Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Homeschool Room

With the new school starting in only a few weeks, I thought I would share our homeschool space with you. We don't have a specific room and never have had one in the last three homes we have lived in since we started homeschooling. Besides for extra storage, I wouldn't want one! 

We enjoy homeschooling in the family room, the kitchen, the backyard, and also other places like the public library! 

The majority of our time is spent in our family room. I took a few photos and added labels to show you around.

I hope you enjoy this little tour!

Our desks and favourite reading aloud spot. Orion was in the mood to pose today...

We have three bookcases in this room. I use them to store our current curriculum, resources, and books. I organize the books by subjects to make it easier to find them. 

Our poetry book collection is growing and I might need to move things around again! I have found some great poetry collections at local thrift stores, perfect for our poetry tea time.

Homeschoolers love books, right?! 

Here is another bookcase and our library basket. It doesn't have many books right now, but during the school year it is always full! I am using a smaller basket for our USA States Study books and guide I printed from Wee Folk Art

The last bookcase is next to the couch. The bottom part has two big fabric baskets which hold our card games and art supplies. This summer, I removed our coffee table from this room. We prefer the open feel, and now there is no need to move that table out of the way when we are dancing! 

This is the bottom of the bookcase, which has supplies for art, science, and all the card games and small games the coffee table drawers used to hold. 

The printer is in the kitchen area, as well as our tea collection for our poetry tea time (both very important!). Celeste was making herself a smoothie this morning. 

We also use the kitchen table a lot, for science experiments, art projects, and other hands-on projects. 

Lastly, the backyard is a great place for close-to-home nature study! I am so grateful to have mature trees for us to study and see change through the seasons. 

Our homeschool space is small but cozy and perfect for the two of us!

I am sharing this post and linking to the 6th annual "not" back to school blog hop hosted by iHomeschool Network. Many homeschool rooms to see there, if you are interested!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our Homeschool Routine

Our homeschool year will start early September. Celeste will be starting fifth grade and it will be my 9th year homeschooling.

Over the years, our homeschooling evolved from a classical influenced style to an eclectic style. Learning what works for each child and for us as a family is what drives most changes. The flexibility of homeschooling is wonderful and now that I have only one child left at home, I can completely adapt our homeschool to her. 

"Routine" is a better fit for us than "schedule". We are not bound to the clock, there are no buzzing alarm at the end of each hour or ninety minutes block as in a public school. We can take as much or as little time as necessary for each subject or project. We can include nature walks or some extra time outside to take advantage of nice weather if we want. Flexibility is a huge advantage!

I have noticed over the years that a plan, written at the start of each school year, is a necessity for me. I have done this planning the same way for several years now and it works for us.

Here is what I do:

After making my decisions on which curriculum or resources to use for each subject and for each child, I sit down and make a routine plan. I look over all the subjects and find out how often each needs to be done per week in order to cover the material over the entire school year. 

Here is a photo of our homeschool routine for this 2014-2015 school year:

When planning, I still prefer the pencil and paper method. 

At the top of each day, I wrote *First Fitness. Celeste and I want to start our days with some fun exercises. We both need this and missed it most of last school year. Depending on the weather, we will bike or walk outside. We can also hoop outside. Dancing, yoga, or using our Wii U for fun fitness games are other options. We are planning on 20 to 30 minutes of *First Fitness before our school day starts. With my teens leaving the house by 8:30 am, I think this will be the best time to fit fitness in. 

Some subjects, like Math and Language Arts, are to be worked on five days a week. 

Language Arts: We use the Brave Writer program. We like the routine suggested in the Partnership Writing program. It works well with the Arrow and includes copywork, grammar and literary elements notes about the novel currently studied, poetry tea time (Tuesday afternoons), word games (Wednesdays), writing activities based on the monthly novel, and freewriting exercices (Fridays). 

Science: The second level of R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey includes lessons, a regular lab, a microscope lab, learning about famous scientists, and weekly reviews. Science, this year, will be done each day of the week. I think spreading it out this way will be better for Celeste, instead of trying to fit it all in two days a week. 

