Susan B Anthony-Time to Vote

When you think how long it has taken women to get the right to vote, it would be a shame not to vote. Parenting includes showing your child that you are interested in the political process of voting. Take your kids to vote with you. With all the talk about the election, give them a concrete understanding of the voting process
If you are homeschooling, this would be easy to do since you don’t have to take your kids out of school.

I lived in Rochester, New York for several years and I was impressed by its history of the Woman’s Suffrage movement. Visiting Susan B. Anthony’s humble home was inspiring. She was an ordinary woman who helped change the role of women in America. Susan B Anthony was a shaker and a mover like Dr. Maria Montessori.

Women got the right to vote in the United States in 1920. My husband’s grandmother was part of the last temperance and right to vote movement in Rochester. She was a 4 foot 10 dynamo who believed in the rights of women. When I don’t feel like voting, I think of the physical and social sacrifice of these brave women. It makes me get up and vote.

Here is a great link about Susan B Anthony and her home in Rochester, New York.

The Paper Clip War-Conclusion

Montessori believed in telling stories to spark interest in learning. One of the best ways to share your heritage with your child is tell true stories about your family. Here is the third part of a series of my mother’s story during WWII in Norway that she told to me.

Shortly, after the occupation we found out what happened when we passively and actively resisted the German authority. Any person who was considered a threat or a danger to the German cause was imprisoned at the Stavanger jail and later sent to the concentration camps. Some of the first people who were sent to the concentration camps were teachers, ministers, American citizens, newspaper editors and journalists. Anyone, who could undermine the German’s power, was first on the list to go to the concentration camps.

Personally, several people I knew were sent to the camps. They were not powerful adults, but children. When the Germans invaded Norway my American cousins, Olle and Irene, were living with my Grandma because of the financial hardship their parents had during The Great Depression in America. Their Quisling Norwegian relative betrayed them to the Nazis. Olle was 16 and Irene was 15. Their crime was that they were American citizens. They were immediately sent to Grini Concentration Camp.
My Uncle Torjus worked in a newspaper and badgered the Quisling head editor about taking his niece and nephew to aconcentration camp. Uncle Torjus would not rest until my cousins were released. Irene came home after several months and Olle came back six months later. Olle had been big and jolly but he was now sober and very thin. Both he and Irene would never talk about the horrors they must have gone through. We were so very thankful that they were back home. We knew that people in Norwegian concentration camps were eventually sent to concentration camps in Germany.

In spite of the darkness and oppression from the occupation we experienced the joys of our youth. We were not permitted to have youth rallies, gatherings, and even dances. Nevertheless, we found a way to have fun together and meet. We would covertly pass around a small piece of paper with a date and place to meet for a dance. We kept very quiet about what we were doing and talked very little. We never wanted to be over heard by the wrong person.

My first date was at one of these defiant youth dances. I was 16 and had biked 60 miles to the country to pick up food for my family. It was considered sabotage to get extra food although we were hungry. My boyfriend, Odd, picked me up there on his bike. I sat on his handlebars, holding his hand, snuggling next to his cheek. A local farmer had opened up his barn for the dance. There were wall to wall kids packed into the barn. We were so excited to disobey the Nazi regime that we didn’t care there was barely room to dance. It felt great to have fun and get away from the hard work of surviving the war. I loved the feeling of freedom when we loyal young people gathered together without the constant watchful eyes of the enemy scrutinizing our lives.

During the five years of occupation we endured by believing in our eventual freedom. We knitted together elements of our lives with faith, hope, humor, love and trust in God and each other, and most of all, our courage to live. This unity of purpose and belief held us together as a hidden nation during the Nazi occupation. Finally, the day that Hitler died, the occupation of Norway ended.

That day a very young German soldier, no more than 18, came running up to me and a friend in the street joyfully yelling to us, “Hitler Kaput!” He then made a gesture across his neck signifying that Hitler was dead. The joy and relief in that soldiers eyes said it all. He was oppressed by Hitler and the German war machine in his own way too.

I felt a huge burden lifted from my soul when the war ended. Strangely, during the war years I always had a sense of security and safety. I was not afraid. I think that God gave me inner peace even though war and danger surrounded me. At a young age I learned that people can take away your physical freedom, your material goods and even threaten your life, but they can not take away your thoughts, beliefs and who you really are.

The Paper Clip War #2

Montessori believed in telling stories to spark interest in learning. One of the best ways to share your heritage with your child is tell true stories about your family. Here is the second part of a series of my mother’s story during WWII in Norway.

The Paper Clip War

The ship slowly chugged through the choppy sea. It was a very long journey, lasting many more hours than usual. The captain stopped at any possible landing area. People often times blindly disembarked without thinking. These people did not have friends or relatives who could help them hide in the country. Later, we found out that many of these people had walked into the middle of a battle between the Norwegians and Germans.

Our stop was the very last one. It was early morning before we arrived at our farm. We were so happy to be safely tucked in that cleft of land between the mountains and sea. Once again we could be children and spend our days in play and happiness.

