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Description: CHOIS Connection is a magazine published in Idaho to enrich the lives of homeschoolers.

Brain Breaks An ImportAnt tool In your HomescHool He Is Faithful tHrougHout our HomescHool journey th joying En Risks Taking utdoors O e Winter 2014 Let CHOIS HeLp yOu wrIte tHe fInaL CHapter Of yOur homeschool story To participate in the May 30 2015 graduation ceremony please apply before December 15 2014 idaho-state-homeschool-graduation For more information or to apply visit coMing March 2015 a burns family studios film Beyond the Mask is an action-fused historic adventure set in the international turmoil of the mid 1770 s. Beyond The Mask Movie.coM You can homeschool. We can help along the journey. To know God and to make Him known Communities in Idaho Boise Bonners Ferry Burley Cascade Coeur D Alene Idaho Falls Moscow Mountain Home Nampa Post Falls Sandpoint Twin Falls For more information contact KFadeley 2 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 W W W. C L A S S I C A LC O N V E R S AT I O N S . C O M a word from the editor .................................................................................................................................... WEBSITE Please visit us at H ave you had a chance to call a Snow Day yet A day so abundantly blessed by the white stuff that you simply had to release the kids from their desks for the pure joy of snowmen and angels. I hope so There s nothing better than an unexpected day of freedom and the warm glow of a crackling fire and frothy goodness of hot cocoa. These are the days that bring smiles memories and life to our schools. Enjoy them If I had to choose a theme for this issue of the CHOIS Connection I would definitely assign the word IDEAS. We hope that when youarefinishedreadingit cover-to-coverofcourse thatyouwill have picked up some fresh ideas. It s tempting to greet the month of December with a sigh knowing that it brings additional tasks to our plate but I encourage you to look at it afresh through your children s eyes. When they are adults with families of their own what will they remember about your holiday traditions It probably will not be the gifts or the perfectly prepared meals and decorated home. It will be the laughter and the love. And thankfully these come free of charge and do not even need to be gift wrapped. I hope that your family will enjoy many opportunities to snuggle up close and enjoy one another s company especially as you encounter the mystery and wonder of His birth during this Holy season. ................................. LIKE US A faithful community where we share our days with you. CHOIS FOLLOW US Get on-the-go homeschool updates and see what we are up to. CHOIS PIN US Check out our boards on the things many homeschool moms love. CHOIS WAYS YOU CAN HELP Spread the word about CHOIS to family and friends. Like us on Facebook and encourage your friends to Like us too. Collect Box Tops for Education for CHOIS. Donate to the CHOIS Silent Auction. Join us in our effort to connect the whole state. Check out the website for volunteer needs. Pray for the CHOIS Board of Directors and volunteers we really need it Linda Patchin Adoringly Linda Patchin edItOr Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 3 PUBLISHER CHOIS EDITOR Linda Patchin MAGAZINE LAYOUT & DESIGN Diana Childress A MAGAZINE FOR IDAHO HOME EDUCA TORS Copyright 2014 by Christian Homeschoolers Of Idaho State. CHOIS Connection is published quarterly by Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State. 2014 CHOIS Connection. All rights reserved. No material may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the publisher. CHOIS is solely responsible for its content. DISCLAIMER The articles contained in this publication have been prepared for and are intended to provide information that may be useful to Idaho home educators. The reader must evaluate this information in light of the unique circumstances of any particular situation and must determine independently the applicability of this information thereto. COLUMNISTS The views of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of CHOIS. SUBSCRIPTION Subscribe by mail (see page 25) or online at http chois-connection subscribe ADDRESS PO Box 45062 Boise Idaho 83711. Phone (208) 866-5773 WEBSITE ADVERTISING Rates are available upon request by email at advertising or by calling (208) 8665773. CHOIS reserves the right to refuse without explanation any advertisement it deems unsuitable. Moving Please send your new address to info so that you can stay Connected 4 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 NNEC HOIS CO C TION 2015 8 ....... 10 ....... OUR HOMESCHOOL JOURNEY . . . So Far We prayerfully established the three branches of our home schooling curriculum. 12 ....... BRAIN BREAKS An important tool in your homeschool. 18 ....... CHRISTMAS G ift P icks Looking for engaging hands-on gifts that will actually be enjoyed by your children 22 ....... TAKING RISKS Should families avoid enjoying the outdoors because it is risky HE IS FAITHFUL Throughout our journey God has proven faithful in His plan preparation provision and perseverance. IN EVERY ISSUE CHOIS Tidbits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Res Piece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Discovering Idaho . . . . . . . . . 16 Bright Beginnings . . . . . . . . . . 20 A Cup of Encouragement . . . 24 Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 5 CHOIS Tidbits by Linda Patchin Last year CHOIS unveiled a beautifully redesigned website. On our home page we condensed our mission statement to three vital terms which encapsulate our effort to serve the homeschooling families of Idaho. From my own experience I have learned that there are at least two unique types of inspiration needed by homeschool parents. Early on we need the type that compels radical change. As we grow more comfortable in our role of parent educator we need encouragement to continue running the marathon of schooling our children well. We hope that the CHOIS Convention provides both types. Each year our Board members invest time in prayer as we research and select speakers who will bring Idaho homeschoolers their nugget of wisdom their gem of an idea or their energizing nudge. This year is no exception We will be moving across the street from the lovely church that has hosted the convention for many years to the expansive Johnson Sports Center on the Northwest Nazarene University campus. We are so excited for this opportunity to stretch our cramped little wings Dr. Steve Scheibner a homeschool father of eight was originally scheduled to pilot the plane that was the first to fly into the World Trade Center on September 11 2001. He would be a riveting speaker by virtue of this one topic alone but there is so much more. He and his wife Megan have authored several books on parenting marriage and especially on character training. We are very excited to be bringing them to be 2015 keynote speakers. Inspire 6 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 Rachael Carman is a homeschooling mom of seven and wife to Davis the owner of Apologia Educational Ministries. She is the author of How to Have a HEART for your Kids and Soundbites from Heaven. We hope that you will enjoy meeting Davis at the Apologia booths and hearing Rachael speak. We know that our vendors bring inspiration with them as well. Our move to NNU will provide much more space for exhibitors. About three times more space to be exact. Our exhibitors will be much closer to the action as well which will allow greater ease in maneuvering between shopping and workshops. One way that we plan to expand our exhibit hall is by providing space for Young Entrepreneurs. If you know one be watching our website for information about how they can sell their service or product during the convention. Our new facility will also allow us to expand our children s and teen s programs. Last year we shut down our children s program registration two weeks after opening it because it was full. Space will still be limited and we still encourage early registration to ensure a spot but we are thankful to have some growing room. which can be found by clicking on the icon from our website or by typing CHOIS. idaho in the search field is where we post informative articles and information every single day. We recently launched a Facebook group page to encourage homeschool parents to talk with one another. The wealth of support and wisdom that homeschoolers offer to one another onthispageistrulyamazing Youcanfind this page by typing Homeschooling Idaho inthesearchfield. Pinterest We don t mean to boast but our Pinterest page is amazing You can click on the Pinterest symbol on the CHOIS websitetohelpyoufindourpage. CHOIS Connection You re holding our premier promotional journal in your hands right now We hope that you agree that Idaho s homeschool magazine represents us well to others while it encourages and educates our readers. Thank you for supporting it through your subscriptions and donations If you have a homeschooled senior or you know someone who does please invite them to visit the CHOIS website and apply to graduate with us. The deadline for the 2015 ceremony is December 15th so please do not delay. We feel privileged to be a part of the final chapter of these student s homeschool story As CHOIS looks forward to our future plans to Inspire Promote and Preserve we know without a doubt that we are going to need your help Here are just a few of the ways that you can do so Pray We know that unless the Lord builds the house we are laboring in vain. It is only by His provision and sustaining power that we have been able to serve thus far and we humbly ask that you would include us in your prayers. Serve with us We welcome appreciate and embrace the neck of anyone who wants to come and serve alongside of us. Over the last 17 years we have been so HONORED and HUMBLED by your willingness to join us in our work We hope that you