Tag Archives: enrichment activity

Communication Camp

Last week, my two oldest children traveled to Tennessee with my sister to attend their first Communication Camp. My sister and niece taught the camp, and actually, it was their first one too. And what a learning experience it was!

Following a curriculum my sister created, campers learned through instruction, workbook exercises, and group games and assignments. Both of my children came back saying they had so much fun and learned a lot. After reading through the teacher’s manual, I learned a lot, too.

Topics covered at the camp included the good manners in communication that you’d expect, as well as many more you might not. Students ages 9 and up learned how to introduce themselves and others, even when they’ve forgotten someone’s name; how to give their full attention when another is speaking; how to reach out to people who would normally be left out; how to make small talk; how to speak in front of a group; and much, much more.

How did the camp affect my children? They came away from the experience having gained some very important life skills, ones I’ve let slip by in the busyness of schoolwork and life in general. We’ve already begun implementing some of them in the way the kids communicate with each other. My daughter used to come running to tell me the latest unkind comment her brother said; now, she goes to him first and tells him how it made her feel, and he is usually receptive and offers an apology, even without my prompting him.

One of my favorite parts of the curriculum is how the lessons in communication tied in with lessons about the Great Communicator, Jesus. A short Bible study is related to each topic covered; by following Jesus’ example, we too can learn to be attentive, understanding, aware, welcoming, and transparent — lessons not only for children, but for adults as well.

Next year, maybe we’ll all attend the camp!

Photo by Calgrin

The Josephina Story Quilt


If you have a young or reluctant reader, The Josephina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr is a great choice, especially for girls. Written for readers in grades 2-4, it’s part of Harper Trophy’s “I Can Read” series.

In The Josephina Story Quilt, Faith and her family are headed west to California with other settlers in a wagon train. Before they leave, Faith convinces her father that she needs to bring Josephina, her old pet hen. Along the way, Josephina causes some problems, such as startling the cattle and horses and falling into the river while the wagons are trying to cross. She does save the supplies, however, as she alerts the settlers to a couple of robbers who have come to take their blankets.

As they travel, Faith’s mother gives her a bag of fabric scraps and encourages her to create quilt squares to commemorate different parts of their journey. Faith sews one representing a wagon wheel and another for the desert they crossed. When Josephina finally dies of old age, she sews one for her hen — a pine tree representing the place where the hen was buried. Her patches are finished when they arrive in California, and in her new home she completes the Josephina Story Quilt and remembers their adventures on the trail.

This book has short chapters, making it a great choice for readers who are just starting out or may be struggling. And there are so many ways to use it in your homeschool. After reading The Josephina Story Quilt, you might:

  • Have your student design a quilt square commemorating a recent event in her own life. Did she go to a birthday party? Maybe the square will feature a cake with candles. Did she give a music recital recently? Have her design a square featuring a music note. Did she plant a garden? A square with a flower or vegetable would tell that story. Have your student color it in with crayons or markers.
  • Have your student learn more about the pioneer days. Why did people leave the homes they knew to travel West? What dangers did they face other than those discussed in the story? How long did the trip take?
  • Start a sewing project with your student. It can be as simples as sewing yarn through holes made in a piece of felt or as complex as choosing a pattern and using a sewing machine.

Books are a great starting place for enrichment activities, and The Josephina Story Quilt is no exception!