Teaching Canadian History

One of the workshops I attended at our Homeschool Conference last month was on teaching Canadian history in your homeschool, and I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with the workshop in general.  I even had the chance at the end to discuss some of my issues with the man who taught it, and while he agreed with my assessment, he didn’t have any ideas to help me.

Before I tackle the big subject, though, I want to give you three, short reasons on why we, as Canadians, should be learning Canadian history.  In another post I’ll talk some about ways to teach Canadian history in your homeschool and my thoughts on the workshop itself.

Reasons To Study Canadian History:

  1. One thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.

We’ve all heard this saying numerous times in relation to World History.  But how CAN we learn from history if we don’t even know that history?  How many prime ministers can you name?  Can you tell me who wrote the Canadian anthem?  Or how long we’ve even flown the Canadian flag?  Who was Joseph Howe (we have a main street in Halifax named after him)?   Who was T.T. Shields (an important figure in church history)?   Why is Canada so full of diversity (where did all the immigrants come from and why did they leave their home countries?  What sorts of laws have aided our country in the past that are not being enforced today?

There is so much that our children are missing out on learning.  Instead, many of us are using American curriculums in our homeschool and learning American history (which isn’t entirely bad – Canadian history is more woven with American’s past than many people know).  In more than one grade I might add.  And I’ve had many people say to me that they didn’t see the need for their students to do much more than learn about Canada in one “section” of their history curriculum for one year.

We know lots about the rest of the world and nothing about our own country.  That’s sad.

2. Canadians have no loyalty.

How can you be loyal to a country you know nothing about?  You have nothing to hold you here.  I realize that Canada is made up of a diverse group of people, but so is the United States.   I sometimes, almost, think there is no point in calling us “Canadians” anymore because each group so closely associates with the country that it came from.  They see no need to become “Canadian”.   And I know that I am generalizing here.  I realize that not EVERYONE falls under this category.

I, myself, am so fiercely patriotic that I had people in college who didn’t know me ask me if I was American after hearing me talk passionately about a subject regarding our country.  Canadians are known for not being patriotic.  That is so sad.  This is why our military is so under-funded, our soldiers barely paid to give our country the freedoms that we plaster on banners.

Knowing and understanding our history will encourage patriotism in our children.  Even learning our Christian heritage within Canada is important for understanding where we stand as churches.   I want my children to know how our Independent Baptist church came to be.  I want them to have a sense of pride in the country we live in.

3. It’s Biblical to remember history.

 All you have to do is open the Bible (especially in the book of Acts) and you can find numerous sermons where the disciples started their message by talking about the past.  The apostles gave a recording of Israel’s history, reminding them of where they came from.  It’s fascinating to study the subject.  The crossing of the Red Sea was a momentous occasion.  Waking up to find manna on the ground.  Getting water from a rock.  These were important events in the lives of the Israelites that helped them to remember what God had done for them and how He had brought them through so many trials.  Their past helped them to see where they were.   In essence, the Bible itself is one giant history book that takes us up to a certain point in the history of the world.  And there’s no need to stop there.  God’s hand is evident throughout our own nation’s great history.  Before our last election I reminded so many people of God’s promise to bless those who bless Israel.  Mr. Harper stood behind Israel and our nation benefited from that.  It’s absolutely incredible to look back on the prosperity our country enjoyed during his time as our prime minister.   How can we not use that to teach our children an important Biblical subject?

Teaching our children about Canada will open so many more discussions and opportunities for seeing God’s hand than if we just stick to a history of the world in general.  We need to make it personal, bring it closer to home.  The more I learn about Canada’s history, the more I see how closely the Lord worked in it’s beginnings and through the people who settled it.  We may not be a country that was distinctly settled for religious reasons, but, for lack of a better word, religion was the base for her founding as much as America’s was.  Wouldn’t you want your children to learn about that?  Don’t you want to show them how great she has been in the past because of God’s blessings and how we, as Christians, can work to see her continue that way?

I wish I could inspire a love for Canadian history in each person I meet.  I have heard so many people say how boring it is and I want to snatch those words out of the air.    If you spend your time looking at the EVENTS that shaped this country, then yes, you could find it boring.  We didn’t fight any big civil wars or burn down government buildings.  But the PEOPLE that shaped this country are fascinating.  Canadians have been known for having courage and stamina that surpasses other nations.  That’s the legacy I want to pass on.  Standing up for what is right and having the courage and determination to press on even when circumstances are difficult.

What do you want your children to learn?

Road Rage

Is there ever a time when road rage could be considered righteous anger?

I’m kind of hoping so.

For the last week I’ve really been struggling with something.

