Monday, 31 May 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons

Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons  is written by Rob D. Walker and illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon. This picture book is a treasure to share with your children. Here is a little bit of the afterward:

"Throughout the world, people of all nations, cultures, and religions pass along their words of wisdoms from generation to generation. At our best, we hope to help our children to have courage, be strong, show compassion, and be loving human beings. But our words are not enough. In this book, readers are invited into the private lives of a broad variety of families."

I read this to Andre and asked him to pick his two favourite pages to share with you. The first one above includes a language from the Andean region of South America, Quechua.
"Mama Says
Respect all life
And treasure every tree
Mama Says
Our planet needs
Each flower, bird, and bee."

The picture above is Andre's second favourite page. This one is only in English.
"Mama says
To be on time
Mama says
Be neat
Mama says
To walk with pride
And never drag my feet"

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Field Trip ~ Stamp Collecting Show

The kids and I spent last Friday morning at Royal 2010 which is a stamp exhibition. There were over 40 different booths set up, and a special youth program booth as well. We spent most of our time at the education book with two wonderful program leaders. They explained stamp collecting to us, how to handle stamps, and even a bit of stamp history. The children were each given a reusable bag full of supplies.
I will go over what they received a little later in this post.
They also gave each child a $10 coupon to use at any of the stamp dealers in the main show hall.
Each child was asked what they thought they might like to collect, topical stamps or stamps from a particular country.
Once they chose something, they were shown how to put used stamps in a small container of warm water to loosen the stamp from the paper, then how to dry the stamp, how to handle it with tongs and why that was important, and finally how to safely stick it with a special mount in a stamp album.
There were many boxes of "used" stamps that they could choose from and take home. 

My children enjoyed this so much. Adrienne has been collecting stamps for a few years, picking up stamps that she liked at the post office. We have also been saving stamps from letters we have received over the years.
Celeste and Andre were both new at this, and were very interested. I was surprised how much Celeste enjoyed it! The lady that showed us everything told me that Celeste was at the perfect age (6) to get started and that this could become a life long interest.

Celeste set up everything from her bag to show you what they received at the show:

tongs to handle the stamps (not show)
magnifying glass
various envelopes
100 hinges/mounts
a few special stamp album pages
"the world of stamps" book
world stamps collecting book
my first stamp collecting album
perforation gauge


Celeste used her coupon to buy two Hello Kitty stamp sheets and a beautiful butterfly stamp. She also received more flower stamps from the education booth and a day of issue envelope for a Canadian flower stamp series. 

Adrienne added to her collection at the show. She decided to start collecting stamps with old ships on them. She also was given a day of issue envelope that went with her theme of ships.

Andre really liked these animal stamps that the educator showed us and was so surprised when she told him he could keep them! What a great start for his collection.

He found shark stamps and dinosaurs stamps in the vendor hall that he liked and used his coupon to buy them. The kids were so pleased to have these coupons. The education session was great and they had already received a bunch of stamps already, but to be able to go out into the vendor hall and choose something themselves was very special!

This weekend, Celeste and Adrienne have been busy getting stamps wet to seperate them from the paper:

Stamp collecting can be a fun hobby for kids, and very inexpensive. I think as homeschoolers it can have an educational part to it too, learning about geography, different cultures, currency, history, etc..
I found a lot of useful information that reviewed what the kids were taught at the exhibition here.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

an appreciation post

Harmony Art Mom is one of my favourite blogs, and she also sells some of her plans at Harmony Fine Arts. She writes many useful posts about how to include music and art appreciation in your homeschool.

The whole blog is worth reading, but there is a ton of information, so here is one of the latest post about music appreciation that I appreciated. It includes links to logs which are free to download.

Appreciating great music: for children and moms too.

Barb also hosts Sketch Tuesday and another blog of hers is the Handbook of Nature Study blog, which my family takes part in regularly.

I will probably never meet her in person, but I think the work she does for homeschoolers is awesome! I have recommended her blog to many homeschool moms and will continue to do so. If you have never visited her blogs, but are interested in music and art appreciation or nature study, take a few moments to visit her using the links I added throughout this post!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

learning together ~ family garden ~ the beginning

I am not a gardener, neither is my husband. But my grandparents had a big garden that pretty much sustained them, giving them vegetables, fruits, even flowers and my husband's grandfather used to garden a lot too, so we are hoping to have learned a bit from them and be able to grow a few vegetables, fruits, and some flowers too.

See the garden in the background? I loved helping my grandparents.

We like to learn along with our children. They have been very excited to be gardening and were part of the whole process, preparing the dirt, pulling out weeds in the two garden patches we  built last year, deciding where and what was planted. I didn't take a lot of photos while we were planting, because we were too busy planting!

What I am planning on doing on this blog is to give you a progress report every couple of weeks of our family garden. We bought some baby plants and also planted seeds. We built two beds last year and added dirt to settle over the past winter.

Here is a list of what we have planted so far, with a few photos:

the vegetable and herb garden

cherry tomatoes


orange peppers and sweet red peppers

basil (the 2 ligher plants)






more tomatoes

In our flower patch, we planted a few baby flower plants and a few seeds as well. I didn't take pictures of the dirt, but added a list below the last flower photo.

golden creepy jenny

an Ontario native plant: white gayfeather


black-eyed susan

hen and chick plant

in the dirt:
sunflower (mammoth)
green peas
four o'clock

We also planted seeds on two different walls around the house:

this one will be (hopefully!) the scarlet runner bean pole

the future nasturtium

We planted this strawberry plant last year and it is doing wonderful this year! I hope the birds leave the fruits alone so we can try them.

Lastly, the children and I asked my husband to stop cutting the grass around our maple tree. We read a great picture book called On Meadowview Street  and we were inspired to try to create our own tiny meadow right in our backyard. Once we explained our idea, my husband was game and cut the grass a little longer and in a circle around the base of the tree. It's difficult to tell right now, but he won't cut it anymore from now on, so it will grow fast. He suggested we add some wildflower seeds and topsoil in the circle to help it along. So we did! We can't wait to see how it turns out.

Mini Co-Op

This month, we participated in a homeschool mini co-op with a local homeschool group. We had never been to something like that, and were pleased to try it out. The theme was Canadian Pioneers and we did many activities. Here are some photos from each of the three sessions.

First session was filled with games and crafts. Celeste is trying to catch the small donut without using her hands, and below the photo is Celeste practicing her sewing skills while making a bookmark.

In the second session, we went on a field trip to a nearby dairy farm. You can see my post here.

At the last session, the children made bread and cut up apples to put on top. We also made butter. We all ate this delicious snack!
There were many other activities, among them shadow portraits and tin candle holder.

Field Trip :: Train Station

We visited a restored stone railway station that was originally built in 1887 with a homeschool group.
The building was interesting and we were shown a short movie that explained the history of the station and the railway. We were able to go aboard the caboose too.

I really liked this sculpture in the picture below.


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