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Family Centered Learning

Beneficence of Nature

The indescribable innocence of and beneficence of Nature — of sun and wind and rain, of summer and winter,–such health, such cheer, they afford forever!  Henry David Thoreau

Achillea Millefolium | ©Nissa Gadbois

achillea millefolium | ©Nissa Gadbois

Herbe de St. Joseph (achillea millefolium)The legend is that St. Joseph hurt himself while at work and the Child Jesus brought him a sprig of this herb to stanch the bleeding.  It is used today for bleeding wounds as well as for fever, inflammation, and menstruation.  It is also used as a decongestant and expectorant.  How blessed we are to have ample supplies of yarrow here on the farm.  It is a very useful herb for the home apothecary.  The essential oil from this plant is a brilliant azure.  It is wonderful how God has hidden such surprises all around us!

I love teaching our children about the uses of the plants that grow here on the farm.  It seems a shame to undo what God has so perfectly cultivated here.  We are doing our best to plan to leave wild areas or to propagate natives to place within our gardens.

A flower in your hand

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  – Georgia O’Keefe
 
Last Friday, I took the children to the Bridge of Flowers, spanning the Deerfield River between the villages of Shelburne Falls and Buckland.  Unprompted, the children gathered up pencils and notebooks to record what they saw.  It was a small thing, but made my teacher heart swell.  Something tells me that Charlotte Mason would have been very pleased.
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Someone discovered the fountain:
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois  Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois  
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Flower gardens are good for the soul.  We are all dreaming together now of the one we will have here on the farm.

{Give Away}: Apple Watch

We’re home with Nicholas and Olivia!  It has been quite a couple of weeks, learning about each other.  It wasn’t very long after we picked them up that it became clear that the information we received about their education levels was wrong. Both of our kids are bright, but neither of them has anything like a 4th or 5th grade education. Our kids have achieved about a preschool and kindergarten level equivalent, respectively. They are capable of learning, but will need an awful lot of help to catch up. We need to do about 5 years of intensive remedial work with them to bring them up to a level near what they should be for their ages.

In order to do that, I’m going to need some materials that will help them to learn and practice. I have made Montessori materials at home for many years, but our needs are more urgent than I can meet by making them myself now. I’m going to need to purchase materials so that we can get the kids started right away.

Because our previous giveaways have been so much fun and so successful, we are going to do another one!

An Apple for the Teacher

For every 100 apples claimed, we will give away one Apple Watch. And this time every gift is the same amount: $25.

Apple Watch Giveaway

Claim as many apples as you want. The more apples you claim, the greater your chance of winning.

To claim your apples, send your gift of $25 per apple through PayPal to nissa_@_gadboisfamily_._com

We will draw a winner (or winners) on Sunday, December 6th – St Nicholas Day. Please help us spread the word! We’re sure that lots of people will want a chance at an Apple Watch right before Christmas!

Apple Watch Giveaway

Whatever we raise in excess of our needs for materials will be put toward other projects here at the house: completion of the permanent schoolroom, completion of the third floor bedrooms for our adult children and guests, an office for our ministry, workspaces for making candles, soaps, and sewn items for our shop, a room to be used as photography studio – all in support of our ministry.

*No purchase necessary, click here for details.  Void where prohibited.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Lately I’ve noticed several homeschool moms sharing this amazing new thing – planning lessons using notebooks rather than charts or computer programs.  I seriously didn’t know you all didn’t know about this.  Way back when I was in school, my mom did the same thing.  She got me steno pads to keep my assignments in.  My Assignment Books.  I guess I figured everyone’s mom did this.

Each day, I was to write down in the assignment book what I was given for homework and projects.  Make a list.  Tick it off as I finished.  So simple that it’s genius!  The idea for homeschoolers is that mom writes in the book what she wants each child to accomplish for the day.  The child can check off or line through what he or she has completed as they finish each task.

