Under the Maple Tree

But What About Socialization!?!

**I’m reposting this blog post since it is one that so often I am called back to. Will people ever stop asking about homeschoolers and socialization??**

Of course this is the most common comment that we get when people find out that we homeschool.  If it isn’t spoken, then it is often implied, “Oh! You home school!” the brow gives a slight crinkle and a momentary look of incredulity passes over those eyes that once shared camaraderie.

Sometimes I feel defiant, others resigned.  Mostly I smile and laugh and just explain that yes we do like spending time together and that we often spend far too much time playing with friends of all ages – after all, our schooling is done earlier than their child’s is and we don’t have homework in the evening.

I was thinking recently about how we started into this journey of homeschooling, how Mama thought it a good idea but Daddy was unsure.  So Mama, being the scholar that she was set up a research project, reading, weighing the pros and cons and presenting them to her man, trying to be objective.  Eventually this lead to a round of interviews (read: dinner parties) with homeschoolers and public school teachers and parents who had made a variety of educational choices for their children.

The clincher for us?  One evening, over a dinner party with one of the subjects of our many case studies my hubby says, “So what about socialization?”  Gales of laughter from the other Papa.  “Do you really think that going to school ensures that kids will be well socialized?”  Light bulb!  We had this conversation in the temporal shadow of the horrific events of Columbine High School.  Of course, the events at Columbine weren’t typical of schools at all but what was typical?  Bullying, behavioural problems that plague the staff and leave many students heavily drugged, many students leaving the education system unprepared for life, cultural values being taught that often conflicted with our own family values.  No, we wouldn’t miss the socialization that schools promised.

So then I start to think… what exactly is socialization?  Is it being able to act properly in a social setting?  Having “social graces”?  Being able to interact with others in a “normal” way?  Is it spending lots of time with friends instead of just family?

Well, scholar Mama goes back to the dictionary.  “Webster’s College Dictionary says, socialization is a continuing process whereby an individual learns and assimilates the values and behaviour patterns appropriate to his or her culture and social position…..”

Hmm, maybe we need to question the need for socialization….  Do we want our kids to learn and to assimilate the values of our culture, a culture that values financial success over compassion, a culture that denies the involvement of the Creator in the cosmos?  Do I trust popular culture to tell my family the best way to act in a situation, to behave around others?  Maybe socialization isn’t a goal for our abundant life education after all.  Maybe we should be assimilating a different set of values.  Not values that come from the homeschooling lifestyle but values that come from living life according to the Word.  That’s countercultural.  Maybe we need to counter-socialize (or be anti-social?): to live a life that acts in light of eternity rather than in light of our cultures latest fads.

Do we need to homeschool in order to properly overcome the socialization monster?  No.  But it’s nice to be able to “socialize” during all that extra time that we have when school ends by lunch and the evenings are for relaxing instead of homework.

Wishing you a counter-social week.



Homeschool Picture Days: OCTOBER 1ST OR 11TH! Book now!

homeschool picture day

Homeschool Portraits are being offered again this year by the super talented and professional Crystal Hounsome of Crystal Xpressions on October 1st in Bradford  and October 11th near Thornton, Ontario.


Don’t miss out! This is the 10th year she has offered portraits at a discounted rate to homeschoolers and she usually books up quickly! Crystal Hounsome is a homeschooling mother of ten who is also a professional photographer. For more than 20 years she has been doing wedding, family, baby, maternity, engagement and school photos as well as other professional shoots. You can take a glimpse of her portfolio on Facebook at Crystal Xpressions Photography.


This year’s deal: $50 per child to a maximum of $120 per family, which includes 3(!) poses of each child as well as a complimentary group shot of your children. You will receive your photos in high resolution digital format and can make as many prints as you want from that digital copy. You will also have the option to purchase prints at an additional cost. An example of this year’s background will be sent to you a week before your portrait session. (Please contact Crystal at wchounsome@yahoo.ca if you would prefer to book an outdoor family session on a different day.)


Please email : Cori at cori@mapletreepublications.ca to book on October 1st

or Crystal at wchounsome@yahoo.ca to book on October 11th.


Looking forward to this event once again!

