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.

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.
 

 

 

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 1

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

Man with Ridiculous Pile (Done)

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.

Translating Pinterest to Real Life: Part 2

Translating Pinterest to Real Life: Part 2Pinterest Perfection

Last time we talked about the emotional challenges of Pinterest. We are tempted to expect every project, decoration, DIY, recipe and anything else we find to turn out as perfect as “Pinterest Perfect”

What this can lead to is frustration, or even feelings of inadequacy.

But maybe you do not feel this at all! Maybe you know exactly how, the expectations we put on ourselves because of Pinterest, are not fair. But if you do struggle with this then keep reading!

Today we are going to talk about how to properly think about Pinterest and how to effectively use it. This is not an encyclopedic article on every possible way to use Pinterest, but we will try to give some good advice and let you take it from there!

1. Think of Pinterest as a piece of the puzzle and not the whole puzzle. Pinterest uses pictures to help you find ideas. We are visual creatures when it comes to the internet. Anything that is visually striking catches our eye.

The temptation then, is that when we see an amazing project, all we see is how perfect it is. We see it in its isolated environment on Pinterest. We only see it in all its glory!

Which means, when you go to setup that amazing organizational chart in your kitchen, it doesn’t quite look as perfect as what Pinterest seems to show. The reason is, because your emotions are impacted by so many things in your life! The cleanliness of your house, the mood you are in, the way your children are acting are all part of how you feel about something. If you feel a little overwhelmed, the organizational chart won’t be as impressive.

Your Pinterest project is just one piece of a very big puzzle. Pinterest ONLY shows the perfect project that solves just one problem. Pinterest ONLY shows one amazing picture of everything working in harmony for one moment. Long enough to get a great picture! Your life is so much more than one picture, and in real life things aren’t Pinterest Perfect.

Understand that one Pinterest project will not make you feel good about everything else going on in your life.

2. Look at Pinterest for SPECIFIC NEEDS. Isn’t that what most of us do? Yes, but what tends to happen is that we look at all that Pinterest has to offer and we start to wish all of our lives should look like Pinterest.

We get caught up in the world of Pinterest and compare our world to it. This can lead to a lot of frustration!

Instead, think about Pinterest in a very specific sense. Persevere mentally! Only look for specific needs and more importantly, only compare what you have done with that specific need. Pinterest is a great tool but you should never compare your whole life to Pinterest. Take on small piece and see if anyone else has had an idea and pinned it for that very specific need.

3. Spend enough time on Pinterest to enjoy it, but not enough to be controlled by it. This principle could be used for any social media channel. We are too often controlled by something and not often enough in control. Make sure you understand Pinterest and the very specific role it fills. It is not a standard whereby you measure yourself against the vastness of the internet, but a tool to help you solve specific problems.

 

WinterPromise

Translating Pinterest to Real Life: Part 1

Pinterest-Perfection.jpg

If you have a Pinterest account you are like millions of other people. You may use it to keep track of photos. You could be one of those people that it turns out to be your big pile of internet ideas and “junk.”

A39WB3 Piles of household rubbish at a recycling depot in Berlin Germany

You may also be a DIY fanatic that crawls all over Pinterest looking for that perfect project that will turn your hole-in-the-wall closet into an HGTV masterpiece. You could be the person looking for that perfect word of encouragement to get you through the day. Whatever you use Pinterest for, something seems to be not quite right.  When you do something that is inspired by Pinterest, your finished product doesn’t quite seem to be all that Pinterest promised. It is not exactly perfect. Things did not go nearly as smoothly as it seemed they would or the finished product is not quite what you wanted.

What you see in front of you is not quite what you see on your tablet or computer. It may look or turn out looking exactly the way it should, but something is not quite right.

The frustration you are sensing with Pinterest is that you do not have the “Pinterest Life.” You have a real life.  You have a busy, rushed, distracted, and sometimes out-of-control life.

At the core of the problem is this: Pinterest pictures the perfect finished project without the issues of everyday life. Pinterest is an isolated picture of a perfect project, chores chart, organizational strategy or inspiring quote.

Which means, when you try to replicate that Pinterest Perfection, you come up with something not quite Pinterest Perfect because your life is not Pinterest Perfect. It just doesn’t quite meet your expectations.

This reality can be very frustrating. Your life will never be quite what it needs to be for Pinterest Perfect to be attained. This may lead to frustration, feelings of inadequacy or even helplessness. If you don’t ever feel these things then this post is not for you, but if you ever struggle with measuring yourself against what you see on Pinterest, we want to help!

Pinterest can be a really effective tool. But it is not effective if you have expectations that lead to frustrations. We want to give you the right perspective on Pinterest and using it as a tool in your life.

Find out next time!

WinterPromise