You know what week it is right now? That’s right, SHARK WEEK! So many families around the country become enthralled with the Discovery channel’s most popular week. Deep sea dives, shark cages and feeding, chasing sharks, and making new discoveries!

Did you know you can take the excitement of shark week into your living room this school year? Two programs highlight sharks in a unique way here at WinterPromise. Learn about those right now plus a shark week coupon code!

One program that gives you those shark week chills all year is our Adventures in the Sea & Sky! A big part of the science in this program is the study of the oceans.

Learn all about coral reefs, the ecosystems of our most mysterious places, and learn about the ancient shark Megalodon. Our science resources, The New Ocean Book and the Under the Sea & in the Air, dive deep into our oceans and help you discover sharks and how they live. Our eBook resource Stalking Sea Monsters covers all kinds of ancient sea monsters including the megalodon!

Another program that highlights sharks even more is our Animals and Their Worlds program. Our amazing journaling resources cover them in depth as well as our living books and more. Animals take your family on an adventure around the globe in different habitats. One habitat is the coral reef, where you swim with the fish and sharks!

Do you want to dive in with us this year? Go to: Sea & Sky or our Animal program and enjoy. If you decide to go with our Sea & Sky program use the code “sharkprt” to get $20 off the print package PLUS free shipping! That is a $40 value. The coupon expires midnight on July 21, 2021.

Swim with us this year and make shark week last a bit longer! #adventuretogether

As we wrap up our series on outdoor learning, I want to take a step back. We discussed why you should integrate the outdoors into your learning. Then, we went on to discuss the right attitude to ensure you are successful. In the last post we got into the dirt and talked about some specific ways you can utilize the outdoors in your learning.

To wrap up I want to discuss a simple encouragement with you. As parents we often pile on guilt, shame, or burden ourselves that we need to do more. Some parents may not have this struggle and may struggle in other areas. But, for many we see what other people may be doing because of their “Insta” stories or Facebook posts and feel that we do not measure up.

What matters most is not what others may or may not be doing. What matters most is not measuring up to some standard. What matters most is that you have fun and do what makes sense for your family. This is the same in regard to outdoor learning.

Our parting words to you is that you do not make this goal of integrating the outdoors into your homeschooling such a burden that it ruins your joy. We want fun, joyful learning experiences that help grow fun, joyful learners. The outdoors are a great way to encourage that and really good for your family. But do not create a standard or approach that will not work for your family, burn yourself out, and discourage your kids. You want to do everything you can to avoid attaching negative experiences and feelings to the learning experiences you want your children to love. The first way to make that happen is doing something that simply doesn’t work for your kids, yourself, or your schedule.

Have fun with what you can do and make the most of what your family is able to do. Then, rest and enjoy your time together. If you can only do a certain amount or certain aspects of this then enjoy those and make the most of them. We want your family to experience an abundance of joy in their learning adventure!

Go have fun today and #adventuretogether.

We have been talking extensively about integrating the outdoors into your family’s homeschool adventures! Last time we explored the importance of making memories through exploring and discovering outdoors. We also focused on the best way to use the outdoors in your adventure is to do it is what YOU and your family can do and the difference the right approach has on using the outdoors to create memory-making experiences!

Now, we are going to dive into some specifics!

 What are some specific ways you can use the outdoors in your homeschooling experiences?

Some of these ideas are extremely simple while others are a bit more involved. Remember, to get started it is less important how complex what you are doing is, rather simply getting started is the key!

Do another schooling activity, outside!

This engages your student’s other senses and helps them be more creative and attentive because their scene changes.

Practice the cornerstone habits of discovery: investigate, observe, record!

Get a notebook and send them outside with a list of things to investigate, observe, and record. The artistic learners will thrive with this. The recorders and note-takers will enjoy it too. The fidgety learners will love the activity. The benefits keep on going!

In a spelling funk? Create a spelling list based on the outdoors!

Have them scavenger hunt for outdoor items that start with a certain letter and practice spelling them. a

Make nature journaling essential to your homeschooling.

Capture the joy of the outdoors, observation, investigation, discovery, and more through the habit of nature journaling. Make it a weekly or daily part of your homeschooling. This can be artistic, scientific, active, or anything else you want it to be. Get a nice journal or sketch pad and get them outside observing. P.S. it also helps them practice being quite in strategic moments because some observation needs some quiet too!