will continue to support us in the future with your hearts hands and prayers. If you would like to help please drop us an email at info and we will gratefully find a perfect place to deposit your talent. The Board of directors of CHOIS is excited about these many opportunities to serve. Opportunities to inspire future generations to promote the many benefits of home education and to preserve the freedom and traditions that were established by those who came before us. Please join us. Another of our goals is to further the progress of home education by supporting and actively encouraging homeschooling parents. CHOIS has put a lot of effort toward this goal. Here are some of the avenues we use to promote home education Website As I mentioned earlier the CHOIS website has been beautifully redesigned. It contains an enormous amount of information on many topics as well as hosting the official CHOIS blog. We hope that you will visit it many times. Facebook CHOIS has several different Facebook accounts. Our official page Promote We are so thankful for the good work of the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators which strives to preserve our homeschool freedom We encourage all Idaho homeschoolers to become members of this organization We are proud to stand with and work beside them. Aswetransitionfromthefirstgenerationof home educators to the second we believe that it is important to preserve many of the traditions that the first generation worked so hard to create for our community. We were sad to learn in July that the group which had been hosting a lovely traditional graduation ceremony for homeschoolseniorsforthepasttwenty-five years was suspending their service. Many parents contacted us to see if we could help facilitate a ceremony and after much prayer we have agreed to do so. Preserve Linda is the mother of four homeschool graduates. She has been Paul s wife for thirty-four years and is a founding board member of CHOIS. Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 7 Featured Article by Rachael Carman He is by Rachael Carman Ineverwantedtohomeschool.WhenIfirstheardaboutthis educational choice instead of investigating considering and doing research I simply decided it wasn t for me. I had mapped out a course for my life and was determined to work my plan. Now two decades later I am amazed at all God has accomplished in my life. G od s faithfulness on this journey continues to overwhelm me. We have just started our twentieth year of homeschooling and I continue to marvel at the many ways God has shown Himself mighty in our lives. He truly has blessed our family beyond anything I could have asked or imagined. In retrospect I can clearly see His hand at work in four ways in the planning in the preparation in the provision and in the perseverance. I could not have anticipated His intervention in these areas before we stepped into this adventure. But He invited us to trust Him and He grew our faithandglorifiedHimselfeachstepofthe way. The long and short of our decision to homeschool is that God had a radically different plan from ours. He interrupted our plan and interjected His. He brought about circumstances that we couldn t have anticipated. Suddenly with our backs against the wall and no other choices we took our son out of the system and brought him home. When we started homeschooling all I really wanted was to survive. Charles was a very strong-willed child. When we started all I could imagine was days of frustration and boredom and discouragement. We told ourselves and others that it was only for this one year to get our son through kindergarten. Surely I told myself I couldn t mess up kindergarten. But God had a plan to bless our family in ways we couldn t anticipate. He knew what Charles needed and He knew that Charles s needs could be best met at home. While we had planned to be involved in the PTA God had planned for us to grow as a family. In the beginning of our journey I dreamed too small simply hoping to teach my kids to read. But as we continued God granted me bigger and greater dreams. He began to show me His plan. He began to show me the relationships He wanted us to prioritize before the academics. Slowly but surely He directed our steps and brought about His plans in our lives. In the Preparation In the Planning I am a planner. I had a plan. It was not like we didn t know what we wanted to do. We bought a house in the highest-rated school district so that our son could attend the best school. We paid more than we wanted for a home as a sacrifice for our child s education. We thought we were doing what was best for him. My college degree is in secondary education history and English. That s right. I m a trained professional educator. Now most people s response to this is No wonder you homeschool. You re qualified But I have found my degree to be more of a hindrance than a help. I was taught to aim for the middle of the bell curve and hope for the ends. However as a homeschooling mom I have the opportunity to individualize each child s education. So I didn t find my training as helpful as my passion. I loved the classroom. I loved helping the students discussing the 8 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 information and seeing them grow. In fact as a young mother I was already looking forward to getting back to teaching in a classroom. The irony isn t lost on me. God used my love of teaching and my longing to get back into the classroom to draw my heart towards my own children. As I was dreaming about going back to teach in the system God was preparing my heart to teach my own children. I am grateful that God doesn t show us His whole plan. I know that I couldn t have handled the whole plan initially. He has continued to send us opportunities to grow and trust Him. He has never failed us providing us everything we need every step along the way. means that we rely on Him for the results. One of my favorite Bible verses one that has encouraged me on this journey is the admonition to not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6 9). It s so easy to grow weary to allow the cares of the world--the exhaustion the demands and the judgments--to wear us down. The old hymn is a perfect reminder In the Perseverance In retrospect God had great things prepared for us. As Paul says in Ephesians 2 10 For we are God s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do. God prepared us in advance to homeschool our children. He had a plan and had made preparations for us to follow His will. As we continued to homeschool one day at a time simply walking by faith I could see how He had prepared my heart to teach my children. I could see how He was knitting our hearts together and how He was growing our relationships with each other and with Him. In the early days of homeschooling I thought I would eventually reach a point in thejourneywhereIwouldhaveitallfigured out. I still have the huge spreadsheets I originally made that show my detailed plans. (Funny how along the way I would occasionally slip back into my plan even in the middle of His perfect plan.) IkeptthinkingthatifIcouldjustfigureitout then I could hit some kind of coast button that would allow me to sit back and relax. No more having to walk by faith. Instead I could work the formula. I liked the sound of that. But cruising on automatic pilot is never God s will for our lives. He wants us to soar He wants to grow us and our faith. So He is constantly providing opportunities for us to serve others while developing a deeper relationship with Him. He knows that in order for us to grow we must be challenged. There have been hundreds of times I ve wanted to quit homeschooling. There have been days when I wanted to run from our house screaming I give up This is too hard Those are usually days when I ve tried to do it without Him. Those are days when I wanted to do what I wanted to do--dayswhenIwasinflexible selfish and not focused on Him. Prayer and perseverance are the keys to homeschooling. Praying constantly throughout the day--not just a few moments in the morning but an ongoing conversation that permeates each moment. Praying continually grants us peace and strength and wisdom for each step. It allows for the needed pause. It grants some kindness gentleness and grace. Perseverance means taking the next step as we walk in the footsteps of Christ. It means remembering that He goes before us walks alongside us and comes behind us. Persevering means that we keep on going when we don t know how. Persevering means we can trust that Heknowsthefuture.Itmeansstandingfirm andallowingHimtofightonourbehalf.It My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. Throughout our journey God has proven faithful in His plan preparation provision and perseverance. Would you allow Him to show you His faithfulness by stepping out in faith and homeschooling He will not disappoint you. He is the Lord of glory and He is Able. You can trust Him. In the Provision All along the way God met our every need. He did not do this in lavish or extravagant ways but He always provided what we needed. And we grew dependent on Him for direction and wisdom. For example we thought we had purchased our chosen house so that our children could attend the best school in the district. When we began homeschooling it seemed that we had made a mistake. But God knew what He was doing. An extra room over the garage would become our school room. We hadn t known we needed it but there it was. God provided support groups and mentors to help us navigate the journey. We didn t know we needed them but He did. We attended conferences and went to workshops where God provided encouragement through speakers who pointed us back to Him. Over and over we were reminded to focus on Him and Him alone. Rachael enjoys laughing with her husband Davis of twentynine years and their seven kids. She is the author of two books Soundbites from Heaven and How to Have a HEART for Your Kids. Rachael is passionate about God s Word and encouraging moms to pursue Him