Flight Sights: Field Trip Ideas for Adventures in the Sea and Sky

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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A Greek Peek into “Children Around the World”

It’s all Greek to me.

Literally.

Last night, we ate Greek food for dinner. It was all Greek to me (and to my husband and son who ate the meal with me). Whether or not you’ve eaten Greek food before, I am here to convince you that you’re due for a Greek feast. And here’s why:

Reason #1 to Eat Greek: The taste. Greek food is insanely scrumptious. The combination of fresh ingredients with unique flavors will surprise and delight you!

Reason #2 to Eat Greek: The Olympics. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and learn about the ancient Olympic Games, than by watching the 2016 Summer Olympics while enjoying a traditional Greek feast.

Reason #3 to Eat Greek: The educational opportunities. You’ll get a sensational preview to WinterPromise’s Children Around the World themed program. And that’s the purpose of this post today!

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Children Around the World is a geography and culture program for 2nd through 6th graders. The program features Cultural Gatherings to help your student learn about the food, music, entertainment, and other traditions of thirty countries around the world.

The Cultural Gathering Planning Guide has a few pages featuring each of the thirty countries, and these pages include a cultural focus, tips for the cultural presentation, suggested supplies and decorations, entertainment ideas, a suggested menu, and more. The Greece focus is the Greek Olympic Games, which again, makes this a perfect activity for you to do this summer!

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The resource book called Fun & Traditions from Many Lands contains a plethora of multicultural activities that your student can reference when planning the Cultural Gatherings. The pages about Greece feature a game, an online activity to design Greek pottery, and four Greek recipes.

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I chose to make the Moussaka, a Grecian Salad, and the sweet, scrumptious, luscious, lovely Baklava.

Moussaka is a traditional Greek casserole containing eggplant layered with a ground meat, tomato, and spice mixture, and it is topped with a custardy sauce. Click here to download the recipe for Moussaka so you can make it yourself. My tips for making this Moussaka recipe with your family are:

  1. Make one layer at a time. I had three burners going at once to simmer the meat mixture, fry the eggplant, and make the topping. However, your student will find it a lot easier to focus on one part at a time.
  2. If you don’t want to use lamb, feel free to substitute beef. However, I was actually surprised that the ground lamb at my grocery store was not much more expensive than the beef I usually buy.
  3. Use a smaller dish than I did. I used a 13”x9” pan, and I thought the Moussaka was a little thin, so use a smaller dish, if you have one.

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Be sure to serve a Greek salad with the Moussaka. My Greek salad had kale, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, feta cheese, and a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper. Olives would have taken this salad to another level!

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Now, if you’re at all apprehensive about Greek food, start with baklava. It is a crunchy, sticky, sweet decadent treat made with nuts, honey, and phyllo dough. Making baklava was so simple that I feel like it’s a crime that I’ve been paying $3.00 for a couple pieces at the Greek bakery. Click here to download the recipe, but first read my tips for making baklava with a little helper:

  1. Be gentle with the phyllo dough, but don’t stress. If the phyllo tears or is wrinkly or crinkly, your baklava will still turn out glorious.
  2. Don’t let your sugar-water-honey mixture boil over. Hot sugar water makes a mess. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
  3. Be sure to have an adult help with cutting the baklava. You need a really sharp knife to cut through all the layers neatly.

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To learn more about Children Around the World click here for more information. There are 29 other countries to be explored!

Now, go give the recipes a try, have a Greek feast, and be sure to tell us how it goes. Baklava is dangerously delicious, so be sure share it with someone you love. Opa!

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My Maiden Voyage with Adventures in the Sea and Sky!

I’ve sailed on the great waters of Lake Erie and Lake Michigan since I was a toddler. I competed in (and won) a 24-hour long sailboat race through thunderstorms and dead calms. I grew up hearing my grandpa’s stories about serving in the US Air Force; he told about war times, hunting hurricanes, and earning a purple heart. But today, I cannot be more excited to tell you about the adventures that await you and your family in Winter Promise’s Adventures in the Sea and Sky.

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As I dipped my toes into the gorgeously illustrated and masterfully written curriculum, my first stop was the activity book Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts: Life on Ships that Sail and Soar. For someone who’s dreamt about sailing around the world, activities regarding “life on ships that sail” seemed like the perfect maiden voyage for me.

