Monday, October 19, 2009

Read This

Here's a link to a wonderful post about homeschooling and unschooling, about structure and habits and how it can all fit together. So thoughtfully and beautifully written.

The Homeschooling Habit at the wonder farm.

Bookmaking with Kids

Since I first learned how to write, I've always been interested in making books. In fact I still have some of my earliest projects. But with all the busyness of life, I've kind of forgotten about the possibilities for making books with my own kids -- until I found this site. Just take a look around. You'll love it, you'll be inspired, and you'll come away with lots of ideas to use with your kids or whole family.I can't wait to get started!

Bookmaking with Kids: For the Love of Reading, Writing & Art

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Adventures of Riley

Here's my latest favorite easy non-fiction series: Adventures of Riley. This series takes you all over the world exploring different environments and touching on various environmental issues like the bleaching of coral reefs or the shrinking rain forests and talking about how you can make a difference. The stories are fun and it's an easy way for me to talk about different places and issues with my 4 and 5 year old. Plus, I love the pictures! Each page is a blend of photos and drawings so you see the real place or real animals along with the fictional characters and their adventures.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My New Planner!

Before I forget, I wanted to show you my new family planner. It just came in the mail yesterday and I already have it penciled up! It's called the BusyBodyBook and I love it! There's a two page spread for each week divided into three sections: "ToDoodles" which is just open space, a check-off list, and then a gridded section for planning activities or just general calendaring. Plus it's got pockets, calendars, a dates to remember section for birthdays etc..., tear out note paper, and it's cute to boot! Take a look for yourself! BusyBodyBook.

It's Getting Better!

And just when I was feeling a little discouraged, it's all turned around with Beck and now he's asking for his little learning sessions with us. I'm delighted, of course, since this is what I love. I love seeing his confidence build, I love seeing him gain skills, I love all the fun materials, and I love having this one-on-one time with Beck.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's Official

Well. The school year officially started so we've also "officially" started with homeschooling. Official means that I now have a Partners in Education discount card at the University Book Store for 20% off on all purchases and we've started some more formal structured learning with Beck.

The truth is, it hasn't gone that well. Beck seems reluctant to try anything new - like holding a pencil correctly, for example. And it's been hard for me to figure out where I stand exactly on all of this. Part of me thinks we should just wait until he's asking to learn these basics and part of me thinks there isn't anything wrong with working together for a short time each day to practice some of these foundational skills. I guess we'll work it out as time goes on.

And the other part of our official start is that we're trying to do at least one activity a week with the Seattle Homeschool Group. We joined last spring and get the newsletter each month, but until now we haven't done much with the group. So last week we tried the "Not Back to School Picnic" which was a large and well attended gathering. Too large, really, if you ask me. We didn't connect with anyone and I just didn't have the energy to chase Ember, keep my eye on the boys, and walk up to complete strangers to introduce myself.

Yesterday we had more success. We went on a "Smallfolks Ramble" - a short hike in one of the nearby parks. There were only a handful of families and we all got a chance to mingle and chat along the trail. Plus the boys had a blast. Beck ran down the trail full tilt with another boy and Yogi plodded along in the middle of the pack with another 4 year old boy. They held hands most of the way. It was very cute!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


And here you can read about some of the many reasons we are not sending our kids to kindergarten.

From the article "Pressure-Cooker Kindergarten" in the Boston Globe

"Meanwhile, more and more children are “failing” kindergarten, according to the Alliance for Childhood report -- and missing out on the kind of early schooling that does help develop 5-year-old minds. Winifred Hagan is a former kindergarten teacher and a vice president at the Cayl Institute in Cambridge, a nonprofit that sponsors conferences for principals and fellowships for the study of early childhood education. She worries that vulnerable kids are being sent down a path to failure inside a system that was created to meet purely political goals. “Kids are spending hours of their day sitting with pencils and tracing dotted lines,” she says. “And we call that education? We are kidding ourselves.”