I Am a Lifelong Learner ~ Are You?

 Something I do OTHER than make jewelry: LEARN

One of my plans for today (other than getting some orders out) includes learning. I am a lifelong learner...homeschool mom... who is showing my kids how to be lifelong learners as well.

On the agenda for today is: The Power of The Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. I've already watched part of this video. (Oh yeah, and I will watch it while I fold laundry! LOL)

Dr. Caroline Leaf is:
*An amazingly smart woman
*A Christian
*A scientist
*A captivating speaker
*A beautiful, amazingly smart woman!

This video isn't just for adults. I recommend it for teens as well. My 17 year old was enjoying it as well. She offers amazing insights that all can learn from.

Let me know if you decide to watch and learn!

The Power of The Brain


Printable Maps - Large World Maps, Country Maps

I found a GREAT resource!

This is from Owl & Mouse at YourChildLearns.com Print Large Maps Homeschool

"Print maps large or small; from 1 page to almost 7 feet across; PC or Mac.  For classroom and student use.  MegaMaps requires Adobe Flash. Free online software - no downloading or installation."

You can even print mega maps! Super huge!  So big you can walk on them.


My fam team!

Son 1 the photographer / videographer 

Husband the preacher

Son 2 the... whatever hat he is wearing at the timer

My mom & me


Kitchen Lab: Edible Experiments and Other Mad Scientist Recipes ~ Guest Post By Tamara Christine Van Hooser

Kitchen Lab: Edible Experiments and Other Mad Scientist Recipes
By Tamara Christine Van Hooser

“Who—me? Teach science? You must be joking! I barely passed science when I was in school. I’m certainly not qualified to teach it now!” The prospect of teaching science brings to mind names such as Einstein, Newton, and Bernoulli, along with the complex equations and scientific theories they espouse. Thus, it is easy for a homeschool parent with no science degree to view science as a daunting challenge and to shy away from teaching science. It’s easy to become even more discouraged by the price tags found on numerous materials required for science experiments, especially if you have a limited budget.

The truth is that science is all around us, and it takes no special training, knowledge, or extra expense to introduce your elementary-aged children to basic scientific principles right in your very own kitchen with common household ingredients. As The Magic Schoolbus’s Miss Frizzle likes to say, the key to making science come alive for kids is to “take chances, make mistakes, get messy.” Conducting science in your kitchen lab is an excellent vehicle for tying in cross-curricular skills such as measurement, nutrition, responsibility, and following directions, as well as kitchen safety and the scientific process. Select recipe experiments that end in an edible treat to motivate your kids’ scientific curiosity, and reward the junior mad scientists for a project well done.

Homemade Root Beer
Combining root beer and science will be an instant hit for all root beer lovers.1 While many recipes call for ingredients that the average family does not have handy, a simple recipe of brewer’s yeast, root beer extract, sugar, and warm water is enough to teach kids about fermentation and carbonation.

Mix ¼ teaspoon yeast in a cup of warm water. Dissolve 1 pound of sugar in ½ gallon of water heated to 180 degrees F. Stir in 4 to 6 teaspoons of root beer extract and let cool.

Mix in the yeast solution and carefully pour the mixture into a plastic gallon-sized jug. Pour in enough warm water to fill the jug, leaving 2 inches empty at the top, and twist the lids on securely. Keep the bottles at room temperature for three to four days, and then refrigerate for an additional four to seven days.

For young children, a quick version of this experiment substitutes dry ice for yeast. Simply place the dry ice in the root beer liquid in an airtight container, such as a portable cooler. It should be carbonated and ready to drink in one to four hours. Add ice cream for a root beer float celebration, or hold a taste test to compare commercial brands to your homemade version.

Ziplock Ice Cream
For a completely scientific treat, make your own ice cream to go with your homemade root beer.2 In addition to being a tasty project, making ice cream is a good way to learn about freezing, melting, and changing states of matter. In a quart-size ziplock bag, mix ½ cup milk, ½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Seal the bag securely and place it within a 1-gallon size ziplock bag filled with 2 cups of ice and ¾ cup rock salt.

Seal the gallon bag and let the child squeeze and shake the bag vigorously until the mixture thickens like ice cream. Spoon the ice cream into your float or a bowl, and enjoy your tasty treat. Optionally you may substitute other flavors for vanilla, such as adding mashed berries, chocolate syrup, peppermint extract, or food coloring for a colorful snack.

To finish reading click "read more."

Boiling Water Science Experiment ~ Our Homeschool


Brrrrrrrr.....!! Baby it's cold outside!