Alright, let’s set sail! (Don’t worry. I’ll try not to overwhelm you with sailing puns!)

Adventures in the Sea and Sky is a one year history and science program for 3rd through 9th graders. One of the resources included in this themed curriculum is the 90-page activity book called Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts: Life on Ships that Sail and Soar. If it sounds like 30-year-old me is geeking-out over this curriculum, you better believe that 3rd grade me would be even more thrilled to learn history and science through the eyes of sailors, whalers, and astronauts.

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The first activity that caught my eye in Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts was “Knots Used by Sailors” (pages 32 and 33). Why did it catch my eye? Because I already consider myself somewhat of a knot nerd, and I knew I wouldn’t let you down with my knot-tying skills!

The two page activity has diagrams of a few knots as well as an explanation of why knots are important to sailors. The Adventures in the Sea and Sky guide has recommended websites for more knot exploration including steps to tie a nautical rug and more nautical knots (page 127). I also highly recommend searching for videos online as they’re extremely helpful to watch while learning to tie knots.

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When knot tying made me a little hungry, I decided to whip up a snack from the “Food and Drink” activity on pages 34 through 37 of Sailors, Whalers, and Astronauts.

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After a couple pages explaining the food and drink of sailors, your learner can try his or her hand at making dandyfunk or lobscouse. These dishes were completely foreign to me, but I knew they couldn’t be too hard to make, especially considering I’d be cooking in my kitchen, as opposed to a cramped, constantly swaying galley on a ship.

So, I chose to make some dandyfunk. Yes, dandyfunk is what it’s called! I already had most of the ingredients, so it really was quite simple to make. I’d describe dandyfunk as more funky, than dandy, however I’m positive you’ll have fun making it.

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Want more info about Adventures in the Sea and Sky? Check out all the details and an exciting video here.

Smooth sailing to you all, until we meet again!

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Living Math: Teaching Math with Charlotte Mason

 

Do you struggle with math? Do your students struggle with math? Have you ever thought that math seems disconnected from real life? If you have ever felt these things we are excited to present to you a new math resource that we carry, Living Math!

Living Math (LM) is a wonderful Charlotte Mason math program! It brings all of what we love about the Charlotte Mason method into a structured math program! This math fits perfectly alongside the other programs and resources that WinterPromise offers. In this post we will give you a detailed explanation of how LM works and what makes this program so unique!

Narrative Story

The backbone of LM is the narrative story. One of the core principles that Charlotte Mason promoted was living books. She wanted to get away from dry, stale textbooks and into books that taught the subject by exciting the reader with riveting story – in other words, she advocated books that came to life. Hence the term, living books! What LM does is chronicle an adventure that your child will share while they learn different mathematical principles.

“It is the story of a twin brother and sister who are visiting their grandparents’ farm. They soon learn that the farm is full of learning opportunities! As you read their story, your student will be drawn into the adventure along with the twins.” (Living Math Level 1, p. 4)

The excerpt above was taken from one of the introductory pages. The key to the success of this program is that this math book is not just a book filled with questions and answers, it is a book filled with adventure and problem-solving.

Connecting Math to Real Life

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A big advantage of LM is the narrative format which connects the math that your children are learning to real life. Math, along with other subjects, is often taught in a compartmentalized manner. This is not how real life works though! “For example, when you are cooking or baking, you have to use the skills of reading, logical thinking, and measuring, just to name a few.” (Living Math Level 1, p. 5) This program does an amazing job of showing how math is an essential part of life. Here is an example from Level 1:

To teach the concept of solving for an unknown:

” ‘How many cups do I need, Grandma?’ Charlotte asked, wiping her hands on her apron, leaving yellow streaks down her sides. . . ‘Well, how many cups do you have so far?’ Grandma came over to look over Charlotte’s shoulder. ‘We need four cups altogether.’

‘I put one in so far,’ Charlotte answered. ‘So how many more do I need?’

‘Let’s figure it out. . . you have 1 + ___ = 4,’ Grandma wrote on a scrap of paper. Charlotte looked at her fingers, ‘Hmmm. I have 1.’ She held up one finger. ‘And 2 comes after 1, so 2, 3, 4. I counted 3 more fingers. Is that right Grandma?’

