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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Issue #7 May 1, 2000


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
# 7, May 1, 2000
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Creativity Unlimited by: Trudy den Hoed
3. Unschooling and Gardens by: Jeanne Musfeldt
4. Unschooling With A Newborn by: Alice Steen
5. Contest: Send us your $ saving tips!
6. Gardening Links
7. Curriculum Scholarships for Widows
8. New Unschool groups
9. Closing letter from the editor
10. Subscription Information
11. Reprint Information

1. Welcome from the editor

Hi all, hope this newsletter is received in the manner it was love and through God!!

Well, we have lost our dear contributing editor, Patricia Moon. Her career has taken off and she is at a loss for time. We wish her the best of luck, but she will be missed!!

Don't you LOVE this time of year?? (Minus the allergies of course!) It's not too hot, not too cold, beautiful flowers blooming, leaves budding, it's the PERFECT time to work on a garden!! Just as a baby is a wondrous miracle, so are the sprouts of a new growth. Think of all the things a flower or vegetable needs to needs the seed, good soil, sunlight, water..these are all variables, BUT we can plant the seeds in good soil, in the sun and water them. We can nourish them with the things they need, just as God nourishes us with what we need. Plus, the benefits of gardening for homeschoolers, is great! Talk about life science!! Learn about composting, photosynthesis, worms, pH, irrigation, and so much more! See below for some great gardening links!

Read on and be blessed!

2. Creativity Unlimited
Trudy den Hoed

Every child is born with gifts of imagination. As parents and educators, we can either stifle this precious gift or we can provide an atmosphere or environment in which creative juices may freely flow.

Creativity can be cultivated and watered by providing our children a creative playground in which they can gradually discover and grow. The example of a butterfly crawling out of its cocoon aptly demonstrates this. If we see the butterfly struggling to get out, we may feel tempted to speed up the process and peel away the cocoon. Instead of helping the butterfly, we will damage its beautiful wings and the butterfly will probably die. Sometimes if we constantly force a child to learn something and the child has no interest whatsoever to learn it, the child may decide learning is no fun. In this way, his or her creativity may become stilted. School becomes a drag and a grown-ups necessity.

Writing is a wonderful outlet for creativity, but we need to be careful not to force it too much. Early in life a child can learn to hate writing if he is constantly forced to do it out of necessity or as another assignment rather than as a welcome activity in which he can freely express himself. We need to be careful not to get carried away with correct spelling or perfect grammar. Although a child needs to be taught this, too many corrections all at once can be discouraging. A tender little heart can easily be turned away from writing if he sees so many "red" marks on his writing.

It is my aim to foster children's creative abilities by publishing a children's literary magazine in which I give young, creative minds an opportunity to get published. My purpose is to encourage young people to use the creative gifts God has given them, to exercise and develop writing skills, to explore the wonderful world of language, and to read wholesome literature. My desire is to give children a voice by which they may feel their opinions and their ideas count. The joy of seeing ones writing in print builds self-esteem which our children need in a time when dangers lurk everywhere.

Starting out with a specific theme for each issue soon changed to an open theme. This provides less restriction for growing authors. A writer writes best what he feels a passion for. Now, although I do still try to include seasonal articles, stories, or poems at specific times of the year and I give out suggestions or ideas, I leave the topic open.

While I encourage young authors to choose their own topics, they still need to learn to follow guidelines. I try to give budding young authors a taste of the writing world. Through submitting their writings and participating in writing contests, children can gain some valuable practice in following guidelines, etc. If writings have minor mistakes, I edit them. If there are too many mistakes, I return it to the author for revision with an encouraging note. In the adult writing world, it isn't easy to get published. The writers who make it are the ones who never give up!

I just know there are some children out there who may someday become adult writers who make a real difference in this world. Some of them already do write to make a difference. Many writings in NIFTY NIBBLES have encouraged or enlightened readers, including myself. Some devotional stories or poems are very comforting. Other writings inspire readers to remember our responsibilities, such as the article by a second-grader from Florida in my March/April issue, "The Quest to Make It Better." This author has played an active role in fighting pollution in Lake Apopka. Christopher challenges, "Take power, kids, and take action-."

