I Want To Help You!!!
Hey there, my name is Christine and I am so excited to introduce myself.
I am a Mommy of 4 kiddos (three boys and a super SURPRISE girl) and have been married for 20 years. Wow, that makes me sound old. I have been homeschooling now for 7 years and would not choose to do it any other way (learn why I started to homeschool HERE). Many days can be crazy but I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing. I love that my children can build a relationship with each other as they grow, rather than grow apart (they range from 14-4 years old.
So why did I start Little Rabbit Trails? I hear people all of the time asking how I can teach without a boxed curriculum. I hear people talking about internet safety. I hear people asking how to teach their kids through books. "How do you do it?" they ask.
And this is why I created Little Rabbit Trails . . . to help parents like you find a more enjoyable way to explore learning with your children. To help you see that it is possible to experience a great education in a whole new way.
-No More tears
-No More wasted planning
-NO More worksheets
-No More curriculums that cost a bundle.
I want to help YOU create the inspiring environment that you imagined when you first started homeschooling. One where your children wake up and beg to start learning.
I won't lie, it takes a lot of time to create and collect a plethora of outstanding resources to bring a subject to life. It also blew my mind how much time I wasted, with my children huddled around me, finding websites with good clean content that were age appropriate and high quality. Not to mention the near misses of inappropriate images and more.
So I decided to take what my kids love and create it for other Moms. To save you the time and the headache and do it for a minimal price so anyone could experience learning through literature in a Child-led, worksheet- free way.
I love to dance
I love old books
I would live in Germany again if I could
I like to be warm
I played army as a child (what can I say I had all brothers and a bit of a Tom boy)
I am trying to learn French, German, Latin, and Spanish
I don't like to run
I love Star Wars, Harry Potter, and LEGO
I love the color purple
I like to do ANYTHING that is creative
I am a night owl
I collect hippos
I love helping others
A Few More Things About Me
My little Ones
Thomas Jefferson Memorial in DC
We love to Travel
Why I Started Homeschooling
I started homeschooling after my oldest child had finished kindergarten. I WANTED MORE TIME WITH HIM! I did the same thing that we all do. I started to look online for the best curriculum. It was like an endless sea and I was drowning in it. Eventually, I found what I thought would be the perfect curriculum and ordered it. I WAS READY! The first few weeks were awesome. My son was enjoying the lessons and I was surprised how well he was keeping up with the fast pace that was prescribed. THEN IT HAPPENED...
Why I stopped doing "School at Home"
My son started to mix up letter sounds, get frustrated with reading and became resistant to doing his math. He even refused to do 4 simple math problems and missed an anticipated playdate as a result. He was crying and I was shouting that "it was his own fault." I knew SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE!!! This what not what I had pictured. I put away all of the curriculum and just decided to take a break from it.
I could help children receive a more in depth, cohesive education that was fun and child-led, while at the same time, give a mother peace of mind and empower her to trust that her children naturally wanted to learn."
My answer...don't do anything. We stopped all school while I tried to figure out what I was going to do. After much research and talking to a couple trusted friends I decided to give Thomas Jefferson Education a try. It strongly encouraged "getting of the conveyor belt", leaving the traditional idea of education behind and not doing "school at home". I read lots of chapter books out loud while the kids played, did crazy projects like starting our own news paper, read more books and went on field trips. (Read about how my Oldest learned how to read HERE)
Fast forward about 3 years and I was confidently following the Thomas Jefferson Education Philosophy of homeschooling and was making my own curriculum purely off of my children's interests. I did this in many different ways, but once I tried something new and it was a hit! My kids couldn't get enough of it. And then I was reading about other mothers online and how they didn't know how to leave the "conveyor belt" style of schooling. At that moment I realize that I could help people. I could help children receive a more in depth, cohesive education that was fun and child-led, while at the same time, give a mother peace of mind and empower her to trust that her children naturally wanted to learn.
So here I am with Little Rabbit Trails. A method of using classic books to help your children fall in love with learning while giving you the freedom to lead out and show your children how important a well rounded education is.
It's not busy work . . . It's not a workbook . . .
It's not a curriculum of worksheets!
Rabbit Trails are the tantalizing and unseen topics and experiences hiding inside everything around us. They are in the books we read, the food we cook, the movies we watch, the places we go, the music we listen to, the life we live. Learning is everywhere around us, if we could just become more practiced at engaging it.