‘Yes, Charlotte, that is right. Good job! What you just did is what we call ‘solving for the uknown.’ When you know how much you need altogether,  you can figure out how much more you need by counting up, just like you did.'” (Living Math Level 1, p. 201)

This example as noted above is just one of a myriad of examples of how the story connects math to real life. When your students move on to more complex math topics LM still continues to connect it back to real life.

Other Features

One way that this curriculum keeps costs down is by offering the answer keys free online. This makes for simplicity and affordability. It works great for teachers in larger settings such as a co-op or other one-day-a-week schools. You can access these anywhere and the link is given directly inside the resource. Another feature that this program offers is that each page is perforated and three-hole punched. This provides you with the flexibility to put the pages into student binders or to pass them out for students to finish their work independently.

The program is formatted very simply. Each lesson starts with a narration and proceeds to exercise sheets to practice the concepts. At the end of each section there are quiz or review sheets. This makes the lessons and the structure of the program simple for parents to follow. These features, combined with the proven Charlotte Mason method as the backbone to teaching, makes this program a great fit for most families. You will be successful not only in teaching math, but also teaching your children that math has real life benefits and importance.

We are excited to offer this math program to our families! We will be adding more grade levels as they are developed. In the next few months we should have up to 6th grade available for purchase. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 802-372-9200, M-F 9-5 EDT. To see the current samples we have please click on the links below!

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR LIVING MATH 1

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR LIVING MATH 2

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR LIVING MATH 3

WinterPromise Craftsmanship: Grab Your Passports and Prepare for World Travel!

Children Around the World

You are going to love our most popular program, Children Around the World.  You’ll travel through more than thirty countries, encountering their cultures and traditions, crafts and celebra­tions.  But that’s not all!  You’ll learn a ton about world geography and also take a mid-year break to enjoy learning about cultural and religious traditions surrounding Christmas.

Another fantastic part of the journey is learning about the plight of children around the world.  You’ll learn about kids who don’t have access to basic needs like clean water or shelter for the night.  You’ll see how many children must work to survive, and find out how you can help to ease the suffering of children around the globe. Along the way you’ll meet people who have helped to dig wells or care for orphaned children, and meet people who are doing the same today.  You’ll find the effect upon your family is truly priceless!

Activities and learning opportunities this year are focused around easy Cultural Gatherings to prepare for your family.  Prepare meals, entertainment or crafts that will give you further insight into the lands you are studying. Visit fun website links that take you instantly to other sides of the world.  As always, the activities are practical, fun & full of learning!  It’s all very doable!

A Year of Travel, Adventure and Education!

Prepare your passport, because we’re ready to go!  Children Around the World offers you a trip around the globe, dropping you into thirty countries and trying out their culture.  You and your students will love our signature Cultural Gatherings, a special four-week Christmas trip, and the weekly focus on the “Plight of the Children.”  Every single week you will visit a new place. How exciting is that?

As you drop in on “Children Around the World,” you’ll get to know the history, geography, and culture of their countries.  This approach will give your family a complete perspective of each country and all of its unique aspects. How does it do this?

  • You’ll read about and see pictures of each land and its people, and enjoy full-color bonus ebooks!
  • Mapping activities help students learn about each country’s geography.
  • Notebooking work has interactive pages, full-color pictures to add, and more to “take you there!”
  • Hands-on cultural activities allow you to try out parts of the culture or taste its food for yourself.
  • Journaling about the needs of others builds compassion and awareness of global need.
  • Christmastime activities acquaint your family with traditions from all over.
  • Other cultural celebrations are featured throughout the year.
  • Country flashcards help students learn the locations of countries.
  • Other cultural books take you further into regions, countries or important products.

Unique Resources and Unique Gatherings

Your students will create their own unique International Notebook! The “Make-Your-Own” World Travels Diary allows your family to notebook all your international stops en route this year! An assortment of pages will have students illustrating, responding to questions, creating artwork, writing out words in other languages, and adding the included full-color pictures of landmarks around the world. To see a sample of this resource click HERE!

You will also get to map your travels on the way! You will do this with our exclusive “Travel-with-Me Maps!” We’ve created an exclusive set of full-color country or regional maps that you’ll just love. They are the perfect background for your student to add included, full-color figures each week as you visit countries from Australia to Zimbabwe! Figures show children in native dress for each country, famous landmarks, a nation’s products, or notable facts about the countries. We’ve also added a write-on/wipe-off map set so students can practice labeling countries for their geography study.