During our stay at the farm Cousin Irene and I were excused from doing chores and housework so we could play. I think my Mom knew how rough life was going to be and wanted us to have a season of diversion and fun. We hiked in the high mountains and spent nights in the old sheepherder’s log cabin. The ancient cabin was over two hundred years old. It was primitive, but exciting to stay in. We fished trout in the streams, picked wild berries and played carefree games in the protective shadows of the mountains and our family. Here war did not exist yet.

Spring and summer melted into a season of continual happiness until one beautiful, quiet day the chopping sounds of motor cycles violated the innocent silence. They were heralding the way for a massive invasion of German soldiers carried in cattle trucks. The soldiers were on their way to a nearby village to take over an American factory. My aunt, pale and shaking, said this was the end of the world. It was the end of our world now that the Germans were in our farm community. The impending doom was too much to bear.

Later that summer we would hear bombs bursting and see lights flashing over the mountains. We had mixed feelings about these battles. We were thrilled that our people and the allies were fighting for our freedom, even though we were concerned about the safety of our loved ones. The bombing of our country by the allied bombers made us happy and hopeful that this tyranny would not last too much longer.

One autumn day Dad came to visit us at the farm. He told us about a fierce battle at Sola Airport. The airport had been severely damaged during the battle. Father said the allies had bombed only the airport and had been careful not to bomb our nearby city. He thought it was safe for us to live in the city and start school again. We could just take cover in the bomb shelters whenever bombings occurred. Quickly, we packed up our things and prepared to return to Stavanger.

So on the same steamboat that took us to the farm, we went back to the city. When the ship docked at the Stavanger port, we saw a new face on the city that we loved.
The city streets were now teaming with armed German soldiers. Instead of young mothers strolling with their babies in carriages, men rushing off to work and children playing, the streets now belonged to the invaders. It was so strange to see the changes taking over our lives and freedom.

The Paper Clip War

Montessori believed in telling stories to spark interest in learning. One of the best ways to share your heritage with your child is tell true stories about your family. Here is the first part of a series that I wrote about my mother’s story during WWII in Norway.
The Paper Clip War

My most profound memory is the morning my Mom woke me up and told me there was war in Norway. I was 13 years old and it was April 9, 1940. I had until then lived a happy and sheltered life with my family and friends in the fishing village of Stavanger, Norway. However, the next 48 hours would prove to be the most eventful and life changing of my young life.

After waking me up, Mom ran downstairs to our landlady, Fru Undem, and said that they must pray. Fru Undem said she did not feel worthy to pray because she should have prayed before this terrible thing happened.
Later that afternoon, we noticed the Nazis setting up machine guns outside our home. Mom and Dad immediately decided it would be best to go to Grandma’s house. My parents, my little brother and I, with our dog in tow, hastily biked to her house. We wanted to be surrounded by our loved ones.

At Grandma’s we were embraced by my two American cousins, Olle and Irene, along with my Uncle Torjus, Aunt Selma, and of course my precious Grandma. As soon as we had taken off our coats, Grandma ushered us into the dining room where tea was waiting for us. I felt comforted eating my boiled egg and bread in the room where we had spent so many happy occasions and holidays together.

That evening we received our first order from our captors, we were to completely block and cover our windows each night. If any light escaped from the windows, the Germans would shoot at the light. This outer darkness would last for the next five years.
Dazed, we went to bed in a state of shock. In the middle of the night our beds began to shake as the heavy tanks, artillery, and trucks drove through the formerly peaceful streets of Stavanger. As the onslaught of the German army moved onward through the night, I tried to grasp what would the future bring with the Nazis occupying our neighborhood, city, and country.

The next morning was a beautiful, warm spring day. For a brief moment, the nightmare of the day before seemed like a dream. We hurriedly ate breakfast and went outside with the other children to watch what was going on. Suddenly, a huge crowd of people walked past Grandma’s house. The Germans had started a rumor that there was going to be a battle in the city and that we must evacuate.

My Uncle Torjus decided that we should take shelter without delay at Aunt Selma’s childhood farm on the outskirts of town. So we gathered what belongings we could carry and briskly hiked to the farm. Tante Selma’s family heartily welcomed us. The adults gathered together and began to talk in hushed and serious tones about the occupation. We children quietly escaped outdoors to the barnyard and started to scope out the best places to hide during the upcoming bombings. Our minds were quickly turning from childish thoughts to the reality and seriousness of war.

We decided that the hog house would be the best bomb shelter. It was a two-story structure with the pigs on top. We decided the lower floor would be a great place for protection. We figured the pigs would get the brunt of the bombs. That day we moved into a new type of play called war.
Later that afternoon, we saw a cloud of dust with a bread truck in front of it speeding down the farm road. When it stopped, I saw my dad running out of the truck. Dad shouted there was a boat at the nearby pier that would take people into the country. Mom, Grandma and the children would be able to escape to our family farm there. He herded us toward the truck, putting Grandma in the front. Everyone else crammed into the windowless back compartment. The driver was a young man with a cauliflower ear, who did not have a driver’s license. During that crazy and wild trip we blindly bounced and fell on each other. Suddenly, the truck stopped and Dad opened the back door for us. Squinting, we filed out into the bright sunlight.