whole heartedly. She and Davis own Apologia Educational Ministries. You can find Rachael on Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 9 W twas1992 andKatie sfirstyearofKindergartencameveryquicklyforour family. Since the time that Katie was a baby Steve and I had discussed just how our children would be educated. Just as we took our parenting and character-building responsibilities seriously we knew that our children s education was ultimately our responsibility as well. We wondered how we would continue to be intimately involved in training our children if they were gone for the majority of the day. We loved observing the way that the children functioned together as a team and we weren t sure how the Public school would affect that dynamic. e began to pray about the option of home education. We knew that I was capable of educating our children but we wanted to make a wise decision. We determined to make our decision based solely on the Word of God and prayer without considering how anyone else conducted their home schooling. Regardless of what anyone else was doing or how they were doing it we wanted to make the choice that was right for our family. I F rom the beginning of our home-schooling adventure we wanted to make sure that our primary focus wasn t simply academically superior children. Instead we prayerfully established the three branches of our home schooling curriculum. Those three branches were Character-Building Service to Others and Challenging Academics. he primary focus of our child training had always been character development. We wanted more than any other goal to equip our children to live Christlike character-healthy lives. We determined that home schooling would be a part of that training not a separate part of their lives segregated from the daily character emphasis. Home schooling afforded us so many opportunities to teach character Learning to be diligent and careful in their schoolwork took character. Learning to prioritize and stay focused on a project until it was completed took character. Learning to concentrate and not be silly with a sibling during school time took character. The opportunities for character growth multiplied every day. he second and equally important branch of our home schooling was service to others. It was hard enough not to be child-centered in our parenting being a home schooling parent made the opportunities for child-centeredness even more tempting. It was so easy to get sucked into the trap of spending all of my time energy and resources on making sure that my children were home schooled well. It was tempting to spend all of my free time reading home schooling magazines and evaluating home school supplies. I had to fight the urge to spend every moment and every conversation focused on the children and their never-ending needs. Steve and I both knew teens that had been the focus of their parents every thought and we felt sorry for those kids. As they got older and realized that they weren t the center of the world for some it was a difficult transition and a very rude awakening. We certainly didn t want that type of outcome for our children. long with the temptation to be child-centered home schooling beckoned us to another unbiblical paradigm. We observed more and more home schooling families falling into a totally family-centered lifestyle. Everything became about the family and making sure that your own family was satisfiedandsuccessful atallcosts.Atthesametimewewere beginning to home school many publications were touting the T T A 10 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 virtues of family-centeredness. We both believed that the family was God s primary tool to reach the world for Christ but we just didn t agree that a total focus on the family to the exclusion of others was biblical. We were seeing families step over the line from concern for their families to worship of their families. We wanted our family to be a light and a ministry to others not just a selfcentered destination in itself. ervice to others became our antidote to child family-centeredness. We clearly saw that when we were intentionally finding ways to serve people outside our family we all were more others-oriented and less self-focused. Because homeschooling did not confine us to an 8-2 30 schedule it was easy to find opportunities to serve others. At various times we cleaned the church nursery and sanctuary prepared and delivered meals to folks in need offered child-care and enjoyed so many other opportunities. One of our favorite and most-long term services occurred at a camp my children attended. This camp was a year-round camp but once the summer staff was gone and the camp was only used on weekends the camp caretaker and his wife had to clean all of the bathrooms. This was a large camp and the task looked daunting. We discussed the need as a family and began to drive an hour every Monday morning to clean those bathrooms. What a great opportunity for service and what a great chance for my children to learn diligence and carefulness in their work. very Monday we scrubbed sinks wiped down showers and disinfected toilet bowls. Imagine my nineyear-olds surprise when she realized that the six drinking fountains that she cleaned each week weren t actually drinking fountains at all My kids really developed an eye for making those bathrooms look nice and the caretaker and his wife were thrilled with the help they received. The hour-long car ride became a special time of laughter and Veggie-tale sing-alongs for the children and me and a great way to start our week. We noticed a direct correlation between the amounts of time we spent serving and the amount of time spent bickering among our children. Positive family-time spent serving helped to unite the kids while time spent hanging out or fulfilling their own desires caused them to argue and focus on themselves. Besides the great lessons of being others-oriented serving taught our children character qualities like compassion mercy persistence reliability and so much more. Knowing that Steve and I considered service to be just as important a priority as actual bookwork helped our children to keep academics in its proper place. S ccasionally we had well-meaning friends question us about the appropriateness of taking time off from doing bookwork in order to serve others. We always told them the same thing. Schools spend time and resources trying to manufacture situations to teach about service to their students. In our family home school we could take the head-knowledge of service and put it into practice. The children learned more by filling actual needs than they ever could have learned by reading about or simulating service activities. he third branch of our home schooling curriculum was challenging academics. In no way did we want our children to see home schooling as the easy alternative to Public school. One of my strengths had always been research so I put that strength to work in choosing my children s curriculum. The first year we home schooled I chose a packaged curriculum because I was afraid that to do otherwise would leave gaps in Katie s education. Very soon I realized that the dreaded gaps were no concern at all. As we studied diligently regardless of the curriculum the gaps would take care of themselves. rom then on instead of merely using packaged curricula I began to observe how each of my children learned and then I custom-designed a different curriculum for each of them. Although there were certain books that I used with all of the children in many areas they used individual curriculums that were more appropriate to their interests and learningstyles. Often Steve would point out an area that seemed to be frustrating one of the children and together we would decide whether the problem was the student s or the curriculum s. f our curriculum became the problem we were willing to change horses in midstream but we tried to avoid that dynamic. We both realized that there were great lessons to be learned from staying with a less-than perfect teaching material. We wanted our children to realize that there were times in life that you just had to stick with whatever you were doing regardless of how you felt about it. As our older children began to get jobs outside of our home we saw them live out that important lesson and we were glad that we took the time to insist on teaching it to them at home. ur goal with the children s academics became mastery. Steve had gotten through school doing the minimum and he regretted not taking the time to truly master his subjects. My O school experience much more closely mimicked the home schooling model. My time studying independently had allowed me to delve deeply into subjects. Instead of seeing their daily lessons as a check in the block we encouraged our children to take the time to redo anything they didn t understand and to take the time necessary to really understand the subject matter. ust a moment of transparency My kids stink at math There I said it One of the realities of home schooling is this Often home schooled children excel in the areas that their parents excel and struggle in the same areas that their parents struggle. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but generally speaking we ve have seen this to be true in our family and also in the many other home schooling families with whom we are associated. It s no surprise that my children excel in writing speech and history while they cringe at math and science lessons. hile all the children were still at home there were definitely times that I wondered whether we were doing enough. What if they got to college and couldn t keep up with the work What if they couldn t even get accepted to college What if they couldn t adapt to learning in a classroom situation In 2004 Katie graduated from our home school and headed off to college. In some sense I felt like my reputation as her teacher was on the line and I held my breath in anticipation. What a relief She did very well making the Dean s List for both semesters of her freshman year. She did so well in fact that she was named to the Who s Who in American College Students. Her experience has proven to be true for the others as well. We d prayed and worked diligently hoping that home schooling would prepare our children emotionally spiritually and academically now we had the answer... Home Schooling Worked J T W F E I O Megan is the homeschooling mom of four boys and four girls. She has been married for 29 years to her college sweetheart Steve. Together they have coauthored Parenting Matter The Nine Practices of the Proactive Parent and In My Seat the story of Steve s 911 experience. Megan and Steve will be CHOIS convention keynote speakers at the convention in June. Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 11 Featured Article by Heather Haupt BRAIN BREAKS A n I m p o r t a n t To o l in your Homeschool BY HEATHER HAUPT Y ou know that moment when your child s eyes glaze over. It s as if the lights are on but no one is home. They may vacantly stare at the floor or out the window and their minds are on anything but the task at hand. Perhaps they can t stop fidgeting or they begin to whine. In an instant you find yourself simultaneously perplexed (How did we get here ) and frustrated (Why can t they power through ). This common phenomenon affects parents and teachers everywhere. One particular day this sticky situation reared its ugly head. Halfway through a spelling lesson my son started to get restless and completely incapable of focusing on the task. Frustrated with my son s lack of attention I found myself pointing out the window at the school across the street and telling him about the poor children who have to sit at their desks from 8 00 in the morning until 3 00 every day ... blah blah blah. (Clearly an exaggeration prompted by my exasperation at the moment.) As my monologue progressed I noticed that he was zoning out even more. It was time for a change of tactics. I paused and in my very best army sergeant voice ordered my son to stand up and give me ten jumping jacks. A look of surprise washed over his face. He giggled. Once again I gave my best over-thetop sergeant glare and barked the order again fighting back giggles of my own. He responded with puny flailing-armed jumping jacks as if his arms were infused with JELL-O Jigglers instead of strong growing bones. I mustered composure and told this private that his performance was unacceptable and ordered two laps around the kitchen before returning to spelling duty. He giggled again and complied. When he returned he was alert and ready to tackle the rest of the lesson. This remarkable change from the vacant listless stares I was getting earlier took far less time than my grand speech and cajoling. The results exceeded anything I could have ever dreamed of seeing. And from the recesses of my mind came the realization that I had just utilized a principle from my days of studying neuroscience at the university. Believe it or not there is a biological reason for this. Our brains actually stop working the longer we sit still. An instant cure for this is possible if we simply get up and burn a little bit of energy. The brain thrives on movement and needs massive doses of oxygen for optimal function. Since that day I ve introduced a number of fun little breaks that get pulled out at random times to wake up lethargic brains and bodies around our home. We call them brain breaks. Brain breaks are intentional movement activities that work to wake up the brain so that it can focus and pay attention again. It s like giving the brain a reboot. The idea is to give your kids (or yourself) a quick 2-3 minute movement break by challenging them to run a race around the living room the fastest seeing who can balance on one foot the longest doing a headstand in the corner for a minute crawling from one end of the house to the other or dancing and singing to a favorite song. The sky is the limit. You want to give them a movement break that will get the blood pumping challenge their sense of balance or encourage them to cross the body s midline (fostering bilateral integration). To make life easier for myself I collected them all and put them in a jar. Those 60 brain breaks formed the background of the book that I ended up writing. What are brain breaks 12 12 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 So what does it look like to implement this important tool in our home As we start our morning routines our brain breaks jar sits nearby with movement ideas waiting to be utilized. I ve found that with most things we can focus intently for short bursts of time before needing to unwind. Utilizing our brain break cards is a great way to get a burst of physical activity without boys scattering to the four winds. This saves us all so much time. Why Because I tend to get distracted too. If the boys scatter IfindthatIgravitatetowardsadistraction myself you know that quick trip to check email making a phone call or snagging a frozen cookie dough ball. For me indulging in any of these activities means at least 30 minutes wasted (because really who can eat only one cookie dough ball ). Calling out Brain Break and making a mad dash for the jar is a fun way to lighten the mood and get that burst of oxygen so we can focus on something else Sometimes we have off days days where they need more stimulation than usual. We ll either do several brain break cards or if the weather is decent we ll go How we utilize brain breaks in our home outside for a quick game of tag or a run around the block. If one of us is staring out thewindowlistlessly fidgetingconstantlyor starting to get a bit over emotional those are all clear cues that we need to get moving and clear our thinking Laughter helps to lighten the mood even more while we unwind Sometimes if they are really struggling I resort to chasing them with the exercise ball or tickling them until they cry for mercy. (And I wonder why my boys throw balls in the house...) A ll this to say brain breaks have been a game changer for us. Instead of nagging distracted kids I have a tool. When wielded well it can brighten the mood and increase learning retention. It is especially effective when I remember to add my drill sergeant voice into the mix So next time you find your kids in that place you can call out for a brain break too. Heather delights in the adventure of learning alongside her four crazy kids as she continues the homeschool journey that began when she was that active little girl who couldn t sit still. She s the author of the popular book The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks that outlines the importance of movement in the learning process and gives you the ready-made carefully designed tools to utilize these brain breaks in your own home. She blogs about intentional parenting and active learning at When do we use brain breaks betweenassignments whenemotionsstarttorun high whenkidsgetantsy whentheyare stumped by a problem whentheyhita block with their writing Harvey Breaux 208-573-1157 25 Hartman Boise ID 83704 Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 13 Winter 2015 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 13 harvey Res Piece DESTROYED C OmmOn C Ore m uSt B e S tOpped By Res Peters Meet Johnny Johnny loves school. Engaging and happy Johnny does well. Abruptly in the spring Johnny folds up takes a knife and carves stupid on his wrist. Johnny is eight. Johnny is a composite of several accounts of New York parents teachers and social workers in a new documentary produced by Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). In an expanded version of Building the Machine parents teachers and experts reveal the destructive effects of Common Core on children and their families. Common threads in these accounts include the extreme anxiety and withdrawal of their children coupled with self-blame. Unable to do simple tasks at home or verbalize the cause they turn inward crying themselves to sleep. Up numerous times in the night the children report stomach and headaches. Disinterested in play they label themselves dumb and unable to understand anything. As early as Fall 2012 social workers began to see a spike in the number of referrals for severe anxiety and self-mutilation from hospitals pediatricians and schools. In piecing together the cause it was recognized that the English Language Arts and Math Common Core Standards that had been implemented in New York public schools were at the heart of the tragedy. DAMAGED The third grade Counting-Up Subtraction Method graphic from The Daily Signal illustrates this concept. Counting-Up is one of four acceptable ways to solve the subtraction problem of 325 minus 38. Standard borrowing and carrying are not approved. The student must circle the correct numbers to prove understanding of the logic of this method. Delving into the Common Core Standards it became evident to thesocialworkersandeducatorsinthefilmthatthenewstandards were developmentally damaging. These experts explained that that the brain fully develops from literal to advanced critical thinking in the late teens or twenties. To require abstract critical thinking of young children who are cognitively incapable of doing so touched off the firestorm of futility and subsequent behavior that the students were predictably exhibiting. Dr. Williamson Evers Hoover Institute Researcher Stanford University offers an example in the math standards. Rather than the standard methods of adding and subtracting multiple digit numbers the new standards encourage several more complicated strategies often impossible for children to understand. Dr. Evers stresses that the standard methods are standard becausetheyareeasilyunderstood easilytaught efficient and they work. Additionally the very concept of a single nationwide set of standards will force homogeneity while squelching individuality creativity and innovation all hallmarks of our nation s strength. Following the European model the educational opportunities for students will