Life was not meant to be divided into subjects. We don't wake up in the morning and decide to do math or science or PE. Instead, we think to ourselves, "I need to pay the bills, make dinner, and take the kids for a walk." Yet with each of these tasks, we are performing a myriad of educational disciplines.
Bills require math, reading, writing, money management, budgeting, organization, computer skills, and communication skills.
Making dinner requires math, reading, the ability to follow instructions, vocabulary, and how develop multiple cooking abilities.
Going for a walk with your kids will blow your mind. It covers human biology, zoology, botany, architecture, astronomy, geometry, and the list goes on.
So why waste time fragmenting life when you could let life flow and learn in a more
natural, interest-led way?
"BUT HOW?" you might ask. You just have to learn to look deeper. With Little Rabbit Trails all of the hard work is done for you. Little Rabbit Trails will introduce you to an inspiring way of learning. You will be shocked at the interests that will be ignited in your children.
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE
So back to the question of what is a rabbit trail? Lets look at the following story.
Does it relate to you in any way?
Imagine yourself sitting at a computer, or flipping through this weeks curriculum, and your piecing together the perfect lesson about the parts of plants. You spend a few hours printing worksheets and diagrams, collecting supplies to plant bean seeds, and bookmarking textbooks with explanations about how plants grow. Your evening is spent, but with a feeling of accomplishment you lay all of your materials out on the school table and head off to bed. You are excited to share a fun lesson with your children.
The next morning you wake up tired, but you are fired up to share the lesson with your children.
Right after breakfast you shuffle them off to the school table. You open up a book and share with
them the definition of a plant and show them a picture. Your four-year old says, "Ooo, look, a bee. I
want to learn about bees." You respond with, "No honey, we are learning about plants today." You
continue to point out parts of the plants, including the roots, stem, leaves, and veins within the
leaves. Your ten-year old asks, "Is that kind of like the veins in our body?" You respond with, "Yes
honey, but we are talking about plants today." Then you share the three things you need for a plant
to grow. Your six-year old ask you, "Mommy, what makes water?" You respond with, "I'm sorry
sweetheart, we will have to learn about that some other time. Mommy isn't prepared to teach
about that today."
He comes back with, "Darn, I want to know what water is made of." A little exasperated with all of the interruptions you decide to let them do their worksheets. "Are we done yet?" they start to ask. "No, I have a fun activity planned for you." The children perk up and you distribute their one cup of potting soil, plastic cup, and one bean. They each dump their dirt in the cup, poke the bean into the soil, and run to the bathroom to add water. They excitedly put their cups along the living room window sill. "Can we play now?" they beg, jumping up and down. "No you guys, we still have to do math and writing."
Ok, I dont think I have to go any further. This is a familiar experience many of us have had. Hours of planning the perfect lesson only to have our children look at us with disenchanted eyes, performing the required tasks with minimal effort, and counting the seconds until they can go off and play.
So how do you change this scenario?
You learn to follow the rabbit trails. Most of us are the products of a public school education and only know of one way to learn and only one way to teach our children. Listen to your children. Children are naturally curious and are eager to learn about the world around them.
Think of it this way. When you go hiking you start at the trail head and you follow the trail. As you hike you come to another trail that leads off to the right. You ignore it because your goal is to reach the top. The next trail you pass leads off to the left with a sign posted reading "waterfall." Unfortunately the waterfall was not your goal so you keep following the main trail. Many other opportunities present themselves, yet you pass them up. Eventually you reach your goal of summiting the mountain. You stand there and enjoy the view and then take the same trail back down to the base of the mountain. You walk over to a map of the mountain that you failed to notice beforehand and see that all of the trails would have lead to the top. You had passed up all of the other trails because you were afraid that your final goal would not have been reached.
This is the same as planning a lesson and refusing to listen to your children. Let the mountain represent your child's education. Its huge and has so much to offer. You can see trees, animals, bodies of water, rocks, cliffs, flowers, and breathtaking views. So why would you want to limit their experience to just one trail? Yes, you will still learn things when traversing the trail most traveled (strict lesson plans), but by leaving the trail well traveled, and venturing off onto others, you make all possibilities accessible. Experience becomes richer and meaningful. When you follow the interests of your children, they will reap the benefits.
With Little Rabbit Trails the entire family will learn about an array of topics all stemming from a single classic book. Don't be afraid to blaze your own trail. Don't be afraid of getting off topic. Don't be afraid of listening to your children.