Thursday, 12 September 2013

home at last

I'm very happy to say my oldest wll be coming home for school. Well, part time at least. I spoke to his school last week about him attending certain classes: band, art, gym and practical arts (or as we used to call it, shops) and they said YES!

So instead of sitting in a class bored most of the time, he will take the classes I can't offer him there and do his own pace here for the other subjects. I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to have this opportunity.

 Having him home means we can learn about each other as a family, teach each other and grow closer. My ultimate goal in all of this is to become closer as a family, but also to let him learn at his own pace. I found that he seemed bored at school so much of the time, and was distracted easily by the other students, noises and teachers in the school. I also found that he was often overstimulated at school, and when he came home it would be nothing but fights until he went to bed. I hope that not going full time will help him focus more on his studies and complete his schooling early. Since I plan on teaching year round, I'm sure that won't be too much of a problem.

I am super stoked to really begin our new journey and to learn a lot along the way.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Horray for School

My oldest child, who is going into seventh grade, has decided to "not put up with the bad days and all the bs" (his own choice of words) and stay home this year.
What to tell the family?!

He has has issues with school from the beginning, but I really never wanted to take him out. I thought it was good for his socializing skills. I only really realized recently that he was basically isolated from his peers at school most of the time. He was diagnosed with ADHD, and ODD. After finally leaving his first school, a great counselor at his next school noticed signs of asperger's syndrome, and suggested we get tested. He was officially diagnosed at just a few days from being  10 years old.

I cannot wait for him to come home for school. I plan to at least try to follow a curriculum with him, but for the most part I'm going to leave him to his devices, spend family time and volunteer. I'm mostly scared about what my family will think. Extra-curricular activities, such as sports, I'm sure I can find outside of school. Music lessons, and practical life skills such as cooking I know we can find almost everywhere, and I an definitely not worries about his academics. But I know my outside family will be. I don't need to justify my reasons behind home schooling my kids, but I know I'll have to prove myself to them.

And maybe a little bit to myself.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Baking with children

I love baking with my children. My oldest was baking with me when he was a year old, and his siblings aren't too far behind. His sister's wandering hands kept us from baking as a family for awhile until just recently.
Baking relaxes me. No matter how busy the day is, or how much "trouble" the baking project will be I always have a feeling of pure satisfaction when I am all done especially when the finished product is being enjoyed.
I think the easiest thing to bake with kids is cookies. Almost any type will do, but mine especially enjoy making gingerbread kids and other shapes. The smell of freshly baked cookies is so inviting, and they really like to decorate them any way they choose.
Every holiday season I have them decorate cookies to bring to the dinners at the grandparents' houses, and of course no Christmas would be complete without a Gingerbread house complete with gum-drop roof and red licorice window frames.
The summer this year has been so hot, I can't wait until it cools off a little bit and I can begin baking again. I know I miss the downtime, and I'm sure the kids miss the treats.

Until the smells and sounds of fall are in the air, the sights and smells of baking will be out of my kitchen. Good thing it's coming soon!

Easy snack ideas

I try so hard to have snacks and meals that include at least 3 of the 4 food groups. There is only one night a week that I REALLY allow treats, and that's once a weekend, a family treat night complete with movie and a later bedtime.
Sometimes it can be hard to find things that kids will eat and enjoy, instead of leaving behind, or in some cases throw around.
A few of the easy snacks I make for the kids (and sometimes even myself) that include more than one food group:

Yogurt with uncooked quick oats and frozen chopped berries. I find the kids really enjoy this snack (well except for my more sensitive child) and my middle child loves when I layer it so she can do the mixing herself. I love that it fills them up and they think it's a treat.
Peanut butter on crackers, sometimes with raisins. I call it sunshine surprise.
Apple slices with peanut butter. I'll sometimes cut the apples into really thin rings and make a sandwich from the peanut butter and apple.
Crackers and cheese- a classic that kids usually love
Celery with cheese or peanut butter and raisins- ants on a log
Sliced  or grated carrots with dip or peanut butter (yes, peanut butter)

Other easy snacks I'll serve are banana muffins with butter, frozen berries (especially great for teething), applesauce with cinnamon, orange slices or other prepared fresh fruit, sometimes with a tiny amount of sugar on top for a treat,  a fruit smoothie and dry cereal.

I almost always serve milk or water with our snack time, but sometimes they get juice as well.

I believe healthy eating is as important as healthy play in life and that by eating well (with a few treats added now and again) we can teach our children good habits that will follow them throughout life.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

20130317 colour changing car

One Great City!

We went exploring today and discovered a new interactive work of art in St.Boniface. It was really neat. A giant carousel with grocery carts to ride on! It was even big enough for mommy to have a ride.

While we were there, another family joined in our fun, and all 3 mommas had a ride while  we got pulled along by the kid's dad. I loved seeing how other mothers joined in the fun with the kids, and we all had fun together, playing.

Even grown-ups need to get dirty and play along sometimes, even without kids.

There was also beautiful sculptures of children laughing and playing in the small walk through garden, in addition to a couple other beautiful works of art. It was a beautiful sight to watch my 2 younger children play and laugh while also enjoying a little bit of art and culture. As much as I would love to be in the country, where else would you find such amazing, interactive fully public art?

I think the next garden we go explore before the summer ends is the one at Assiniboine park where you can see the beautiful sculptures in the Leo Mol Garden.

 Happy Exploring!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Home? School? why not both?!

So I have decided to keep my middle child out of school this year and "homeschool" her this year. Really, I plan to continue until I can't anymore. I'm hoping my oldest will choose to come home as well this school year, and he seems to be leaning towards just that.
Now, I think sometimes people get the wrong idea about schooling at home. Yes, sometimes it involves sitting around a table and learning lessons from books. But that is NOT all it is. For our family, school at home means life is learning. We learn everyday, through work and play. My children mainly play the day away, which to me is the most important aspect in their learning right now. They learn and discover by watching and imitating mom and dad. They play grocery store together and "buy" things and "sell" things, bag them and bring them home. They re-enact programs and movies they have seen. They help me cook, bake and clean the house. They go to the park and play. They draw and colour and everyday we read, read, read, read. Sometimes my DD will want to write, and she is in the process of learning to write her name, although she knows most of the letters by sight.
  I truly believe that before age 7, in most cases, formal schooling is not required, and children will learn what they need to learn as long as they are given the opportunity. Right now I'm grateful and lucky that I am able to stay home with the children to do this. I hope I will be able to throughout their entire educational career until they choose (or not) to pursue a post secondary education.
And whatever they choose to do with their lives, I will be right there along the way to support them.