now be determined and narrowed at a young age. DERAILED 14 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 One interviewed father raised in Holland observed that by age 14 students were funneled into a university educational track or a laborer track for the rest of their educational years with no opportunity to change. He notes that with Common Core the bar has been lowered. By the eighth grade students will be sorted into one of 16 career clusters each isolated from the other tracks. No accommodation will be made for the late developer or even for the student who may discover his or her passion later in life. This curriculum teaches the math of the culture of the student as a door for encouraging similar philosophies and activism. Early indications of the developing Common Core history standards suggest that they will further amplify this perspective. Dr. Evers adds that the persuasive writing curriculum teaches the students to be Machiavellian employing politically manipulative emotion rather than using straightforward evidence and arguments to engage people s minds. Additionally Dr. Evers warns of the dangers of Close Reading advocated by David Coleman Common Core lead writer and College Board President. Close Reading requires reading the text in all subjects without access to any context or background. For example the student reading the Gettysburg Address is to have no knowledge of its Civil War context. Close Reading becomes Cold Reading with no reference points outside the text. This decontextualized approach encourages the reader to attribute meaning to the text apart from that which may actually be historically true. The students are instructed 1. Read 5 minutes independently 2. Teacher reads the text out loud 3.Translatethefirstsentenceinyourownwords History then is rewritten to be whatever the student imagines it to be utterly divorced from reality. If words can be deconstructed of their intrinsic historical meanings everything from history to the law to the Bible can be rewritten and rendered meaningless. The courts are doing this. The President is doing this. And Congressmen are doing this. This affects each of us as we struggle to preserve truth for our nation and for our children. What is the agenda behind this push for Common Core Dr. Sandra Stotsky a member of the committee that developed the Common Core Standards objected to both the process and thefinalstandards.Resigningwhenherdissentwassilenced she candidly discusses two destructive issues at the root of Common Core. First Common Core diminishes the study of literature in the English curriculum. At the fourth grade level the proportion of informationalornon-fictiontoliterarystudyis50 50.Bythetwelfth grade the proportion is 70% informational to 30% literary. The very literature study that enriches and provides students with analytical skills is dramatically phased out. Secondly Critical Pedagogy will be taught. This post-modern philosophy is rampant in most American university education departments. It is based on the book Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire. Influenced by Marx and Nietzsche Critical Pedagogy divides students into two groups the oppressors and the oppressed. Teachers urge oppressed students to rise up and revolt. DEFRAUDED The message of this film is crucial Common Core must be stopped. HSLDA is working to defeat Common Core nationally. Order the video. ICHE is working to repeal it in Idaho. Join the ICHE Alert List to contact your legislator when emails are needed. Book a support group video showing in your region. DEFEATED 1. 2. 3. 4. In May 2014 a teacher testifying in a Common Core hearing stated The reason why I helped write the standards and why I am here today is that as a white male in society I have been given a lot of privilege that I didn t earn. Dr.Stotskywarnsthereisafloodoftextswiththispropagandanot only in history and English but also in the Ethno Math adoptions. Inform others Join the ICHE Alert List Order Building the Machine Request a group showing in your area info Your Part is to Act Now ___________________________ Res Peters is a former principal and public school teacher whose homeschooled daughters were taught to borrow and carry. Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 15 Discover Idaho TIS THE SEASON by Connie Seward Tis the season to celebrate the miraculous birth of Christ. May all your adventurous learning journeys and holiday celebrations draw you ever closer to God our loving creator and giver of all good things. If you are amongst the approximately 30 million families that bring home a fresh tree as part of your Christmas celebration why not seize the opportunity to teach your children about evergreens and the environment that sustains them Skip the commercial tree lots this year and opt for a journey to the nearby mountain forest or a visit to a local tree farm where you will experience the wonderful opportunity to learnfirsthandfromnature. Tis the season for an invigorating outdoor science lesson. As the poet Joyce Kilmer has aptly said But only God can make a tree . Leaves of all trees and plants perform photosynthesis. However evergreen needles have extra special adaptions which allow them to thrive in harsh climates and poor soil. By studying evergreens not only will your children engage in science they will come to a better understanding of God as our loving creator. World wide there are 600 species of evergreens while in Idaho s 10 national forests there are eight species of conifers seven of which are true evergreens. Species in Idaho forests include lodgepole pine western hemlock western larch Douglas fir ponderosa pine western redceder and grand fir. Also amongst them is the western white pine which is our state tree. Elk River Idaho is home to the world s largest western white pine at 219 feet high With a bit of study before your journey your students will be prepared to identify each of the eight conifers located in our forests. Interesting facts about our state tree and the other seven conifers can be found at the Idaho Forest Products Commission website www.idahoforests. org. From the home page follow the link to Trees of Idaho. From this tab you will find a page full of helpful information on each of the evergreens with more online links to extra information at the conclusion of each article. In the top right hand corner of each informational page is a link to a printable journal page. The black and white pages offer clear pencil drawings of each conifer tree and a close up drawing of the bark and needles. Pertinent scientificdetailsareincludedtotheleftof each drawing. These pages would make a wonderful addition to your student s science notebooks especially when personalized by your child with colored pencils. The journal pages can also be downloaded as a 20-page booklet which includes a page depicting each needle type sidebyside foreasyidentification. The Idaho Forest Products Commission website also offers several free 11 x 25 beautiful full color posters depicting the eight conifer trees. In addition they have an educational lending library where an amazing array of CD s DVD s and videos can be accessed free of charge except for the return postage From the home page follow the link Order Materials and Videos then the links Free Brochures Booklets Posters and Reports or Forest Media Lending Library. Historically the triangular shape of the pine tree has been used to teach about the Holy Trinity of God the Father Son and Holy Spirit. Others have used the lights on the Christmas tree as symbols of the Light of Men. There are many ways conifer trees might be used to point to God since even secular sources look to these trees and their ability to adapt and survive as miracles . 16 16 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 Idaho Chr istmas Tr ee Farms Call for hours directions and availability. Prices and accommodations vary. Land of Christmas 532 Upland Drive Sandpoint ID 83864 208-263-4318 h Forever Green Tree Farm 500 Forever Green Drive St. Maries ID 83861 208-245-2440 Western Pleasure Guest Ranch 1413 Upper Gold Creek Sandpoint ID 83864 208-263-9066 Moore s Tree Farm 8106 South Gilmore Lane Coeur D Alene ID 208-765-5296 Osburne s U-cut Christmas Trees 115 4 Street Onaway ID 83855 208-301-1472 or 208-875-1471 Woodbury Tree Farm 3123 West Twin Road Moscow ID 208-882-9371 Rusty Gate Tree Farm 12000 East O Gara Road Harrison ID 208-689-9868 If you choose to bring home a Christmas tree from the forest be well prepared for your adventure. Begin your preparations with a permit from one of our state s ten national forests. Permits range from 5.00 to 10.00 and are sold beginning in mid November at forest service offices or local businesses. Permits are valid until December 24 and are good for one tree with a maximum height of 12 feet. Three permits are allowed per family. Idaho s forests each have different rules and procedures for harvesting trees. You will want to have a clear understanding of the expectations before cutting your tree. When you pack your car for the journey be sure to include a good saw shovel and other cold weather emergency items. Harvesting your tree from a local farm is another dynamic way to learn about conifers. Nearly all Christmas trees sold in urban areas are grown on farms as a crop. Christmas trees are often grown on land unsuitable for other farming. These farmgrown evergreens help stabilize the soil and provide refuge for birds and other wildlife while creating pleasing green scenery. An acre of evergreens produces enough oxygen daily for 18 people and can filter 13 tons of airborne pollutants per year. For every Christmas tree harvested up to three seedlings are planted in its place. This practice is beneficial to the environment because young trees have a higher rate of photosynthesis than older trees. Idaho tree farms boast eighteen varieties of evergreens such as Canaan fir Serbian spruce Turkish fir and balsam fir. Some tree farms include fun winter activities such as horse-drawn sleigh