It would seem that online businesses are always open, especially small businesses. When I go camping, to the doctors office, or to church my little Maple Tree tags along almost everytime and if I can I try to send off a quick note while waiting for the soup to warm up or prepare an order between math and history lessons or answer an inquiry while waiting the kids are in their piano lessons I am happy to do so but even the most enjoyable work needs to be laid aside for a season here and there. Continue reading A Time to Rest….
** Please note the date changes below. Thank you all for your kind words and support as our family has struggled to find health this fall. We are pleased to report that hubby is now recovering at home after a week long hospital stay. **
I am so excited to start a new year of Charlotte Mason Support Group! As many of you know I host this little book club for very selfish reasons as I am so energized and encouraged by the visits of like-minded mamas every 5-6 week. You give me a boost that helps me to imagine I might survive this crazy game for a few more weeks.
Continue reading Mother Culture: A Charlotte Mason Support Group in Bradford, Ontario *Note date change!*
Well, how has your first week of school gone? It’s so neat to hear from so many of you on Facebook at our new page, “Maple Tree Publications”, and to see your excitement over new books, new routines, new lessons. September is a clean slate, a new start. I have even heard from some of you who homeschool throughout the year and still there is that air of turning over a new leaf.
So, I decided that we had to participate in the fervor and to take pictures so I could post pictures of the shining faces of my little cherubs. My kids had to search for the number of their grade while we walked idyllically around the Toronto Zoo on our first day of school. We only found a number one. We saw the gorillas and panda bears and also saw the komodo dragon being fed and talked to the zoo keeper because no one else was there to chat with her. We took a fun first day of school picture on the bronze statue of the komodo dragons. It was the continuing of a tradition started a dozen years ago: if we are going to do this education thing differently, we will do it different from the start and always take a field trip on the first day of school. All in all we had a great day.
The drive home was quite peaceful despite the city traffic we had to drive through. Dinner and the evening were just fine. Then 1 am rolled around.
My head had finally just hit the pillow after staying up late to make sure I was ready for the next morning and almost simultaneously two girls stumbled bleary eyed out of their bedrooms, a bit of panic in their steps… Sick! It was a long night. Our hopes of a positive start on Wednesday were dashed. No back to normal then or Thursday. Sigh!
I get overwhelmed at times, wishing things went better, that I was a better teacher, more organized, less impatient, less irritable, wanting to deal with kids who were always enthusiastic, who listen the first time, who don’t leave wet towels on the floor in their rooms until they stink. Sigh. My plans just don’t always work. I feel like I am failing my kids. But then when I step back and look at things with far – sighted glasses I see how far we have come and I also see so much that we have to look forward to. It’s then that I am reminded that it isn’t worth getting worried about the daily grind. There is always time for a fresh start.
So tomorrow, we will try again for the anticipated gentle startup that we had hoped for. I think it’s going to take us a few weeks at this rate to settle in. I had hoped we would be off and running by the end of this week or at least by early next. Sigh! One of my sickies did perk up and voluntarily did two of her math lessons this evening. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.
I am realizing that our real lessons are learned when the going gets tough, not so much when we get to see the Komodo Dragon keeper impart all her wisdom about her charge. Its learning to juggle sick kids and all the other things that the day throws at me without giving up and crying…. Too often. It’s my kids learning to help one another out when there are two of them sick and only one of me to be the nurse. The ones who aren’t sick (yet!?) learn to step up and help with newspapers or make the meal or empty the dishwasher. They have learned a lot this week. They’ve practiced skills we’ve been honing for years.
So even if I had done the best of planning for this new school year, I would not have been able to plan these lessons. I would have avoided them. But learning to work together in these small adversities has been a greater lesson for these first few days than if we had got all the language arts and math lessons going. – Though I am hoping that tomorrow will be the day to tackle those lessons, finally!
A word of wisdom that my pastor imparted a few weeks ago has been rolling around in my head: Courage, true, biblical courage, is never cultivated in comfort.
Mamas (and Papas and others): know that your struggles are not in vain. You are building a lasting legacy so be strong and courageous! Wishing you all the best today as you build. 😉 And for many days after.
This year it seems that there are more parents than ever considering this crazy homeschooling life and so once again this year, in partnership with Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink, I am offering free workshops to new homeschoolers (and those thinking of homeschooling) at my home in Bradford, Ontario and in the Kiezebrink home near Barrie, Ontario.
Whether you have made a firm decision or are still investigating your options, whether you are doing this based on a conviction you have or because the ability to school in a different way just seems to fit for your family, please feel free to come for a visit. These are interactive (question and answer style) small group workshops. If you, or someone you know, are interested in coming please RSVP directly to me at email@example.com as soon as possible as attendance is limited to 15 people (since we do have a very cozy space to meet) and the evenings usually do fill up.
You may come either to the home of the Kiezebrinks near Barrie, Ontario on Tuesday, July 21st or to my home in Bradford, Ontario on Thursday, August 13th. Both evenings will run from 7:30-9:30.
Both Mom and Dad (and Grandma and Grandpa or other adult supports) are welcome to attend though I 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.