This is only the beginning but almost anyone can do them.

Remember, it is all about just getting outside when you can and in the way that makes sense for your family.

In our last post we focused on why outdoor learning can be so beneficial (Integrating the Outdoors into Your Homeschooling – WinterPromise) In today’s post we will talk about our attitude and posture toward outdoor learning. We want you to know that if you take on the attitude that we talk about today you will be successful in making the outdoors a key part of your homeschooling experience.

We Learn Best When We Make a Memory!

Before we jump into the attitude there is an important element to learning that must be emphasized. A key part of the WinterPromise educational philosophy and a truly transformative view of learning is that we learn best when we make a memory. Yes, memories make learning. The best way to reinforce something is to help form a memory around it. How do we do that? By making enjoyment, discovery, and engagement paramount. This means for you the parent, ensuring your student discovers, laughs, and makes meaningful memories when you are learning is the best way to support their learning!

Take Advantage of the Outdoors by doing what fits YOUR FAMILY!

So, how does this connect to outdoor learning and our attitude toward it? Keep reading to find out! The way you view the outdoors will mean success or failure for you in carrying it out. If you place all this pressure on yourself or think that you have to “do” it in a specific way to make it a success then you are probably going to stress more and fail more often in creating meaningful learning experiences outside. The key to using the outdoors in your homeschooling is knowing that you should use them in the way that fits your family culture. What does your day look like? What does your outdoor space look like? How far is it? How old are your kids? How much time do you have to carry it out? All these questions only you can answer and they will help guide you to the right use of the outdoors for your family. So, the right attitude is first and foremost making sure that you actually take advantage of the outdoors by doing what you (and your family) can handle. No extra pressure, just do what you can do, how you can do it.

Invest Time & Energy Into Making Memories with Your Child!

The second part of the attitude is based around making memories. The goal of integrating outdoor learning and the attitude you should take on is NOT one where a super specific task MUST be completed, or you have failed. No, the goal of outdoor learning is to make memories together while exploring and discovering. This is a very broad range of success and lets the student lead. The key for you is to invest time and energy in simply making a memory with your child. This is the very foundation of learning and will make whatever you do with the outdoors a success.

To review:

  1. Making memories is the best way to reinforce learning.
  2. Your attitude will determine your success and an attitude of pressure is not the right one.
  3. The right attitude is twofold:
    1. Do not feel compelled to use the outdoors in the ways other people may expect. Do what makes sense and fits YOUR FAMILY. Only you can judge that.
    2. Finally, every time you do use the outdoors regardless of how specific you are being in your use, your goal is to make memories with your child through laughter, exploration, and meaningful moments.

Spring and summer often bring the hope and excitement for being outside. For families in general we understand intuitively that being outside is good for our kids and for us. Families that homeschool usually seek to bring the outdoors into their education for their children. In this new series we will explore how best to take advantage of the outdoors in our homeschooling and what posture we as parents should have toward this important goal.

In this post I would like to focus on the actual reasons that being outside is beneficial for your kids. Likely, most of us already have an idea as to why it is good but may lack specific reasons. When we examine the reasons for why something is true (or why we believe it to be true) we often have better clarity and motivation on that specific topic. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the major reasons the outdoors will enhance and are an important part of education.

More than just a different context, but never less.

First, it is important to realize that the outdoors provide more than just a different context for your students to learn. At the same time, it will never be less than that. At the very least you can take them into different scenery which will help them be more creative and more engaged.

Active students and students that are outdoors experience a general academic benefit.

Similar to the last one this will encourage you that even if you don’t feel you are doing something creative or unique with your outdoor learning you are still bringing broad benefits to your child. Studies show that students who are active and outdoors experience a better education.

It offers learning experiences with all senses engaged.

The outdoors offer a fantastic opportunity for you to engage all of their senses all the time. Even though it is not all focused on what they are learning they are simply more engaged outside when they are touching, feeling, and smelling the outdoors.

Problem solving and nimble thinking is promoted.

When a child is outdoors, they are constantly problem-solving or investigating, even when they don’t realize it. Children walking down a path discussing the trees and soil are at the same time avoiding pitfalls, finding stumps to jump from, and looking (or running from) bugs. So much is happening, and this is very healthy for their minds and development. Kids love it too!

