Browsing the archives for the homeschooling tag.

Homeschoolers, us? Really?

California, Homeschooling, Kids

When Wee One #1 was still wee (he’s 12 now), I had big plans to homeschool him and any other children we’d have. I thought it was better than traditional school for so many reasons – I could tailor the lessons to make sure it sinks in, I could spend extra time on concepts that are harder than others, blah, blah, blah. So when school age started creeping up on us, I was voted down – overwhelmingly – by my husband and both our families. As the only one who thought this was a good idea, I wasn’t winning anyone over. Over the years, I got into the swing of school and though I always supplemented their educations with lessons to drive the point in at home, I started to agree with everyone that traditional school was better, at least for us.

Fast forward eight years from when our first child started kindergarten, we now have a 7th grader, a 2nd grader and our wee-est one is officially preschool age.

As anyone who reads this blog is painfully aware, we have all moved from Canada to the States and we did it 3/4 of the way through the school year (and the school year is different in these countries too). For reasons ranging from ease of transition for the kids, to initially thinking we were only going to be down here for 6 months, we decided to homeschool while in California and then put them back in their tiny rural school of 35 kids when we moved back to Canada. Now that we know we’re going to be here for a few years it would make sense to put them in school, right? Except the homeschooling experience has been so wonderful we have decided to keep it up the whole time we’re down here. And interestingly (oddly too, maybe) that my husband, and both our families are encouraging me to homeschooling. Telling me all the things I told them six years ago. Ha! Well, whatever the reason for the collective change of heart, I’m happy to have everyone on board with this.

Gym in the pool? Yes, please!

We are following Ontario curriculum even though we’re in California because technically we are here on a temporary Visa and we are permanent residences of Ontario, with permission from our local school board in Ontario to homeschool. The nice thing about that though is the flexibility it provides. We will keep French as our second language and keep Canadian geography and history, but we are also adding in some Spanish and American geography and history as well.

I think the best thing about this decision are all the options for styles of teaching and books to use and extra subjects to cover! Ontario curriculum lists learning sheet music, but the instrument you use is up to you, same goes for the core subjects. The kids will use math textbooks for learning math, but we will learn all of our science curriculum through experiments and field studying and I have added nutrition and environmental awareness to our list of subjects as well. The kids love all of it – they get to choose their books for free reading and pick from a list I chose for literature. Win-win!

Here are some of the books we are using this term, I don’t love classic textbooks for most subjects because they all assume that kids know nothing about the subject at all or that they need to be drilled the information in a way that most kids (at least my kids) find frustrating. I have no doubt we will be adding more to this collection, but these are the ones we are starting with. Some are general enough for both of our older kids, but most are for one or the other.

This is the year that Wee One #3 would be starting preschool, but it doesn’t make sense to me to put her in preschool here if the other two are at home anyway, so I’m going to ‘officially’ start her preschool at home this fall. Though honestly, we read and sing and count and color all the time anyway, the major difference with adding the word officially in there is that I’ll be deliberately teaching her specific things. Her books and her materials will be a lot different. I will be making homemade playdoh every other day like I did with Wee One #1 when he was little and now that I know how to make chalk and paint, there will be a whole lot of that going on too. I’m looking forward to documenting and blogging about it in the coming months as well!

These are for Wee One #3

This last one is for me. 😉

As far as scheduling goes, when we first started I tried every subject, every day. It worked for a while but sometimes you just need more time for certain things. This term I’m breaking up the day into 45 minute blocks – with an hour long block for swimming in the middle of the day and the kids will start sports and formal lessons in whatever physical activity they choose at the YMCA this fall.

We have joined two homeschooling groups in LA, though we’ve only been out to meet up with one of them. They are the sweetest and most supportive group of moms I’ve been around in a very, very long time. A lot of them are from out of state also and they are all so welcoming. Most importantly, the kids have made friends which was my only real concern with homeschooling. With that out of the way, I’m hella excited about this year – especially field trips! Here is a list of the places we’ll be going on field trips this year, some we’ve already been to but it’s worth going back!

Aquarium of the Pacific
The La Brea Tar Pits
California Science Center
Museum of Natural History
The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Kidspace Museum
Skirball Cultural Center


Week in Review – Sunday June 17 – Saturday June 23

California, Crafty, Domestic, Kids

This week brought us the completion of my fourth pair of socks for the year! Happy Birthday Nanny! Her birthday was in April, but she’s sweet enough to totally gloss over that when these cuties arrive in the mail next week. 🙂 This week was also full of fun homeschooling lessons, I think we all genuinely enjoyed each day! Ok, that’s a dirty lie. Wee One #2 isn’t so keen on French (or cursive writing actually…), and while I’m aware that we are not currently in Canada, I am including it because even though we will be here longer than we originally planned, we’re not going to be here forever and they’ll need to know French eventually.