Maybe the best parts of this program are the unique festival gatherings your family will get to enjoy! Your activities this year will be geared around a weekly gathering — a Brazilian “Carnaval,” an English Tea, even a water festival called Songkran from Thailand.  As always, the fun is something you’ll really love doing, and practical! Whether you complete the whole cultural gathering or just try part of it, oodles of great, flexible ideas are provided for you that everyone will enjoy.

Educational Depth!

In Children Around the World you will experience an educational experience that is vast in its topic of study and deep in its experience of those studies. Here is a list of all the countries you will study in this program!

Introduction

  • Hello World

Europe

  • Introducing Europe
  • The British Isles
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland & the Netherlands
  • France
  • Germany & Poland
  • Russia
  • Spain & Portugal
  • Italy
  • Greece

Christmas Traditions

  • European Christmas
  • American Christmas
  • Non-Western Christmas
  • Asian Christmas

The Americas

  • Introducing the Americas
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Peru

Africa

  • Introducing Africa
  • Libya
  • Kenya
  • Cameroon
  • Zimbabwe

Asia & the Middle East

  • Introducing Asia & the Middle East
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iraq
  • India
  • China
  • Japan
  • Thailand

The Pacific

  • The Pacific Islands
  • Australia

Israel and Egypt are not covered because they are extensively covered in our Quest for the Ancient World program which gives us the opportunity to focus more of our time on other countries.

To go along with this huge list of topics that you still study we have a resources list that matches it.  We offer you many different resources to guide you through your exciting travels. Check out our list of resources HERE!

Learn About the Lives of Children

Children Around the World is so named because of our emphasis on the lives of children around the world! The benefits your family will experience from this aspect alone will be worth the year’s study. Your children will be given a window into the lives of other children.

There are three major fruits of this focus: 1) They will see how children’s lives differ from their own. The world is rich with life and different experiences. They will know that not everyone thinks the way they do nor experience the same things they do! 2) They will recognize the suffering of different children around the world. These are topics that are heavier in nature, but in seeing some of the suffering in the world that other children their age experience, we hope it will give them a vision for how they can help and make a difference. Take this opportunity to help your kids grow in compassion for others. 3) They will understand the unique blessings of living where they do with your family. Our heart in this program is not only to teach geography and cultures but to help our families see their children grow in their heart for others and the hurts of others. We desire to expand their vision of the world and for the lives of others.

Our Children Around the World will be a wonderful experience for your family. It is one of our most popular programs and one that will work with multiple ages. You can include children from 2nd and 3rd grades all the way to your older students in 7th to 9th grade! Wow! This makes the program accessible and exciting. The “cultural gatherings” provide a unique opportunity for your older and younger students to work together and enjoy in different ways these accessible and fun activities! There is no program out there like this one.

We invite you to travel abroad and discover history, culture and geography in our Children Around the World program.

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WinterPromise Crafstmanship: Experience Adventure on the High Seas with “Adventures in the Sea & Sky.”

Adventures in the Sea & Sky

Be prepared to traverse the high seas in this adventurous program.  Discover how history was made by explorers, commanders, traders, daredevils, astronauts, and even pirates who captained sailing ships and flying machines!   World history will unfold from the earliest traders on the Mediterranean to astronauts building the space station even now. As you travel through “Adventures in the Sea and Sky,” you’ll encounter the technologies that let sailors conquer the stormy Atlantic and Vikings raid the northern seas. You’ll find out what caused the Age of Exploration and how controlled flight became a reality — and changed the world forever.

Adventures in the Sea & Sky is a world history in a year program designed for students from 4th – 7th grade.  With the simple addition of our “Younger Learner’s Guide” you can even include your K – 2nd grade students in your adventures! To easily include your 8th – 9th graders just add our “Older Learner’s Guide” to the program.

Educationally Unique

This program contains many unique experiences, but before we dive into those, let’s look at how this program can be a great launching pad for further history study.  In Adventures in the Sea & Sky you’ll discover history from a unique perspective — looking at the development of the technology of sailing, flight, and space travel.  You’ll be amazed at how the major trends in history originate in the technologies around ships and sailing!  This program offers a bird’s eye view of history, and is a great launching pad for a four-year world history study.  Families are encouraged to experience our other history programs after seeing the big picture in Sea & Sky.

