renee here again. I invited Aaron to write this post because if you want to learn another language as a personal or homeschool goal, I'd like to help you reach that goal. And Aaron is the guy to go to for help.
Aaron is a language coach, writer, and the author of numerous language guides. There's a lot of stuff on his site (which might overwhelm you a bit, it did me) so I'm personally recommending his Fly First Class package because it includes so much for such a great price, and remember you get a FIMBY discount!
Aaron's teaching helps you learn another language in a real life, interest-driven context. His guides are written for the adult learner but what he teaches can be applied in a homeschool setting. In fact, the homeschool setting is perfect for the Everyday Language Learner.