“A Trip Around the World” 

Instilling a love for literature and learning through interest-oriented education

The Kramers are a family dedicated to creating enriching educational opportunities for their children, both during and after school hours. They first began homeschooling in 2016, when they decided they wanted to work on building character in their children at home.

“The desire to start homeschooling was something that God put on my heart,” Tamara explains. “And it’s harder to work on character when your kid is away at school all day. I love having the girls home with me right now.”

Her oldest son, Josh, is now graduated and studying Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary, while 14-year-old Benjamin is in Grade 9 at BCS’s campus location. Tamara homeschools her two daughters, 12-year-old Kate and 10-year-old Zoe, and she hopes to use their home education environment to instill a love for literature in the girls.

“I’ve always thought that if a kid loves to read, then they will be a lifelong learner,” Tamara explains. “So when our kids show interest in different things, we try to facilitate that. We make sure there are books around that address that topic, so we can feed their natural curiosity.”

One way they encourage their daughters’ curiosity is through a year-long social studies project that Tamara designed, centred around their family’s love for travelling. In September, both girls were tasked with planning a hypothetical trip around the world on a budget of $150,000 Canadian dollars each. The girls must touch down on every continent, visit at least 15 countries, and plan an activity related to the geography and culture of each location. 

“The idea was to let them spend some time looking into things that they’re really interested in with each country, and to encourage them to consider the people and scenery and activities that are unique to each place,” Tamara says. “Beyond that, we’ve found this project really opens their eyes to what God has created and to all of the amazing things His world holds.”

Kate has used the project to do an in-depth study on Mount Everest, and is currently “travelling” through Botswana, with plans to go on to Lithuania and South America next. Zoe is currently in Germany, and will be heading to Australia once she’s done. 

“The project incorporates math, social studies, critical thinking and literature, as they budget, research and write about their destinations,” Tamara says. “It’s just a really creative and fun way to learn geography and study the people of the world.”

In alignment with this love for intercultural studies, the Kramer family is also heavily involved in Operation Christmas Child. Tamara has been involved with the organization for over 25 years, and is currently a year-round Connect Volunteer and Area Coordinator for Northwest Calgary. She recently got the opportunity to travel to El Salvador herself for shoebox distribution.

“It was really amazing to be able to hand out the boxes to the kids in need,” Tamara says. “I’d never physically handed out a shoebox before, so that was the most amazing experience for me.”

Operation Christmas Child is now a family affair for the Kramers, and every year they have their own family packing party where they shop for items and pack shoe boxes together.

“It’s such a great way for them to serve other kids in another part of the world,” Tamara says, “and they’re really building God’s Kingdom by doing that. It’s honestly one of my favourite things that we do together as a family.”

The Kramers highly value extracurricular activities that enrich their lives as a family. They often ski together in the winters, and both daughters are taking riding lessons for physical educationand sciences. Kate is a talented cellist who’s been playing since she was four years old, and Zoe is a competitive gymnast who thrives on the time and energy it takes to excel in the sport.

“Homeschooling allows our kids to do the activities that they’re passionate about, without their academics ever suffering,” Tamara says. “Zoe trains during the day, and Kate is often practising cello, so homeschooling decreases the stress and pressure that they feel and makes it so that they can do both things at an excellent level. That is one of the biggest things that I’m thankful for, because they can excel at both.

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Written by Micah Jansen

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