We briskly walked to the end of the dock where we saw a steam boat waiting. Masses of refugees were crammed onto the boat. By the time we boarded, there was barely any standing room. The boat was so full that looked like it was sinking. Like us, everyone was fleeing into the mountainous country on the edges of the fjords.
Soon the boat pulled away from shore and I saw my father waving to us. I was sad to leave my dad and I wondered if I would ever see him again. He looked so sorrowful and lonely standing there on the dock. He finally disappeared from view as the boat headed into fjords.

Educational Crafts for Kids

Here are some activities I have done with my children that help develop pencil grip and writing skills.

1. Model with clay such as Play dough-make your own -dough or you can buy it almost anywhere.
Kneading and grabbing the clay helps develop the muscles in the hands and fingers. Also, you can use a small wooden dowel or rolling ping to roll out the dough. Small,cut-up straws, toothpicks, small buttons, pipe cleaners, pasta and bits can be used in the clay sculptures. Picking up these small objects helps with pencil grip.
(Use a cutting board for clay activities, it is much easier for your child to scrape and clean -use a bread scaper or small putty knife to clean the board)
I usually introduce plasticine after playdough. Plasticine is much more difficult to
manipulate, but it works great to strengthen finger and hand muscles.

2. Pick up small objects such as marbles and pennies. Picking up small objects helps with eye to hand coordination and pencil grip.
Games such as Pick up Sticks work well for this.

3. Finger painting-a child uses his or her finger tips and feels the shapes of the created masterpiece
Here’s an easy finger paint recipe.
Or you can use whipped cream or shaving cream with a few drops of food coloring. Your child can write letters, numbers and make shapes with finger paint.
Finger painting is a smooth version of sandpaper letters.

4. Trace objects

Trace simple pictures from a coloring book with transparent tracing paper. Go the Crayola crayon site for great free images or this link for coloring book prints
To prevent the papers from slipping, I usually tape the picture onto the table and put the tracing paper over the picture.
I then secure the tracing paper with tape.

5. Cutting paper
1. Let your child fringe a border on easy to cut paper.
2. Cut a straight line next.
3. Cut a line with a curve.
4. Cut out various shapes, such as a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle
5. Cut out paper figures and images such as paper dolls, numbers, letters, and pictures from magazines or coloring books.

Toddlers and Babies

Toddlers and Babies love boxes with lids with their favorite goodies inside. Anything that involves your child’s five senses, smell, touch, taste, sight, and hearing will help develop his or her cognitive skills for later learning. Math and reading readiness starts at this tender age. Also, this activity helps develop small motor skills.

I like to use a hatbox or a box with a lid and put in the following items.
Make sure anything you put in is safe, especially for choking. Also, make sure small parts can not be taken off any of the objects. Keep the objects safe and age appropriate for your child.

This activity works well for a baby that can sit up. Put the box next to your child and show how to take out the fun items. Make this more challenging for toddlers by using different items, such as different size balls, items that are all the same color, and any other items that interest your child.

Here are some ideas-use the items that would be safe for your baby’s age
1. Nesting measuring cups
2. Measuring spoons
3. Wooden spoons
4. Rubber spatulas
5. Mirror
6. Plastic bracelets
7. Small clean hair brush
8. Comb
9. Tooth brush
10. Old remote control with batteries taken out
11. Wash cloth or different textured cloths (make sure they are big enough)
12. Small purse or wallet-empty
13. Balls-tennis or baseball
14. Clean rocks (big enough so they can’t fit them in their mouth)
15. Small stuffed animals
16. Noise makers-such as rattles
17. Plastic baby keys on a ring
18. Plastic containers with tops-clean yogurt containers
19. Large thread spools (empty)
20. Well sewn bags of potpourri
21. Tin foil pie or bread pans
22. Rubber dog bone-my baby would always go for the dog’s rubber bone, so I had to purchase one for
23. Teething ring
24. Largest wooden bead necklace, made and tied together.
25. Silver egg cup
26. Baby spoon
27. Solid clothes peg(without hinges)
28. Small stainless steel mixing bowl
29. Several clear, plastic jars with items inside. Make sure the screw top fits securely.
You can put in cereal, blocks, colored paper, pasta, etc. Your baby will love shaking the jars to
make sounds
30. Puppet

As my babies grew, I used other items in the box. My children loved any kind of safe paper products, including tubes, small boxes, large sheets of paper, etc. Also, I put a biscuit or dry cereal in a plastic yogurt container with the top loosely put on. They loved opening it and taking out the goodies to eat. My daughter loved her baby box items put in an old handbag.

Sugar Chalk Paint Sticks

Sugar Chalk Paint Sticks are easy and quick for art projects. This recipe is child friendly and safe.
Simple and Fun Painting Ideas has more ideas.

Sugar Chalk Paint Sticks
In a ¼ cup of water dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar. Soak various colors of chalk sticks until softened (about 10 minutes or more). Use like paint sticks on dark, dull construction paper. The chalk stays on because the sugar glues the chalk to the paper.