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Washington Natural Learning Association
WNLA NEWS November 2002


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WNLA NEWS November 2002
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Welcome to Washington Natural Learning Associaton.  This is our first issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, and we hope you enjoy it.  Natural learning is a way of life for most of us, and it doesn't have a beginning or an end.  As most children are back into the school routine, we are still living and enjoying life as it comes.  The leaves haved turned and have fallen and the air is getting crisp, both providing more unique learning opportunities for the whole family.  
Here at WNLA we feel that more people need to be aware of the joys and benefits of natural learning.  That is one of our missions and a passion.  We hope this newsletter will help people better understand natural learning, help others adjust to it and advance many of us along our way.  Most of us grew up in a system where we weren't allowed to think for ourselves, made to stand in a line, and ask permission just to go to the bathroom.  It can be difficult to get out of that mode and change you line of thinking.  The more we can help people understand natural learning the better our society will become.  No one ever stops learning and life is a big adventure, keep up the good work!

Bec Thomas
Executive Director
Washington Natural Learning Association

We're excited to be finally able to get the first issue online! This brief note is to take a light hearted look at the serious and frustrating efforts to get this newletter off the ground and running!
As you home educators well know life is hectic, and computers are a great learning tool! Well, here at the Wheeler house I got the bright idea to put two new computers together, enlisting Bec's very capable husband and his
techno-expertise. I believe he is still shaking his head and wondering which office deity I have offended! Without going too much into detail, let me just say that the beautiful and hard worked first issue is currently stuck in my old machine and I cannot get to it at present. We have a great article there by Janice Hendin, and I will find a way to get it up here! We also have articles by several other people, and are hoping to have more for future issues!
Patience is a virtue and it will pay off! Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for some great works from the Home Educating and Natural Learning Crowds! (Psst.. if you have the itch to see yourself in print, or maybe one of your kids wants to be in print, drop us a line!)
Best Regards and Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Laurie Wheeler
Director   WNLA

Community Involvement and Home Education a Boon for Everybody!
by Laurie Wheeler
Community means a coming together of people, or place where people are gathered. It's where we live, work, play, argue, laugh, cry, and love. Regardless of our choice to home educate, we are still members of society and our individual communitites and have a great amount to offer!
Why just this fall eleven needy public school children were kitted out by several home school groups in Snohomish county. The Community Resource Center in Stanwood was amazed and astounded at the caring and rapid response by such an "unlikely" source of supplies for these children that will most likely never have the opportunity to be home schooled. They now see home school groups as a resource to help out in other areas of the community. As well as giving home school groups a venue through which to promote home schooling and natural learning as well!
It is not just enough to congregate together with our like minded groups to provide social stimulation for our children and ourselves. When we do so we isolate ourselves from the rest of society and they are not availed of the wonderful opportunity to not only hear about what we do but to see learning in action!
There are many venues which require the help of community members and who will gladly accept children and whole families as volunteers! Hospitals, Senior Citizen Centers, Community Centers, Resource Centers, all can benefit from our myriad of talent and skills. This giving benefits us in showing the non-home educating community that we are indeed quite socially adept, well meaning individuals, very much a part and parcel of the community.
Our children can gain life long learning experiences from reading to children that don't get the opportunity to stay home with their parents who are in Head Start and ECAP programs, or sitting with the elderly and hearing their stories.  What about food drives for a local food bank, or doing a baby blanket drive for a local shelter or hospital.
The more we are out there doing and giving the better the home educators image will be and the more close knit our communities will be with us. On top of it all our children will learn first hand that they are very much a part of society (because each of us as individuals collectively make society!), part of their communities and can stand tall and proud and be effective in the world.
Stay tuned for WNLA's first ever TOY DRIVE! More information to come soon!

