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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. 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,


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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.  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


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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  or 705-737-3135 for the Barrie workshop or to Cori at 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


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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…

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A Time to Rest….

Dear Friends,

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….

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Mother Culture: A Charlotte Mason Support Group in Bradford, Ontario *Note date change!*

** 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!*