or hay wagon rides wreath making and coloring books or other crafts. Snacks such as hot chocolate cider coffee cookies candy canes and a warming fire are also often available. Free tree baling (netting) may be offered for ease of transport. Some Idaho farms encourage you to harvest your own tree with a provided handsaw while others prefer to have staff cut the tree of your choice with a chain saw. WEB LINKS IdentificationGuides History & Lesson Plans trees types www.realtrees4kids IdentificationGuide idaho Christmas Tree Facts History of the Christmas Tree Connie Seward and husband Quentin homeschooled their children through high school in the Treasure Valley. They have enjoyed numerous educational journeys to bring home the perfect or not so perfect Christmas tree from Idaho forests. h Pine Patch Tree Farm 8 Pine Patch Road Horseshoe Bend ID 83629 208-793-2273 Cur r iculum Con nections Forestry Silvology Dendrology Science Evergreens as a crop Agriculture Evergreen tree celebrations throughout history origin of Christian Christmas tree celebrations History & Culture Circumference diameter height counting tree rings Math Poor soil areas of Idaho Geography Harsh climates Environment Map Skills following forest service maps for designated cutting area Clear cutting planned forest thinning commercial media licensing marketing for biofuels. Philosophy deciduous coniferous photosynthesis Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 17 circumference Spelling gift picks The Oball from Timberdoodle is the perfect baby s first ball. Its many finger holes make the Oball easy to clutch roll catch and throw. Extremely lightweight and virtually indestructible it will last for years from teething toy to soccer ball to bubble wand. Copper s Note I love that the Oball can be cleaned in the dishwasher 7.95 12.95 depending on size. Looking for engaging hands-on gifts that will actually be enjoyed by your children Look no further than TIMBERDOODLE a crazy-smart company started by a Washington homeschooling family. CHOIS Connection contributor Copper Webb has compiled her favorite Timberdoodle gift picks for this Christmas season. Gifts for 0-3 years Gifts for Ages 4-7 Gifts for Ages 8-12 the oball There is no better way for children to learn logic than with their hands. Manipulating the colorful pieces as they analyzes each Logik Street clue will help them to identify the logical associations between people places and pets. Logik Street will help your child develop the logic comprehension visual tracking and mental organization skills vital to academic success. Copper s Note Logik Street is a one-player game with no reading required. I love that my boys can enjoy this game without my help. 17.99 loGik street All babies love to climb and Wahoo s broad back gives your baby a safe place to experiment. Once your little one has learned how to straddle Wahoo you may find that this becomes their favorite seat in the house. More than that Wahoo is made for bouncing jumping and leaping Copper s note Wahoo is one of those rare toys that can help burn energy during the day and provide cuddles in the evening. 40.50 wahoo the Perfect PuPPy As children manipulate the three-dimensional bright crepe foam rubber letters they increase visual and tactile perception shape discrimination and hand-eye coordination.Youwillnotfindabetter touch feel andfit alphabet oramoredurableone for those children who delight in pounding the pieces into place. Copper s note These puzzles can last for generations My children play with the same Lauri puzzle that I enjoyed using as a little girl. 9.75 lauri a to Z PuZZles Discover Colors Chirp Chirp makes a spectacular gift for any budding artist who is ready to learn how to mix paint colors. Chirp Chirp includes eight large partially illustrated prints two distinctive paint brushes four bottles of paint and a fully illustrated instruction booklet all packaged in a charming box. Copper s Note Everything about this kit is lovely from the elegant paint brush to the highly pigmented paint. 26.99 Available in a variety of animal designs Poppers are great fun. Stuff a spongy featherweight ball into the animal s mouth grab your Popper around his belly give him a squeeze hear a pleasing pop and watch the ball sail up to 20 feet. The harder you squeeze the faster and farther the ball shoots. Copper s Note Since the balls are soft and light-weight I can let me boys use these indoors without fear of damaging my d cor or injuring the by-standing baby. 10.95 djeco discover colors chirP chirP ZOOB is an acronym for zoology ontology ontogeny and botany and is one of the most versatile building sets currently on the market. With a ball & socket connection system the five unique ZOOB pieces fit together in twenty different ways. Needing neither nuts nor bolts ZOOB is intuitive easy-to-use and with a bit of creativity can model nearly anything. Copper s Note These are hands down the most-enjoyed building toys in our home. My boys love designing creations that can actually move and I love that there are no tiny pieces to lose. 26.99-35.95 A writing tablet with a pressure-sensitive LCD screen the Boogie Board is like a personal dry-erase board without the mess of markers. Use a Boogie Board to practice handwriting or spelling to work out math solutions draw and play car games on the road and to keep game scores. Copper s Note We daily use our Boogie Boards in school to conserve paper. They re also great for keeping little hands busy yet quiet during church services. 29.99 Zoob booGie board PoPPers 18 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 Children love using the enclosed forceps and tweezers to move the gooey organs to the labeled Organizer. As children manipulate the squishy organs they will gain a rudimentary knowledge of their anatomy. 25.50 squishy human body Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 19 31 Ways to Strengthen Fine Motor Skills F 1 by Copper Webb Play Dough Squeeze it Squash it Pound it Mold it Roll it All are great activities for strengthening hand muscles. 2 3 Roll play dough into the shape of letters or numbers. ine motor skills are often hailed as a precursor for future academic success. In terms of writing when precise hand movements can be performed automatically a student is able to turn their focus from mechanics (pencil grasp letter formation and spacing) and on to content (communicating information and ideas). Furthermore a recent study foundthatfinemotorskillsinkindergarten were a predictor for reading and math achievement into the teen years.1 How can movement and mathematics be related Researchers point to areas of the brain that are involved in processing both motor information and cognitive tasks. It is thought that building strong motor skills in the early years can strengthen the neural connections that children will later use for academics.2 Gather household objects (hairbrush dried pasta plastic figurines blocks foliage from your yard) and make imprints into play dough. Roll play dough into large balls stick dried spaghetti noodles vertically into the play dough then thread beads or Cheerios onto the noodles. 4 5 Squeeze play dough through a garlic press. Can you make enough play dough noodles for a bowl full of spaghetti Use a hole punch to create tiny meatballs. Shape a loaf of play dough garlic bread and slice it with a butter knife. F ine. Motor. Skills. I hear those three words spoken together often. It seems as if the entire education world from research professionals to blogging moms on Pinterest is currently talking about fine motor skills and their importance. But what exactly are fine motor skills and why are they such a big deal O T he term fine motor skills refers to the precise and refined movements performed by the small muscles of the hand and forearm working together. These muscles numbering more than thirty begin to develop in infancy when a baby first starts to bat at toys. Infants progress to grasping and releasing items then as toddlers begin to use their fingers to explore and manipulate objects. Next littleonesusetheirmaturingfinemotorskills to feed and dress themselves. With further development come the abilities to color with crayons use scissors tie shoelaces and write numbers and letters. ur modern American lifestyle with its high value of convenience and emphasis on technology does not always provide enough opportunities for small children to work with their hands. While there can be various contributing factors to the lack of fine motor skills in children some requiring professional intervention the most common problem is low muscle tone in the hand and forearm. As parents we can be proactive in engaging our preschoolers in movements that will build and strengthen their little muscles. Pipe Cleaners Thread pipe cleaners through the holes in a colander (or as my husband likes to call it a strainer). 6 7 Bend and twist pipe cleaners into letters numbers or shapes. Extend creativity and make people or animals to recreate a favorite story. Thread beads buttons cereal or dried pasta onto pipe cleaners. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaners together to turn your threaded creations into the fashion forward bracelets. T ogetyoustarted hereare31playfulfine motor activities for your preschooler all using common household items. These are meant to be short exercises lasting only a few minutes. While many of these activities may seem overly simplistic keep in mind that to little ones still developing muscle control they can present a challenge. If your child grows frustrated with completing a task move on and try something new the next day. Movement itself is the goal not mastery. 8 Weave pipe cleaners through a cooling rack (the one you use for cookies). 9 20 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 chois connection Winter 2014 Tweezers Fill a shallow container with popcorn seeds and mix in a few colorful buttons. Use tweezers to uncover and retrieve the buttons. Rubber Bands Turn a muffin tin upside down and stretch rubber bands around thebottomofeachmuffincup.Ifyouhaveaminimuffintin tryto stretchrubberbandsacrossseveralmuffincupsatonetime. 