Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines' Day

lets see if i've still got this blogging thing in me….

its been a while….like a couple years kind of while…

Yesterday was Valentines Day, "The Hallmark Holiday" as some call it. For me its a pretty special day because it was the day that my sweetie and I started writing back and forth….our "anniversary" if you will. How fitting ey?
Well, the kids woke up to some cards in the mail from my mama.
now you might be wondering what exactly is going on here….cause I was too when I walked into this scene. Baby on the potty with 5$ bills being passed around and a whole lot of excitement. Well, it was the wee ones opening their valentines day cards, in the bathroom, you know, because thats the best place to open gifts right? When you're peeing.

Malaya showed me Koa's card which was rather appropriate for him considering he pretty much is the little brown dog in the picture, taking everything out of the dishwasher to "help" mama while I attempt to load it up.

Later in the day another package arrived from FL Grandma and the children were rather excited about their new board game. "Race to the Treasure" a cooperative game where they together have to make a path on a grid and race to the treasure before those darn Ogre's get it! Good stuff…(I haven't seen my kids since it arrived, and Malaya is learning how to plot numbers on a graph because of it…extra plus!)

We didn't do as much holiday crafting as I had hoped for, the days were busy prior to, but we did manage to accomplish these beeswax heart candles just in time for the day.

We cut out the heart shapes with cookie cutters and layered the different colored wax atop one another, poked a hole through the center and VOILA…heart shaped candles. It burns really well. It was my first attempt at making a candle in this manner, and I prefer it to dipping them.

Since we've gone Paleo much of the sweetness of these holidays has gone by the wayside, however, after searching high and low for a treat everyone could enjoy, I found these little yummy nuggets of deliciousness.

dark chocolate with raw honey and almond extract in the middle. Paleo goodness!
Their the perfect little something that makes you feel like you're eating candy.
Add to that some strawberry honey jam thumbprint cookies and the kids were happy. 
Mission Valentines Day treats complete. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

vitamin water

A big part of our homeschooling days involve being OUTSIDE during these warmer months. After having Koa, I realized that my ideal garden was not a possibility with an infant in tow. Weeding in hot sun with 3 month old, and older whining children? thanks
So I decided that the focus this year would be on maintaining a simple herb bed. Its pretty much the compromise for the gardener in me. I need to get earthy on some level, or I can't maintain my fairy like spirit.

We've started concocting what we call 'vitamin water'

todays' recipe was Blackberries, peppermint and anise. Mush all together in a large jar, add water, and put in fridge for half the day. beautiful (and real) VITAMIN WATER. Now this sure beats pay 1$ each for them at the corner store!

Koa has been starting to crawl and likes to sit outside on his quilt while we pick berries, herbs and weeds. He stays like this just long enough for me to pick my herb bed weeds...and then it turns into a big mess with him grabbing wood chips and mud and trying to shovel it into his mouth.
This of course goes in conjunction with his two new teeth, and desire to eat FOOD! :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

summer summer summertime...

Having a child with sensory issues is challenging. It means for us, that even amidst the summertime, we have to keep to our daily rhythm and continue on with our schooling plans and fit "summer" in between lesson plans and daily chores to keep everyone from melting down. Not always fun, no, but better than panic attacks and everyone being miserable.

Our summer vacation consisted of visiting Niagra Falls with my mama and Brion's family for a few days and then ending that by coming home and doing 4 days of grassroots music festival sans our usual annual camping there. Coming back from even 5 days away from our routine was pretty rough....lots of tears, whining, arguing siblings, crying baby, and everyone forgetting what the heck it is we do at home/work. But we're back. A couple weeks later I'm starting to feel like we've detoxed from our own vacation finally, and are starting to get back into the routine of things.

During grassroots festival, Banyan decided he could make some money selling some origami. Malaya and him walked around soliciting random campers and festival goers for $1 in exchange for a nicely made paper crane. All in all, they made about $45! So this naturally led into our next lesson block on 'couting money' and some moral lessons on what one does with all this kind of money.

We went to a potluck recently of a herpatologist friend who showed us his insane collection of dozens of snakes, which made Banyan want to buy a snake. He know's he can't have a real one until he's atleast 10 and can afford to buy its food he started doing this begging obnoxious whining thing where he'd rant on for the entire day amidst psuedo tears that he wanted to go down to the toy store and purchase himself a large stuffed animal snake to play with. was our opportunity to have a lesson on spending ones' money wisely and learning to SAVE it. vs...being frivolous. 

alot of whining and brainstorming later, We decided a craft project was in order. Banyan went into my fabric stash and pulled out some leftover fabric from last years' autumn capes. and TADA!!! Here we have in all his glory, a corallus snake, much like the one he saw from herpatologist friend. Handmade...and more whining! :) 
Well done, Lesson one in not buying frivilous crap learned!

