Gryphon House
November 27, 2013 Edition 

Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers

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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,


Homeschooling with babies and toddlers--now there's a challenge. It's especially difficult when you're dealing with sleepless nights and sick days when the little ones just need their mama. But you can do it. The Lord gave you those beautiful children and called you to homeschool them, and He'll help you with all the challenges you face.


These magazine articles can give you more advice than I can pass on in this column about practical ways to homeschool with littles:


3 Sanity Saving Strategies for Homeschooling with Toddlers - Terri Johnson

Homeschooling with Preschoolers - Deb Turner

Preschoolers to High Schoolers--All at Once - several articles on pages 148-168


You may want to read two free E-Books TOS published about homeschooling preschoolers, too. Visit the Schoolhouse Store and use the code preschool2013 to get them FREE!


I also want to talk to you about doubt. I heard you are doubting yourself again. Failure. Really? Let's find out:   


So here's a check list. Let's find out if you really failed: 
  1. You genuinely loved on your children this week.
  2. Your house was/is far from spotless, but is certainly a healthy environment. (Look at your kids; they're fine.)
  3. You made delicious meals this week--many times. (Look at your kids. If anything, they're chunky monkeys. They're not starving.)
  4. They learned this week. You had conversations with them. You taught them. You were a role model. Perfect? Please. WHO is?
  5. There was progress made for certain behavior modifications. Huge leaps? Maybe not, but progress. 
  6. They giggled a lot this week. In fact, if anything, they're a little *too* secure in your love and acceptance of them.  
  7. There's music in your home. Well, maybe we won't call it that, but your kids do. (Look at them; you dare to tell them their music isn't real?) 
  8. LAUGHTER happened this week in your home. Crying did too, but that's part of life, and it's better they see a realistic home than some fakey phoney one. YOU are no charlatan, Mama. You kept it real. 
  9. God's word prevails in your home. You look to the Lord as your highest authority, and the King of kings is your Father. You are leading your children to Him. You're not perfect, but you do model faith and commitment to the Lord of lords. 
  10. And lastly, your kids love you. Look at the way they want you to WATCH them do this, and WATCH them to that. They don't even want to do a cartwheel without "the Mama" seeing their accomplishments. "Watch me, Mama . . . look at meeeeee!."  

Funny how they look to you, Mama. They want your favor; they want you to be proud of them. It's because you are the one they run to when they fall down. You have always wiped their tears; your compassion is ever-ready and available. And Mama, they always remember that care you so freely gave. There may be breaks during the relationship. They may run a foolish mile. Pray for them, cry out to the Lord for them, and remember that you sowed godly seeds into them all their life; these won't return void. God has a plan even then. In the meantime, love those babies and keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track.   


~ gena

Sponsor Article

The Sounding Joy is a spirited collection of Christmas carols drawn from Ruth Crawford Seeger's 1953 songbook, American Folk Songs for Christmas. Featuring Elizabeth Mitchell and a luminary list of her musical family, friends, and neighbors, this album celebrates the spirit of community and homespun traditions that existed in times before the commercialization of Christmas. Natalie Merchant, Aoife O'Donovan, Dan Zanes, Peggy Seeger, and many others add their voices to pay tribute to a collection revered in the canon of American music. Songs include "Mary Had a Baby," "Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow," and "Christmas Day in the Morning."



GRAMMY-nominated Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell spent Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago thinking about the project that would eventually become her Christmas album, The Sounding Joy. A longtime fan and champion of Ruth Crawford Seeger's work, Mitchell found herself thoroughly immersed in Seeger's third and final songbook, American Folk Songs for Christmas.  Seeger, mother of musicians Mike and Peggy Seeger and stepmother of Pete Seeger, died from cancer at age 52 in 1953, the very same year American Folk Songs for Christmas was published.


