One time, back in high school, I got a 21% on a math quiz.
Let’s just say I wasn’t the type of student who usually got that kind of score and I wish I could have seen what he saw when he handed me that quiz.
Seeing my face, he shouted:
Oh, CaitFitz! This is the only class where you can get a twenty-one on a quiz and LAUGH ABOUT IT!! Don’t worry! I keep my grade book in code, just in case I end up on a slab in the morgue!
And then he began to laugh uncontrollably, knee slaps and all, as I sunk deeper into my seat wondering whether to laugh or to cry. Because, really, who says that?
I’m sure I ended up laughing because that’s what you did when you were around him… especially when you didn’t know what he was talking about.
I don’t use this term very often, but that math teacher was A Character.
It is impossible to properly describe him in words. He’s just one of those people you need to see in action. And he was always in action. His energy was unsurpassed. He was like a tornado full of movement and words and thoughts and jokes.
He gave every kid in his class a nickname. Some kids got more than one. I was Kiss Me Cait, like the musical, and later just CaitFitz– all one word like that because he thought my name was “jazzy as a stand alone”.
I mean, Who says that??
Conversations with this teacher left you scratching your head and laughing at the same time. And you almost always laughed more later, as you realized something else he’d said that you had missed. It took a while to process all of those words coming from his mouth.
A veteran teacher well-known in our community, he attended countless school events and served as the football announcer. He loved all sports, not just football, and he’d announce each team’s weekly victories over that loudspeaker every Friday night. His announcements were something to hear because they were sprinkled with nicknames, stories, and jokes.
He didn’t just love sports, though. An avid and well-respected birder, he loved to talk birds. He also loved Miller Lite and he drank one each evening during what he had dubbed Miller Time. As in:
If you are fleeing from the cops and you want to park your car in my driveway, that is fine! But, if it’s after five o’clock, don’t ring the bell. Because after five o’clock is Miller Time.
I know all of this because he told us stories. I cannot tell you if these stories were true, but they happened, and I remember so many of them to this day! Every Friday, starting on the very first Friday of the school year and continuing until the last Friday in June, he shared his Friday Adventure Series.
And we listened.
We were utterly captivated.
Thoroughly engaged, the entire class listened as he told story after story after story.
I’m not sure how much math I learned that year, but I never missed an Adventure Series Friday.
He was the best storyteller.
I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit lately. You see, over the past several months I have incorporated some amazing stories into our homeschool routine.
Let’s just say my children have been enjoying an Adventure Series of their own!
The Benefits of Using Storytelling in Your Homeschool
Storytelling has been around for as long as we have. It is our original form of communication. When you think about it, storytelling is also the earliest form of teaching.
There are so many benefits to storytelling that I couldn’t possibly begin to list them all. Here are just a few:
- Improve listening skills
- Increase and expand background knowledge
- Improve vocabulary
- Boost literacy skills
- Increased understanding of cause-and-effect
- Understanding of sequencing
- Learn about problem solving, overcoming obstacles, and conflict resolution
- A fun way to learn about the world
- Connection to others
- Develop early writing skills and voice as you learn what makes a great story
- Spark imagination
- Inspire creativity
- Learn lessons in an engaging way
As a mom and educator, I know that stories are important. I know how powerful stories can be, and I know a good storyteller when I meet one. I do tell stories over here, but I don’t consider myself an amazing storyteller. My stories are not nearly as captivating as those that my quirky math teacher told many years ago.
Fortunately, I discovered Sparkle Stories.
Sparkle Stories: A Delightful Way to Incorporate Storytelling in Your Homeschool
We are in love.
Sparkle Stories is a subscription service with an award-winning collection of over 875 original audio stories for children. Each story is read aloud by teacher and storyteller, David Sewell McCann.
Sparkle Stories are available on any device. You can download them, stream them, or use the Sparkle Stories app. There are individual stories available, in addition to several fun series. Stories vary in length from 15-60 minutes, and age recommendations are available.
Sparkle Stories cover oodles of topics, including:
- Seasonal stories
- Strong girls
- Sensitive kids
- Cooking and Baking
- Car trips
- Illness and injury
- Grief and loss
And, Sparkle Stories are more than just stories. The website offers a fantastic blog, recipes, crafts, and more. I love the Sparkle Stories newsletter. It’s filled with great ideas and inspiration, and often free stories!
Why this homeschooling mom loves Sparkle Stories
Folks, these stories are amazing. I use them in so many different ways.
In this age of screens and ever-changing technology, Sparkle Stories are reminiscent of a by-gone era. There is something truly old-fashioned about these original tales. The stories are simple yet they are loaded with substance.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why we love Sparkle Stories:
- The stories are high-quality. They are simple and yet full of great content.
- I love that my children enjoy these stories without screens, pictures, or video. They need only their imaginations.
- These stories are wholesome. They teach lessons in a subtle manner.
- There is nothing even remotely scary in these stories. They are perfect for young children, worriers, or sensitive little souls. As a parent, I love that I can trust Sparkle Stories.
- I love the characters, and so do my children. They are almost like family members at this point.
- Sparkle Stories are easy to use. I’ve used them in the car, on the computer, and even through our Bose sound link. So versatile!
- Sparkle Stories inspire my children’s imagination and creativity. They often want to act something out or to play a game that Martin and Sylvia had played.
- David Sewell McCann’s voice is so soothing. These stories calm my children down in a blink!
- Sparkle Stories have prompted fantastic family conversations about important topics.
- Sparkle Stories have encouraged my children to tell stories of their own! That alone is priceless!
Do you want to try Sparkle Stories?
Unlimited access to Sparkle Stories is available for $15.00/month. Stories can also be purchased individually, or as a collection. There are currently over 875 stories, with a new story added every week.
Do you want to know the best part? You can try Sparkle Stories before you buy! I’m happy to share with you that you can get a 15-day free trial if you use the code POPPIES at check-out.
Be sure to follow Sparkle Stories
Want to take the learning to the next level? Check out these storytelling games:
You know us, we love to use games in our homeschool. Here are some great games that build those storytelling skills. They would be a great Sparkle Stories follow-up activity.
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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