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 if you would prefer to book an outdoor family session on a different day.)


Please email : Cori at to book on October 1st

or Crystal at to book on October 11th.


Looking forward to this event once again!

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 ( 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:
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.)

Free Newby Seminars for the Summer of 2016!

Hey Folks,

Once again this year, as the homeschooling movement in Canada continues to grow I am partnering with other homeschooling veterans to bring you a series of free open forum evenings to look into the world of homeschooling.  Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink, and Dione Rogers and I have lived the highs and lows of this experience and are excited to chat with you in our homes about the adventure.  The workshops will be offered in  July and August in our homes in Bradford, Barrie, and Stouffville.  

Whether you have made a firm decision or are still investigating yo20160607_123501ur 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 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.

Continue reading Free Newby Seminars for the Summer of 2016!

A New Season…

It is so exciting to see spring unfolding once again and so early this year!  As usual, we are excited to be out in the yard cleaning up and dreaming of things to come, preparing gardens, tidying out the garage (let me tell you: that’s a messy job this year!) and starting little seedlings.  I am not nearly so much a gardening expert as I am an aficionado, a fan, a devotee to mucking in the dirt with hopes that something yummy might spring from it.  Really I am still that kid that makes mud pies and dreams of them really being tasty treats.

In addition to these signs of spring you can also be sure to find me playing with stacks of boxes and leafing through countless books as this is also the beginning of “Conference Season”.  Maple Tree will be at several conferences and sales over the next several months and I will also have the funky privilege of chatting with many of you as I teach several seminars at these gatherings and as I visit in our little corner of the exhibit hall.  

Continue reading A New Season…

More of Fred

One thing that I have planned to do saw to try to do better at sharing new products with you and to let you know what you might find on Maple Tree’s store shelves. 

Most of you are aware that, in addition to the {spectacular} resources that we publish ourselves for the Canadian home school community, we also carry several other great resources that either we, in our little home school, have used or our customers have highly recommended.

If you are new to this little space Under the Maple Tree however, you may not know that we carry Life of Fred Math books

***If you do know about Fred, then please scroll down and take a look as there have recently been several new books added to the series that you may be interested in!***

If you are new to Fred, then let me introduce you!

As a long time math tutor and teacher (of about 20 years!) there was never a math curriculum that I really loved until I met Fred!  Life of Fred Math is so different than any other math curriculum than you will find out there. 

What makes Life of Fred special:

Life of Fred is a fun story, not a dull textbook.  Every mathematical concept is introduced and reinforced in the telling of the story – and it’s a silly, fun whimsical story.  This makes math time so much more pleasurable than it ever could be with a textbook and work book approach.  If ever there was a “living math” curriculum, this is it!

Life of Fred is relevant.  I always hated it when kids came to me for tutoring and could not understand why certain mathematical concepts were useful.  As much as we would go over them and look at the practicalities of what they were learning it just wasn’t reinforced in the teaching that most books or teachers gave.  In the Life of Fred series, Fred always encounters the concepts that the student is learning in “real life” before the concept is taught.  This helps students to know that what they are learning actually has a purpose.

Life of Fred is comprehensive.  While many families chose to use Life of Fred to supplement the curriculum that they are already using, it is also a comprehensive curriculum that can stand on its own and can teach your child all that they need to know in math right from earliest grade school on through to university level learning.

Life of Fred is easy for busy homeschooling families to use.  The books are meant to be used independently with no parental preparation.  As long as students can read, they can do their work on their own.  For younger students, they only need the story read to them, there is no other work that the parent needs to do.

– Life of Fred is cheap!  I know that many of you can relate to me on these terms: as homeschoolers we need to be very careful about where and how we spend our meager budgets.  Life of Fred books are made with hard covers and with a high quality binding.  They are non-consumable.  The prices for Life of Fred books have come down as they have become more popular and you will only ever have to buy one copy for your family.  And Maple Tree pricing is very competitive: when you take into account the cost of the books, shipping, taxes, duties and exchange, you won’t likely find Life of Fred books cheaper in Canada than you will here.  (Let me know if you do!)

Last year, around this time, I shared with you that the author had finally released the Elementary Series making the full curriculum complete.  Since then, he has received feedback that parents and students want more Fred and so he has obliged us with supplementary materials. 

(Below I will try to briefly outline what is available.  For more complete descriptions and pricing please see my website though I appreciate your patience as not all of the new materials are on my website yet.  You can check out samples here.)

