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Free Newby Workshops!

Dear Friends,

Once again this year I am offering free workshops to new homeschoolers (and those thinking of homeschooling) at my home in Bradford, Ontario.  I will also be partnering with Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink to offer one in their home near Barrie, Ontario again this year.

If you are new to the homeschooling world or are considering this crazy lifestyle, then please feel free to come for a visit. These are interactive (question and answer style) small group workshops in my home. If you, or someone you know is interested in coming please RSVP directly to me at as soon as possible as attendance is limited to 15 people (since I do have a very cozy living room) and the evenings usually do fill up. (Perhaps they will more so this year as City TV has done a story on us recently that we understand will air soon and will include information about these workshops!)

You may come to my home on either of two dates: Thursday, July 18th or Tuesday, August 6th. Both evenings will run from 7:30-9:30.  The Keizebrinks are hosting their workshop on August 20th from 7:30-9:30. 

Both Mom and Dad 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 young people 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 about curriculum?

What is a “normal” homeschooling day like?

What about socialization!?!

Please come with questions!

And expect some yummy handouts too!

Henry and Corrinna Kiezebrink hope to attend all of these workshops to share from their 24 years of homeschooling experience as well.

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!



Maple Tree Publications



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Of Life and Laundry Lines

How is it that summer is whisking by so quickly?  I feel like just yesterday we were finishing up our last lessons of this and that, and that now it will only be a few days before we will be working in earnest to prepare to get back to the regular school-year routine!

I hope that most of you are now enjoying a break from the rhythm of the school year. I know that I am. It has taken these wonderful little packages of a few minutes snatched here and there, peaceful moments in which to realize that it was a pretty stressful year in the Dean house: serious health concerns, busy days with a routine that some times wants to eat me up, the ups and downs of living in a family, the challenging tightrope walk of trying to integrate business with family and still maintain normalcy and to keep my priorities straight.

We have already enjoyed a lot of much needed break time, recovery time, after a very busy conference season and have felt very refreshed but do you, like me, find that even the breaks takes a lot of work?  It seemed like a week of camping required 10 days of intensive prep and now, several days of recovery.

Yesterday, as we unpacked, cleaned and did the laundry, I was enjoying the return to my simple place under the laundry tree.  I love snatching these moments with you here “Under the Maple Tree” but I feel like my laundry line is my measuring device for balance in my own little life: when I can stand under the blossoms of the crabapple tree and hang and take in our fresh garments I feel like time has slowed down.  That is when I am not living at the pace of technology. 

It is when life is rushed and there isn’t time that we throw a load in the washer and then the dryer (and then more often than not, deposit it in a heap on the landing upstairs waiting for some magical laundry fairy to come and fold it).  When there is time for the details, time for the catching up and for keeping up, a margin for error in a marginless world, it is then that I find myself fussing over straight lines of lights, brights and darks. While little streams of light peak around and through the branches to gently caress linens that flap in the breeze.

So while fun busyness of beach days and visits and play helps to refresh our school year busyness of a different sort, I am so happy too for the “unbusy” moments when I can just peacefully hang out the laundry. 

Wishing you restful, peaceful moments this week, Friends!



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Newby Workshops – Last Call

Dear Friends,

I just thought I would post one last call for this month’s upcoming Newby Workshops.

This Tuesday, August 9th, will be the last one at my home, in Bradford. For more information about this workshop please see my blog: You can register for this workshop by contacting me at

The final Newby Workshop for this season is on Tuesday, August 23rd at the home of Henry and Corrinna Keizebrink near Barrie. Registration for this workshop is through Henry at

Both workshops are free and are for anyone who is relatively new to homeschooling or who is thinking of homeschooling.

There will be lots of Q&A time and some yummy handouts and freebies. Please feel free to pass this information on. The July workshop was packed full and a lot of fun. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on these as I won’t be holding these for free again until next summer.

Looking forward to Tuesday!



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In Search of the Secret

Summer seems to be zooming by so quickly.  I lament that there just isn’t enough time.  I wanted to make changes to my website, add some of my favourite products, share some new discoveries, finish making edits and changes to books.  What has been distracting me? Camping with the family, playing at the beach, lounging in my backyard, yummy treats in the garden.  One particularly sunny afternoon I found myself at a beach with friends wishing I could get wifi so that I could chatter on my blog a bit.  My friend and I sat with our littlest people all about us as our husbands played in the water with the older kids.  As her husband paddled off with some children in a canoe she commented, “I wish I could be in the canoe and not here on the beach with the little ones.”  It reminded me of so many other conversations, moms who wanted a change in the routine, friends that wanted more rest and less work in their vacations, me complaining that I don’t have enough time to get my work done because I am too busy resting and relaxing with the family.