10 11 23 Pick up cotton balls with tweezers and place them into the individual sections of an empty ice cube tray or egg carton. With tweezers transfer dried beans from a cup into an empty water bottle. The bottle s small openingaddsanextralevelofdifficulty. 24 25 26 HowmanyrubberbandscanYOUfitaroundatincan 12 13 Make your own geoboard by sticking golf tees into styrofoam giant push pins into cork board or nails into a wooden board. Stretch rubber bands across the homemade pegs to create various shapes. Wrap rubber bands multiple times around a small stick or block then work to remove the rubber bands. Is it easier to get the rubber bands on or off Use tweezers to sort craft pom-poms by color into muffintincups. Toothpicks Scissors If you re using scissors for the first time place a sticker in the middle of a sheet of paper and cut across the paper stopping at the sticker. Learning to stop a forward moving pair of scissorsisafirststeptocuttingsuccess. 14 15 16 17 Push toothpicks into the holes of an empty spice shaker. 27 Build edible sculptures with grapes and toothpicks. Use toothpicks to poke holes into a styrofoam tray. You can make a pattern design or picture. Or simply have fun poking holes. Cut a large square of contact paper and tape it to a window sticky side out. Ordinary toothpicks become a memorable art medium when you stick them to the contact paper. Cutplasticstrawsintosegments.Warning strawpiecesfly through the air as they are cut an action known to induce the giggles in preschoolers. It s worth the mess mom. 28 29 30 31 Cut themed pictures out of magazines to make collages. Gatherleaves grass flowersandtinytwigsfromyouryard and cut them into smaller pieces. What different types of sounds do you hear when you cut through the items Go to CHOIS.Idaho and like CHOIS to download free printables for developing scissor skills. Clothespins Pretend it is Laundry Day and string yarn or twine between two chairs to create a kid-sized clothesline for hanging doll clothes. No daughters with dolls in your house Have your little men fasten their socks to the clothesline with clothespins. 18 Gather 26 clothespins one for each letter of the alphabet. With a permanent marker print one capital letter on each clothespin. Use the marker again to write the lowercase alphabet around the edge of a paper plate. Play a game of alphabet match by fastening a marked uppercaseletter clothespin onto its corresponding lowercase letter on the plate. 19 Now let s get those little fingers moving ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ Copper Webb is a second generation Idaho homeschooler. Copper and her husband Mike reside in Meridian where they currently strengthen the muscles in eight tiny hands. Copper occasionally blogs with a baby on her lap at References 1.Carlson A.G. Rowe E. &Curby T.W.(2013).Disentanglingfinemotorskills relationto academic achievement The relative contributions of visual-spatial integration and visualmotor coordination. Journal of Genetic Psychology 174 514-533. 2. Adolph K. E. (2005). Learning to learn in the development of action. In J. J. Rieser J. J. Lockman & C. A. Nelson (Eds.) Action as an organizer of learning and development (pp. 91-122). Mahwah NJ Erlbaum. Make numbered cards from cardboard or card stock and make a game out of attaching the appropriate number of clothespins to each card. 20 21 Number clothespins and fasten them in numerical order onto the bottom of a plastic clothes hanger. Be artistic and glue feathers googly eyes and a paper beak onto clothespins to create little birds. Cut some pipecleanersintowormsandscatterthemonthefloor.Have your clothespin birds hunt for worms to pick up and drop into their nest (a woven basket). 22 Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter chois connection 21 Outwards Taking Risks Y Should families avoid enjoying the outdoors because it is risky the sickening lump of genuine fear in my stomach. It was not a pleasant feeling. I learned two lessons that day. The practical lesson was climbing up a steep rock face is easier than climbing down one. The other lesson was more sobering. I learned that foolishness and overconfidence put my life in danger. I took risks I should not have taken. How should the believer who enjoys the beauty and complexity of God s creation venture forth in it knowing that doing so involves risk Where is the line between going out on the edge--and falling off It is an interesting topic both theologically and practically. Some thoughts.... First God designed the world He created to operate under natural and physical laws. Gravity velocity momentum hunger thirst heat and cold are some of the non-negotiable characteristics of the world God created. People must respect these laws or forces and not take them lightly. Though God can intercede when we violate the physical laws He designed it is presumptuous to expect that He will do so. Second risk is part of life. We are exposed to risk all of the time whether we realize that or not. This is especially true for those who enjoy experiencing God s creation. Kayaking a river is risky. Backcountry skiing ears ago an acquaintance invited me to go hang-gliding with him and some of his friends. It was an intriguing idea. Who has not watched activities like hang-gliding para-sailing and bungee-jumping and at least briefly thought about the thrill those sports would entail But after considering the opportunity I had to say no thanks. I decided that--though hang-gliding might have been thrilling--I was not willing to accept the risks of hang-gliding. A little voice warned me that hang-gliding was not something I should attempt on a whim. If I was going to do something that entailed a substantial degree of risk I thought it wise to invest some time in learning the skillsfirst.Riskismitigatedwithtrainingand preparation. This was a lesson I nearly learned the hard way. In my late teens a friend and I started doing what we called rock climbing. On one of our first forays we ignorantly attempted to climb a steep rock face without any equipment or protection. About 50 feet up that face we realized we had a problem. The climb had gotten so steep that when we finally decided it would be foolish to keep trying to go up I had trouble looking for footholds and handholds below me. I simply could not lean my head far enough out to see below my feet. I honestly began to wonder how I was going to get off that rock face. That momentwasthefirsttimeIeverreallyfelt By Ken Frederick is risky. Mountain biking is risky. Hunting is risky. People die even while picking mushrooms and searching for Christmas trees. Accidents are unexpected events that usually result in some kind of negative outcome. Some accidents certainly can be prevented but others seemingly happen completely out of the blue. Though most people take reasonable precautions the fact is accidents are still going to happen. When we go outdoors for recreation exploration or learning we have to accept some risk. Third God created mankind with the capacity for prudence. A prudent person considers carefully his or her steps. Proverbs 22 3 says The prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Prudence means we consider the consequences of our decisions. When venturing into the wilds for recreation learning or solitude we need to do so with prudence because failing to plan and think ahead may unnecessarily get us into trouble. Timothy Treadwell was a self-styled bear expert who periodically lived among the grizzly bears in Alaska s Katmai National Park. Treadwell documented his lifestyle with films books and television appearances. He claimed to have a special affinity for grizzly bears. He named individual bears 22 22 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 and said he knew them and understand their personalities. He said he was taking little risk by camping for months on end among the grizzlies on the Katmai Peninsula. In late 2003 however Treadwell was killed by a grizzly. His death tragically proved that his assumptions about bears were not prudent. H ow can families especially families with younger children take steps to moderate risk and enjoy the outdoors at the same time Here are some ideas. Gain experience slowly when taking on new and unfamiliar challenges. Learn in small bits not big bites. If you would like to try something new like winter camping or cross-country skiing for example do not go overboard the first time you try these activities. Choose the time and place to learn new outdoor pursuits with care. footwear and a comfortable pack. If you cannot afford the clothing and equipment you need for a reasonable level of safety in a risky pursuit then you probably should not be engaging in that sport. Be prudent No form of instruction (including a short article like this one) can totally prepare you for every emergency in the outdoors. Some events simply cannot be adequately anticipated but by planning trips thinking through variables and by taking some basic steps of preparation you will dramatically raise your degree of safety. That is prudence in action. When my family launches on an outdoor activity that has the potential for an accident we talk through what we would do if something happened. God s creation is filled with beauty complexity and the fantastic evidence of His creative touch. But it also entails some hazards. Be prudent and prepare yourself and your family to avoid getting caught off guard. Ken Frederick and family live in Meridian Idaho. Ken and kids hope to give their snowshoes a good workout this winter. A little prudence can prevent a lot of problems. Fourth while you cannot be free of risk you can reduce it to an acceptable level. In many cases it is foolish not to take precautions to reduce and manage risk. Hunters hikers and others who venture into the wilds must be prepared for drastic weather changes. Skiers snowboarders and others who