Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wax resist art

Today we did another awesome art project from here.
I got the kids started by drawing a 25 square grid and asked them to write the alphabet one letter per square. Two letters need to share a square so we opted for Y and Z. I asked that T1 do cursive and T2 upper case letters. The grid and letters were both done using crayons (Crayola Twistables in our case).
Next each square was filled with water colour paint - using different colours. It was cool watching both kids discover that the wax resisted the paint.
Once the paint dried we wasted no time in framing them and adding them to our art wall.
My favourite part was having the kids use the rarely used white crayon - it looked great with combined with a dark paint colour!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Can I have a pair too?

What do you do when your sister's endless chattering is driving you nuts......

I may borrow them on those days

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Only T1!!

During our table work yesterday - I mentioned to the kids that we had successfully completed four weeks of HS and we should celebrate.

T1 (10.5 years) responded...

"Why should we be celebrating - 'cause no one has had a nervous breakdown yet?"

Only T1 would come up with something like that - Goofball. I love him!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Primary and Secondary colour art lesson

Today we decided to do another art lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. I love this site.
We started by painting blue backgrounds for a water effect.

I drew 3 large ovals for each of them. They coloured each one with a primary colour.

I drew 3 smaller ovals which they coloured secondary colours by mixing their primary colours.

When the ovals were dry - T1 & T2 outlined their fish and added fishy details before sticking them onto their blue water back grounds. This was a simple art lesson but demonstrated colour mixing effectively and produced awesome results. The only thing I would have liked would ahve been if the red came out redder. Neither wanted to do a second coat

Monday, September 20, 2010

Canadian shoreline clean up

This week across Canada people are participating in the 16th annual Canadian Shoreline clean up. We were supposed to be meeting up with a group of other HS families who had been assigned a particular location about 40 minutes away but after a night of not feeling too great, I decided to stay closer to home. Armed with gloves, garbage bags and refreshments we drove the whopping 2 minutes to one of our favourite local beaches. The kids call it the rock-throwing-beach because that is typically hat we do there as it is not a sandy beach with a gentle slope of sand into the water but a collection of flat rocks with water lapping up the sides. We chose this stretch because we thought it would more garbage as it is a popular spot for teenagers to hang out around a bonfire leaving fast food containers and pop cans.
It actually wasn't too bad but we picked up every piece of garbage we saw, enjoyed some rock throwing and basking in the Fall sun, had a drink and a snack before heading home with the bag of garbage.
I am glad we were able to participate -even though it wasn't official or anything. I like that the kids are disgusted by what others leave behind and wonder why they would do that. Of course a garbage can there would help but realistically much of it would still most likely have been discarded around the hang out spot.
T2 didn't want me to take his picture.

Friday, September 17, 2010

End of week three

I can't believe we have just completed our third week of homeschooling. I am just amazed by how well it has gone so far. I have never spent this much high quality time with them. I am theirs for table work time with zero interruptions and I think they respect my dedication even if they are not aware of it because they are so cooperative and eager to get on with their work and so far I have not needed to remind them that the work needs to be done or anything like that. T2 is usually harassing me before I am ready "when are we starting school?" and often remains at the table long after her work for the day is completed to hang out or colour while I finish up with T1.

Looking at the work completed so far - I know for sure we have accomplished more than they would have done in several weeks of public school. Both kids are retaining what they are learning and applying it to daily life. We have done lots of reading. T1 has read a large chunk of the material from the Ancient Egyptian shelves in our local library as well as other non-fiction he has gravitated towards. T2 and I have read 50 library books alone as well as many of the books we own. My homeschool log is full of work completed, activities, social opportunities an observations of self directed learning and still we spend the majority of our days relaxing and hanging out and unschooling.

Obviously our choice to HS was based on what we felt was best for our children. I hadn't thought much about how rewarding it would be. I feel so incredible right now because I am dedicated, less stressed than when dealing with making lunches, helping with homework, remembering which day is library/gym/pizza day, attempting to keep on top of the never ending pile of school mail, clock watching for drop off and pick up, battling for a decent parking space, worrying about T1's anxiety, the morning nagfest to get the kids out the door on time......

Our days are kind of like this....
I typically wake around 6:30-7 but spend as long as I can enjoying the silence before T2's feet hit the floor running with lots to tell me! She and I eat breakfast together with the radio blasting some get-up-and-get-moving tunes.
About an hour later thud thud thud - that's T1 who takes a while to shake off sleep. He now has time for a long shower to ease into the day followed by a leisurely breakfast while I do some chores/take a shower/make any necessary phone calls.
At about 10 when we start school (unless we have plans outside of the house), we gather around the dining room table and we set to work with drinks and snacks close by. We work through assorted subjects. I don't have set days for certain subjects - I decide based on the mood of the day. Most days both kids do some math and writing of some kind and whatever else I/we decide. For T1 I set a timer for 5 minutes and a starter sentence and he has to write as much as he can without worrying about spelling/grammar. I do this because he needs to allow his thoughts to flow freely. typically he makes less errors when he is not paying attention to those things.
T1 works until lunchtime but T finishes a little sooner and goes off to play while I help T1 with anything he is struggling with. Sometimes he will take a break and go practice his guitar or run outside with the dogs.
When lunch time rolls around we are usually done with our table work.
The afternoons allow for self directed learning, play, some screen time, reading, board games, puzzles, library or any other outings and playdates.
There are other days when we have an activity with our local HS group or appointments and then we work school around those commitments.
If T1 is becoming frustrated with something, we will save it for later when G is home and he'll offer another perspective which sometimes helps.