This spawned an entire week of random homemade crafting of things they've wanted to buy but i've said no to. And i've got to say, its been nice seeing how creative their minds get to create the things they want out of what they actually have available to them.

Here we have "darts" IE. Beeswax with feathers stuffed into them some of which have sharpened rock tips as "arrows" They spent a few afternoons playing target practice games on banyan's archery target. Each one that hit the bulls eye was worth 10pts, around 5pts etc.. and this lended itself naturally to a lesson in adding.

last year when I found out I was pregnant with Koa, I made a commitment to myself to not overcommit to anything I couldn't do with ease. To slow down and enjoy life more and "do" less. The other day when I was eager and thinking to rush out the door to go on a playdate, we were visited by this little fellow who reminded me of my commitment. So we stayed home and the day went much better than it would have if I had trying to do anything more.

When i stop and think about what i do all day... make 3 homemade meals, wash fold put aways loads of laundry, pay bills, mail letters, care for the animals, nurse a baby all day, teach my children how to read, write, spell, add, subtract, count money, have manners, care for the earth, respect one another, trust in god, drink enough water, get enough exercise, brush teeth etc etc etc... I realize. I'm already doing I let the extra curricular stuff slide, and watch my kids mellow out.

So we're doing summertime. In that SLOOOOW kind of way. Counting one penny at a time, taking one much needed nap at a time, eating one slowly prepared with love meal at a time. I think these simple moments are more important than all the vacations in the world, and I'm hoping my children's memories will be of what the sun felt like on a hot day, and how the clovers tasted and how they figured out how to make something themselves that they really wanted instead of rushing out to buy something new that will end up stuffed in a closet a few months later. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

beading with babies

Homeschooling with an infant should come with a warning label, i'm too tired to think of what the clever label would say...but you get the point. Homeschooling with an infant is not as easy and ideallic as one might think.

Our week long lesson on counting by continues with a craft project that I made up. After doing more movement verses as we did yesterday focusing on counting by 2, 3 and 4. Banyan wrote the verses out in his main lesson book and proceeded to count, 2, 4, 6, 8...

Its finally starting to sink in, and he's beginning to say them out loud now with less thought and more just from memory and rhythm. After our book work, we rode out to Michaels and picked up some beads for our craft.

After some snack, we came home and got to work constructing what I call "counting by malas"

The kids sat down and attempted to construct a count by 2 strand, 2,4,6,8....20  a count by 3 strand 3,6,9,12....30
all the way up to count by 4 and 5...with 5 containing 50 beads. The idea here is that they can serve as manipulatives not only to help with counting by, but also will help in later in the year when we start multiplication up to the 10 tables.

Beading with babies. When I thought that in my head today I asked myself..."dear jamie, why would you think this would be a good idea?"
as I attempted to string each bead onto malaya's to help her...Koa would grab for them and there they'd roll back onto the rug.
so...i put him down and then this started happening.

He'd tug at her skirt and try yanking the strands out of her hand.

So...i put him further away and he rolled and rolled right back and knocked over our pile of crimp beads. For those of you who dont know what crimp beads are, they're the little tiny beads you put at the end of each strand to hold the beads from sliding out of place. Picking up a pile of 50 crimp beads off of a closely matched colored carpet is like picking ticks off a hairy italian mans chest. Yeap, thats what beading with babies is like.

I think I'll stick to the birch bark boats thank you.

Once we got Banyan's set completed, we began doing counting by on them. 1,2 THREE, 4,5 SIX...etc.. saying the red bead he'll get the idea better. By the end of the day, he can now do 2-20 on his own without the I can see that they were a big help for him. You can't see in the photo below, but we added clasps onto them so he can wear them and walk around counting while doing his 'counting malas'

My late night task is now to finish up malaya's bead set while the baby sleeps. No more beading with babies for me.

Monday, July 8, 2013

new moon

I was one of those ladies who would mark the new moons by lighting candles, and setting intention depending on whatever zodiac it happened to fall on. Now amidst parenting three wee ones, I find out its a new moon through my facebook feeds, or perchance I look at my we moon calendar for a doctors appointment. I've been feeling a bit checked out from my spiritual side, I think its living in this cookie cutter house with no land, in the suburbs and driving a camry around or something......but I feel so disconnected from myself these days. Funny how your environment can do that ey?