After whining about having to buy jugs of juice instead of squeezing my own, I found a little hand juicer! It’s perfect for making us each a glass in the morning to go with breakfast. This is probably what I am most hyped about in my kitchen right now.

Our little patio garden is doing well! I was pretty confident the seeds would sprout, but you never know until they do, so the kids were pretty excited when they saw the first little pieces of green poling through the dirt!

Hope you had a great weekend!!

Sunday = pair of socks #4 for 2012 DONE!
Monday = train wreck!
Tuesday = cursive writing practice for Wee One #2
Tuesday = juicer and fresh oranges!
Wednesday = Wee One #1 reading about nomads
Thursday = butterflies and fuchsia crayons
Friday = our seedlings in TP tubes are doing well!
Saturday = cinnamon brown sugar muffins
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California is so Distracting!

California, Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Kids

I know I’m not going to get any sympathy for this but man it’s hard to stay on a productive routine down here. The weather is so lovely and if it isn’t the beach calling my name it’s the pool – or it’s the kids wanting to check out one of the eleventy billion neat things there are to check out here. We also do at least four hours of homeschooling every weekday morning so that takes a serious bite out of the day as well. We have managed to force a routine on ourselves this week though. After my husband leaves for work (at what feels like the crack of dawn), I down water and a pot of coffee, wake the kids, feed them and do school until about noon. If we have an adventure planned, away we go. If we don’t, we’re off to the pool. Then we’re back in time for me to do some cleaning, make dinner, usually with the assistance of my lovely 6 year old sous chef and it’s ready when my husband gets home from work. Tidy, baths, stories, get the two little kids off to bed and theeeeeen I have time to crack open my laptop get a blog post out and then chat with my honey while I knit or bake or whatever. Phew. It’s a full life, but it’s hella good. <3 There is a Whole Foods and a Trader Joes in the same plaza just a few minutes from us! Imagine my glee – go ahead, imagine it! Considering that less than a month ago we were living in the woods and the closest Whole Foods to me was at least two hours away and that we are sorely deprived of Trader Joes in Canada, this is big, big news. I like to go at night after my husband gets home so I can actually hunt down the vegan cream cheese without three kids begging for organic gummy bears (the new fave treat around here). I have been cooking and baking my way through Peas and Thank You still and OMG what a great cookbook! Lots of updates on that next week!

I’m still adding recipes to the site without blog posts so I have a nice record of everything I’ve made! Here is what I’ve added lately!

Smoky Maple and Brown Sugar Candied Pecans Smoky Maple and Brown Sugar Candied Pecans

I have a pretty serious problem with these candied pecans. I mean, I don’t want to admit this but in the interest of full disclosure, I ate all of them. Not in one sitting mind you, but I ate every single pecan. They really are that good. Of course they are though, right? It’s not like I’m going to post a loser recipe on my blog.

One other side note about these little babies is they’re vegan! Hooray! (read).

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

They really are so so good. White chocolate and macadamia nuts are a perfect pairing! We included this in last year’s cookie tin and everyone loved them. (read).

Polymer Clay Trinkets Polymer Clay Trinkets

Polymer clay is so fun to make little trinkets and buttons and pendants with. It’s essentially play-doh you bake to set it and keep it forever. Since it sets up really hard you can make buttons and actually use them in garments! Or you can make little beads and string them on thin elastic for bracelets or necklaces. Kids especially love making them and grow ups with a soft spot for that specific child will love receiving (and wearing) them. So cute. (read).

Apple Cartwheels Apple Cartwheels

Just cut the apple into thin slices, carve out the core of each slice (if you have an apple corer, just pop the whole thing out first) and fill the middle with peanut butter, cranberries and chocolate chips. Then sprinkle with cinnamon. You can fill it with whatever you want. The point is to keep it healthy and keep it small (read).

Sandies Sandies

These cookies are so painfully simple, they’re easy and fun to make with kids and you can roll them in any kind of baking candies to match whatever occasion you like. (read).

Lace and Cable Afghan
Lace and Cable Afghan
I knitted this blanket for our cousin Jenn and her new husband Adam. They’re mega, super rad. It was a pretty easy knit once I got going on it, the bulk of it was a bit much in warmer months, but totally worth it. (read).
Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Rolls
Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Rolls
I made these when I wanted to serve up something cute and simple, but that was a little more ‘adult’ than typical apps I make for the kids after school. (read).
Spiced up Popcorn aka Italian Breadstick Popcorn
Spiced up Popcorn aka Italian Breadstick Popcorn
This snack is especially handy when people show up unexpected for movie night, or when you’re poking around the kitchen in the middle of the night when you should be in bed. (read).
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