I have heard from some people: Those young people nowadays have no respect… I firmly believe there are many young people who really care, who make responsible choices, and who want to make a difference. I am proud that I can be a part of bringing the writings of caring young authors to the attention of our readers.

Working with these young authors is a satisfying work. I love to encourage children to use their God-given gifts. Even if I can't accept a submission, I still send the author a personal note to explain why I can't accept his writing and to encourage him to keep trying.

True… there can be days of discouragement when I wonder if I should even continue this magazine, but then the Lord pulls me out of my slump again. I am reminded of my purpose – to encourage young authors to use their God-given talents and to provide an atmosphere by which those creative juices may flow freely.

© 2000 Trudy den Hoed

NIFTY NIBBLES: Children's Literary Magazine
1525-2nd St. Hull, IA 51239-7351

Submissions may either be emailed or be sent through regular mail. Subscriptions are $16/year (6 issues) for US residents. Single issues may be purchased at $3.

3.Unschooling and Gardens

All this talk of spring and gardening! Isn't it grand? I love spring, just seeing everything fresh and new once again. I know a lot of homeschoolers that garden. There is so much to be learned from it!

My dad, better known as Grandpa, comes to our acreage each spring to help us garden. It is one of his passions. Before he comes down, the children talk about what they want to plant, and where. Remember that you have to rotate your 'crops' each year, to avoid losing all the nutrients in the soil. Different plants use up different nutrients in the ground.

When Grandpa finally does come down (have to wait for that ground to get rain and dry up some), the fun really begins! First he gets out the tractor, and the children take turns 'driving' it with him. They turn the ground, and till it with the tractor. Then Grandpa gets out the hand tiller, and works the soil some more. The whole time, he tells the children about how he used to do this for his mom's garden when he was a kid. But it was much larger because his mom depended on it to feed the whole family, 7 children and parents. This was in depression times. Grandpa tells the children about the mules that he used to work the garden soil for his mom.

Now that the turning and tilling is done, it is time for lunch! After the children make lunch for Grandpa and I, we will start with the actual planting. I know a lot of families that plant far more than we do, but I am not a real garden kind of gal. Most of this is left up to Grandpa and the children. This year, they planted tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon, corn, and green beans. There is a little space left, for me to choose something special to put in there. I am thinking flowers, even though my dad considers that a waste of space.

Grandpa and the kids have a great time at the garden, and I am happy to do some canning with the produce. But that is another story, and doesn't come until August or September. That has lessons all its own.

For now, let see what the children have learned. There is math in there, from the planning of what to plant and where. Critical thinking skills were used when deciding where to plant things. Remember that we can't plant the same crop in the same place 2 years in a row, because of the nutrients in the soil. That is science, too! History was learned with the stories that Grandpa told of his childhood. When the children came in to make everyone's lunch, that is a life skill. Life skill, in my opinion, is something that the children are learning that they are going to need as they go through their life. They did all that planting and will do weeding. That is science and math (counting the rows) and of course, physical education.

There is a lot to learn in gardening. Don't forget to thank God each time you sit down to that table of fresh garden produce. After all, He is the creator of all. Be blessed in this fresh new season of our lives.

4.Unschooling With A Newborn
Alice Steen

I'm Alice and I live in Columbus, GA. I have 4 sons..13, 9, 6 and almost 5 months old (wow.. is he that old already??)

We've been homeschooling off and on for 5+years. We did the Public School Hokey Pokey ( put them in a year and took them out for two.. then in a year and now out FOR GOOD!!)

I "homeschooled" for the first four years and that went alright. The boys were learning what was expected of them but it was like it was stifling their creativity.

