Salem Witch Trials & Due Process

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This month we have really delved into the Halloween spirit and we have been learning about all things spooky and mysterious. Today we spent some time in 1692 Salem Massachusetts visiting one of the most infamous times in American History; the Salem Witch Trials. While this is a fascinating story shrouded in mystery, perfect for our Halloween theme, there is an important lesson to be learned.

This morning we decided to drive up to Michigan to visit my mom. It’s a long drive but my car allows me to connect my cell phone through the speakers via Bluetooth and this has been a great way to homeschool on the run. I  found a History Channel documentary on the Salem Witch Trials and we spent our road trip listening and discussing what we had learned. I love weaving documentaries into our studies because they provide so much information and they do so in a way that is entertaining. The discussion that followed was amazing and it gave us an opportunity to discuss the importance of Due Process.

The documentary did a great job of explaining how the Puritan’s way of governing was very different from the government that our founding fathers would later layout for our country. Without due process, innocent individuals were sentenced to death simply because they were accused of wrongdoing. No evidence was necessary to determine one’s innocence which made it possible for things to get so out of hand 326 years ago. We need to remember that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty not guilty until proven innocent.

My kids learned an important lesson today one that I hope will stick with them for a lifetime. It is important for us to maintain a legal system that is fair and equal to all American citizens.


History Channel Documentary: The Salem Witch Trials


Good Parents Homeschool!

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A simple fact in life is good parents homeschool their children. Those who do not engage in homeschooling are neglecting their children’s education. Some of you who are reading this are already getting upset but before you start throwing things at me let me explain.

I am a full-time homeschooler this means that my kids receive all of their education from me and the materials that I provide for them. When you hear the term homeschooling it often means someone who is engaged in full-time homeschooling. Not all homeschoolers are full time, in fact, some parents provide the majority of their children’s education but supplement with classes in a traditional institution or through a co-op. There is another type of homeschooling that is often overlooked and that is the homeschooling parent who sends their children to a traditional brick and mortar institution but actively participates in their child’s education. Yes, that is right you can be a homeschooling parent even if your kids attend public school.

Any parent who takes the time to invest in their child’s education or personal interest is actively participating in homeschooling. If you read with your kids, help them find answers to questions they ask or inspire them to be creative or to follow an interest than you are actively homeschooling. Education should occur in the home it doesn’t necessarily have to be full time because full-time homeschooling doesn’t work for every family but it still needs to happen. Many parents homeschool without even realizing it and they are making a positive impact on their kids. Unfortunately, there are a number of parents who believe that education should only be administered by a certified teacher and they do not engage in any form of homeschooling and these kids suffer academically and socially.

It is so important for parents to take an active role in their children’s lives. Get to know your kids and help them discover their interest and passions in life. Make reading as a family a priority even when you have children who are independent readers. Put the electronics up for a little bit each day and engage in face to face discussions so that you can teach your kids how to have conversations. Homeschooling isn’t about academics alone in fact when you homeschool you are teaching your children how to be productive citizens and how to be good parents in the future. Teach your children to build a nurturing home full of love and a passion for learning.



Life Should Be Fair But Not Always Equal

You may have read the title of this blog post and thought that I was speaking about race, ethnicity, culture or religion but that is not my intent. I am talking about life in general, the importance of teaching kids that while life should be fair it’s not always meant to be equal. Let me explain what I mean. It is not an uncommon to see siblings fight over gifts, treats or even time with Mom or Dad. Often in an attempt to diffuse tense situations, parents will try to level things off by making everything equal but I feel that this sets kids up for failure in the future.

Over the years my kids have shocked others with their ability to accept and even commend their siblings on receiving something extra whether it was a toy, a monetary gift or individual time with mom or dad. The reason that my kids are able to be gracious to one another in these situations is because we have never given in to that urge to make things equal because that often makes situations unfair. For instance, my oldest son helped me with some odd jobs last summer and he made five dollars a week for his hard work. His sister was presented with the same opportunity but she chose to not assist us to earn the extra income. It wouldn’t have been fair to pay her for work that she hadn’t done simply to make things equal. Robert ( my oldest) did the work so he earned the right to the allowance. My daughter may have been bummed because at the end of the summer she didn’t have the spending cash that Robert did but she understood.

We do not set out to create situations that result in one child receiving more than another but when a child steps up and does something above and beyond what was asked of them they deserve an extra treat. Maybe an extra cookie at snack time or a walk in the park with mom. It’s important to reward children for their actions because if you try to make every little thing equal it winds up that you end up rewarding your other children for not doing anything at all and this could result in them always relying on big brother or big sister to earn them their rewards.

In the real world, your boss isn’t going to give you a raise or a promotion at work because he gave one to the rest of the staff. The only way you are going to receive that reward is through your own hard work. It’s important to start teaching these lessons early in life because it well help your children succeed in the future. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to someone complain that so and so received a raise and they were angry because they didn’t get one too.  I have asked these individuals if so and so deserved the raise and usually, they agree that the individual did something above and beyond at work that earned them that raise.

When you teach your kids that hard work and going the extra mile will bring them great rewards you are giving them important skills that will help them later in life. It is also important to teach your children to be gracious to others and when someone else is rewarded for hard work they should congratulate them and be supportive.  Teaching your kids now that life should be fair but it is not always equal is a great way to build good character and prepare them for the real world.