Nature and outdoor curiosity are the foundation of sciences, scientific investigation, and cultivates curiosity.

British educator Charlotte Mason believed that promoting nature learning and curiosity was essential for every student as nature investigation is the foundation of the sciences. Do you want your child to excel in STEM? Get them outside early and often! It develops curiosity, joy in experience, and connects them to the idea that they need to investigate and explore the world around them.

ADHD/busy/fidgety students excel in this environment.

Many of our children are either ADHD or are simply busy and active. Often these students experience one of two extremes. Either they need constant stimulation to stay engaged or they are overloaded with stimulation and need calm and space. The outdoors unique serve both students. The outdoors offer loads of stimulation and experience for students craving engagement. While at the same time, it also provides a calm and soothing context for students normally over-stimulated inside. The outdoors are incredibly designed by God to speak to us and help us. Amazing!

Next time we will discuss how our attitude and posture toward outdoor learning is key to making it a success.

It was a Wednesday. That worst day of the week — hump day. We’ve all been there.
Sometimes they’re all Wednesdays.

This particular Wednesday was memorable because it was the first day I tried to school
my fourth-born — my “busy” child, better known as my little “terror on legs.” The child that
— as his Sunday school teacher kindly put it — didn’t have a lot of “sit” in him.

Yeah. The woman was a master of understatement.

On this particular Wednesday, it became clear in less than five minutes that what had worked with my older children in the way of schooling and instruction was not going to work for this little blessing from heaven. He’s not a homeschooler, I thought. He’s not even an unschooler.
Then it hit me. He’s a not-schooler. I’m doomed.

You know this child. You probably have one. Or two. Hey, maybe you’ve got a whole pack of not-schoolers at your place. These wonderful children are gifted — we know that. But in moments like these, it seems their only gift is a marvelous ability to make it clear they’re not-lists, not-facts, not-tests, not-sitting-still-in-chairs, and most definitely not-words-on-paper.

My little not-schooler needed something else. But what?

I put the schoolbooks away for that day, a week, more than that. There was no sense in using methods that weren’t going to work, so I did my own homework, and looked for answers. What I found fundamentally changed how I taught my children — all of them — not just my “not-schooler.” In fact, it changed how I related to them, person to person. It was the power of understanding the multiple intelligences. In the years since then, this knowledge has influenced how I talk to my children, how I approach giving them information or encourage them to disclose their thoughts or feelings.

It’s even inspired me to create a curriculum that harnesses the power of multiple intelligences. It’s fundamentally changed how I view the mission of education.  It was out of this search that WinterPromise came to be.  I wanted other parents to be able to reach their kids in a way that truly connects with their student’s own giftedness.

So What Are the Different Learning Styles, or Multiple Intelligences?
As I dug in, I found that the theory of multiple intelligences was first offered by a man named Howard Gardner in 1983 to more accurately define the concept of human intelligence. It was a new way to conceptualize how people think about intelligence, talk about it, and teach to it.  Gardner’s theory helps educators and parents alike to understand the different ways that people take in new material, how they process their world, and even how they interact
with others.

The fundamental point of Gardner’s theory is that there is no such thing as a single intelligence, but rather there are multiple intelligences. Most people are quite gifted in a few areas of intelligence, are capable or average with a few, and are less likely to use or integrate a few others. Gardiner described nine different intelligences.

Each of us is unique in our use of and level of function within each intelligence. So, if we could exactly represent how each person uses and functions in their assortment of intelligences, it would be as if each one of us had an “intelligence handprint.” How many and which fingers were used in the handprint would fairly represent the individual intelligences, and the handprint as a whole — how the fingerprints were laid down, the roll of the hand, the position a person most utilized — would demonstrate how each of us, in our own one-of-a-kind way, functioned in bringing together our favored intelligences to accomplish a task or think about the world around us.

As I looked over Gardner’s list of intelligences, I could see the beginnings of a path to reaching my not-schooler. Gardner’s list of nine intelligences includes these: visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential.

How Does This Make a Real Difference to Parent-Educators Like You and I?
This! Though I had only the first glimmers of understanding in looking over the list, I could already see this was something that made sense with what I saw in my children. My firstborn was a born student: she loved to read, create through art, and complete worksheets. My second born joined her in an enjoyment of school, for he was social, and simply turned school into a way to connect and enjoy learning together through collaboration. My third-born? Loved to think big thoughts and could sit so long he outlasted me. But my not-schooler? It had been difficult to figure how being able to ride a bike without training wheels at the age of two could serve him well as a student.