Mitchell chose to strike a balance between remaining faithful to the beauty and subtle complexity of Seeger's unique arrangements, and bringing her own breadth and range as a producer and arranger to bear on these largely unknown traditional songs. The wide diversity of voices, players, and instruments on the album breathes new life into words first sung over a century ago by farmhands, country preachers, and small-town congregations, and gospel groups.


Adapting a number of Seeger's piano arrangements for a string trio and inventive percussion, Mitchell radiates warmth on "Ain't That Rocking" and "Shine Like a Star." Amy Helm leads a rousing version of "Last Month of the Year" through a groove and vocal quartet style that invokes the early Staple Singers with guitar figures reminiscent of Malian desert blues. Recordings not from the songbook include classics "Joy to the World," "Silent Night," and an a cappella arrangement of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," a "family heirloom" arranged by Elizabeth's father-in-law, Michael Storey Littleton.


Mitchell sums up the spirit of the album best in her notes: "However you and your loved ones celebrate the last month of the year, I hope it is filled with the sounds of joy."


The Familyman 

Hey, I'm sorry, but it's the day before Thanksgiving . . . so I'm not going to talk about homeschooling with babies and toddlers (like I know anything about the subject). 

I will say, stop thinking about homeschooling, lesson plans, and schedules. You need to transition into holiday mode and think Thanksgiving/Christmas thoughts . . . and FUN!!! I'm telling you, this is the best month on the family calendar. There are so many activities and events that draw family together.


Tomorrow marks the starting line. For you Martha types, it's a nonstop day of "preparation and serving." As with homeschooling, sometimes in the celebration you forget what really matters. Truth is Thanksgiving isn't about turkeys, pies, or clean houses. It's about giving thanks and enjoying God's great gift of family and friends or in other words, relationships.


So, stop the old homeschool train and start the Holiday Express. First stop - Thanksgiving!!!


Have a wonderful weekend and be real,



P.S. You still have time to get your pre-packaged Christmas crafts and enchanting Christmas read-alouds in time to begin the advent season. And don't forget our share contest! Join in the fun at: 

A division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! No limits!  


Little ones have a way of lighting up a room and keeping life interesting. At, we want to help you spark the light of learning in your little one's eyes and fuel her interest in the world around her.

Schoolhouse Preschool


Our Schoolhouse Preschool is a wonderful place full of resources for toddlers and preschoolers--and more are on the way in 2014 including Charlotte Mason Preschooling and Music resources for preschoolers. Plus, we have the Homegrown Preschooler team bringing you tons of great ideas every month, Beth Gorden's Sensory Learning for Toddlers, Figures in History by Cathy Diez-Luckie, Schoolhouse Spelling, Pre-K: Read and Play, animated story books, fun nature activities, worksheets, coloring sheets, stories, achievement certificates, and more!


If you have little ones ages 5-10 at home, don't miss your chance to see their work brought to life! In partnership with, Schoolhouse Teachers is running--for a limited time--a story book contest. The winner receives a Kindle Fire Tablet, and the winning story gets animated for everyone to enjoy. No membership is needed to enter. Visit here for the details.


Join today your first month is just $3. After that, $12.95 a month gives your entire family access to the complete site. Or save 10 percent by purchasing a yearly membership: just $139.
Sponsored by TOS and these companies:
      • The Kingdom Series
      • See The Light Shine
      • CEB Deep Blue Kids Bible
      • Uzinggo 
      • Creation Illustrated
      • Math Tutor DVD
      • Laser Pegs
      • Rosetta Stone
      • Mardel
      • Rainbow Resource Center
      • Poofin
      • Legacy Documentaries
Don't miss it in your inbox early Friday morning.

Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring
Dear Friends,


The first thing on my heart is to wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!


And, actually, that is a great introduction for this week's topic. I know it is so much easier to stand on the sidelines and say, "Be thankful for your little ones now, they will grow up SO fast," than to personally do all the work of caring for babies and toddlers. It is MUCH more difficult to actually be thankful when you are in the midst of the challenges.