Cell Phones and Cars

People laugh at me because I keep my cell phone on vibrate 99.9% of the time.  That other 1% is when I know someone is going to be trying to call and I’m NOT driving.   I just don’t see the need for people to have access to me 100% of every day.  And that’s my choice, I get that.   But honestly, I don’t see the need to touch my phone when I’m driving.  Partly because I’ve seen the statistics of accidents caused by texting while driving.  It’s so unnecessary!  If you need to answer someone’s text so badly that they can’t wait a half hour for you to get to your destination, then please, PLEASE, PULL OVER.

Last week my friend and I were driving home from the hospital.   I had just had an ultrasound and had seen the most beautiful picture of an active baby I had ever seen.  I cried during that hour.  I didn’t cry with the other 3 babies’ ultrasounds.  But having a baby in Heaven made that moment so much more special.  It made me value those precious moments of seeing a little nose, hands waving, feet kicking away.  I cannot tell you the love that you can feel for a little person that you haven’t even held.

Then we started home.  And as we drove the last stretch of highway to our exit, we passed a car.  A car that should have been passing us, as it was in the fast lane.   And the driver’s head was down, staring at a phone.  My shock turned to anger so quickly, and even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.  Did he not care that he could cause an accident?  If he hit the car I was in, he could potentially hurt this little baby I was carrying.

And thank goodness no other kids were in the car!

I told my friend she should honk her horn so we could express our displeasure at his lack of concern for others.  She didn’t think that was a good idea, as that could potentially cause him to have an accident if it startled him.  She was right, but it still burned me.  I really understood road rage at that moment.

That night, on our way to church, my husband and I passed two more cars with drivers texting!  Or at least playing on their phones when they should have been looking at the road.  And the fact that we had time to go past them and never saw their heads lift, means that their eyes were off the road far longer than they should have been.

And I saw ANOTHER one on the way home from church that night.

Why?

Why is it necessary to place other’s lives in danger just to answer someone’s question?   Or reply to  a witty text message?

Why?

The government of Canada did an “observational study” on cell phone use in Canada while driving and concluded that “Hand-held phone use by drivers was revealed, in this study, to be a common behaviour on Canadian roads, despite the risks and public concern.”

Despite the risks and public concern“???????

I couldn’t find a lot of statistical data based on Canadian surveys regarding cell phone use, but the website textinganddrivingsafety.com had some statistics that seem to mirror those of our American neighbours.

  • In 2011, 23% of all car crashes were caused by texting while driving.  That equals about 1.3 MILLION crashes.
  • The minimum amount of time that someone’s eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds.  This may not seem like much but actually equals the length of a football field when traveling at normal road speeds (55 mph).  A FOOTBALL FIELD!
  • 77% of drivers think they can safely text while driving?  Seriously?

I also have to say, the ones I saw texting that ONE DAY alone, were all adults, not teenagers or 20-somethings.  People who should have more sense than to buy in to the lie that they’re “driving safely” while texting.  Distracted driving of any kind can cause accidents and taking your eyes off the road for the length of a football field definitely qualifies as distracted driving.

I was so tempted to take down license plates that day and contact the police, but I’m not even sure they could have done anything – or that it would have helped those people to stop texting while driving – even though it IS illegal in Nova Scotia and, I’m pretty sure much of the rest of Canada as well.

But the next time you’re tempted to just send a quick text to someone while driving can you do something for me?

  1. Instead of picking up your phone, ask yourself, is this an emergency?  Will the time it takes me to get to my destination be too late to send this?   If so, pull over.
  2. If it can wait, PLEASE, let it wait.
  3. Think about the people around you, that van full of children headed home.  Those kids playing on their front lawn.  The mother who just came from seeing her baby on an ultrasound, or the one bringing a new baby home from the hospital.  The dad who is trying to get home from work to kiss his family.  The grandparents on their way to see their grandkids.

Because it’s not just about you.   It’s about everyone around you.

 

Sources:

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/tp-tp2436-rs200802-menu-139.htm

http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats

 

A 5-Month Announcement

 

Prego Announcement

Homeschool Conference Time

This year was my second time attending our annual homeschool conference.  Last year I didn’t have any children starting school but I was really interested in what the main speaker was going to be talking about so I went anyway (she was speaking on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching).

I cannot believe that my son is already old enough for school, but I am so excited about starting with him.  I plan to start school a little early due to something that will be disrupting our school year (I’ll talk about that in another post).  And I am using a mixture of Charlotte Mason method and traditional curriculum.  I love teaching and, while I really like the Bob Jones curriculum, I also loved some of the principles from Charlotte Mason, so I plan to mesh them together to create a curriculum that, I hope, will work with my very active child.