I love our HS life right now.
I just heard that the teacher T2 was supposed to have is pregnant and due in February. I am so happy for her but glad that we will not be facing a change of teacher during the school year : )

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Early math with T2

Super easy math using manipulatives. We used 3 small bowls. She counted out the buttons for each number to be added into the first 2 bowls. Then we reread the number sentence and she poured the first 2 bowls into the third bowl. Finally she would count the total bowl and read through the number sentence with the answer. She enjoyed this and carefully selected which colour buttons to use each time (very important apparently!!) and it helped her that she was manipulating the buttons rather than just looking at pictures.

Painting perfect for a rainy day

drip water colour with a very wet brush onto paper

blow drips with a straw

allow to dry, display and then snuggle up under a cozy blanket with your artist/s and enjoy a stack of with your favourite children's books!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week three

Homeschooling is still going really well and I am yet to wonder if this was the right decision but I am sure there will be days when I wonder...

T1 continues to study Ancient Egyptian history and is really interested in how people lived then. Today he is learning about what they ate and drank and he's telling me all the fruits and vegetables that had yet to be discovered. T2 asked "so what did the Egyptians eat then anyway?" and T1 instantly reeled off all the things he had just learned without needing to refer back to the book. I was so pleased to hear him sharing what he knew and seeing her so interested. This would not have happened in school because they would have been in separate rooms and she wouldn't be introduced to that period in history for another several grades. It totally warms my heart and makes me smile.

Life is good (except for the stitches in my finger where I had a fight with some dead grass and lost when gardening yesterday!!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Turtle Art Project

Yesterday we worked on our turtles. Both kids were totally loving colouring on aluminum foil and using water colour for the back ground. We found this art project here

First draw turtles on aluminum foil using Sharpie permanent markers.
Cut out turtles.
using water colours paint a background scene.
When the paint is dry glue the turtles on and display with pride : )

T2's finished art

T1's finished piece

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I am looking forward to this art project tomorrow. I've been having fun colouring my own foil turtles : )

I just can't believe it...

My life is just awesome right now and I am so truly thankful

I had no idea

When we were deliberating schooling at home, we were considering the needs of our kids - mainly in terms of education. We wanted T1 to be able to learn in a less chaotic environment in his preferred style. T2 thrived in public school but there were many things about public school that didn't thrill me and we also had to consider whether it would work to homeschool one while having another in public school. Ultimately we decided that it made more sense to keep her home too this year and reevaluate next year.

I guess I hadn't considered how our time at the dining room table (our table work spot) would bring the three of us closer together. I thought there would be more prompting by me to stay on task aimed at T1 and I expected T2 to chatter more and irritate T1. Not the case so far. It is only week two but our table time has been very civilized. T2 has been asking for more work and T1 has taken it seriously and isn't procrastinating or day dreaming and this is WITHOUT his meds. Yayyyyyy
I have discovered how much I enjoy researching and planning our work and watching my kids enthusiasm compared to the groans when it was time to go to school.

Yesterday we celebrated homeschooling with a group of other homeschoolers at a park. It was weird seeing so many school aged kids on a playground on a school day!It was nice to have the opportunity to have a fun outing and then do our work when we got home (although I do prefer completing table work before lunch when possible). I was also proud of myself for driving to an unknown destination on the highway because I have avoided high way driving for many years and rarely drive outside my comfort zone. T1 made a friend instantly. A sweet 8 year old boy. they had so much in common and they didn't care that there was almost a 2 year age gap.

Today we have completed our table work early so we can attend a matinee showing of Marmaduke at our local movie theatre and then we have an awesome art project planned for when we get home and T1 will review the movie for our monthly newspaper which we will make and send to the Grandparents so they can see what we have been up to and to keep for our records.

Despite some mild stress regarding providing an adequate education, I am finding this to be just an amazing experience. I know there will be days when things do not do great or we are all cranky and feel like we are not achieving anything but for now I feel such a peace about it and so inspired, rewarded and it feels so right. I wish we had started years ago.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's official.....

We are officially a homeschooling family. Tomorrow we will be meeting other homeschoolers at a park to celebrate homeschooling.
Last week we started and it went really well. It was a gentle start but we managed to accomplish lots and the kids did really well and seemed to get along better than much of the summer. I think our time together at the dining room table really brought us closer together. T1 worked so hard and stayed focused which was so exciting because in public school he needs ADD meds to stay on task but with me right there he was able too complete his table work without any nudges from me. T2 asked me to have school at the table on Saturday and I was thrilled and did a little extra while waiting for friends to arrive.
We have some field trips planned and hopefully a road trip or two.
I never realized how well this would suit our family. I know there will be bumps along the way but I feel really good about our decision : )