Charlotte Mason Support Group Meetings for 2018-2019

*Call it what you will: Mother Culture, Professional Development, or Mom’s Night Out but mark these dates on your calendars now!*

Dear Parents, if you are within driving distance of Bradford, laying down rails for yourselfOntario, please feel welcome to join us for this year’s Charlotte Mason Support Group meetings.  The purpose of our group is two-fold: 1) to read and discuss an educational book that will aid us in teaching our children at home using Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy and methodology, and 2) (even better 😉) to support one another as we survive this crazy home school life!

If you are unfamiliar with Charlotte Mason, then let me provide a short introduction:  Miss Mason was an English educator in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  She believed in the full potential of all children to learn and thrive which was a monumental in a time when children should be “seen and not heard” and when they were only taught in accordance with their social class.  She believed that all children were innately intelligent, inquisitive, creative, and able in so many ways simply because they were made in the image of their Creator God. 

As such she thought that they should be given a liberal (as in broad) education regardless of their background.  She taught that there were three tools or modes of education:  Education is a Atmosphere (Don’t create an artificial environment for learning but encourage a love of learning from all aspects of life), a Discipline (Habit building, character training, virtues are key!), and a Life (Academics should be broadly studied as the sum of all life and not just a few isolated and unrelated subjects). 

She pursued these ideals by focusing on what she called living books which were quality literature written by people who were passionate about their topics rather than textbooks that we dry and filled only with facts.  She encouraged narration and much outdoor time.  She taught that students should get in touch with God through His Word, with His creation through nature walks and the study of natural history, and with mankind through the humanities: arts, music, literature, poetry, and so much more.  She believed in short lessons and much free time for children to digest their learning and to pursue worthy interests.

If this style of education resonates with you, please feel free to join us at my home in Bradford.  We meet every 4-6 weeks on Thursday evenings from 7:30-9:30pm.  You are welcome to pop in anytime after 7pm to visit or to check out the Maple Tree store so that we can start promptly for those who have babysitters to get back to.  RSVP for address information.

The book that we are working through for the first part of this year is “Laying Down the Rails for Yourself” by Sonya Shafer.  http://mapletreepublications.ca/product/laying-down-the-rails-for-yourself/ These books are available for purchase at our meetings through Maple Tree though you are welcome to just visit for an evening or two if you like to check us out to see if we are the encouraging group that you need, no purchase or registration needed. 

Please note that while Charlotte Mason’s philosophy was founded on her Christian faith, all home educating parents are welcome to join us regardless of faith background or of relative adherence to her methodology. 

We would be glad to have you pen these dates in on your calendar and join us this year.

September 20 – Chapters 6-8
October 25 – Chapters 9-11
December 3 – Chapters 12-14
January 10 – Chapters 15-16
February 21 – Chapters 17-18
March 21 – TBA
(Saturday, April 6 KWCHEA Conference, Kitchener)
April 25 – TBA
(May 3& 4 OCHEC Conference, Ancaster)
June 6 – TBA
(Friday June 7 TEACH Book Sale, Brantford)

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!

Blessings on the beginning of the school year,


Homeschool Drivers Ed; Please RSVP!

Hey Folks!  I have been searching out the best drivers ed training for my second daughter and am excited to have found a company that has come highly recommended, at a great price, that is willing to do lessons at times convenient to homeschoolers!  If you have a child that is turning 16 this school year or is already 16 or above, please consider joining us.Car_Keys

The Details:

Dates: October 23-26 (these dates are not yet set in stone.  Please let me know if you can’t make these dates but want to participate!)

Time: 9am – 2:30pm

Classroom Location: TBD, likely in Bradford

In car lesson locations:  while students are welcome to come from anywhere the instructors will pick up and teach in Newmarket, Bradford, Innisfil and/ or Alliston.  If you are from outside of these areas then you will need to bring your child to one of these towns to do their in car lessons.

Includes: in class lessons, lesson book, extra study requirements, 10 hours INDIVIDUAL DAY TIME in car lessons in car provided by the instructor, pick up in the above mentioned communities at no extra charge, MTO certificate registration, taxes.

Cost: $499 + HST = $563.87 MAXIMUM, everything included.  They will give us a break on this if we get the class minimum of 7 students.

Course content: This is a Ministry of Transportation regulated course so the content is standarized but this school assures me that the content is EXACTLY the same as you get at Young Drivers which is more than twice the cost.

The instructors: Bob and Shelley from the Canadian School of Motoring.  https://www.canadianschoolofmotoring.com/  Please check out their website but direct questions to me.  (Our price break is contingent upon us coming as a full class rather than as several individuals.)