Here in Chicago-land it is -2* and with the windchill it is -22*.

Yesterday, my boys thought it would be great to do a science experiment that they found online.  The temp with windchill yesterday was -54* !!! No kidding!  We have NEVER experienced this before.  The boys were greatly intrigued to say the least.

Of course, a warning is issued because boiling water is involved.
WARNING! Children should NOT do this experiment without a parent or guardian!


You only need two things:
  • freshly boiled water
  • really cold outdoor temperature
Basically, you toss the boiling water into the air (NOT above anyone's head!!!!) and watch it turn into snow!

Why does it turn into snow? 

This is what Live Science has to say about it:
"When it's cold outside, there's hardly any water vapor present in the air, whereas boiling water emits vapor very readily that's why it's steaming," Seeley says. "When you throw the water up in the air, it breaks into much smaller droplets, so there's even more surface for water vapor to come off of.
"Now, cold air is very dense, and this makes its capacity to hold water vapor molecules very low. There's just fundamentally less space for the vapor molecules," Seeley explains. "So when you throw the boiling water up, suddenly the minus 22 air has more water vapor than it has room for. So the vapor precipitates out by clinging to microscopic particles in the air, such as sodium or calcium, and forming crystals. This is just what goes into the formation of snowflakes."

Here is Weather.com's version found on YouTube:

Let me know if you try it and link back so we can watch your experiment!


Interesting Stats on Homeschool vs. Public School

Stats interest me, especially stats about homeschooling.  

Here is one that I am particularly interested in.  I suppose it is because my husband and I are in full time ministry. (Or however you want to word that.)

Will your children believe in Jesus when they graduate from high school?
Homeschooled: 94%
Public Schooled: 15%

94% of homeschoolers keep the faith and 93% continue to attend church after the high school years. But a shocking 75% to 85% of Christian children sent to public school drop out of church, and do not hold a Christian worldview after high school graduation.
(Stat quoted from: Christian Home Education)

Look at it this way:
One hundred Christian kids go to public school
Twenty of them continue in "the faith" or going to church after they graduate.

This stat is astounding!
 Over and over I hear on Christian TV and radio, "Why are our children leaving the faith/church?"

Well, lets look at the facts.  Most of them are being sent to the public school.  What do they learn in public school?  A lot more than educational stuff!  I know this first hand because "I were one!"  LOL.

Sadly, parents actually think that they are sending their kids to school to get an education... to get book smart.  If they think that teachers are only teaching what is in the text book (which can't be trusted these days... times have changed sista!) they are fooling themselves.

How is it even possible for a teacher to teach and not give their opinion.  I wonder if teachers announce that something is their "opinion" every time that they give it so that the child can easily sift through what is said and toss the junk?

I will conclude... for now... with a verse out of Scripture (highlight mine).
Luke 6:39-40And He also spoke a parable to them: A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

Homeschool Domination

Created by: CollegeAtHome.com


Real Play, Real Learning ~ Guest Post by Willemien Kruger

Photo added by me from: Pixabay

Real Play, Real Learning

By Willemien Kruger

Here in South Africa we cannot imagine a lifestyle where children are not outdoors most of the time.  Some of my friends who come from other countries have told me how it took them a long time to get into the mindset that the “place for children to play is outside—not inside.” The great advantage of the outside is that one needs far less toys for entertainment. It never ceases to amaze me how children really play with almost nothing when they are outdoors. As long as there is a three-dimensional space where they can move forwards and backwards, run, hop, jump, and climb to move up and down (as in trees)—if you then add a bit of soil, sand, and water together with a few sticks and stones and leaves and stuff—children will never be bored!

Our children here in South Africa grow up outside . . . with bare feet on grass, mud play, tree climbing and sunshine all year ’round! It is a privilege we mostly appreciate when our children get fidgety by the hour in those rare times of continuous rain for three days. Charlotte Mason encourages being in nature, doing what she calls “nature study,” which is quite natural for children to do if they are out in nature a lot. If you do not have your own backyard, then do put in some extra effort to get into nature as much as possible by going to a park or forest or beach or even a neighbor’s yard. For now I am going to assume that most of the readers have access to their own nature area, and I’ll give some practical ideas to set up an outdoor environment for keeping children of all ages productively busy (from baby phase to teenager phase).