History: with History Odyssey, we will plan on doing the weekly lessons over 3 days. The lesson, narration, and colouring page on Mondays; the map + activity on Tuesdays; extra reading (library books or novel) + activity on Wednesdays. 

Geography: I plan to do our USA States Study on Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays will be reading, map, poem, colouring, cooking and the start of art project. Fridays will be more reading, poem, activity page, and finishing the art project if needed. We will see how this works out, since we haven't used this study before. 

Art Study: I have put together our own art study this year, using a few different resources. If it works out well, I will share my plan with you later on in the year. Thursdays and Fridays afternoons will be for Art Study. 

Projects that Celeste chooses, nature study, and life skills do not appear on my written plan, but are part of our homeschool. There is a lot of free time added to this plan and with our flexibility, room to include these. 

I included some family time routine to the bottom of the plan. For many years, we followed a plan for fun family time (see this post) and Celeste mentioned that we should start that again. I completely agree with her! Making time for family activities like these simple ones is so important, I believe, no matter what the ages of our children. 

Monday nights will be board games or card games, Tuesday nights will be Sketch Tuesdays, Thursday nights will be Movie Night, and Fridays will be Dance Night. 

Having two of my children in public school means that we do follow their schedule for the year. It just works better this way. When they are on a school break, we take a school break. It wasn't always this way, when all three were at home, we homeschooled year round, taking breaks whenever we needed them or when my husband took his vacation from work. 

Celeste and I are looking forward to more one on one time this school year again, learning and exploring together. If you are curious and want to read more details about our curriculum and resources choices, check out my "planning our 2014-2015 homeschool year" post

Updated August 13, 2014: I am linking this post to the iHomeschool Network 6th Annual "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop! There are many participants, over 500 so far, check it out here!! I will try to write posts for the other categories soon. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Noodlehead's Super Tote ~ Sewing Project

The Super Tote pattern from Noodlehead was a nice challenge for me to work on over the past few days. I have noticed that I am more comfortable sewing "freestyle" than following specific instructions; so I am trying to challenge myself with patterns. 

There are a couple of things I left out of this first bag, the piping and the outside front pocket. I know I will be making this super tote again. 

I added simple straight line quilting on the front and back. Overall, the pattern is wonderful and the bag is great. My lack of experience with reading patterns is the only thing that slowed me down! 

I used two different fabrics for the outside main pieces. I wanted a fun inside fabric, which my husband didn't understand one bit! I found the fox fabric and the polka dot perfect. I really like these pockets. 

The other part I like is the recessed zipper. All my other tote bags are open, so this will be a useful feature. I used a cute teapot fabric my friend gave me for my birthday for the zipper pulls.

A mosaic from my instagram feed during the project. Celeste already has asked me to maker her a bag..

The super tote pattern can be found at Noodlehead's pattern shop.  I am wanting to make a sidekick tote now too! She also has a lot of tutorials for all kinds of sewing projects. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Documented Life Project ~ Weeks 30 & 31

I have been busy enjoying summer so much these last couple of weeks that I didn't work on my weekly journal pages so I made last night an art night for me! 

The prompt for the Documented Life Project week 31 was to add a pocket and fill it with full of your week's treasure. 

I was in the mood to do a mandala and chose one for inspiration on my Pinterest board. When I started I wasn't quite sure how I would add a pocket but it all worked out in the end. I made a little pocket from a book page and did a little doodling on it. I used school note paper to add a list of my recent "happy moments" and tucked that in the pocket. The mandala and doodle are painted with watercolour and outlined with bic mark it permanent marker. 

I really love this page, even if my black background painting isn't perfect..The whole process of drawing a mandala is so relaxing and peaceful. 

Week 30's prompt was to add receipts, labels, business cards - smash book style! 

This was another fun page to work on. I first painted the background a bright yellow with acrylic paint. I printed a few photos from my instagram. I used a bit of a PEI map, part of a Celebration Zone schedule, and Farmers' Market logo. Some washi tape and a few labels, plus two cards that serve as flaps completed the page. 

These two pages were a lot of fun to work on! Check out all the prompts at Documented Life Project