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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

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Conquering 4 Common Questions Families Ask WinterPromise: How Does WinterPromise Help the Parent?

How Does WinterPromise Help the Parent?

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We are continuing our series on answering some of the most common questions we hear at WinterPromise. How does WinterPromise help the parent? This question is often not said so directly, but parents ask a lot of questions that relate to this issue. How do we help our parents succeed in homeschooling? A lot of curriculums puts the responsibility completely on the parent! It is entirely up to the parent to have a rich and memorable experience homeschooling. While the parents are the primary reason homeschooling will be successful, we here at WinterPromise want to do as much as we can to make it as easy on the parent as possible.

What does that look like? Let’s take a look!

1. WinterPromise helps the parent by ensuring there is as little prep work as possible!

There is a lot in a WinterPromise program. We have a lot of pride in being able to offer huge value in our programs. We want to give you a rich, deep, and joy-filled homeschool experience. What that means though is that parents that are new to homeschooling and even more experienced homeschoolers can look at our curriculum and be overwhelmed! We want to assure you that we will help you succeed!

One of the central values our founder and author Kaeryn holds to is that parents should be doing as little “behind the scenes” work or prep work as possible. Life is busy enough let alone homeschooling, and you don’t want to be devoting more energy than is needed working to prepare lessons, organizing activities, scheduling and tracking progress etc. We want to do as much of that work as we can! We are an “open-and-go” curriculum. Which means: as long as you have your materials, you should be able to open up your guidebook and go!

What does that look like in our Teacher Guides? They are the cornerstone to each program. The never center. Our guides are PACKED with information and teacher helps. They not only schedule your weeks but they hold all your activities, extra resources and notes for teaching, all in one place!  Here are some examples:

Every Resource Scheduled Every Week – We have everything from our activities, reading, independent assignments, teacher notes, weekly goals, interactive online projects, DVD suggestions and anything else you could imagine scheduled and laid out for you. You don’t need to plan anything! We have everything planned for you. With WinterPromise you will be able to wake up, get your coffee, get breakfast going for the kids and then start your homeschooling without worrying that you have what you need to get something accomplished.

Activities Designed For Simplicity – We believe that every activity you do should be something that adds to your educational experience and to the understanding of a particular subject. Activities should not be just plain busy work. We offer great activities every week for you and your students to dive right into. To help the parent we have described each activity as Open & Go, Easy, Moderate or Difficult. Most of our activities fall under the Open & Go to Moderate range and are completely doable. You will also be given at the beginning of your guide a list containing everything you will need for the year to complete the activities and also every week you will be given what you will need for that particular week. Most often they include normal household craft materials. We do everything we can to make sure our activities are designed in such a way that you are spending more time learning and less time prepping.

Teacher Helps – Do you ever feel out of your depths when it comes to a particular issue or time in history? Do you ever feel that you are not as gifted a teacher as your children need? We have all felt those things. To address these concerns we have packed our teacher guides with so much information and help that will be invaluable to you the parent! We include in each guide several pages devoted to informing you about the different learning styles and intelligences. This is really great for you to know! You are given tips on how to use the guide even! For those that feel like they struggle knowing what the goal for a given week is, we offer weekly teacher notes so you know exactly what you should be emphasizing. We want you to succeed!

2. WinterPromise wants to help you create memories!

Homeschooling parents put so much pressure on themselves. They guilt themselves into feeling inadequate as a teacher and/or parent. The cause of this is often because the motivation or standard by which they are evaluating themselves is not helpful or accurate. Ask questions like: What is your goal? What are things that really matter to you and your family? What do you want your family to have by the end of this?

