Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas 2017

It's been a while since I've written a “Christmas Letter” of any kind. Actually, I can't remember when I did this last, so if this is a bit long-winded, you will understand why.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Fairy Tales - Beauty and the Beast

In 2017 we have had several fairy tale project themes!  The first was in the spring (and I am only now putting up the pictures) and it was all "Beauty and the Beast"!!!

Click the "see more" if you want to know how we created a fairy tale project in our home (this can be for homeschoolers or just a fun family activity!)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bunny School - Education Tailored to Delight

I have shared before about the books we have used and projects we have done and so forth, but this blog post is more about how you could bring a theme or specific interest that your child has all together to build a full curriculum based on that.  My child's special interest is rabbits-- how can that be enough to cover all the subjects?  We have covered (with bunnies!) reading, writing, math, history, science, good citizenship, geography, art and some practical life skills.

"Follow the Child, but follow the child as their  ."  -- Maria Montessori

Three thinking tree books that are quite rabbit themed!  

The two on the left are basically the same style inside "core journal" type that you can use many books with and they could easily be used one after the other if your child goes through it more quickly.  The core funschool books are how they can practice writing and art and keep some variety and surprise in the "work book" part of school.  I like having something to look back at and see what they were learning and each stage.  The Bible verse one on the right is learning spelling of course, but in the context of Bible verses!  You can see a video showing the inside of the Bible verse books here. and to see the insides of the two core journals (along with some others to compare) the video to see inside those two is here.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Peaceful Perspective Planner (For the non-planning type)

I start to feel panic rising when considering the idea of planners.  I don't like reading blog posts about them either!  However, I know that having a calendar of some sort (even if I'm mostly writing what we DID rather than what is coming next) it does help me feel calm about what we are doing being enough.  I have tried so many planners though and none have been the right fit for my personality.

This is the front of the planner after I added some color!  You could color or doodle in this planner or just use it as it is.  Or you can get ideas from this and make your own pages!  I love visual journals and the idea of bullet journals and I've looked into the "happy planner" and other things, but I wanted something that was a bit more manageable and not expensive and something that would SAVE me time rather than give me more to do.
These pages are the "weekly" pages and I went ahead and printed out 5 of them even though I will probably only keep one at a time in my planner.  Too many pages can be stressful to me so having just a few pages to look at is much better.
For more pictures and a video about how to put it all together (and the link to the free printable of course!) click the "read more" below.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Herb Fairies & Poetry PIZZA Time!

We just got something that I have been interested in for about half my life!  *Healing Herbs! * But this is amazing because it's told in story form (I am all about the stories!) And with fairies (hello, love fairies!) And it is technically made for kids, but I would want it for me even if my kids didn't want to join me.

We live in a town home apartment so potted gardening is all I can do right now and I have to haul watering pots to water everything (which means my main problem is letting things dry out too much), but I have had a few herbs growing now for a few years!

"Poet -Tree" and Raising Caterpillars

Our "Poet-Tree" that we started in April (for poetry month) but it is staying up a long time!
It is made from packing paper from an amazon box and taped and thumb tacked to the wall.
The leaves are some old scrapbooking paper I had and we have slowly been writing poems
onto the leaves for most of our poetry tea times.  

We were in the process of raising caterpillars during this poetry tea time so we specifically looked for poems about caterpillars and Butterflies to add them to the "Poet-tree"!

For more pictures click on the read more below.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Alice in Wonderland : Poetry teatime

You can do a poetry tea time ANY way you want!  You could do a picnic poetry time, or go to starbucks, or not have tea but have some other favorite snacks instead.

Today I chose to go with an Alice in Wonderland theme because my 5 year old happens to be really interested in all things Alice in Wonderland.  She wanted me to read her the book and we have watched many movie versions of it as well.

When coming up with ideas I go with the ones that will be the easiest (in my opinion) and that will have the biggest impact.  So, the "eat me" and "Drink me" and letting them come up with a costume if they wanted was basically the full plan, but a I will talk about a few other details as well for people to see how this rolls out in real life.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Party School! & 11th Birthday

This picture is still hanging up!
We have always loved read aloud books!  My favorite part of doing school is reading aloud to my kids and back in the day, that was almost entirely picture books of course.  At some point when my oldest was about 8 I started reading other choices like the "Little House on the Prairie" series, and all the Narnia books.  At first I had to stop often when I saw their interest drifting and "set the scene" as I called it.  I would stop and ask if they knew what was going on.  Somehow they'd gotten lost so I re-capped for them.  I would describe how the setting looked and whatever was going on that was such a big deal in the story!  Generally as they listened to the re-cap they were then re-engaged so they wanted to hear more of the story! Also, beginning with the Narnia books I started adding in watching the movie versions and listening to the audio versions that I could find to go along with reading the stories as we read the seires!  It just made sense that they could follow the books and enjoy them more if I could engage their imaginations in more ways than just my own voice.  We talked about how the movie versions were different from the books and in what ways.  Some things we discovered we liked more in the movie versions and some parts we enjoyed more in the books.  Last year we read through "Heidi" and watched ALL (and I mean all!) the movie versions we could along with documentaries about the Alps!  Their absolute favorite part of the book that they quoted over and over was never in the movie version as satisfactorily.  Last fall we started reading the Harry Potter series aloud and watched the movies after each book.  Some great talking points came up and going deep with my kids in conversation as we enjoyed these together!  The movies lose so much of the whimsy that is in the books, but again, it is great to observe these things and enjoy them in different ways.  We finished the series in January near my oldest daughters 11th birthday and she wanted to have a Harry Potter theme party!  What better time to continue this literature rich adventure than with a party!  It was epic, but at the same time actually pretty easy to set up.  I will share my secrets to setting it up with ease. ;)

Fun-schooling: the Early Years

Too often, people think that academic learning and school should be hard.  Like if it isn't hard and tedious then they aren't actually learning.  Yet, in reality we should work to the level of success!  

We should find every day life and interests to enjoy together.

Tie books to movies to games to art to field trips.

Be curious with your child about things they find in nature.

If they have a question you can say the truth that you don't know and google it to find the answer together!

Grab a huge stack of books from the library on a subject and don't worry about reading through them all.  Flip through or skip parts or read as much as they wish for.

I so often focus my research and homeschooling efforts into my oldest (because she is the one in the front to usher in each new stage!) that I got to thinking how I don't write as often about what I have been doing or have planned for my youngest.  She will be 6 in a few months and mostly has been benefiting from what I do with my older two.  I have done so much research over the past 7 years because of homeschooling my oldest, and we have tried several different curriculum choices.  Only now I feel like I've finally found our sweet spot and after all that testing and research (and research again!) and testing some more.  I feel like I can recommend my favorite choices!  BUT, the point isn't to do what works for other people, but to find what works for you and your family.  So, just know this is what works for us!  I hope it helps other people as well, but you are on your own journey and it will look different from mine.

Monday, January 16, 2017

December Traditions and Ideas

Next year I will likely forget the ideas I tried this year so I'll blog about it just for my own records. :)
I bought gift boxes from the dollar store (the smaller ones were in a multiple set for a dollar!) so that I'd have 24 total boxes that I could fill with books and crafts and such!  Each day the girls got to open one and the first few weeks this was absolutely wonderful, but it did get a little old in the week leading up till christmas.  I might do a 12 days before Christmas or something else to make it shorter.  Maybe just week days and not weekends?  I don't know, it needs more tweaking.  :)