But now I had a guide! A way to find his intelligence “handprint” and connect to that! I couldn’t wait to find out more, so I delved in farther. It was obvious my little not-schooler had a bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, with all his daredevil antics atop a bike. So finding active ways to engage him was also an obvious conclusion. Not so obvious was discovering that not only did my not-schooler more willingly participate in active learning, but that bodily exertion itself is thought to open up his pathways of learning. Let me repeat that. The acts of moving, jumping, tracing with a finger, tapping a foot in rhythm — it actually opened up pathways to learning in my not-schooler that simply seeing or hearing did not. He
actually learned by the ACT of doing!

The multiple intelligences, then, do not merely describe a child’s preferred learning environment, but in fact suggest optimal ways for children to process  information that enable the child to more rapidly take in information that can be used with greater functionality. As a unique individual, each child has their own learning superhighway, specially designed to transform information input from mere data into learning experiences. The key is for us as parent-educators to find their unique superhighway, and utilize its on-ramps with these optimal learning avenues.

As I began to see my not-schooler’s bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, I also began to see his other intelligences: his visual-spatial intelligence, which was strongly influenced by doing and seeing at the same time, and his intrapersonal intelligence, which enabled him to learn well on his own by trying new things. He actually didn’t mind trying and failing, which my firstborn hated.

To reach all of my children with these newfound insights required me to dive deep into the multiple intelligences, and understand each one’s superhighway with its unique on-ramps. Are you ready for more?

In my next post, you’ll discover each of the nine intelligences Howard Gardner described, so you, too, can discover what learning avenues best connect with each of your kiddos. Find that post here!

Plus, you’ll find out just how WinterPromise’s rich curriculum has been created to reach all of the multiple intelligences in your family!

Kaeryn Brooks, WinterPromise Author

Note from the Editor:

Have you ever struggled to know when you should structure your children’s learning and when they should be given freedom? Does your child show a strong disinterest in certain subjects, or worse an apathy toward learning in general? In this post, WinterPromise author and founder as well as mother of seven, Kaeryn Brooks offer some advice on this topic for homeschool parents.

 


 

A foundational goal of Charlotte Mason-style homeschooling is to create a love for learning. An important part of growing this learning love is having the freedom to investigate and self-motivate. But kids also need structure and direction, especially as they begin their homeschool journey. How can a parent strike the right balance?

For many parents, this might instantly bring to mind a conversation like this:

“Buddy, we can study anything you want — really — anything! What would you like to study?”

“I don’t know….”

“But you’re interested in a lot of things. What do you want to learn more about?”

“Nothing.”

“Come on, yes you do! Let’s put some ideas down on paper.”

(Paper begins to be filled with useless doodles as parent badgers child to come up with ideas. Score one for student as parent ends up frustrated and student has proven his “point.”)

“Come on, there must be at least one thing. Just tell me one thing you’d like to study. Anything.”

“Okay. Bagpipes. You know, like I saw that guy play last weekend at the Irish festival.”

(Parent leaps upon this idea.) “Irish music! You want to study Irish music?”

“No, I want to learn to play the bagpipes.”

“Bagpipes? We don’t have bagpipes! And I don’t know how to play the bagpipes! How are we going to do that?”

(Child, with more despondency than they actually feel, and a whine for good measure.) “But you said anything!”

Oh, is this familiar! And any experienced parent will tell you that this is the conversation that most parents have with their kids when they are offered a world of choices. Either the choices seem so limitless that they can’t make a choice, or they attach to an idea that (an adult knows) was never really on the table. Or both.

The only fix is a principle I call “Choices within Options.” That is, that children are given options from which to choose, and then they have the ability to choose what is to their liking. This is not strictly a homeschooling principle, of course, it is a parenting principle. I know, for instance, that my son should not be given unlimited control of what to wear to a funeral, as flip flops and pajama bottoms don’t make the cut. So I present to him the only pair of dress pants he owns, and say. “You have to wear these blue dress pants. Would you like to wear this sweater, your new shirt, or that button-down one you like so much?”