Even knowing what curriculum I planned to use, I have enjoyed attending the homeschool conferences the past two years.  It has given me a chance to hear points of view from other homeschool parents through various workshops and get to know them as a support for our own homeschool journey.  There are also great resources available and extras that you just can’t get when on your own.

Friday night they hold a second-hand sale and this year was the first time I had gone to it.  I could have bought half of the things being sold, hah.  So many neat items and tools are available for homeschoolers.  Most of the tables are run by homeschool families trying to sell their old, unused or barely used, curriculum and books.   One of the tables, though (well, I think they had 4 or 5 tables, hah) was run by Homegrown Homeschool Consignment.  This is a “store” run by a homeschooling family in the Berwick area.  They take items on consignment and sell items at a great price.  They had everything from curriculum to fictional books to games.  I picked up the History of Canada game from the brand Professor Noggins.  I love these games.  They are pretty reasonable brand new ($10) but I was able to pick mine up for $3.   These deals definitely helped stretch my homeschool budget.  You can also find Homegrown Homeschool on Facebook and keep up with where they are and any great deals they have on.

box

The main vendor hall is also a great place to check out any curriculum that you may have not heard about before.  There were also tables being run by Cadets, Joyful Sounds Band, and universities.  These tend to be for older children but are great ways to find out about other resources for homeschoolers.

The workshops are another way to find out about different ways of homeschooling and about what is going on in Canada and Nova Scotia in relation to homeschoolers.  The Provincial Update was extremely interesting and I learned a few things this year that I didn’t know, especially in regards to registering your children (Notice of Intent) and the Pre-Primary Assessment that the government is offering (not that it was offered to my child, hah).

Paul Faris, the director of the HSLDA (HomeSchooling Legal Defense Association) was the main speaker and he had a lot of insight into how rules and laws are changing within Canada.  I had heard about the Association in previous years and really wanted to get a chance to talk to him.  Everyone else had the same idea, unfortunately.  I was able, however, to sign up with them and am so glad I could take advantage of that.  If all the children in your house are under age 6 you can sign up for free.  It’s a yearly membership.  This gives you access to free legal defense in regards to homeschool matters should anything arise (not that we expect it to).  Once your children are older it’s a monthly rate to join.  Personally, I feel this is just a protective covering for our family.  I don’t expect any issues.  I am quite open about what I am doing with my children and don’t feel the need to hide our homeschool activities.  But we all know the way things are going in North America and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some “big guns” on your side.

Overall, I feel the Conference was a huge help to our family and a blessing in so many areas.   I am already looking forward to next year’s.

For more information check out HEMS online.

Hymns of the Faith

Hymns

Sunday morning I was privileged to be in my mother-in-law’s church. We were visiting for Mother’s Day weekend and had a wonderful time with her and her church. I was also able to sing in the morning service. I enjoy having someone to play piano for me, it doesn’t happen often so I take advantage of it when I can. It’s nice to continue to be asked to sing there even after less-than-stellar performances.

In Sunday school, the pastor’s wife is going through a series, and, honestly, I wish I could be there every Sunday. She is going through hymns and showing doctrinal truths from the Bible that are in the hymns. We did a little bit of this in college. I remember being assigned a hymn and we had to find a Bible verse for every section of the verses, very similar to what Mrs Lavender is doing with the ladies. At the time I didn’t appreciate the assignment (sorry, Mrs Baker), but now I am so inspired.

I love the hymns and I love looking through old hymn books at the songs I don’t know. When I first moved to the Valley area of Nova Scotia, I learned a new hymn every single Sunday for the first year (and that is not an exaggeration). I couldn’t believe there were so many hymns I didn’t know! I love them now, and sometimes when I hear certain ones it reminds me of different song leaders from that church.

Sometimes, though, I think we forget that many of the hymns are based on Scripture and what those Scriptures mean to our faith. The hymns are being phased out and replaced with “newer” songs. I have nothing against new songs, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t believe as many of them are as steeped in Bible as the old ones are.

hymns

The last year I taught at a Christian school, I used Bob Jones’ Bible curriculum with them. In it they teach the children a hymn. I think it’s one a month, I can’t remember for sure. I thought it was a great idea. And I think teaching them the Bible verses that go with them would be even more beneficial.

As I think about starting school with my Little Man this year (ahhhh!), I am looking forward to teaching him hymns. He already knows quite a few, one of our favorite cds is all hymns and his personal favorite is “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” I am so glad he enjoys them and I hope his love for the hymns continues as he grows older.

What is your favorite hymn or hymns?

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