Adventurous Resources

The resources in our Sea & Sky program are now printed in stunning full color! We have uniquely selected each resource to create a world of adventure for you to enjoy every day.  See some of those resources highlighted below.

 

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Sailors, Whalers & Astronauts

What was life like on a ship? What was it like to live aboard sailing ships, airships, and spaceships in history?  Discover life on rolling seas, in the atmosphere, and out in the vastness of space.  There’s a lot to explore!

You will learn all that a sailor would need to know and the skills they needed to survive in the open ocean. You’ll check out sailor lingo and the different watches on a ship. You will learn what sailors believed and what they wore. You will even to know what kind of knots sailors would have to tie.

Once you master the basics of being a sailor you will be promoted to a whaler. Master the basics of a whaling ship and understand how lighthouses were used to keep them safe. Want some bean soup? Cook some bean soup and really understand how good your family’s cooking is compared to what these sailors ate!  You will even get to go along on a whale chase!

Next, you will be transported to the experiences of an astronaut! Find out how to stay healthy in space and what kind of food you would eat.  You won’t want to complain about cleaning your room after hearing about how astronauts kept things clean in outer space. Get geared up as an astronaut and discover how much equipment it takes to explore — and survive in — space!

“Sailors, Whalers & Astronauts” will bring the adventure of the open ocean, the atmosphere, and outer space right into your living room.

 

MYO_Captains_Log_Cover Make-Your-Own Captain’s Log

This notebooking resource puts you right in the middle of a grand adventure. You begin by being brought onboard “The Seafarer” as a cabin boy named “Crow.” A man named Hawk will be training you in the ways of all things ship and sailing. As you work through our “Sailors, Whalers & Astronauts” resource, your Captain’s Log will bring your story to life.

With interactive notebooking pages, you will constantly be applying what you learn and engaging with the material you encounter in other resources. Learn about sailing culture with engaging questions, activities and mapping assignments. Discover how the technology aboard ships advanced and even changed sailing completely!  Read about how ships were used in war time and see us highlight important ships throughout history. After spending time on ships, you will go on to learning about flight and even space exploration!

 

Another wonderful part of this notebook and this program as a whole is that a science component is woven throughout the program. For students 6th grade and younger it is a full science credit! Each week in your Captain’s Log you will have a science section that gives another layer of education and enjoyment to this notebook.

As you learn from your mentor Hawk about the ins and outs of sailing, the advances in technology, and even the invention of flight, your students will experience an adventure that lasts the entire year and can be kept for a lifetime! To see a sample of this resource click on the title above and then select “Resource Sample” at the top of the description. You will want to see inside this amazing 300+ page resource.

 

Under_the_Sea_and_In_the_Air_CoverUnder the Sea & In the Air

To add to your science component that is included in your Make-Your-Own Captain’s Log you will receive the “Under the Sea & In the Air” resource. This will be your primary science resource.

You will study the ocean floor, learning about its features. You will get a taste of what saltwater is and learn about ice on the ocean. You will learn about different marine life such as penguins, whales, and other sea mammals.

After the ocean you will explore the atmosphere.  Your students will create a weather log and learn about the atmospheric conditions. They will get to know how the sun affects our weather as well!

Once your travels in the atmosphere are finished, you will shoot up into outer space to discover our sun, the planets and the moons that circle them.  Read about the life of a star and think about how many galaxies there are in the universe!

Every week you will get to enjoy an activity that is fun and educational.  Together with your Captain’s Log and the other science books in Sea and Sky, this resource will cover your science for the whole year!

Other exclusive resources that are included are our Bible resource, “God of All Creation”, and our spine history resource “An Unfurling Sail.”

Sea & Sky is an Adventure

In this blogging series we are going to show how we have uniquely crafted each Themed Program to provide the same wonderful educational ideals but offer very unique experiences. Each program has a unique feel and experience to it so that your family doesn’t feel as if every year is the same.

In our Adventures in the Sea & Sky program your family will go on a high-flying and exciting adventure across history on the decks of ships, the seats of airplanes, and the cockpits of space craft. This program marries a rich and wonderful education with amazing adventure and enjoyment.