As I reflect on it, it seems silly that I’d rather be twiddling on my laptop than resting with a cuddly toddler in my lap but human nature is so powerful: we always want what we don’t have.  It is in those moments that I have to step out of my circumstances and give my head a shake and wonder at my own stubbornness.  The Lord gave me so many things to rejoice at that there should be no room for envy, for wishing for that which I don’t have.

The apostle Paul wrote it well: I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV). 

I think it should read more like this, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want: I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (The Unauthorized Cori Version)  Did you catch that change?  The colon.  In Greek there were no punctuation marks so they have been added to help translate the meaning of the text.  I think that what Paul was teaching here was just this….

We are all seeking that secret to being happy.  Paul says it doesn’t have anything to do with your circumstances but that it has everything to do with Him who gives us the strength to rise above circumstances. 

If I find it a struggle to be happy when the sun is shining down, when surrounded by friends and family that love me, when the pantry is full and its hard not to run outdoors at all hours just to breath in the summery air, then what of the winter months when we feel like we have been locked inside for days and yet another little one is sick.  The challenge, in both circumstances is to find my contentedness in Christ who is my all in all.

True contentment is knowing that Christ’s death on the cross is really all that we have ever needed, more than food, more than shelter, more than family or acceptance, more than the air that we breathe.  Walking in contentedness then comes from relying on the strength that can only come from that supernatural source that makes us able to truly smile in difficult circumstances.  That is bliss!

Wishing you blissful summer moments Friends!

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Failing versus Failure

Yesterday we spent a very enjoyable day at the local Christian Home School Track and Field Meet.  It was beautiful: warm and sunny with a nice breeze all through the day.  The kids had a great time, met new people. 

A few things that really impacted me about the day:

~ It was such a privilege to be associated with such a wonderful group of people.  When one of my daughters was discouraged by her inability to win ribbons like her team mates they didn’t pull out iPods and ignore her, they didn’t sluff her off and play without her, they didn’t smile weakly and move on.  These young girls, who had been total strangers at the beginning of the day, crowded around and one after another chirped up sweet words of affirmation and encouragement.

Parents, if you question the impact that you have on your children, please let me affirm that the way that you speak to your children is truly reflected in the way that they speak to others.  I wish I had known the parents of these young girls today in order to be able to congratulate them on their children’s behaviour and maturity.  They were really an encouragement to the both of us.

~ One of the really neat secondary benefits of going to events like this is that we get a chance to feel “normal” – after all we are surrounded by hundreds of other people who are living a homeschooling life like us and we don’t feel like the odd man out, for once. 

~ What a neat boost to be able to see our kid’s skills shine through.  Though I knew that my girls have an incredible set of gifts and that they are valuable beyond measure, I had never noticed before that they had some of these hidden talents.

~ On the other hand it was very humbling to see one of my very confident young women have her inabilities also highlighted in this environment.  As I saw my dear daughter stumbling through the last two hundred metres of a very difficult 800m race I was reminded of a poem I heard read in a recent sermon which really spoke to the amazing success that I recognize in her choice to finish the race despite the fact that everyone had forgotten that she was even still out there.  As the runners lined up for the next race and all eyes were again on the start line I saw her rally her steam and make a showing at the forgotten finish line. 

She arrived later than all the other participants but she won a most amazing prize that many winners didn’t have the chance to grasp in their hands.  She won perseverance, stick-to-it-iveness.  Though my daughter will likely never be a famous track star, she has brought home from this event a more valuable prize: skill, virtue, a tool that she can reuse in many situations in home and at a job, with friends and with family.  My heart is full of joy with the knowledge that she overcame so much and that she learned such a valuable lesson today as she held her side through the frustration and disappointment and made her way over the line. 

This is the great difference between failing and failure.  My beautiful girl may have failed to earn a top finishing position in the race, infact she failed to win any placement ribbons at all but she did not come anywhere near failure.  Despite the fact that her sisters came home with ribbons and metals she was the most successful of my tracksters as she reached beyond her abilities.  She didn’t give up.  She did something that she didn’t think that she could, she finished when she didn’t want to do it, she ran to success even when she wanted to quit. 

I am so thankful for this chance for my family to participate in this memorable life and learning experience.  We are all, already, looking forward to track and field day next year!


A photo finish

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Loving this summery weather…

It’s so nice to be able to take down the walls of the school and to learn and to love and to live so much out of doorsLearning is so much easier when you have materials like this and a classroom full of God’s creation.  Hope you are enjoying taking in some of the beautiful scenery today.



P.S. – If you are still interested in the Newby Workshop then let me know soon.  The July workshop is almost full though there is still lots of room for August…  Also, there is a possibility of a third workshop being offered in Barrie.  I will keep you in the loop as I find out details.