First, ensure that the basics are available: open grass, water, soil, sand, trees, and rocks. Trees will be even more enjoyable if they are of the sort one can climb. Water does not have to be a swimming pool, and when children are small, even just a bucket filled with some water is sufficient; water features, such as fountains, are also very entertaining and relaxing. If you have these basics, living things such as insects, birds, lizards, spiders, etc. will quickly inhabit your backyard, making it an outdoor observatory for nature study.

Add interesting play, provoking things such as a climbing frame, swings (homemade ones can be made, e.g., knotted ropes or a tire fastened with ropes), a tree house, tires, bamboo, a hose pipe, and pets.

Provide an area where they can roller skate or ride bikes or practice throwing a ball through a loop. Set up a net for kicking a ball into.

Involve your children from a young age in helping you when you have your own vegetable or herb garden, flowers, bonsais, orchids, or whatever your green thumbs like to grow. If you are an animal lover, all sorts of pets and other small animals can provide lots of learning opportunities for caring and can even develop into a business later, e.g., raising birds, chickens, etc.

There are so many opportunities for productive (paid) work in a garden; you can decide if you want to add them as basic chores or regard them as “extra,” paid chores. Mowing and maintaining the lawn; varnishing wooden structures, chairs, tables, or other furniture; painting permanent structures; annual tree planting or trimming; adding fertilizer on regular basis to grass or beddings; cleaning the fish pond; raking up autumn leaves; and weeding flowerbeds are examples of outside chores that children can carry out successfully—and they’re fun too! Projects for older children could include building a tree house, swings, ladders, and structures for imaginary play, e.g., boats, tents, prisons.

Do things outside regularly: have picnics lunch or dinner outside, do art outside, read on a blanket or a swing or on the grass, have tea under a tree, play badminton, play ball games, pitch a tent and camp in your backyard with a real fire to cook a meal on, watch the stars and seek out constellations, or study the moon’s cycle for a month.

Teach your children observational skills as you do this yourself. For example, highlight changes in seasons and nature every time you are outside; watch the leaves fall; experience the warmth, the cold, changes in light, length of day, and how much the wind is blowing; and observe how much or little rain falls and then talk about God’s design for seasons of growth and rest. Learn to observe weather in all its forms. Matthew 6:28 (AMP) says, “Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow.”

Intentionally let nature study be part of “school”—apart from conducting science experiments outside, have your child prepare a speech/report about your own bird gardens as part of your science studies, or do a work project when trying to attract birds to the garden, e.g., building a feeder, or teach your children how to prepare the garden soil for the new planting season—as you do it together.

Being outdoors is healthy and good and provides many informal learning opportunities with little effort! Both children and adults will benefit from being outdoors more. I truly believe God is revealing to us His character, wisdom, and wonder in nature, so getting out in nature often will have an impact on our souls and spirits. You will not be untouched when you “look out for God” in nature. Let us help our children also to have this experience as we allow them outdoor fun!

The meadows are clothed with flocks, the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy and sing together” (Psalm 65:13, AMP).

Five Rules for Moms When Children Are Outside

1.    Let them get dirty! This is very important, and it will prevent grief (yours, not theirs) if you dress them appropriately beforehand.
2.    Allow them some time to get into the play, even if it takes a while. Sometimes they need to warm up a bit before they really start to build “that dam” you suggested.
3.    Allow them to do what they want to do. Sometimes they just want to sit a while on the swing. That is okay. Offer them that quiet time.
4.    Encourage them to collect things. This is a hard one, and I agree that one should have limits and rules, e.g., snakes are not allowed in the house and spiders cannot roam free.
5.    Permit them to explore and experiment with nature. This does not include allowing them to torture or destroy any animal or plant, but do allow them the odd breaking of a rock to see what is inside or carefully taking apart a flower or seed to analyse the intricate design for themselves.

I love the season of life I now live, as a South African homeschool mother of three precious children and happily married. I love to research and read wholesome, intelligent, and value-adding information, and I enjoy sharing what I learn. Find support to continuously improve your homeschool on my website, www.homeschooling-curriculum-guide.com, pointing YOU in the right direction, whether you are just starting out or have been doing this for a while.

Copyright 2012, used with permission.  All rights reserved by author.  Originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine.  Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.


What are you creating in your "home educating" lifestyle?

How many homeschoolers do you know?  Do you know their children very well or do you mostly just associate with the parents?  Do you know your children very well?

I ask these questions just to get you thinking... and myself as well.  I don't know a lot of homeschool families.  At least not as many as most do.  I've only been part of a co-op or group a couple of times and I've homeschooled our boys for their whole lives (17 years).  They say it's not healthy to go it alone but that's basically what I've done.  Live and learn...