I remember endless days, sleepless nights, exhaustion, rounds of colds and flu (passed between siblings), and the deep longing to get to the everyone-out-of-diapers stage! I would watch families with older children walking sedately with their parents as my highly energetic wee ones charged through life, and wonder if I would ever live to see the day . . .


Before I tell you that I did live to see the day, let's return to that demanding time and share some other memories that co-exist with the previous paragraph.


I remember the awe of holding each baby that came to our family, the precious times of doing nothing but rocking that little one to sleep. There were times of pure bliss and contentment as I would sit in the night and nurse my baby, with no one else demanding my time and no one else needing me in quite such momentous ways. I would watch each stage of growth of my babies and toddlers with a delighted enthusiasm, thinking that "THIS is definitely my favorite stage of babyhood," only to find the next stage even better.


If I could go back and have a chat with myself in those early motherhood days, I would gently and tenderly say, "Oh, Diana, these are among the most precious times of being a mom. Enjoy them, savor them, don't wish them away or miss their fleeting moments." I would probably add a final encouragement to get as much sleep as possible, eat well, exercise, and don't take on any more demands than is absolutely necessary.


Homeschooling with babies and toddlers means that, for a time, you might need to do LESS, not MORE. Instead of ramping up the schedule, pushing everyone to hurry up so it can all get done, consider slowing down so that everyone has time to adjust to and enjoy the new life.


Dear friend, if YOU are in this stage, where you have babies and/or toddlers, may I encourage you to enjoy and savor your life right now? Would you hear the sympathetic tones of an older woman who understands the challenges you face? I hope so, because if I could go back and do it over again (with the same energy I had in my twenties!!!), I would do it in a heartbeat--enjoying the priceless blessing of these little ones.


May you have a splendidly relational Thanksgiving!




This activity is lots of fun to do together and will get your children  
off to a great start in phonics.
TOS Article
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.



Get some excellent advice and ideas on
writing in the November issue of 
Spotlight on Five
Spotlight on 5

Take a look at Spotlight on Five!



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Creation Revolution  
"Big cats are defined as lion, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, cougars and jaguars. They have roamed the lands of most continents. They vary in color to the solid tawny color of cougars or mountain lions to the orange and black stripes of tigers to the various spotted patterns of leopards,
cheetahs and jaguars to the nearly all black with black spotted pattern of the black panther. Big cats are beautiful, dangerous and fascinating."

Contest Corner 

For the month of November, 2013   


NameMeaning Gifts from CrossTimber® 




Cross Timber® is a company that offers Name Meaning Gifts, or gifts that answer "Do You Know What Your Name Means?" Products include name plaques, bookmarks, coffee mugs, name cards, Scripture plaques, keepsake boxes, and custom awards, with inspirational Scripture and the meaning of the name represented on the items. The items are completely customizable, with selected Scripture by request and 200+ designs to choose from. With a dozen years of experience designing personalized gifts, the owners research names and provide meanings according to the various origins, whether Greek, Latin, etc. Contact is fairly immediate when you use the chat box on the website and is almost as fast when emailing the staff. We received the 5 x 7-inch Name Plaque and bookmark for this review; the plaque was framed and personalized with our choices.
CrossTimber® is definitely a company of choices. First, you decide whether you want to use the first name only or the first and middle. Then you decide on a background design; the 400+ options are broken into categories to aid in your decision process. (To read the rest of the review, click here.)


WIN a name meaning coffee mug!


BONUS: free name bookmarks for your entire family!  


Choose your own design for even the most unique name. Names are carefully researched from a Biblical perspective, with a supporting Bible verse.


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "CrossTimber" for a chance to win* a name meaning mug and name bookmarks for your whole family!    

In this week's issue:

Writing Tales

Preeschoolers and Peace
Susan Evans Hands-on Learning

Take a look at what's new for Fall 2013 at


in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® 

TOS Magazine- November/December 2013

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