Writing plans out by hand for several children can give you a hand cramp.  BUT, if you’re assigning so much that your hand is cramping, you’re either expecting too much, or you have a really large family and need to enlist Papa to help write up the lists. 🙂  I feel like teenagers should be collaborating on their assignments and helping to fill in their own books, but that’s my style.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

A plain old notebook may revolutionize your homeschool.  It’s simple, it’s elegant.  OK.  It’s not elegant.  Those notebooks are UGLY.  And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I adore Pretty.  So I thought I would show all of the new Assignment Book enthusiasts how to make pretty ones.  It’s really easy.  The first one might take you 10 or 15 minutes, but after that, you’ll get them done in under five minutes. You remember how fast you could cover a book with a shopping bag, right?  Like that.

Here’s what you need:

  • Spiral bound notebooks (I like the steno pads for their size, columns, and for nostalgia. You use whatever you like)
  • Decorative cardstock (or recycle cereal or cracker boxes)
  • Scissors or Xacto knife (cutting mat for the latter)
  • Needle-nose pliers (jewelry ones are ideal, but regular ones will do)
  • Binder clips and trombone paper clips
  • Micro-punch or awl

And here’s how you do it:  (It seriously took me longer to type it out than it will take you to make a pile of them).

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Place two binder clips on either edge of your notebook.  This holds all of the papers in place and keeps the holes aligned.  You don’t need to bind the top cover in with the inner sheets.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Next, using your pliers, carefully unhook each end of the coil and straighten the right-hand hook out so that it will slide through the holes without catching.  Then simply unscrew the wire.  The first turn will be a little tricky as you will need to keep the other ‘hook’ free of the book.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Now, using the original cover as a template, cut out a piece of cardstock.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Paper clip your original and new covers together so they don’t slip. Transfer marking for the holes from the original cover onto the cardstock, using a soft pencil.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Carefully punch holes through the card stock.  I couldn’t find my micropunch.  It must still be packed away.  So I used my bookbinding awl.  It worked a treat.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Place the new cover on the stack of papers and back cover.  Use binder clips to hold everything in place.  adjust everything so the the holes line up nicely.  You may want to use your awl to neaten up or enlarge the holes now.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Screw the wire back in.  Watch the way the wire wants to go.  Most of mine needed to start in the back at the far right of the book.  One or two needed to either start in the front, or begin on the left-hand side.  Be careful to gently guide the leading end into each hole.  It should go fairly quickly and easily.

Be sure to bend a new ‘hook’ in the leading edge and to hook each end of the wire around the adjacent loop.  This prevents snagging.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can hand-letter little name tags to glue on each child’s Assignment Book.  Carrie was happy to get some more calligraphy practice.

{Made for Learning} | Assignment Books

Her tags made the books so special.

Now, if you want to make your own notebooks from scratch (because you’re a compulsive crafty mama like me), I’ve got this pretty template for you.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Print 20 copies on nice paper (per Assignment Book)
  2. Cut them in half
  3. Make a front and back cover.  The back one can be made from a piece of bristol board or the back of a used drawing pad (save those!).
  4. Mark the holes (about 1/4″ from the top edge, evenly spaced), do the cover first and then use that as the template for the rest of the pages.
  5. Punch holes using a micro punch or awl.  You can probably punch four pages at a time without too much trouble.  But hold them securely with clips so they don’t slide around.
  6. Stack your covers and pages together with the holes lined up neatly.  Secure with binder clips.
  7. Wrap a piece of 20 gauge wire (or 18 or 16) around a fat magic marker or size 15 knitting needle the same number of times as holes you have, plus one
  8. Screw the wire into the holes.
  9. Bend the wire ends in or make a hook to catch the next loop in.

Voila!  Totally custom Assignment Books.

BONUS: now you have a compact, easy to access basis for transcripts.  And you didn’t have to use a fussy chart (unless you like fussy charts, which I sometimes do).

If you found this tutorial helpful, or interesting, or even amusing, please consider contributing to our adoption fund at Reece’s Rainbow.  And we sure would be tickled if you shared this Tutorial with your friends through social media.  Please feel free to pin away! And if you need to purchase supplies, you can do so right through our Amazon affiliate link.  Those commissions go toward our adoption, too!

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