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Friday, October 24, 2014

Something for the Weekend

For a while now I have gathered a few things that I want to share that just don't seem to fit in a whole blog post, so I decided to start a new series called Something for the Weekend.  Here you will find some of my favorite finds on the internet ranging from parenting to travel to music and whatever else strikes my whimsy. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.

 
 
I grew up with horse chestnut trees in our yard. I wish I had known how to play this game of conkers.
 
Christmas gifts from Etsy are always a favorite. I'm putting this sweet little deer necklace at the top of the list.
 
 The background noise from Noisli always sets up a soothing mood especially good for the colder season.
 
We are in love with Imagine Childhood's felt fox mask!
 
I could listen to Bear McCreary's version of The Sky Boat Song alllllll day.
 
 
Images courtesy of The Toymaker
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Our New Homeschool Rhythm

Back in July I knew I needed to work more throughout the academic year than in years past. I also knew that my oldest son was ready to do more self-guided learning so I decided to get a computer-based curriculum.  It did not fit in with my attempts at a flowing rhythm nor my love for the Charlotte Mason method, but I really needed to be free of the stress of daily self-planning as my oldest entered fourth grade and my youngest began a mix of kindergarten and first grade and I thought it would be the solution.  I was so wrong.  After only two weeks, we were all bored with the repetition and computer-based learning was not enriching my son's life. The next week we made a big change and began using Oak Meadow, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum. What a difference!

Now into week 4 of using Oak Meadow curriculum, we have found a steady rhythm and managed to implement some Charlotte Mason techniques. (If you recall in previous posts, I wrote about how we used the Charlotte Mason method and implemented Waldorf techniques, so this isn't too much of a stretch from the past two years.)

Over the next several weeks, I will expand on some of the foundations of our learning and how we use Oak Meadow curriculum and some of the foundations of our learning.




Friday, October 10, 2014

The Woodland Trust and an Autumn Scavenger Hunt

Have you heard of the U.K. based Woodland Trust Nature Detective program?  Take a look at the website where you will find wonderful ideas for getting our kids outdoors and exploring nature.
 
While the focus is on nature in the U.K., many activities carry over nicely to North America, or can easily be modified to fit our unique natural habitat. For example, I modified their Autumn Scavenger Hunt to fit our area of central Pennsylvania.
 
Have fun out and about searching for nature's treasures this autumn.
 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

The World Is My Classroom with Oak Meadow

Do you get bored with having your homeschool days stuck in 4 walls? If you need inspiration to help your kids see the world as their classroom, head over to the latest Oak Meadow photo contest entriesIt is a wonderful gathering of children throughout the world learning wherever the opportunity finds them.

We have three entries, and could have easily added more as I delight in finding those teachable moments no matter where we are.  As a matter of fact, right now, my boys are outside in our back field searching for shapes in nature. If you would like to vote for our main photo like it here.


On a road trip through Oklahoma we saw this oil pump in the middle of nowhere and took the opportunity to talk to our sons about my father who became an Oil Johnny at 12. Our oldest was fascinated by the mechanics of it and watched in awe for at least 5 minutes



Our 6-year-old learns nature can be enjoyed in urban areas on Staten Island while looking forward to our next days adventure in New York City (skyline in the background).

He is so proud to write the letter A correctly and even practices on his bedroom window.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Michaelmas delayed

Today is Michaelmas and the day we start using Oak Meadow curriculum.  I was excited to use Michael's and St. George's slaying of the dragon as a way to help my sons recognize their challenges in the academic realm and to prepare to take those challenges on using Oak Meadow as a new way of learning.

Well you know: The best laid schemes of mice an' men, often go awry. Instead of getting off to a wonderful start, we have a sick, nine-year-old boy camped out on the couch looking pale and worn out. Our Michaelmas  is delayed. In the meantime, I will enjoy the quiet time to be introspective seeking out my dragons and come renewed to begin our new start in the morning.

Here are a couple of posts from Michaelmas of years past: 

The Armor of God Slays the Dragon Within

Michaelmas: A Time For Bravery and Growth



Friday, September 12, 2014

A Wonderful Trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

It is that time of year again.  Throughout our neighborhood, children are climbing on the school bus bright and early. Many of them are excited, but some, and you can see it on their faces, simply would rather stay home.  As far as I know, we are the only exception in our neighborhood. We homeschool.  This year, we have a fourth grader and a K/1st grader, depending on the subject. 

I have found over the past two years, that transitioning from summer break to the academic year can be a challenge when you never board the bus or walk to another building, so we are making a gentle, free-flowing change. We will be in the full swing of things in a few weeks when co-op begins.  Last week we kicked off the changeover to daily lessons with a fun field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We were pleasantly surprised to find several interactive stations among the exhibits.


Up until our visit, I  thought I knew what 6 artists we would study this year, but seeing how excited they were about Pablo Picasso, I added him to our curriculum.

Having the flexibility to travel and tour is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.  Have you already started field trips too?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Fun in the Smokies

On an early summer road trip home from Oklahoma, we stopped to visit friends at Great Smoky Mountians National Park. Visiting state and National Parks is one of the easiest ways to teach children to appreciate nature and there are many opportunities to learn about preservation of our nation's wonderful resources. If you plan on visiting a National Park with children, don't forget to ask about the Junior Ranger Program. At the end of the program, the kids can earn a badge or patch from that specific park and have fun while doing it.

As we see the end of summer coming and prepare for the upcoming academic year, let's all slow down, explore nature, and take in the beauty of the world around us.






(For more ideas and inspiration on enjoying the summer, join us at Little Acorn Learning's Slow Summer Series.)
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