We will cover topics like:
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 is a “normal” homeschooling day like?
What about socialization!?!
Please come with questions!
And expect some yummy handouts too!
Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink bring to these workshops 25 years of homeschooling experience while our little homeschool was established only 12 years ago. While we aren’t experts, we do have a few years under our belts and 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.
Please feel free to share this invitation with friends and family who are new to homeschooling or who are considering it. You are also welcome to forward this information to your church group or other homeschool groups. See you in the summer!
Well, another Conference Season has come and gone at Maple Tree. I always so look forward to the time that I get to finally see so many people in person that I have only ever met in this virtual world. I love communicating with you all through the year but to see real people at conferences is always so encouraging to me. It’s then that I know that I am not the only crazy one attempting this home education thing and that my acquaintances aren’t just imagined.
I know that I go to conferences as a speaker and a peddler of books but I actually have a more selfish reason for going. I love to hear people’s stories. I am a collector of stories. I love to hear how your school year went, why you are just starting out or what 20 years of this crazy life style has taught you. Thank you all for stopping by and saying hello at a Maple Tree booth here or there in the last few months.
As a way to say thanks for stopping by and to give back to the community, I was able this year to give a special $25 gift certificate as a door prize at each major conference and book sale that I was at this spring and now I am pleased to share the winners with you all.
KWCHEA, Kitchener: Joanna M.
OCHEC, Hamilton: Meagan V
KATCH, Peterborough: Amy L.
New and Used Sale, Barrie: Matt L.
TEACH, Brantford: Barb W.
Congratulations to you all! I look forward to sending you a special treat of your choice from the Maple Tree store.
One of my sweet friends reminded me recently that this life that we are living is always going to be a juggling act and that we are always going to be dropping the ball. The trick is to choose which ball to drop and when and to make sure that we alternate which one gets dropped from time to time.
I am sure that many of you also have a similar story: there’s my job as wife and then mom and teacher and small business woman. I need to feed little people, and make sure I get some exercise in, and that the laundry is relatively under control, and pack book treats into boxes and envelopes and write. Writing. I miss that. Writing has been the ball that has been dropped lately and it’s time to dust it off and pick it up and get in touch again. I think I am a bit of a modern day old fashioned girl: not much for talking on the phone but I do love to write and exchange notes. If we can’t sit down and have a proper conversation over a cup of tea, then the written word is one of the best ways to communicate.
Writing soothes me. I think that’s why I am a journaller. I write even when I hope that no one will ever read it. And while this sunny little spot Under the Maple Tree isn’t a very large community, I thank you for joining in this conversation. It encourages me to hear from you and to hear of your struggles and your victories. Thanks for indulging me and letting me share my little part of the world with you. I’ve missed this time.
I can’t wait to tell you a bit about what’s been going on here. Most of it is mundane and everyday-ish, some is exciting and exhilarating. Dropping the writing ball has allowed me to do a little better at a few other things. I have become fairly consistent in exercising and eating better, which has lead to me adding a few new treats to the shelves of our store: the book Trim Healthy Mama and some of the specialty foods that they provide like healthy natural sweeteners.
We have also done a bunch of the boring behind the scenes work that needs to be done, updating computer programmes and hardware to make Maple Tree run better. I thought that changing my email address (to firstname.lastname@example.org) would be less cumbersome than it proved to be but now we have an address that won’t need to change again as it matches our website.
We’ve tripled the number of books that are available on the webstore as we continue to work towards being Canada’s Charlotte Mason resource provider, www.mapletreepublications.ca. Check out all the Simply Charlotte Masonbooks that we now stock in addition to publications by Maple Tree as well as Life of Fred math, Mystery of History, Story of the World, Jonathan Park, Learning Language Arts Through Literature and much more.
On the home front, the girls are in senior kindergarten to grade ten, if you want to talk schoolish. I can’t wait to tell you about our experience reading through the whole Bible at the beginning of this school year. Many of you have asked and so I will update you about that soon too.
For now though I should leave you with a few more practical updates as I anticipate the excitement of a few more conferences coming up in the next several weeks. It has been so refreshing to me to see many of you and to serve you at both the KWCHEA conference in Kitchener and the RVHEA conference in Ottawa. Next weekend Maple Tree will be at OCHEC in Ancaster at Redeemer University.
If you are at any of these upcoming conferences, please come by and say hello. And, of course, I will happily pack up an order to bring to you at the conference if you have something that you need and want to make sure it’s available when we meet up.
Here’s where Maple Tree is setting up shop in the next little bit:
May 1-2 OCHEC Convention in Ancaster.
*I will be speaking on “Enjoying Math?”* (Really, it will be fun one!)
*I will be doing a three part series on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education: Education is an Atmostphere, a Discipline and a Life.* I am really excited to be able to share these ones. Don’t miss out!
June 12th TEACH New and Used Curriculum Fair in Brantford.
Looking forward to seeing many of you soon in person and to hearing from you Under the Maple Tree as I get back to adding the writing ball into this jumbled up mess that I juggle.