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Hello All,

It’s been a while since I got to spend some time in my virtual home here Under the Maple Tree.  I have been rather absent this season, just like at this time last year, because I have been out in the real world more often seeing so many of your encouraging faces at homeschooling conferences and other events.  It was such a busy time as I worked and spoke at more conferences than ever this year and had the opportunity to travel across the country to meet even more amazing parents who are walking this crazy homeschooling road with me.  What a treat it has been.

Throughout this season, one small lesson has resonated with me.  Perhaps it is because it takes so many repetitions to get through to such a thick head as mine or maybe it is just something that the Lord wanted me to learn.  I think it’s a bit of both. 

On our first family weekend camping trip of the year the weather was beautifully warm though the water at the beach was still quite chilly.  The kids played the days away in the water while I just tiptoed in and out around the edges of the water when I got overheated, the water rippling around my shivering knees.  It was a peaceful reprieve, watching the water moving out in tiny waves from the places where my toes displaced it.

You see, midway through the season, conference season (which used to be called spring in my world), my precious Nana died.  It was sad.  It was hard.  But at the same time, we were relieved for her, hoping that she had finally found peace after a very long battle with Altzheimer’s disease.  She had long since left us and it was only her body left that finally gave up.  It was, of course a time of tears and of memories and of telling stories of old.  I, being the talker in the family, again got to share a eulogy for a grandparent.  I remembered her in her big moo-moo dresses, rubber boots, winter coat, slacks and straw hat in her garden growing more food than the whole family could eat.  I remembered family celebrations with KFC, kielbasa and cabbage rolls because my uncle didn’t like turkey.  After the funeral, when we came home that day it seemed the most fitting tribute to eat KFC and spend the rest of the day in the garden.  Ripples.  Her life cascading into my own.  
Most recently we have cried many hours with friends as they have suffered loss, the results of many years of ripples rocking their boat, influencing them in ways that they weren’t aware of until they capsized. 

Ripples.  They have become a focal point even in the smaller events, seeing how our decisions affect our children’s decisions, their demeanor, their values.  I’ve also noticed that so often we are affected by what is rippling out from someone else’s life, their ideas, their actions.  So often I want to think that homeschooling my kids will allow them to come only under my influence but that is so often proven wrong, and often to their benefit.  I don’t always make the right decisions, say the right things.

The lessons I have been learning this spring are of how powerfully we are influenced and how we also influence others in ways that we may not even imagine in this lifetime. It makes me afraid to dive into my roles, scared that I may unknowingly be the source of someone else’s undoing.  I think, too, how often I suppose to speak with authority about something and really I am just flapping my gums, sharing an opinion that may or may not be founded. 

As we formally wrap up another year of schooling I, as usual, am taking some time to look back and see where we have come from.  I see that we have learned a lot, but have we learned the right things?  I also look forward and anticipate.  I know that the unknown future holds many waves that will rock my boat, waves that will rippleout and threaten the sunny happy days that I desire for my kids to live under.  But rather than praying for a smooth ride, I am praying for a strong boat, for a firm foundation, and for waves that will propel them towards their Saviour rather than sink them in a mire of uncertainty. 

Wishing you, Dear Friends, strength and perseverance as you ride out the waves that shake you in this season.



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Hello Friends,

A few upcoming dates in my little world…  Will you join me for a few of them here or there?  I’m excited that “conference season” is just around the corner as I will be able to see some of my virtual friends in real life.  If I don’t see you in a seminar, be sure to some and see me in the vendor hall and say hi. 

February 16 – Charlotte Mason Meeting in Bradford, Ontario. 7:30-9:30.  Please let me know if you plan to come!)
March 22 – Charlotte Mason Meeting
March 31 – KWCEA Conference, Kitchener.  See you at Rockway Menonite Collegiate, 110 Doon Road, 8:30am to 5pm.
   Workshops that you might join me for?  (See the descriptions below)
            Goal Setting And Planning Your Next School Year
           Homeschooling for “Newbies”
            Single Income Living In A Double Income Culture
April 14thRVHEA Conference, Ottawa.  Will you be at this one?  It’s at Kanata Baptist Church, 465 Hazeldean Road, Kanata, 8am to 5pm.
   Workshops that you might join me for?
         Enhancing Your Math Teaching
         Charlotte Mason in Real Life
         In Search of the Secret: The Practical Road to Contentment
April 27 & 28 – OCHEC Conference, Hamilton.  Please come and say hello if you are around in Hamilton.  Hamilton Convention Centre, 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton.  
   Workshops that you might join me for?
          Working Together
          In Search of the Secret: The Practical Road to Contentment
May 3 – Charlotte Mason Meeting
May 7 – Speaking at New Tech Homeschool Group.  This is a local homeschool group meeting on a Monday evening.
           Charlotte Mason in Real Life
May 26 – Parent’s Guide Conference, Barrie.  I will be spending my day in the vendor’s hall; if this one is closer to your front door then please come visit for a bit.  Barrie Free Methodist Church, 284 Cundles Road East, 8:30 am -3:30 pm.
June 7 – Charlotte Mason Meeting
June 8 – TEACH New and Used Curriculum Sale, Brantford, Mohawk College Campus, 6-9:30.  There aren’t any seminars at this one but if you are looking for bang for your buck – this is an awesome used books sale.  (I’ve always shopped for used books here and then been able pick any other books that I needed in the vendor’s hall.)
July – Newby Meeting **Stay tuned for updates**
August – New and Used Curriculum Sale, Ajax
August – Newby Meeting **Stay tuned for updates**
(Interested in a Newby Meeting in your area.  Drop me a note, I’d love to visit for an evening with new homeschoolers in your area!)
So, now you know where to find me in the next few months…  I will look forward to seeing many of your soon.

