Friday, December 02, 2016

Story writing contest for kids!

My 10 year old (resistant reader/writer) wrote a story for this contest!  I played editor as any professional writer would have and now her story is on Youtube with some others as well!  If she gets lots of "thumbs up" on her video then she might win a prize.  Just doing this project has been encouraging and helpful to her, but obviously it would be encouraging to win a prize too.  She also has the book they show at the end and has writen more stories independently in it!  It is so encouraging to see her actually enjoy writing.

The full list of stories read aloud with pictures is linked here and below (everyone had the same pictures to choose from and base their story off of.)  Listen and watch and like your favorites!

Lily's story is called "Our Adventure in Photos, by Me, Cliff Pony"
The whole list is here - Thinking Tree Writing Contest 2016: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh7XJcQPXiiUdFj_aLrmIemjetm8qEjYN

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving coloring pages!

 I made a couple coloring pages for my own kids and their friends for thanksgiving just now!  And hopefully it will be easy for anyone to copy/save the pictures from here and print them out for your own kids.   I know how kids tend to get a little whiny when waiting for food!  ... or they could even be used for that adult relative that gets a little whiny while waiting.  ;)
Anyway, I made them myself and am giving you all permission to save and print as many as you want to use (obviously not to sell) for your own Thanksgiving gathering!

Enjoy!  And Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Black Friday Weekend Exclusives!

 I often find the specials offered over Black Friday a little confusing.  I would hate for anyone to miss a really good deal on something they would really like!

SO, hopefully this blogpost will help you find something special from Jamberry. 
 Jamberry's Black Friday tradition has been to bring back the Sister Styles (exclusive monthly designs) from the past year, but this year, there is also a TWIST!

The pictures above are the original wraps (I especially like "Blossoming Love"!) and below is the twist, a different color or different finish. I especially like the "Floral Fusion Twist" in the bottom right of the picture below. Violet, teals, purples and lighter colors are my personal favorites!
If you already have a Jamberry consultant please use her website, but if not, here is mine to peruse *JamArtist* - They have so many new things this year!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Look Inside and a Life of Learning

I shared briefly in the previous post about this pocket journal, but it was brand new and I hadn't gotten a chance to use it yet! It has a different feel than some of the others so is worth some extra attention.

My 8 year old thought it looked amazing and she wanted to use it right away, but I personally think it would work best for possibly 6th grade and higher or for a child who loves to read a lot and isn't as into the coloring and drawing and much.  The small size makes it feel more doable and less intimidating for children who don't enjoy writing as much, or for adults who want a book to guide their own studies but don't have a ton of time to put towards them.

This post will give you a peek inside this journal and how it can look to use it, but since I was the one using it, I will also share how it can be used for a mom book.  Or some people say "awesome adulting" or other people call it being an example, or modeling how to learn for our kids.  Whatever you want to call enjoying being an adult and learning what YOU want to learn is what I am going to talk about.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thinking Tree books in Categories! (& Ideas for using them!)


 We have loved using the Thinking Tree books for over a year now (and longer if you include the Dyslexia Games books that we have used on and off for about 3 years too!  Which started back when I was learning about Right Brain dominant learners.)




There are SO many books by them and they are a different style than we are used to seeing (great for the right brain dominant learners!) But that can make it confusing to know which to pick.  I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas about the types of books (in categories) and a few ideas on how someone could plan to use them.

Many people have wondered how these books work and how they can use them.  I've broken the books down into a rough 8 categories to make it easier for people to see what types of books are available.

Poetry Teatimes Continue! (And my Poem about it!)

We have been doing "Poetry teatimes" for long enough now that we have started writing our own poetry at the end almost every time!  It might be silly or short or not that great, but still it is fun and a great creative time.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Our Typical Atypical Monday

 It's hard to begin a description of a typical day because I feel like I can only describe ONE day and not necessarily show that every day will look like this, but the principles are the same to the flow and rhythm of our homeschool.  If you read my previous post you will know that I talked about how we all parent and homeschool differently and it is based on our choices that we think are best for our own family AND our own personality and what I do (and what you do) isn't a judgement on the choices of other people.
 

Personally, I can't homeschool in a super structured rigorous way.  I hate the detailed teachers guides that don't show WHAT the goal is for that lesson but only the 3 pages of monologue that I'm (apparently) supposed to use in teaching it.  After 6 years of homeschooling (I started getting serious about what to homeschool when my oldest was 4.... I wouldn't recommend starting then, but most of us will still do that anyway) I have finally owned my personality and style.

Our style might be totally NOT what would work for you.  That's okay!  That's the beauty of homeschooling because we can tailor it to fit our own family! 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Choosing Joy - and not planning too much


 I started our new school year a few weeks ago, feathering in the subjects and routines slowly so we could get back into the swing of learning in a more regular way.

Before starting up though, I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit worried that if I was tired BEFORE starting, how would this year of continual planning, spontaneous learning, daily questions, messes, crying, laughing, following rabbit trails, goofing off, loving, being "bored" and all the other things that make up this 24/7 job of mothering and educating look like by the new year?

Enter the gathering of encouraging words from other homeschoolers! Blogs, podcasts, periscopes, Facebook lives... The online community of homeschoolers like me who are less concerned with looking perfect and more concerned with just doing our best for our kids.  If I read something that makes me feel more stressed, then I throw it out.  If I read or hear something that gives me courage and strength, I hold onto it.
And this blogpost is going to be all about the parts that have brought me encouragement for the start of this year.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Mom-Tips from A to Z

Following my completion of all the alphabetical chalk boards, how about some tips from Amazing to Zany for Moms (and homeschoolers especially)! And there are links to all those A-to-Z chalkboard posts at the end of this post too!


Also, a free sample "Mom's book" of 100 pages from The Thinking Tree!  A great thing to print out in the summer and start working through to help you relax while prepping for next year.  (Check out this blog post for other thinking tree books and how to use them.)

Or really, it can be used any time to get a little time away for a Parent Teacher conference/refocus time without feeling guilty!
 Child-- "Mommy, why were you coloring and talking to yourself in the closet?"
Mom-- "I was having an important teacher/parent planning time, dear."


Advice from Amazing to Zany!  -Yes, I came up with 26 bits of advice and encouragement (and humor) for you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"Z week" is finally here!

Obviously my plan of the alphabet of the week wasn't just one week for each letter.  We did other things in between, and the past 2 years of going through the alphabet like this has been more of a way to find a theme and a resting point between each section (sort of like a unit study) and the blogging about it reminds me of what we have done instead of just getting caught up in the mundane every day stuff.

 Here is the design for this theme.  Zig-Zag race at the ZOO - Pizza Prize. ;)  We went to the zoo a lot (before it got too hot here!) and before that we went to the arboretum to find Zinnias.  We also planted some zinnias in our little potted garden outside our apartment.