Anyway!  I do know enough homeschool families to observe their "style" and the attitudes of their children.  It has been my observation that the kids whose parents have chosen to do a strict "school at home" or sit the child down to a teaching video.... learn this... learn that... type of style, are resentful.  The children I know, from about 3rd grade up to now graduated, don't want to be homeschooled or wish they weren't.

Many of those families have created resentment, bitterness, rebellion... That's the sad news, but there is hope!

If our children aren't learning "the way THEY should go" and are only learning what has been pre-
programmed and put in front of them, how could they be happy?

There are so many learning styles and topics that interest us all as individuals, that if we all have to learn the same stuff, the same way, MANY will feel unfulfilled and not happy with their education.

 Unfortunately, I wasn't taught that learning is a lifestyle nor was I encouraged to pursue to learn about things that I am interested in.  As an adult who graduated from a less that great public school, I have supernaturally acquired the desire to continue to learn!  I am so excited about learning now that I can learn (for the rest of my life) on my own terms!

I can, and do, learn everyday in the way that God made me!  Say I want to learn a new jewelry
making technique (I do own my own business: www.janetpowers1.etsy.com) and someone tells me that I have to learn "this particular" technique.  Not only that, but I have to sit down to a text book and read how to make this new design using only this book.  Well, chances are, I won't be learning that technique!  That's not how I was wired!

How can we expect our children to learn this and learn that and do it only this particular way when God has wired us all so differently?

I understand that people NEED to be educated but why does it have to be so stringent?  Why can't
we loosen up a bit and let our children learn... REALLY learn?

I want to challenge you with this:

Pick one day a week... say Friday's... and let your child learn whatever they want and however they want.

If they learn best by doing, let them pick a topic and make a lapbook!
If they learn best by seeing, let them pick a topic and watch videos.
If they learn best by reading, let them pick a topic, go to the library and get a bunch of books!

Then, after a few weeks of LETTING your child learn, ask them questions and let them give you an oral report.  Don't bug them every week.  Don't let them know it's an oral report.  Just let them tell you what they have learned about the topic that they chose.

I believe you will be amazed.  Your child will blossom.  You will spark a love for learning when your child gets to learn about what interests them in the way that "he should go."

If you try this, I'd like to hear about it.  Leave a comment ok?!


How is your summer going?

I am wondering how your summer is going as a homeschooling family.  Is there any learning going on? Sometimes we head into summer with great aspirations to continue "school" and "do school" through the summer.

I have found that if I help to create and encourage the boys to have a lifestyle of learning, they will do exactly that and we don't have to "do school." When they were younger, it was important to make sure they kept up on their times tables, reading and things like that.  Now that they are in high school, that is all changing!

Over the last couple of years, I have let go of the strict school schedule and have tried to instill a love for learning.  I don't necessarily want the boys to have a love for studying a textbook and taking a test.  In my experience, that goes into some sort of temporary bank in the brain and in the not so distant future, is let out.

Instead, I want the boys to love learning.  When you love to learn, you explore.  In order to explore, you have to open your mind to other possibilities and outcomes.  When you do that, the unexpected often happens and then... you learn!  In that process, you apply yourself and when you experience something, it seems to stick and you remember it.

Being a lifelong learner is so beautiful!  I know a few very intelligent men who continue to learn in their "old age."  (At least, that is what the world would say of them.) I personally think they are young.  Their minds are beautiful and young.  How can a mind stay young and be "old" at the same time?

These guys don't get stuck in their ways.  They are open to other ideas.  Even in their "old age" they continue to WORK and to learn.  That's right! Neither one wants to retire and they both love for others to "use" and benefit from their intellect.  They are always willing to look  into a problem and help.  These gentlemen not only help, but they teach you as they help you so that you can learn from the experience as well.

That's the way problems and situations become learning tools.

I think that is beautiful!  That is what I desire for my children, and myself quite frankly.  I want them to love to explore!  I want them to love to learn something new.  I want them to learn and for others to benefit from their experience and intellect.  I want them to teach as they sort through issues.

That being said, our big aspirations to "do school" in summer usually get flushed.  Nice talks, genuine learning opportunities, and exploration step in and do the job that no textbook or test can do.

My advise it to trust God and step aside!  Let the Holy Spirit lead your child into a life of learning and exploring.  ...and while you're at it, let Him lead you there too!


Copyright © 2012 Janet Powers

The content (including photos) within this blog are not to be used without my permission.

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