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Real Story: She Turned Paper Into The Most Magical Gift For A Child

Real Story: She Turned Paper Into The Most Magical Gift For A Child

Few things are as magical when you are a child as gifts. Early on it’s amazing that our birthdays even happen. Remember it? Our first few birthdays? We had no concept of time and then all of a sudden one day we just get gifts because we were born. Then once we finally got that worked out there are gifts on another day because Jesus was born (or Santa comes or whatever belief system you subscribe too.) This is all too much isn’t it? I mean we don’t even earn these things.

When the magic of the calendar has worn off we are than able to focus on something else: the gifts. We start to have opinions on presents. Expectations on what they should be. That is where this story picks up.

The Unforgettable Christmas Present

A young man took care of Mrs. Long’s lawn during one summer. She was an elderly woman who could only afford to pay very little for the deed as she was not well off. During that summer she did promise the young man that she would have a Christmas present for him come winter. That promise was repeated on the last day that summer that the lawn was mowed.

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There was quite a long time between the summer and Christmas. I’m sure it must have felt like an eternity to the young boy. He ran through what he thought it could be. Could it be a bike? No, she couldn’t carry that. After all she was frail and a little older. Could it be a baseball glove? That’s possible, and he needed one. Oh, I know, skates! How fantastic would it be to have new skates to keep up with the other boys?

Time passed and it finally got to be December. He couldn’t go get it on December 1st, right? That would probably look bad, and also, I mean, she might not have it wrapped yet. His family agreed that he should wait. Cut to December 22nd. Finally he decided it was safe to go.

The gift was definitely not a bike. It wasn’t big enough for a baseball glove and certainly not skates. He picked up the box and it was light. Really, really light. He asked what it could be and Mrs. Long let him know that he had to wait until Christmas to find out. However there was a little bit of magic tucked into that box.

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Christmas came and he opened the box. In the box were 10 flimsy pieces of black paper with the words Carbon Paper Regal Premium. If you don’t know, these papers were used to stick between the sheets of papers to make a carbon copy of what was being written. Mrs. Long couldn’t afford to spend money, so she gifted magic. It was the most magical gift the boy ever received.

If you are wondering how to recapture magic for your little ones please continue reading for some ideas.

Scavenger Hunts

Who can resist the fun of having to find the presents based on clues and hunting. Send them all around the house, inside and outside.

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String Attached to a Gift

Follow me on this. Attach the piece of string and then wrap it around chairs, upstairs, downstairs, and lead them all around the house until finally they follow the string to the gift.

Surprise Party

Invite friends and yell surprise at your unsuspecting kid. They love surprise parties. Heck, they love just the word “Surprise!”

Balloons

Fill their room with balloons while they sleep. Can you imagine waking up to balloons everywhere!?! That would still be awesome at my age.

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I hope that these ideas can help you make someone’s day extra special. I know as adults we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make every birthday the best party ever for our kids. Try to remember the joy of doing things and the amazing feeling of knowing someone spent time to do something for you and with you. That is the true magic.

Please follow this link and read the Christmas gift story in more touching detail. You will not regret it.

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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