We would like to invite you to go on an adventure with your family this year.  You’ll truly understand why history unfolded the way it did, live the life of sailors, crew members, and astronauts, and make memories!

“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy.  It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.” – Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

 

 

 

 

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WinterPromise Craftsmanship: Discovering Unique Experiences in our Themed Programs

 

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When you hear a carpenter talk about a custom cabinet he just installed you will hear about the quality wood used, the dovetail edges, the solid hardware, and the attention to detail that make it a solid piece. But you will also hear about the special touches he added to make the cabinet unique. When a builder talks about that beautiful home he just built you get the sense that he spent time and energy to make this home solid, firm, and safe, while also making it one-of-a-kind. An artist works to create a unique experience for the observer in each painting that he creates, even though he uses his well-practiced technique and eye for color to also make sure it is as beautiful as can be.

This craftsmanship is what we hope you find in WinterPromise’s Themed programs. Inside each of our themed programs there are numerous foundational aspects that are similar, but those special touches are still there – the pieces of each program that make it unique. WinterPromise programs are based on solid educational principles, proven to give academic success, but still contain unique and individual touches that make them one-of-a-kind, joyous learning experiences.

What is the same?

Here is a short summary of the universal aspects of our themed programs. These things are consistent in our programs because they grow out of our core educational values.

Every themed program is inspired by strong Charlotte Mason principles. In each one of our Themed Programs we pick living books that pull your readers into a story that helps teach the material. This is much more effective than using stale textbooks. Each of our programs has a heavy focus on narration and discussion as a way to measure your children’s comprehension and understanding of what they are learning. In each of our programs you will find that we seek to elicit excitement for the material and find joy in learning. These principles are foundational to everything we do.

Another part of our themed programs that is true across the board is that we incorporate multiple avenues or “paths” of learning for your children. Whether you have a child that is auditory, visual, hands-on, people-oriented, or one that enjoys learning digitally, we have a way for them to learn week to week. We do this through activities, research projects, reading assignments, opportunities for presentations, DVD and documentary suggestions and much more!

Our themed programs are all designed to do as much work for the parents as possible. Many of our parents come to WinterPromise saying, “I liked curriculum but I felt like I had to work hours and hours just to make it work for us.” We understand that our moms are busy enough as it is, and any curriculum that asks you to do more work than it did is just not worth it. That means we have designed our programs and our Teacher’s Guides as “Open & Go” resources. If you have your books and your guide, you are all set to start your day. Discussion questions have notes for the parent to help guide the discussion, online links are given for extra research, activities are suggested for older students, and everything is scheduled daily for you.

These ideals are consistent through every program no matter which one you choose. You will find these things in each experience you have with us. That does not mean each program is stale and every year is the same. In fact, it is exactly the opposite of that! We have handcrafted each themed program to give a unique experience for your family. One program will have a certain look and feel while another program may provide a completely different experience from the year before!

Why did we do this?

WinterPromise is a company that puts our heart and soul into every product and program that we design. We want every program, every book, every activity, every memory you make with us, to be something that is a wonderfully rich experience. We want our families to make new memories and go to new places with their family every single year.

Yes, our educational values that we hold dear are consistently present throughout all of our materials. Yes, you will see great notebooking across the board. Yes, you will read wonderful books as a family in every program you experience. Yes, you will have a wealth of great activities to choose from each week in every program. No, you will not think of every year as the same.

Why?

Every program and every year is designed to be completely unique. We do this so that every year you are challenged to grow as a family in new ways. We present our material in new ways in our programs so that your children are given every opportunity to enjoy what they learn. Giving new experiences and new ways to learn keeps your children expanding their imaginations and increasing their sense of adventure. When they open their WP resources for the first time they get to wonder, “What adventure are we having this year!?” Joyful and excited learning, inspired through new adventures, is a cornerstone of the WP educational model.

Joyful and excited learning, inspired through new adventures, is a cornerstone of the WP educational model.

In this blogging series we will go program by program and help you discover how each program is unique in what it can offer your family. We want to show you how each program not only teaches new material to your children, but takes your family on a handcrafted adventure designed to increase your children’s love and joy for learning.
 