This last year I began a more relaxed form of educating them... "Unschooling." This is where you let your child do the leading as to their interests and you have the opportunity to expand on that! This year has been a blast!! The boys began seeing life as the classroom and asking all sorts of questions..many that I had no answer for.. so we would dig around and ask until we got the answers we needed! :0) Its been great seeing the spark in their eyes again!

I must admit..that like most children..they have their days when they'd prefer to play Nintendo and watch karate movies all day. I have on occasion given them a "PUSH" to explore their world instead of veggin out on the no brainer things!

Since having our newest member to the family things have been a bit ...ohhhh.. shall we say.. chaotic???? It seems as though all we ever have on our mind is BABY and baby's schedule. So we just began using Caper (that's his name) as our study project! Now my sons are officially baby experts! They know many of the stages he will be going through, they've learned basic baby care, patience, problem solving skills and most of all.. how to help make our family work better as a unit. With this many in my troop.. I'm open to suggestions!!! So who better to ask than the troops themselves??

I expect next year to be as rewarding as this year...I'm sure there will be bumps down the road but I have no doubt we will be able to ride over them!

Unschooling is a way of life that allows your children be all they can be.. afterall..the question most young children are asked is .. what do you want to be when you grow up? Unschooling allows them to explore all avenues that may interest them without the hindrance of "age appropriate" material.

Alice Steen

5. Contest:Win this book!

This months contest can reward all of us with money saving ideas and the lucky winner will be sent a copy of "Homeschooling on a Shoestring!". Just send us your best money saving tip by June 1st. The winner and several of the tips will be included in the June issue of Seedling.

Happy Saving:)

6. Gardening Links

Great Plant Escape Has some great plant mysteries to solve!

Kids Organic Club Facts, games, recipes and more.

Eclectic Homeschool Online Gardening Books Has a great list of books for adults and children on gardening.

7. Curriculum Scholarship Fund for Widows Established at Home School Legal Defense Foundation.

A curriculum scholarship fund for widows who are homeschooling their children has been established by a generous gift from a homeschooling father. The new scholarship will allow widows to receive $200 for each child, up to $600 per family, for purchasing textbooks and workbooks.

The fund will be administered by the Home School Legal Defense Foundation, which will provide all administrative functions at no cost to the curriculum scholarship fund. One hundred percent of all fund donations will be used for scholarships. The foundation is associated with the Home School Legal Defense Association, but is a separate legal entity.

For more information, to apply for a scholarship, or to contribute to the fund, please telephone HSLDA at (540) 338-5600, or write to the Curriculum Scholarship Fund, HSLDA, P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA, 20134.

8. New Unschool Groups

I Would LOVE if everyone could submit any new unschool or unschool friendly groups they know of that are forming. I think this is a very useful and important topic to bring out!!

Here are 2 I know of:

IOWA: Relaxed Iowan Christian Homeschoolers...for meeting info. email Jeanne Musfeldt.

NJ: Homespun, to meet every 2nd Thursday of the month in Flemington (Hunterdon County). Group based on attachment parenting, natural living and unschooling. Contact Sue at (908) 996-9947 or .

9. Closing Letter

Hope this beautiful season find us all learning loads outside, appreciating God's splendor!!

Don't forget to periodically check out our website located at, and also Teri's great new site, Unschooling-Suite101
She has many great articles on unschooling up!

Due to the lack of article submissions, I am thinking about taking Seedling down to every other month. The idea alone hurts me, as this is such a labor of love for me, but the end of each month finds me begging people for articles. Please, please send in submissions!! Write on anything, from a great day you had and would like to share, to a Christian parenting standpoint that you would like to raise. Your thoughts, your days are of interest to others, and they will help us all remain confident in our choices!

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!
Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown

10. Subscription Information
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11. Reprint Information Individual authors herein retain their own copyrights. You may freely copy this entire newsletter or material from this newsletter in other nonprofit publications (unless otherwise marked in the article), but you MUST include the author's name and this entire notice:

"Reprinted with permission of Elissa Wahl from Seedling, a Christian Unschooling E-Zine. For a free subscription, send any e-mail message to or visit URL:"

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