I committed myself to a year of homeschooling with a meticulously thought out curriculum and daily rhythm where activities seamlessly flow into one another, or atleast that is what one imagines when they purchase a curriculum, have an early childhood education background and set out to teach their own children. Until...
something just trips things up. maybe its an energy in the air...maybe its the overbooked weekend that left us all feeling rather wiped and not ready to start a new week...or maybe its just that I have an uber sensitive child with sensory processing disorder who can't ever seem to get in sync with me. Today the funk was in the air and I remembered why it is I'm choosing to homeschool.

Because there are some days when one simply should not change out of their pajamas, skip the lessons and tend to their emotional needs, lest they meltdown into a bucket of tears by 8am. By 8:30, I realized not a whole lot was going to get done....I read the new moon in cancer update, thought for a brief moment about what it means to nurture ones self and remembered, oh yeah..its the middle of summer. Lets loosen up a bit. So rather than starting our lesson at 9am like usual... I decided a walk would be in order....  The kids were very happy to hear the change of plans and darted out the back to the nearby sandbox, as I started walking down the path, a baby snake slithered in front of my path and validated my need to shed my skin and begin anew.

I got a good 1 mile walk in at the track while the children played, we went back home and I let go to see what would come of their play. While walking home, they started singing the song their learning in their circle time. "Swift as a silver fish, my canoe of birch bark..."
and voila..they set to work

about 20 minutes later when things felt too quiet for too long, I looked out to make sure they hadn't killed one another and found this pleasant scene.

Two bark canoe boats constructed with flower petals, some nearby peeled bark and lots of MUD! Summer at its finest here. "Nature is so great mama, you can make SOOOO many cool things with it, and its so beautiful" banyan said.  "look at my fairy boat mama" added Malaya. this is what its like when i let go some. yes, i do think i like this.

After lunch and some quiet time, Banyan asked me what our lesson was supposed to be and wanted to get back to it. So we continued our circle time which has been focusing on counting by. He's got 5's 10's down, but the 2's, 3's, 4's etc...are tricky for him to grasp. So our circle time was verses where we skip to the beat of the counting by along with a story.

Counts by one says: "I am correct and neat and slim, my walk is proud and straight and trim. My feet can count and you can see, that each step is the same for me...1,2,3....20" And so we act out the motions.

(i'll post a video soon)

After some circle time work, we dove into manipulatives and I had Banyan do a pattern of counting by, 1, 2, 3, and 4's. After he had laid them out. We began counting. 1, TWO, 3, FOUR, 5, SIX keeping certain numbers in our minds and only saying every other number out loud.

Then we translated this to a bean bag game where we tossed to one another at the beat of our counting. So to count by threes it went "1, 2 THREE, 4,5, SIX! etc...
He got rather amped by this game and so we decided to translate it to some book work.

Here for his main lesson book, he wrote out the verse for counts by 1. Then we practiced counting by 2, all the way up to 50 written out, and then up to 100.

Lesson for the day completed. I have plans to construct counting by bead strands later this week.
One of the things I love most about homeschooling is that we can set our own schedule based on everyone's needs for the day. Had I attempted to start this lesson at 9am, our entire day would have sucked and been full of arguing and meltdowns. Go homeschooling!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

boom ditty boom boom boom

here is a new native american song the kids really love that we added to our morning circle.

learn more about it here

Monday, July 1, 2013

hickory dickory dock...

We're learning to read the clock!

This morning we did an impromptu lesson on telling the time using both an analog and digital clock.

It started with a circle time with the song Hickory Dickory Dock...


I explained how there are 24 hours in a day, 60minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute. The concept of AM and PM...and then we got to work.

First I showed Banyan how the clock works from 12 am-12pm going through the motions on both an analog and digital clock.
Then we drew a chalkboard clock and I began to give him random times to write out in digital form so he would have to write where the hands went.

We then proceeded to do the opposite by having him read the hands of a clock and then say what they were in digital form. 

Then I did the same thing with his actual clock... We played a game called "get there on time"

I was his boss and wrote out a schedule of when he had to be at certain places at certain times. He had to read the schedule, then went around and acted out all of the different scenarios being "on time"using his clock to set the proper time do do various activities. 

Once I could see that his sense of reading the clock was fairly mastered. I went onto THIS AWESOME WEBSITE and printed out some Time telling worksheets for him to do practice work on.

He spent the morning working on them correcting his worksheets and, shazaam.. He now (mostly) knows how to tell time. (looks like counting by 5's paid off from last week!)