2012 Homeschool Workshops 

In Search of the Secret: The Practical Road to Contentment. – Do you ever wonder what is it that you are searching for, what would make you truly happy?Living in a homeschooling family is a countercultural lifestyle just as being content is a countercultural value nowadays.In this seminar, we will search out the secret of the true meaning of contentment and how it is that we can practically work towards this ever elusive paradise in a home that is lived in 24/7 and on a limited income.Looking at our goals and expectations, our priorities, our stuff, our money, our relationships, we will set out on a journey that will prepare us to not only endure the trials of everyday life as a home educating family but to thrive and to be truly content.

Working Together – Working together as a family is an essential learning goal of every homeschool both for growing students and for the sanity of the mom who wants to conquer the laundry mountain.In this workshop we first look at the biblical basis for teaching our children to work together then discuss the basics of working together in order to develop self care skills, hospitality skills and a servant’s heart.Because Working Together is framed around acquiring practical life skills this seminar also includes how to set up a routine that will get the whole family involved in the essentials of running a Christian household. *** Note: I have an exciting new publication, Working Together: Teamwork Starts at Home Base that corresponds to this seminar.***

Goal setting and planning for your next school year – Preparing for the next school year can be a daunting task.  Where do you start?  How do you decide what to study and when to study it?  Are you planning too much? Or too little?  How do you know if you are making SMART goals?  Do your long term goals for educating your children match your short and medium term goals? This workshop will walk you through how to plan for each of your children for an entire school year from writing a vision and goals to finishing with a workable schedule.
Single Income Living in a Double Income Culture Choosing to homeschool makes your family countercultural for many reasons. Living by a different economy is one of those reasons. As homeschoolers, we have to learn to live more on less. This seminar looks at how it is that we can not only survive on less but thrive on one income. We will look at ways to save money in our homeschools and how to invest what we do spend wisely. Cori will also share about ways that their family has turned their home educating efforts into opportunities to earn money for the kids and for small business income that has helped the family’s bottom line by paying for homeschool costs.
Homeschooling for “Newbies” – Just starting out or considering taking a homeschooling adventure?  This workshop will address some of the top questions that new homeschoolers ask: Do I need to contact my local school board?  What resources and supports are available to me?  How do I choose curriculum?  What should a typical school day look like?  What about socialization!?!   – With lots of time built in for questions and answers you will have the chance to get specific answers to specific questions.
Enhancing Your Math Teaching.  In this seminar we will look at ways to enrich the basics that you are studying in your math curriculum so that your family can move beyond the theoretical study of a pure science into the realm of everyday life through practical application.  Enhancing teaching through the use of games, literature, activities and manipulatives as well as through unit studies, and various subjects, such as science and art, are just starters to helping your family enjoy their math studies.
Charlotte Mason in Real Life – Every family homeschools for different reasons and from a different perspective.  Likewise, we all have different styles.  This workshop looks at ways to integrate beneficial aspects of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy without necessarily becoming a dedicated “Charlotte Mason” family.  This workshop starts out with an overview of the Charlotte Mason Philosophy and goes on to explore simple ways of incorporating beneficial principles like “living books”, narration and developing relationships with subjects into any homeschool no matter which way you approach home education.

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The Third Floor

I have just been enjoying the freedom to be outdoors that the Springtime weather has finally afforded us….  I just had to repost this article from a previous Under the Maple Tree Newsletter….