 

 

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Building a Family Culture

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There are all kinds of families in the world. There are the families that laugh a lot together and are really loud together in public places. There are the families that never talk and don’t seem to enjoy being around each other.

There are the families that always go on vacations together – they are the talk of the community! Families that are always hiking or outdoors are often seen as adventurous and exotic. Everyone knows the family that plays board and card games together.

The reason we think about families doing certain things is because we intuitively understand that each family has a family culture. WinterPromise wants to help you create your unique family culture so that you can provide a healthy and dynamic family environment for your kids.

What is culture?

On Dictionary.com there are a few ways to use the word culture, but the one that best fits what we are talking about is the 5th definition.

 “. . . the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”

Every group of people, no matter how small or how large, has a culture. Every community, church, family, group of friends, and social club has a culture. People make culture. Which means even if you are not trying, your family has a culture.

“The behaviors and beliefs.” What your family does and what your family values will dictate your family’s habits, traditions, and patterns. Ask yourself, “Why do we do what we do?” You do everything for a reason, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Do you get pizza every Friday night for the family only because you love pizza? Obviously you love pizza, but you do it for more than that. You love having a casual meal that is a family favorite, where you can watch a movie and just chill. That is a part of family culture. You value something, and it is very different from the family that always gets Chinese and plays Scrabble.

Every family has traditions that form a rhythm to their lives.

Communication reveals a healthy or an unhealthy culture.

Everybody knows that communication is important to the health of any relationship. More than that, the type of communication that happens between people reveals the health of that relationship.

Your family is no different. If the communication in your family is primarily composed of arguments, anger, conflict and rudeness, then most people are going to understand that the family culture is very unhealthy. On the other hand, if your communication is full of laughter, patience, fun, enjoyment, lengthy conversations and investment in others, then most people are going to see an amazing and healthy family culture.

Communication and family culture go hand in hand. If you have good communication, you will probably have a healthy family culture. If you have a healthy family culture, then you will probably have great communication.

Promote good communication. Patience and understanding are key elements, along with forgiveness, in having a family that communicates well. The reason this is so important is that if you have good communication, your family will really love being together. If you see a pattern of poor communication between certain children, make sure you work on that right away. The longer it is let go the harder it is to uproot.

Promote teamwork!

After being able to talk and enjoy each other as a family, you can begin focusing on fine-tuning your family culture. Family isn’t all fun and games. In fact it mostly is not. Being a part of a family usually means conquering projects together, helping family move, fixing a water leak in the basement, making schedules work and etc.

Your family needs to be able to work together well and enjoy working together. Life will be full of to-do’s and being able to work together as a family will be a huge step in creating an amazing family culture.

Working together doesn’t have to be a chore. There are so many times when a family activity or project can turn into an amazing memory. Laughing together, making gentle fun of one another, enjoying success together – these things can all be enjoyed when working together.

Summary

Building a healthy family culture is something most parents want but too often don’t know how to achieve.  You may be asking, “What about fun? Shouldn’t we be talking about fun?” Certainly, fun is a huge part of a healthy family culture. If you can’t have fun together then there is some work to do. Talking about fun, though, does not create a “fun” family culture.

What does create a fun family culture? There is a lot to it, but if you can work together well and communicate in a healthy way, then you will create a fun family culture. Families were designed to work together and to have fun. For most of history the normal way to have fun was to have fun while you worked. Today, things are a little different. We aren’t fighting for survival every day, which means we create categories to describe what we’re doing – like doing something fun or doing work.

We strongly believe that if you create a culture of teamwork and healthy communication your family will have so much fun together!

Lighten the Load Part 2: Dealing with the Burdens of a Homeschool Mom

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Last time we discussed some different issues that may be weighing you down as a homeschool mom.  These can include financial stress, perfectionism, weariness, or anything else that causes you stress. In this post we want to give you some advice on how to deal with the myriad of issues in your life that may be causing you stress.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. This is at the center of a lot of the struggles that moms have. Comparison is one of the most damaging things you can do to yourself. Homeschooling is a unique journey for each and every one of us.  No two families are the same since each has its own unique challenges and obstacles, therefore comparisons are usually not helpful.

