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Showing posts from May, 2015

Books I Read in May

the art on our kitchen wall
The month of May was spent starting a lot of books and not coming even remotely close to finishing them. I have three books that aren't on this list that I am literally in the middle or at least solidly through the first third, that will just have to wait for future months when they are completed. 
Although I felt like I read a lot (and I did), I only finished a few. It's summer! I want to read All The Books, and then I realize my roles, responsibilities, and blocks of free time will just never allow me to read like I wish (I'd one day like to get paid for reading books, but then I'd have to read the bad ones as well). Here are the books I finished this month. Ahem.
*Every Child Deserves to Know by Lynn Brownlee -- Lynn is a fellow homeschooling mom in my area and that's how I found out about her biography and kickstarter project. I received my copy in late April and read it in a day or two. It was well-written and I enjoyed learning abo…

Subscription Boxes as Homeschool Curriculum

Ani painting her first diarama
The subscription service business sector is exploding the online retail market. You can now buy toys, pet products, clothing, stationary, beauty products, eco-cleaning supplies, and even organic snacks all in monthly packages with excellent branding. While print magazines are slowly fading away, a new type of subscription purchasing is taking place in droves--for those who are too busy or depleted to run one more errand (hand raised here), you can get a fun surprise on your doorstep for a decent price. These are excellent as curriculum because all the work of planning and gathering has been done for you! Now it's just up to the child to execute and enjoy the process. 
I have tried a few subscription services as either birthday gifts or a trial run for homeschooling, and let me tell you there are some awesome businesses going up! I want to highlight a few of them for you that can be used as homeschooling curriculum for elementary grade kids. With each…

The Biggest 'Con' to Homeschooling

 Lukka building a fort at Ft. Langley
I suppose I can start out with throwing out any old 'cons', or reasons against homeschooling to really get you curious. Does she hate teaching math? Does she think her kids will be weird? (Nope.) Does she find the homework battle exhausting? Is she secretly insecure in her ability to school all grade levels and subjects? 
Really, I could care less about these questions. The main 'con' of homeschooling, the one that stays the same year after year, when the 'pro' list gets bigger year after year, is this: I have to be with my kids all day. 
I once heard a panel of women speak who all made different educational choices for their kids, and what I remember the most from that 60 minute segment was what one lady, the homeschooler, said. She laughed and remarked, "I have to be with my kids all day, and I get to be with my kids all day". 
Sit there for awhile. Read it again if you have to.
I have to be with my kids all day,…

Ft. Langley Living Museum

dressing up and getting the scowls right
Last week we didn't have much to do with our history curriculum as we're finishing up the year and I'm tired of the kids' text book we've been reading from, frankly. Instead, I declared the afternoon a field trip and we were going to check out our local town's national historic site, Fort Langley
Wow! What a gem. I had no idea that this living museum would be as large, interesting, and completely child-friendly as it was. While we were there a pack of 5th graders (?) from a local French-immersion school was also there, and we loved getting to stand in at their presentations (all in French, of course!) as well as taking off on our own, with the audio wand as our guide through the 24 buildings, rooms, and sites of the first fur-trading location this far west from the Hudson Bay Company.
Lukka sitting at the letter writing desk
There were people milling about on this slow Monday afternoon, workers in period dress and abl…

Homeschool Recap // Term Three

Ani holding up her "Rubens" portrait (using only dark colors)
February is known as burn-out month in homeschooling circles, and for good reason up here in British Columbia. It's grey, overcast, and rainy for weeks (months) on end and things get restless inside; cabin-fever rampant. Now that we've been over that hump for some time, our days are going, well, fabulously. Of course, the daily sunshine helps. Hello park time!
The way that schools run up here is on a trimester system, only they don't even call it trimesters, but three terms. I've always gone by semesters or quarters, but I like this way better. We see our support teacher* three times in the year for formal portfolio presentations, and keep in contact with her and the school over the whole year. The thing I tried differently at the change-over of the third term, though, has been what has made all the difference. 
Reading from The Green Ember and pretending to have a hurt foot like Picket the rabbit

15 in 2015 // A New List for A New Year

sunset rainbow on Crescent Beach trail in White Rock, BC
My last birthday list didn't go so well. It was alright, but I only finished about half, and since I like my goal lists to be realistic, this felt like a bit of a failure to only hit half when I've usually been closer to 60-75% success. Some people like to be wild with their goals, making them huge in their minds, and hitting a fraction of them is a big success, but I'm not that way. Too realistic, I guess, though I don't want to complicate my relationship with what are supposed to be fun and intentional challenges and ways to focus my time throughout a year.

This year I decided to change the amount to something a bit more realistic, '15 in 2015'. I was a bit overwhelmed at the hugeness of some of my challenges last year, even though I was very inspired when I thought about them and wrote them down. This list is a bit more pragmatic, but every item still sounds very fun to me. Some are family-oriented, so…

29 Before 30...What Actually Happened

it's what's for lunch
Every year around my birthday I do a list in which I write down the most random activities that I'd like to try, complete, or enjoy in the coming year. I rarely get to all of them. In fact, I don't think I've ever gotten to all of them, but I don't like to waste my time, and trying new experiences can be both frightening and exciting. 
This year, however, was a bit of a bust. You can see my 'before', or the 29 Before 30 list HERE, before reading what actually happened with me over the course of 2014. I'll just tell you right now, I missed quite a few opportunities for doing the list, but I also did a LOT over the same year, including moving twice (ugh, I know), one of which was international, and the 'switching over all the things' was actually a 12 week nightmare. I gave myself a lot of grace this year for not finishing, and honestly, there aren't too many things I'd like to re-add to the new list I'll pos…

What I Read in April

A pretty view of the Semiahmoo marina in Blaine, WA, along the trail. You can see Mt. Baker (covered in snow) in the middle, on the far right. 

I didn't end up reading a lot of books this month. We moved, in fact, to a new city in the lower mainland. When I took a small break, I didn't realize that I'd need a number of months off before I got my blogging juice back, but I now have a lot of ideas for blog posts and I'm excited to share a lot of the photos I've been taking since then. I'm on instagram, too, and it's quickly becoming my favorite social media site.

Onward and upward to the books!

*Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Riechl // This was a fantastic read. It's a 'foodie memoir' by one of the New York Times' food critics and it was so fun to read. Riechl used to dress up in different costumes while reviewing a restaurant, so she'd get the full feel and service given to any Joe Schmoe who came in, giving her a very unbiased opinion about…