Natural learning is about children coming into their own following their interests and using their learning styles at their pace. Projects are a great way to introduce subjects, or continue learning a subject with a new twist.  This will be a regular column in our newsletter and we ask that members send in suggestions of projects and ideas for learning in interesting non traditional ways.  We're especially interested in projects your kids have come up with on their own, now that's really NATURAL LEARNING!
  • The Chemistry of Candy!  Get out the recipe book, roll up your sleeves and let the cooking commence! Watching the basic ingredients in most candy recipes work differently is a great way to learn chemistry, learn to weigh and measure, understand temperatures, and if it's humid and you're making fudge it may even promote meterology!
  • Speaking of Cookin'... How about creating a family recipe book? What are your kids favorite foods? What do they like to cook? Using an old photoalbum that you can cover and decorate and 3x5" index cards is a great way to make a keep sake, do fractions, and be creative.
  • The Great Mushroom Hunt! Now's the time to get out there and look for mushrooms! They are everywhere, making a log book, writing down the descriptions and looking them up in books, online, and contacting Mushroom Societies can be a fun, healthy (if you don't eat the one's you find! Unless you KNOW what you are doing!) and fun exercise.
  • Make Christmas or Holiday Cards for the whole family. Get the kids into the swing of the holidays by making the Christmas cards. They can write the poems, or messages, they can design the cards on the computer or do it the great old fashioned way with paper, paste and colors! 
  • We do this one every year! Create a Gingerbread Castle! Make your gingerbread as you would for a house but instead cut the gingerbread into cubes and use frosting as mortar. Every year we create a new and exciting look for our castle, and it's yummy too! We actually look up the different kinds of castles used all over Europe and choose a design and try to be as authentic as possible, (of course we've had our share of castle ruins as well!)


Please remember we need your experiences and ideas! The more the merrier!


Association News
WNLA is seeking Volunteers! 
The following positions are available:
  • Legislative watch
  • Eastern Washington WNLA Representative
We also need articles send in your experiences, stories written by your kids, natural learning and what it means to you, research you have found, links and stories of interest in general about home education. If you have the desire to see your name in print submit the article, c/o Laurie Wheeler. Thank you!
Please contact us if you are interested in either of these positions. 

Developing Capable Young People: A Resource for Parents!
Developing Capable Young People(tm) is a course like no other. Developed by nationally recognised psychologist H. Stephen Glenn, this ten week course is a process encouraging facilitation of growth rather than a "class."
DCYP as it is affectionately known by it's devotees, promotes the "significant seven" principles and skills that are proven to help children develop resiliency, and know that they are capable. It's not about techniques or models, each individual who takes the course comes out with what he/she needs in his or her life. In fact it's suggested that a person take the ten week sessions several times. Those who have done so often comment on how each time they took the course the information seemed brand new, fresh and they gained new insight into themselves and their parenting!
WNLA highly recommends this course for anyone interested in expanding their own personal resources as a person and parent! It is pure inductive learning at it's finest and helps promote the understanding that children learn all of the time, and this learning can be fostered through guidance, good communication (listening as well as speaking), and gives proven strategies for problem solving with our children, working on consequential thinking, understanding significance personal and that of others around us, helping to foster healthy esteem, learn judgemental, inter and intra personal skills, as well as provide you with a wealth of feeling highly capable yourself! It is an enjoyable experience, research supported and offered through out the state at various venues.
In the words of a young woman who recently took the leadership training, "This could change the world!" H. Stephen Glenn certainly hopes so, and so does the WNLA! Currently both Bec Thomas and Laurie Wheeler are leaders for this course.  Wheeler has been volunteering as a leader at a local resource center for over a year and has has enjoyed facilitating the courses. "I'll facilitiate these courses for the rest of my life. It's prevention, it's promoting valuable information for adults as well as children. It has assisted immeasurably in my own parenting as well as my marriage and in my understanding of many of those with whom I interact. I enjoy being the 'guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage.'"
For more information please go to  or contact us at WNLA to get connected with a course.

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