Tuesday, 30 September 2008

It was her turn today...

Princess had her first day of school today and she seemed to like it. Her teacher said she did really well for her first day. It was a bit harder for me today, not having any children at home...but I did run for 7km and conquered the mountain of laundry!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Here we go...

Dragon and Fairy's first day of public school...We rode our bikes together this morning to get them to school (about 20 mn one way). They will be riding the bus as soon as the paperwork for them gets to the bus company. We didn't mind the bike ride of course, as it gave us a chance to have some more time together. Princess starts tomorrow. Everything went smoothly this morning. I can't wait to find out how their day went when we go pick them up at 3:00!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The City of Ember ~ Book and Activities

I read this book this summer, just for myself. I was interested in the story after we came across the trailer for the upcoming movie. I ended up reading this title and the sequel "The People of Sparks". I enjoyed both and knew I would be reading them aloud to the kids.
I started reading aloud the City of Ember two nights ago to them, and they keep asking for more!
I have a few links for you...First is the trailer, because for us, that's what started it all!

Next, I found a lot of great activities to do with the kids on Walden Media, in the Educator's Guide section. You just need to scroll down to the City of Ember. Here you can find activities like "Building Ember" by building a tower with uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, or "Living Underground" where you need to draw a plan for your own underground city, or a map activity in "Navigating Ember", or a look at the real 2003 blackout, or building a light bulb or a hydro power generator...I think you get the idea...and there are more on the site!
Last, here is the link for Wikipedia for The City of Ember.

Tomorrow is their big day

Tomorrow morning, my children will be starting public school. Part of me of course is happy for them, even excited (mostly because they are). The other part is well...not so happy, but I am not one to sit around and complain so life goes on! I do have that quote on this blog from Maya Angelou, which reflects how I feel " If you don't like something change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

I mentioned before that I am planning on after schooling with the kids. There are many activities that we have done in the past in our home school that we all enjoyed. I thought I would share some with you here. I have decided to continue working through some of the curriculum that we had started this school year. It will be at a much slower pace, but I think it will be beneficial. I will have to assess after a while and see what might be needed more, or less. I searched on the Internet for ideas and examples on what others are doing with after schooling, but I haven't found much. I signed up on the Well Trained Mind Forum because they have an After schooling section! This is almost like researching homeschooling all over again, lol!

Here are a few of the activities we enjoyed and that I am planning on continuing or doing again:

Author Fiesta ~ every month a new author is selected and we read every book possible from him/her, learn about that author's life, and discover new worlds! With this month's author, the focus was on nature and animals.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Junior Iditarod ~ we choose a musher and follow their progress through the race. Last year, during the race which takes about 10 days, we paused our regular home school schedule and did everything Iditarod! Math and writing related to the race, the mushers, the Iditarod Trail, or the sled dogs. Geography and history also became a big part of this study. But most importantly, we all loved every minute of it!

Journey North Mystery Class ~ this activity took us from the coldness of February to the arrival of Spring! Here is a description from the site (better than I can explain it!) :
Somewhere under the sun, kids at ten secret sites are watching how day length changes with the seasons. We challenge you to find the ten Mystery Class sites using sunrise and sunset clues. Mystery Class starts in early February. Get ready now by building skills and understanding of Earth's daily and seasonal cycles.
We took part of this activity last year and won by finding all 10 locations correctly!
If you look through the archives of my blog, you will be able to see posts related to those projects.

Another part of our home schooling that I will keep is the reading aloud. All three children enjoy it when I read to them, and I do too! With Princess also going to school, but only every other day, I will have a lot of time to read to her during the day. At night time, we will be reading chapter books that Dragon and Fairy will enjoy a bit more. There are so many books we want to read together! I just started reading The City of Ember to them. I will be doing a separate post about this. I will also be starting our Canadian History very soon, reading through The Story of Canada and The Spirit of Canada.