venture forth in the winter need to understand how to recognize and deal with hypothermia. Rock climbers need to be equipped with technical equipment and trained to use it correctly. An acceptable level of risk will vary from person to person and family to family. For my family berry picking is a low-risk activity though it clearly involves some hazards. We do not expect trouble from bears or snakes but we are prepared nonetheless. For other families berry picking up in the woods might not be something they are prepared to do. Get training This can be formal training (taking a class from a knowledgeable person) or informal (read up on the subject or find someone who can help teach you the ropes). I have enjoyed foraging for wild edibles for many years. Before I started eating wild plants though Istudiednumerousbooksandfield guides to make doubly sure of what I was getting ready to sample. Invest in the necessary equipment and supplies. Orienteering these days requires a reliable GPS device. Winter camping requires clothing and equipment necessary to keep warm. Backpacking demands good Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 23 Homeschooling & Depression by Angela Snodgrass the perfect storm D ealing with depression is tough. Homeschooling is tough. Put the two together and well let s just say it has the potential for the perfect storm. One of the things we tend to do when we re struggling is beat ourselves up. Why are we moms so good at that Honestly if it were an Olympic sport I m sure a homeschool mom would win the gold I m ruining my kids. They re not learning anything. I can t do this. Sound familiar F rom feeling down or blue to full blown depression it s an issue many struggle with but few are willing to talk about. Why is that A s moms we re used to talking about child training curriculum choices Pinterest ideas or our favorite recipe but depression well that s a bit taboo. Let s be honest if we haven t been through it we don t know what to say and if we have journeyed down that road we think others will be uncomfortable if we reach out. And so we remain silent. It s sort of like the giant elephant in the room that we all know is there but most don t want to acknowledge. F irst let me say I ve been there. I understand your pain the struggle to get out of bed school your kids and deal with life. Smiling hurts and making a to-do list...forget it. Everything that once brought you joy has faded and you wonder if you ll ever laugh again. I get it sweet friend I get it. If you re a mom struggling with depression today let me speak truth to your weary heart. ______ T T T ______ he truth is that you are NOT ruining your kids. Quit the opposite. You re teaching them what it means to have compassion how to be real and to walk alongside someone who s struggling. he truth is that they are learning things they could never learn from a textbook. How to pitch in and help around the house. How to pray. How to do REAL life. These lessons are helping shape them into who the Lord created them to be and prepare them for future ministry. he truth is you CAN T do it at least not alone. But with your family friends and the Lord s help you CAN W ait a minute. Isn t this supposed to be a column on encouragement Yes Believe it or not there is hope and peace in the midst of depression. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you whose thoughtsarefixedonyou. Isaiah26 3Yes there can be peace even in the valley of depression Fixing our eyes on Jesus won t take away the depression but will give us the strength we need to keep moving forward one small step at a time. 24 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 S M K o dear one how do you homeschool while struggling through depression While I learned I couldn t always control the depression there were some things I could do to keep the learning moving forward. R S If you re currently struggling with depression this one probably made you laugh out loud. The planning side of our brains seems to shut down when we re depressed. I m not talking about planning out the whole year here. Just do a skeleton list of what you would like your kids to accomplish for the day or week. Baby steps. This outline will allow you to keep them on track and see that you really are making progress even on your worst days. ake a plan I ve said this before on my blog but it bears repeating a thousand times - There is no shame in suffering from depression. The only shame is remaining silent. Find a safe place to share your struggle - your spouse friend doctor counselor or all of the above. You aren t meant to carry this burden alone. Don t give in to the shaming voices encouraging you to keep silent. Be brave and start the conversation. Allowing others to walk alongside you brings beauty from the ashes and can turn what the enemy intended for evil into something truly beautiful. each out neverhavebeenonyourplateinthefirst place. Depression has a funny way of putting things into perspective. ______ I promise you the valley you re in won t last forever. Weeping may remain for a night but hold tight dear friend joy is coming ______ You can read further about Angela s own personal journey through depression at The Potter s Hand http If you are struggling with depression and need someone to talk to please drop her a note at snodgrass91 She would be happy to listen and walk alongside you. Lower your expectations and let go of all the extra subjects for a while. Yes your kids will survive without Latin history science and literature study until you feel ready to tackle those subjects again. Stick to the basics - Bible math reading and writing. Your kids will be OK...I promise Apply the idea of simplicity to as many areas of your life as possible meals extra-curricular activities ministry involvement. Say no to the extras so you can say yes to getting better. eep it simple s Struggling through depression is tough enough without beating yourself up for all you re NOT doing. Can I get an amen Give yourself grace sweet friend. You are loved This is just a season. I know it may feel like your new normal but there will come a time when you will once again be able do all the things you did before. Or youmightjustfindthatsome of what you let go of should s grace how yourself D Depression leaves you feeling like you re in a fog. The driven decision making part of the brain seems to shut down even for us Type-A personalities. I remember standing in my kitchen one day knowing there were many things I neededtobedoing butunabletofigure out for the life of me what that looked like. Then I thought of the old saying Just do the next thing. If you have a skeleton schedule or small to-do list simply do what comes next and you won t have to think too much. When you re depressed the fewer decisions you have to make the better. Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn o the next thing s 25 ICHE BULLETIN BOARD ICHE testing is not aligned with Common Core State Standards testinG information letters january 15 Are you registered for March 2014 testing Contact your Regional Coordinator listed on the website if you don t receive your information letter by January 15th. WEBSITES online interactive publications newslet ers R E I D ADVERTISING Logos graphicAGE design a graphic design firm SIGN leGislative day february 4 disPlays aPPlication deadline january 9 Is your homeschool freedom worth baking a pie Help from your own home Visit Legislative Day for pie signups display applications and information. COLLATERAL PRINTMEDIA Just launched MAGAZINES web design editorial design Art Direction leGislative alert list Will you email your legislators when alerted Sign up on the website today to receive ICHE information and action alerts when our freedom needs defending. The power of our collective voices is the key. The legislative session begins Monday January 12. Go to Your Legislator to identify your district your legislators and to email your message. ADVERTISING a small-business website owned by a homeschool family social WEBSITES email sr phone 208.659.8408 26 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 Follow us on Facebook IdahoCoalitionOfHomeEducators Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 27 25% Discount on Wills & Trusts for CHOIS Connection Readers Call 939-2600 now for your Learn more at Free Initial Consultation 28 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 SUBSCRIBE Today 1 YEAR 10 Name Street Box City State Phone Mail this form and checks to CHOIS P.O. Box 45062 Boise ID 83711 Email Zip Code or go to to subscribe online collect tHose Box tops CHois can redeem General Mills Box Tops for Education. We can earn up to 20 000 per year for our organization. Ask your extended family and neighbors to collect them for you as well Thank you for your help CHOISdoesnotwantfinancialhardshiptokeepanyone from being connected so please accept a complimentary subscription if you are unable to pay. CHOIS exists to inspire Idaho parents to educate their children at home to promote parent-led family-funded relationshipbased home education and to preserve homeschool freedoms. We are a non-profit organization committed to encouraging homeschooling families. The CHOIS Connection a quarterly magazine seeks to provide encouragement and help for Idaho homeschooling families. Winter 2014 CHOIS COnneCtIOn 29 Oh Taste And See Recitals Neil And Susanne Buckley 559-4660 Graduation Showers Weddings Milestones A Homeschool Family 30 CHOIS COnneCtIOn Winter 2014 THOUGH NOT ALWAYS FACE TO FACE WE ARE ALWAYS HEART TO HEART Heather Urich felt a call to ministry but family responsibilities--including raising two sets of twins--made getting pastoral training seem like an impossibility. NNU s fully online degree in Christian ministry is helping her fulfill God s call. Learn how an online degree from NNU can prepare you to follow your calling. Watch her story at Heather cmo Winter 2014 877.NNU.GRADCHOIS C OnneCtIOn 31 Christian Homeschoolers Of Idaho State P.O. Box 45062 Boise Idaho 83711