Life of Fred Elementary Series
Life of Fred: Apples
Life of Fred: Butterflies
Life of Fred: Cats
Life of Fred: Dogs
Life of Fred: Edgewood
Life of Fred: Farming
Life of Fred: Goldfish
Life of Fred: Honey
Life of Fred: Ice Cream
Life of Fred: Jelly Beans

*This series is recommended for any student that is in grades one to four or who is not able to do adding, subtracting, multiplying AND long division competently.  The author recommends that all students in this category start with Apples regardless of their previous math experience. 

I agree as the way that he teaches the concepts brings a unique understanding to the topics rather than a focus on memorization and drilling.  Older students will go through these books quite a bit faster than younger ones.  As an example, I started both my middle daughters on the Apples book last year and the older one (in grade four) completed eight books while the younger one (in grade one) completed three of them in one school year.* 

***Life of Fred Intermediate Series*** NEW
Life of Fred: Kidneys
Life of Fred: Liver
Life of Fred: Mine Shaft

*When Dr. Schmidt published the Elementary Series last year he said that it was all that was needed to prepare a student to start the “Before High School” series below.  He has recently added these titles to his publications and recommends that they are used by students that need extra practice after finishing the elementary series and who aren’t quite ready for the next series (i.e. they aren’t strong enough in their adding, subtracting, multiplying and long division skills). 

Dr. Schmidt also recommends using this series if the student goes through the elementary series quickly and has not yet started grade five.*

***(If you are looking to purchase this series through Maple Tree, please email as it has not yet been catalogued on the website.  These titles will be available in early December 2012.)***
Life of Fred Before High School Series
Life of Fred: Fractions

Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents
***Life of Fred: Elementary Physics*** NEW
Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology
Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
*This series is for students that are at least in grade five though they may start the Fractions book in older grades as well.  It is recommended that all students starting this series start with the Fractions book whether they are in grade five or grade eight and that they are able to competently do adding, subtracting, multiplying and long division.*
***Recently Dr. Schmidt added the Elementary Physics book to this series and it fits right into the middle of the series.  Again, he decided that the series was complete with four titles however the rate that students were going through the books and the feedback asking for extra practice prompted him to produce this book which is meant to reinforce the learning that students have done to this point in the series.  (If you are looking to purchase this series on my website, please email me if you would like the Elementary Physics book added to your order as it has not yet been catalogued on the website.)***
Life of Fred High School Series
Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra
Fred’s Home Companion: Beginning Algebra
***Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra*** NEW
Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra
Fred’s Home Companion: Advanced Algebra
Life of Fred: Geometry
City Answers: Geometry
Life of Fred: Trigonometry
Fred’s Home Companion: Trigonometry
*These titles are all at the high school level.  The companion books are available for three of the titles and are used to divide the chapters in individual lessons.  They also contain extra questions and solutions.* 
***Please note that the new title Zillions of Practice Problems… was recently added to the high school series line up when the author was asked for extra practice problems because, as he explains it, parents were saying, “We want tons of problems along with completely worked out solutions…  My kids are not crying when they read Fred—how could they be learning math without crying?”  If you are currently using Beginning Algebra and want extra practice problems for your kids then this is the book for you.  If you are planning to invest in Beginning Algebra then consider whether you might want to supplement with this book.  (If you are looking to purchase Zillions…, please email me as it has not yet been catalogued on the website.)***
Life of Fred University Series
Life of Fred: Calculus
City Answers: Calculus
Life of Fred: Statistics
City Answers: Statistics
Life of Fred: Linear Algebra
City Answers: Linear Algebra
*These are upper level high school or university level books.*
I never want to sell anyone a book that they don’t want and so I want to also let you know some of the drawbacks to this series:
– Some moms have told me that their kids don’t like to read.  If you kids don’t like to read stories then they might not enjoy Fred.
Some students don’t want fun and silly to come anywhere near their math books.  Some kids just like to work through problem sets.  Life of Fred isn’t the book for them.
– Some parents want more practice problems for their students.  Dr. Schmidt is working to produce extra practice sets for many of the books that are now available.  Other than these there are many avenues to find the extra problems that you need and many of them are free.  Hopefully, in a later post I will share a few of these resources with you.  Until then, I just like to encourage parents that it’s easy to find a few extra problems to go with your child’s Life of Fred lesson.  It isn’t easy to find fun, relevant and passionate applications to the many long problem sets that most other curriculums provide.
I hope that this {brief} description of the Life of Fred series gives you enough of an idea of what it is like and whether it would be of any use to your family.  I would be happy to answer any other questions that you might have about these books if you think that they might be helpful in your home school.
Blessings, Friends!
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