Why do you always want to keep comparing yourself to others? Homeschool Mom of eight Simcha Fisher says,

“. . . you do feel like you have to prove yourself, that your kids need to be better than the public school kids academically. If you happen to go out during the day, you have to make sure everyone is spick and span and their shoes are matching,” Fisher explains.

Comparing your children to others, or yourself to other parents, inevitably becomes a question of apples and oranges—and of trying to do everything at once. “We wonder, ‘Are we doing enough?’ And then we overburden ourselves by thinking, ‘Surely we can do more.’”

Taken from an article on PBS – http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/homeschooling/combatting-homeschool-burnout/

You should not feel the need to prove yourself to others.  You should focus on you and your kids, not on what others are doing and what you think you are not doing.

  1. Find supportive friends and family. Finding a good group of friends that will listen to your stresses and support you is vital to any successful homeschool mom. You need friends so that you can be real with them. You need people in your life that you know it is safe to be honest with.

 

Friends are also important when you go through hard times.  They can be there to encourage you, and to help you make good decisions.  Everyone goes through hard times – homeschool moms are no different.  Make sure you have good friends around you for when that time comes.

 

  1. Find a daily routine and rhythm to your life, but be willing to be flexible. Having a routine can really help you get through the tough days. If you are having a stressful day, having a routine can help you get done what you need to get done, and it can even relax you. Not everyone is good at setting up a good routine.  Some have to work harder than others.  But we all end up in some sort of routine whether we try to or not.

 

That means you should make the most of your routine!  Include elements that help you enjoy your day, manage stress, and become efficient.  If you love coffee and alone time, get up a few minutes early to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and time to just sit and think.  If you want to exercise, try to include that in your week. A healthy routine and rhythm will help you manage the unreliable stress in life by being something reliable.

 

At the same time, you should not let the routine become the master of your life.  Then it becomes just another burden! Your life will not always go as planned, which means you need to be ready to go with the flow and understand that life does go a little awry sometimes.

 

 

If you have found a way to manage or cope with the stress that everyday life can bring, share on our Facebook page or email michaelforwinterpromise@gmail.com so that we can share it with our WinterPromise family!

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Lighten the Load Part 1

Lighten the Load Part 1:
Dealing with the Burdens of a Homeschool Mom

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Have you ever seen the bicycles that have more than one seat? Big families sometimes use them if younger kids need to be able to keep up with the rest of the family.

These bicycles have two, three or even four seats sometimes! All four seats can pedal to help, but often the younger ones in the family get tired before the rest, which is why they are attached to the parent.

The parent bears the burden of pedaling even when the other riders get tired. They have a lot to bear.

That burden is a normal, healthy burden. Now imagine that on that family bike ride, Mom is pulling 3 younger children on her bike. That’s a lot of riders!

Mom has the responsibility to make sure her children can keep up with Dad and her older children. While they are biking though, Mom decides to go up a hill when she could have gone around it. She also decides to move the gears on the bike up, so that the pedaling becomes difficult, and then decides to deflate her tires a little. Would Mom be able to keep up? Would she get tired?

What would you say if you were a part of that family and saw that happening? You would probably say, “What are you doing Mom!? You are making it much harder on yourself than you really need to!”

This is an illustration of how some Homeschool Moms operate while homeschooling. They already have the huge responsibility of making sure that their household runs well and that their children flourish in their education. But those are not the only burdens that Moms tend to bear. There are other things that are added to their plate.

These others burdens that Homeschool Moms experience include:

 

Perfectionism – Requiring personal perfection when it comes to homeschooling, parenting, or homemaking.

Weariness – Moms have so much to do, and a myriad of demands placed upon them, which means that being exhausted will weigh them down.

Personal Expectations – This goes along with perfectionism. Moms place so many expectations upon themselves that sometimes they can be unreasonable. Moms bear the burden of their own expectations, which so often are not met.

Financial Stress – This is one burden that so many deal with. Money is a large piece of what we stress about. We are often burdened with worries of money.

 

This is just a short list of what could be weighing you down. If you let some of these things begin to “pile” up on you, then you will burn out very quickly.

There are some things that we need to worry about. There are some things that we need to be responsible for which can lead to worry. But there are also things that we don’t need to burden ourselves with, but we do anyway!

Next time we will talk about putting everything in its proper place. This will allow you to put aside stress and worry that is wearing you down and affecting your ability to be a Homeschool Mom.