Showing posts from June, 2015

Nature & Outdoor Studies

After re-reading some of my old blogs this weekend, I was reminded of the importance of play (unstructured play) & the importance of being outside in nature.   Both are so important for the growth and development of children. It helped firm up my desire to make sure we gets lots of time out in nature, exploring freely and letting them use their imaginations. Being outside allows kids to have unstructured playtime and soak in the fresh air and sunshine.  The benefits of which include: increased concentration for schoolwork  lessening of aggression increased levels of vitamin D (if the sun is out)  allowing kids to make friends developing problem solving skills developing motor skills developing language skills (through play acting) learning to think critically learning self- control In other words it's just great for kids! Sounds like most of the skills they'll need later in life- right?!   Today was a perfect day for this. We headed to the seashore to explore and just enjoy

Homeschooling Without A Plan

 This is the first year I've consciously decided to start homeschooling without a schedule.  The last three years I've tried a series of different schedule techniques and felt like a failure when they all flopped by Thanksgiving. I love to plan everything and anything & schooling was one of those things I looked forward to planning.  I loved knowing I would have all the materials I need for any given week of school and not being caught off guard so I planned a lot in the last three years. The first year (2012- 2013) I bought a three ringed binder and printed out a weekly template I made up myself on excel.  I divided our day into 5 subjects and left large blocks for filling in what we'd do Monday through Friday across a huge double page spread.  I left our subject areas pretty broad: Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies/History, and Art/ Phys. ed/Music/ Specials. By the third week of school we were so far from our scheduled plan and had signed up for

Some Benefits of Going to a Microsoft Computer Camp

Our 4th week of summer unschooling was busy shuttling back and fort to a mall where the local Microsoft store hosted a free summer camp for kids on computer coding. We enjoyed listening to our book on CD while driving and exploring a "new" mall.  We did some shopping and Ian went to three different stores checking prices and all of his choices before deciding what to buy. They made many new friends at camp and it was great to see Alec, in particular, interacting with kids much younger than himself.  Many of the kids at camp had younger siblings hanging around and though Alec usually does not want to play with younger kids I saw him talking and playing with a few of them throughout the week. Their main focus this week was on computer coding and learning all the ins and outs of the various programs they were encouraged to use. These Microsoft camps are amazing.  We highly recommend them to any young kids interested in the very basics of coding. They're F

10 Truths I've Learned While Homeschooling

My blog often focuses on what the kids are doing or what the kids are learning while we're homeschooling, but I've learned a lot too over these past few years.   As our lives go through various changes or seasons we are always growing, changing, and learning too.   Some of the things I've learned have been due solely to the kids and their interests.  They get so excited about all that they are learning and can't wait to share such wonderful facts with me.  I have learned so much about trucks, hydraulics, animals and Greek/Roman/ Egyptian Gods that it's just unbelievable. Much of what I've learned is not solely directed by the kids though. Here are 10 lessons I've learned while homeschooling my boys: 1. I don't have all the answers but Google usually does! I thought I was intelligent.  I went to school and got really good grades. I went to college and even received my Masters in Education and yet I must get asked at least a dozen questions a day that I ju

Top 25 Family Board Games

We love board games! We have closets and shelves of games.  I'm constantly seeing people asking for good family game ideas and thought I'd compile a list of some of the games that my boys ask to play over and over and over again. Some games are only for two players (so we'll often have multiple games going on at the same time and then swap players around as games end), some are more suited for my older boys, some may not be technically considered board games but these are all games we love to play. I honestly believe that every game is educational and love exposing the kids to a variety of games. We're game to try just about anything (see what I did there?)...  In no particular order here are some of our favorite family games: 1.  Life -- We love to change it up by deciding to go to college sometimes and other times not.  My boys have pretty much realized that if you can get the doctor, vet, or superstar card than you'll make a lot of money and probably win the game

25 of Our Favorite Picture Books

  Yesterday I wrote a post about all of the chapter books we enjoy reading together or listening to in the car while we drive around and yet we have many simple picture books that we love as well.  Today I thought I'd pull together a list of picture books that we have just fallen in love with.   Honestly there are so many to choose from that it was not an easy list to make!  Some books we fall in love with the characters, some books we just love the illustrations, some books are hilarious, some are touching; but we've discovered that most of them are just wonderful. To narrow down our list of choices I eliminated non- fiction books and any holiday- themed books... maybe we'll make lists of those later.   That said here are some of the books & series that we've read and listened to over and over and over again: 1.  The Pigeon Series by Mo Willems-- We love these hilarious books. The boys love shouting "NO" to the pigeon when he asks to drive