This principle of “Choices within Options” examples to students that even when we ourselves are making choices, not everything is a reasonable option. It provides the structure and direction that kids might not have on their own, and offers parents a point at which to provide meaningful input. And, in making their own choices between a limited number of options, children learn to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make better and more thoughtful decisions. In short, it teaches them to be decision-makers.

And because kids are making their own choices, they receive:

  • the benefit of self-motivation (“I like doing this because it’s what I wanted to do.”)
  • the opportunity to grow in perseverance and grit (“Even when I like it, it is still hard work.”)
  • the chance to learn to value the input of others (“I’m glad you gave me this option.”)
  • and, the opportunity to practice submission to the oversight of others.

Finding ways to provide “Choices within Options” allows you to provide your students with some well-thought-out options, and allows them to exercise control and practice good decision-making.

Do you have other ways to balance freedom with structure in your homeschooling? Be sure to share your strategies!

 

Kaeryn Brooks
Founder and Author of WinterPromise Publishing

Every time I peek into Winter Promise’s Adventures in the Sea and Sky, I find more lessons and materials that excite me. Currently, I’m captivated by the lessons on the Wright Brothers and flight.

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Today, we take flight for granted. With enough money, we could readily fly virtually anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours. This was unfathomable until only about 100 years ago and the work of the Wright Brothers. We don’t see very many “firsts” these days, and I can’t help but imagine the thrill when the first flight was achieved. What an amazing moment that must have been!

Winter Promise’s Adventures in the Sea and Sky does a masterful job of taking your learner though all aspects of flight from Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machines to modern aircraft, with a good bit of Wright Brothers in between.

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For this post, I want to share a few sightseeing options related to flight. Obviously, if you happen to be in the vicinity of any of these locations while studying the flight section of Adventures in the Sea and Sky, I highly recommend doing a field trip. However, any of these locations would be excellent for families to visit any time!

1. Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kitty Hawk, NC

At the memorial, you can see exactly where the first flight took place, tour a small museum, and view a replica of the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk workshop. My family and I visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial this summer, and my favorite part, by far, was seeing the locations where the Wright Brothers’ airplane took off and landed. It was easy to imagine being there when it actually happened.

Wright Brothers National Memorial National Park Service Website

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The plaque on the rock indicating where the first flight landed in Kitty Hawk, NC at the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

2. Wright Brothers’ Home and Cycle Shop, Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI

I cannot exaggerate how much I love Greenfield Village. I could go on and on and on about all the great things to see and do there, but if you’re interested in flight, be sure to visit the actual Wright Brothers’ home and bicycle shop that were relocated to Greenfield Village. In the summer, actors portraying Wilbur and Orville Wright perform a short play on the porch of the house reflecting on the first flight.

Greenfield Village Website

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The picture of the home and the cycle shop are the same buildings you can tour at Greenfield Village.

3. Heroes of the Sky Aviation Exhibit, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI

Right beside Greenfield Village is the Henry Ford Museum. Greenfield Village isn’t open year-round, so if you happen to be in Dearborn in the winter, you’ll have to skip the village and just visit the Henry Ford Museum. Luckily, the museum has a tremendous aviation exhibit called Heroes of the Sky, featuring actual historic planes and a replica of the Wright flyer.

Henry Ford Museum Heroes of the Sky Website

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Playing on the Wright Flyer replica in Kitty Hawk, NC

4. National Museum of the United States Air Force (USAF), Dayton, OH

Located next to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the USAF is one of the largest collections of aircraft. It features over 360 historical aircraft and missiles. I had the great privilege of getting a tour of the museum from my late grandfather, who served in the USAF. This is a must see for anyone fascinated by flight, particularly as it relates to wartime aviation.

National Museum of the USAF Website

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Attending the Aviation Hall of Fame Ceremony at the National Museum of the USAF with my grandpa and husband

5. Air Zoo, Portage, MI

Of all the places on this list, this is the one I have not personally visited. Not yet. The Air Zoo is an aviation museum and amusement park all-in-one. Once my son gets a little older, we will be sure to visit. Like I said, I haven’t been there, so be sure to check out their website to learn more.

Air Zoo Website

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and be sure to let us know if you’ve visited any of these locations or plan to visit. We’d love to hear about your adventures!

Also, check out all the Adventures in the Sea and Sky themed curriculum here.

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