For the regular curriculum that we might use, either before or after school, I was thinking of continuing on with Singapore Math for Dragon because it seemed to be working really well. For Fairy, Growing with Grammar was a perfect match, and she also wants to continue working on her Pet Store Business Math. We will continue on with History Odyssey very slowly... I will still require them to read at least 40 mn per day independently, and about 10 mn of reading aloud to me. Dragon is almost finished reading Stuart Little to me and we both enjoyed that. Fairy has been reading The Door in the Wall for history, which has a lot of old English..a bit tricky, but she is getting through it! I will see after a few weeks what works, what doesn't, and what we might need to supplement...staying flexible!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Our little world is changing in a big way...

We have been home schooling full-time for four years but it will be coming to an end very soon. I am planning on continuing to be a part of their education by "after-schooling" the children and most of all, I am hoping that they will make a smooth transition into the public school system.
We have all agreed that if the public school system doesn't work out, that home schooling will still be available for them next school year.

I have enjoyed keeping this blog of our homeschooling adventures and I wish to continue on, even if it is just of our learning together or of our family's adventures. Hope you will come and visit us still! I would love to hear comments from families that might have gone through a change like this...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The History of Counting ~ A great living math book

We read this book, The History of Counting by Denise Schmandt-Besserat this morning during our math time. We all thought it was quite interesting, blending history and mathematics. The author, who is also an archaeologist, explains how counting evolved from little marks on bones done by hunters and gatherers to our Arabic numeric system of today.
Here is a cute idea to make your own little abacus with Popsicle sticks and beads!

Monday, 22 September 2008

A nice sunset walk ...

After a difficult day...what better way to relax than to take a sunset walk? There might be some big changes coming our way very soon, and as most changes, it can be stressful. The kids and I decided that we would start our night-time reading earlier and go for a walk to catch the sunset.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

A little bit of art...

Just a little bit of art that we did this morning before our farm tour (see below!)...inspired by Jim Arnosky.
Fairy chose the dripping water sketch she saw in his book called "Drawing from Nature", reproduced it, and added colour to it. I wanted to keep them company, so I quickly picked one of the birds from "Crinkleroot's 25 Birds Every Child Should Know". Dragon chose a fish from the "Parrotfish and Sunken Ships" book. We all used a regular pencil to draw and watercolour pencils to paint. Princess painted a wood bird house, but it is not finished yet...

Horses and ... Apples!

Today we took part of the 15th Annual Essex County Farm Hiker Tour! It is a free event where you can visit a few different farms in the area. We chose to visit 2 this afternoon. The first one was Windsor Farms Equine Centre. We were able to tour the barns, see the horses, learn about their diet, and watch a riding demonstration. Dragon and Fairy were able to ride a horse!

Our second stop was at Nickels Orchards. It is a family owned farm of over 100 acres. They grow peaches, pears, apples, plums, green and red peppers. We even saw apricot trees there. We walked through a small section of their orchard. We also went through the packing shed where a guide explained how the apples get processed before they are shipped out. We brought home Gala apples, Golden Delicious apples, pears, plums, peppers, and peaches! The little pumpkins were from a road-side stand on our way home.

Children's Fest and Art & Soul

The kids and I went to two different festivals yesterday and had a wonderful time at both!

The first one was Children's Fest at Children's Safety Village in Windsor. The Safety Village is a great place for children to learn the rules of the road and practice them. It is a small village just their size, with scaled-down buildings, railway tracks, all sorts of street signs...for them it's a whole lot of fun! Princess and Dragon were able to ride in a battery-powered car. Dragon drove and had to obey all the signs. Fairy wasn't too impressed because she was too tall to drive the cars...so she had to walk behind them with me. At the festival, we visited many interesting booths and watched a gymnastic demonstration.

The second festival we visited was the Art & Soul in Lasalle. The highlight was the fire truck! The kids had a chance to climb aboard the fire truck and learn a lot about the fireman's job. Dragon even had a personal tour around the truck, with the fireman pointing out and explaining many of the tools to him. All 3 of them tried on the fire suit! We also enjoyed looking at the tent that housed the high school art competition.

First Time on Skates for Princess!


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