Homeschooling offers the unique opportunity to be a part of the learning process. You an be a part of the ups and downs, successes and failures. What an amazing opportunity! If you are only concerned about a test score at some state standard test, we believe you are missing the point. Knowledge is vital and we teach our kids ultimately so that they will learn. But if you are homeschooling purely for the transfer of knowledge you are missing out on so much! WinterPromise is designed to help you create a family culture that is centered around making memories and experiencing joy! Learning should be a joy and it should be shared! We want you to focus on the unique growth of each child, and to grow with them! How do we do that? Laugh together, read great books together, make a mess of a science experiment together, enjoy a nature walk, run around in the rain when you should be doing math, cook meals together, journey together into different cultures, go on adventures together! WinterPromise wants to offer that to your family!

Create memoires together; because memories flow from the wealth of love and joy in a family. This will take the pressure off of you and will enable you to succeed in a way that you never thought possible! If you are willing to not blame, guilt, or crush yourself along the way you will find that you can go on a wonderful journey with your children as you homeschool.

WinterPromise wants you to succeed. Parents are the most important relationship a child has. Parents have everything to do with their development. Therefore we at WinterPromise want to equip and help you the parent as much as possible. Let us become a part of your journey.

 

 

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4 Common Questions Families Ask WinterPromise Families: How Long Does A Day With WinterPromise Last?

How Long Does A Day With WinterPromise Last?

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This question seems like a very simple question at face value. It is simple at first, but behind this question are there are questions like: What will you be doing? How long are you reading? How demanding is the program? How de we fit in Science and Language Arts? There are a lot of practical questions that are behind this question. We hear this all the time. So in this post we will talk about the practicals of WinterPromise. How long it will take, how to fit in other aspects of WinterPromise and how demanding it is.

 

How Long Does A Day With WinterPromise Last?

Here at WinterPromise one of our greatest joys is that we can encourage and comfort our families when they have fears. There are two motivations for this question.

Our parents come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have been homeschooling for 10 years and are very experienced in managing their kids and the homeschool lifestyle. These families are usually concerned about having a day that would end up being too short, or not demanding enough. While other families have been homeschooling for only a year or two, or even shorter! They are still trying to adjust to and manage the challenges that the homeschooling lifestyle brings to the table. WinterPromise is unique in the fact that inside of our curriculum we can comfort and excite those on both sides of the question.

If you are doing a WinterPromise Themed Program, and depending on the age level of your program you can have a range in the time you will spend ‘doing school.’ Usually you will spend an average anywhere from 2-5 hours a day. This includes your time with them and also their own independent studies.

The beauty of WinterPromise is that inside of our programs we have so much rich material that if you wanted to do more, we have extra resources, tons of activities, online resources, research projects, DVD suggestions and so much more! If you want to be more rigorous we offer the opportunity and the resources to do so. At the same time if you want to take it easy and experience your education with your children in a more relaxed atmosphere, you can scale back and still get a great experience! WinterPromise can be as rigorous or as relaxed as you and your family need it to be.

“WinterPromise can be as rigorous or as relaxed as you and your family need it to be.”

How Does Your Science and Language Arts Fit Into That Schedule?

Now we often get a follow-up question to the above answer. If you spend 2-5 hours a day on your Themed Programs (History, Social Studies, Geography) then how do you fit in Science and Language Arts? That is a great question!

WinterPromise is designed in a 4-day schedule. Our Language Arts can easily be added as an extra 30-60 minutes each day. Our Science Programs have been designed so that they can be done in a day in just a few hours! Meaning your 5th day could be spent just doing Science!  This means that you get a wonderfully rich science experience and it doesn’t feel like a huge burden. Families also sometimes do their Language Arts and Science in one day so that the rest of their week is lighter. We want this work for you how you need it to. Therefore our science and language arts are designed so that while it is scheduled for you, you can also do some tweeking if you need to.

WinterPromise does as much work for you as we can so that you can worry less about preparation and adjustments and more about what matters. The reason you started homeschooling was at least in part because you wanted to individually invest, mentor, and educate each one of your children. To see them grow as people, to teach them about life and the skills to be successful in life. This is where your time be invested and not into hours of preparation and busy work.

WinterPromise wants to work with the parent and to work for the parent.