When we first moved to our “cookie-cutter” starter home – you know the one that looks the same as every other starter on the street – I was twenty-three, pregnant and a newly wed. Our yard was but an after thought in this big new world of having a whole home to love and to care for, to maintain and to pay for. Now – twelve years, and several babies, mortgage payments and home improvements later – our big little
home often seems to be bursting at the seams with so many little women living under one roof.  It was in these times that we looked out the windows and often said, “If only,” and imagined more space, more rooms, more yard.  When we took the time to think through the costs of moving in contrast to our missionary salary
and the increased effort that so much “more” would take – more cleaning, more payments, more maintaining – our hearts became content and we began to look at enlarging the space we had. Again we were disappointed with the bank balance and decided to curb our desires.
Then Spring came.
As we started to be able to spend more time comfortably out of doors we started the usual maintenance regime – trim, mow, tidy – and we found that the Lord had already started a building project for us: A new pantry filled with the freshest organic food to replace my dilapidated cupboards full of stale crackers and canned soup in the form of a garden hacked out of the overgrowth. A second laundry room equipped with a top of the line, no carbon-footprint, solar and wind powered dryer disguised as an old laundry tree
refurbished after years of neglect. For the first time, a playroom just for the kids with handmade real wood toys (climbers and swings and slides) made out of the neighbour’s old deck.  A kitchen made out of our freshly power washed deck, another neighbour’s discarded garden table and chairs and the BBQ that we received as an engagement gift which was once again painted and refurbished. A hobby room and maintenance room stood in the form of a shed cut into the hillside out of lumber that had been construction forms that a local company had been discarding.  Then there is the den, the lounging spot, with which no amount of our remodeling could compare. This space is decorated with the most exquisite artwork I will ever have – flowers perfected by the Master Gardener and Artist himself – and which adorn our humble abode as though we deserve the honour of these gifts. Despite only being about ten feet by twenty feet it sports the most spacious area on our whole property in which to lounge. All I need now is a good garage sale hammock and my second home will be complete: I’m not ready for an outdoor lavatory yet.
Though it has take us years to realize this blessing, we often teasingly call this yard of ours “The Third Floor” because we would not have done so well to have added a third floor to our humble dwelling.  We love the Lord’s idea of remodeling because not only did he make an improvement to our home but he made an improvement to our hearts. We are content.
And when we start to get complacent, upset by all the extra work of having a third floor he gently wraps his gift in a blanket of snow and puts it away until we start to yearn for more space again.

Hope that you are experiencing more fresh space at your home this week.



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Enjoying Spring…

What a wonderful weekend it has been!  Of course robins are our first sign of spring – I heard them a few days before I saw them this year.  But the real sign that winter’s grip is lost is when we get to move back outside: the laundry is hung out on the line!  Yesterday was beautiful and sunny and warm.
Then today ushered in one of those miraculous moments that only comes once every few years: a great and vigorous thunderstorm that washed everything clean leaving the world a glowing green that only minutes before had been a drab brown.  An immediate transformation.  Some of the most beautiful scenes of the Great Artist’s work.
Wishing you, Dear Friends, a week of beautiful art appreciation.  There is no entrance fee to this great gallery and the Artist is the most accomplished in history.  Enjoy the spring!

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I’ve been meaning to add these dates to this blog for quite some time now but thought I would be able to figure out how to actually get a calendar on the page and do a few other fancy things.  Since that’s not happening, and before these events expire, I wanted to post some information and invite you to join me for a date 

March 28th: Working Together book launch and workshop at the Newmarket’s CHEN (Christian Home Educators Network) meeting.  Contact me for details if you would like to attend.
March 31, 7:30 to 9:30pm: Charlotte Mason Support Group Meeting in Bradford.  Contact Cori for details.
April 2, 8am to 5pm: KWCHEA Conference in Kitchener.  The cost is about $42 per person and is, I think, your best deal “smiles-per-dollar” as it is a one day event (no hotel room required) and includes lunch as well as dozens of great seminars and an excellent vendors hall.  Come here to hear our own Cyndy Regeling speak on Art Appreciation.  Also catch one of my workshops on Enhancing Your Math Teaching, Charlotte Mason in Real Life or Homeschooling for Newbies.  For more details check out
April 16th, 8am to 5pm: RVHEA Conference in Ottawa.  I haven’t been here before but am looking forward to meeting some new people and sharing a few workshops on Home Schooling For Newbies, Goal Setting, and Living Math.  The cost varies so check out their website at for all the details.
April 28th, 7:30 to 9:30pm: Charlotte Mason Support Group Meeting in Bradford.  Contact Cori for details.  *** Please note the date change from May 5th! ***
May 6th and 7th: OCHEC Conference in Hamilton.  This is the big conference in Ontario.  Well worth the investment of time and money.  (Registration is about $60 but again you should check out their website for full details.)  OCHEC always has a great speaker lineup and a very comprehensive vendors hall.  I will be doing two seminars here as well on Enjoying Math? and Charlotte Mason 101.  OCHEC’s website is
May 28th,  8:30 to 3:30: Parents Guide Conference in Barrie.  This is a smaller conference but what I love about it is that in addition to workshops and a vendor hall there is a used book sale!  Cost is $15 if you pre-register by May 14th and all the information can be found on their website at  I will have the privilege of holding a workshop on Enjoying Math at this conference.
June 9th, 7:30 to 9:30pm: Charlotte Mason Support Group Meeting in Bradford.  Contact Cori for details.
June 10th, 6 to 9:30pm: TEACH New and Used Curriculum Sale at Mohawk College in Brantford.  If you are interested in getting some of your curriculum used then this is the best sale for you to get to this year.  I have always found this to be the best place to shop for a deal.  Go with a list in hand because it is easy to over-shop!  Then, whatever necessities you don’t find in the used areas you can pick up in the well stocked vendor’s hall later.  $2 entrance fee!
August 6th: Back to School New and Used Curriculum Sale in Ajax.  I am still waiting for details on this one…  I will let you know.
Many Blessings,