RSVP ASAP: We need to have at least 7 students to run the class.  They would like to know ASAP so that they can hold the dates and not book road tests on those dates so if you could even let me know if you MIGHT be interested, we can at least decide whether to hold the October dates or to postpone to later in the year or into the new year


Free Newby Workshops for Summer of 2018

It’s that time of year again that we start thinking toward the fall and school for the kiddos.  It seems that there are more options and more issues than ever weighing on us as parents as we strive to find that which is best for our kids and for our families.  If you have been considering homeschooling as an option for your children or if you have newly taken the plunge into this alternative but rapidly growing way of doing school and life then you are more than welcome to attend one of the upcoming FREE “Newby Workshops” in Barrie or Bradford.  These are interactive “Q&A” style workshops in small groups. 

Workshops are offered by veteran homeschoolers Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink and Cori Dean:

  • on Tuesday, July 31st near Barrie by Henry and Corrinna
  • on Thursday August 9th in Bradford by Cori
  • and on Tuesday, August 21st in Bradford by Cori.

All workshops are free, are approximately 2 hours in length, and will begin promptly at 7:30pm with an on-time draw.  Please feel free to come after 7pm to grab a drink and snack and to visit informally if you wish.  At the Bradford workshops you will be welcome to peruse Maple Tree Publications’ home-based homeschool resource store.

Feel free to forward this invitation to friends, family, neighbours, or other groups in the area who might be interested in learning more about homeshooling and RSVP as soon as possible as space is limited to 15 people per workshop.  Both Mom and Dad (and Grandma and Grandpa or other adult supports) are welcome to attend though we respectfully ask that only parents and nursing babes attend as a full house and a late evening often make it hard for little ones to allow the adults the opportunity to get the most out of the workshop.

RSVP to Henry at utopiapines@hotmail.com  or 705-737-3135 for the Barrie workshop or to Cori at cori@mapletreepublications.ca or 905-778-9412 for the Bradford workshops.

Some topics we will cover:

Yikes! Can I do this!?!

Where can I go for support?

What are the legal implications?

Do I have to contact my local school board?

What about curriculum?

What is a “normal” homeschooling day like?

What about high school and beyond?

What about socialization!?!

Please come with questions!

And expect some yummy handouts too!

Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink bring to these workshops nearly years of homeschooling experience while our little one room schoolhouse was established only 15 years ago.  While we aren’t experts, we do have a few years under our belts and have all participated in home education leadership on the local and national level for many years.  We hope to share the real deal on homeschooling, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We are obviously a bit biased towards homeschooling but will gladly share the truth about the pros and cons of adopting this crazy lifestyle.  Looking forward to meeting many of you in at these events.



Maple Tree Publications




Free Bible League Planners!

Many of Maple Tree’s local friends know that we order in Student Connection Planners every summer as a service to our local community. The Bible League offers these day planners that are a wonderful resource for scheduling and planning, using for journaling or spelling lists, or whatever suits. There are three different versions available and they all have Bible reading plan options if you’d like to use those as well. While they will still be available at cost, this year, we are providing them for FREE to our customers as a way to say thanks and to encourage you as you enjoy the summer break and prepare for another school year to come.
If you’d like TO CLAIM YOUR FREE PLANNER, please choose from the three Bible League Planner 2018-2019 Elementaryoptions below and add your choice as a note on your online (www.mapletreepublications.ca) order or pick up in store. (We will add one free planner for every $50 spent while supplies last!):
– The Elementary Planner is 8.5×11” and is geared to K-2
– The Full-Sized Planner is also 8.5×11” and is geared to grades 3-5
– The Compact Planner is half the size of the others and is generally the same format as the full-sized but is marketed to grades 6-12
(While these are the grades that they are produced for they are really all quite interchangeable except for a couple of study notes sheets in the back and so you can choose whichever format most suits you.)
To take a closer look at the planners, please check here: https://bibleleague.ca/shop/
We will, of course still be providing the planners at cost for those who do not need to place an order! They are $4.29 + GST = $4.50 for Elementary or Full-Sized Planners and $3.29 + GST = $3.45 for the Compact Planner
If you’d like me to get some in stock for you, please send me your name and email address and how many of each you would like ASAP.  (Planners that don’t accompany an order are for pick-up only will be at our home based store in Bradford in late July.)