Saturday, March 5, 2011

Envelope Design

This is an envelope that Zoe designed. She printed off a bunch of book marks off of the internet, cut them out, and placed them in this envelope. I had to capture a picture of it. It says "From Zoe" and "Love Mommy". The picture in the middle is of her and I dancing and the girl on the right is letting me know that that is the spot I need to pull to open the envelope. She tapped all of the envelope shut except that spot.

World Spelling Day

World Math Day didn't seem as much fun for us but we really enjoyed World Spelling day.

 Austyn played and did well on more than one level. He seemed to enjoy it.

Zoe did a good job also. World Spelling Day was a success in our house.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lego Quest - Maze

 This is Austyn's maze for Lego Quest. Here is the link to the entries for Mazes.

 After viewing all of the entries, Austyn was inspired to make a game. Here is the first version of the game. He made a spinner. The goal of the game is to collect all of the diamonds. There is a monster and when you land on his spots (the black side of the spinner) he steals the diamonds and in order to get them back you need to spin it to the diamond spots. We also use the spinner to move our men 1 or 2 spots at a time. If we land on someone we need to go back one spot.

We all played it for the first time and as we played Austyn altered the game little by little to make it better.

He was also inspired by the video entry of the maze with a ball. 

this moment - little mice got in the jello! ; )

{this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

If you would like to see what others have posted or if you would like to join in here is the link to SouleMama's Blog:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lego Club

 We made it to Lego Club for the first time this week. The weather was terrible, but we made it anyway. It wasn't too busy, but it was still fun. 

 Austyn got to crack open one of the new Lego Games and build it. The funny thing is that once the games were built the kids went to building other things instead of playing the game.

The room we were in was right next to the childrens' section of the library. While Austyn was building Zoe could browse the books. 

 Zoe built a few things as well.

Afterward some of the kids hung out in the library. Austyn can't wait until next time.

A Story + Art = StArt

The book we read was Up In The Tree by Margaret Atwood. Zoe helped read it.

She wanted me to draw the outline of the tree and she used an art kit to paint it in, add trees and other elements.

She took the picture of her picture.
Join us with this activity at Mommy's Adventures.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

100 Books a Month Challenge

As you can see, this was a slower month for reading. 

Feb 2011 Reads:

Read to Both:
1.       Air is All Around You by Franklyn M. Branley
2.       Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch
3.       A Strange Day by Iris van der Heide (x2)
4.       Baron von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident b y George McClements
5.       Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
6.       Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
7.       Big Rig Bugs by Kurt Cyrus
8.       Cat & Mouse by Ian Schoenher (3x)
9.       Clifford at the Circus by Norman Bridwell
10.   Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
11.   Frank was a Monster who wanted to Dance by Keith Graves
12.   Fraser Bear A Cub’s Life by Maggie de Vries
13.   Hairy Maclary Scattercat by Lynley Dodd
14.   How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
15.   How Music Came to the World by Hal Ober
16.   I Don’t Like Gloria! By Kaye Umansky
17.   I’d Rather Have and Iguanna by Heidi Stetson Mario
18.   I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb
19.   I Feel a Fot! By Maranke Rinck and Martinjn van der Linden
20.   I Have to Go! By Robert Munsch
21.   Knuffle Bunny A cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
22.   Let’s Try It Out in the Air by Seymour Simon and Nicole Fauteux
23.   Little Cloud by Eric Carle
24.   Mortimer b Robert Munsch
25.   Mother, Mother, I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins - 2x
26.   Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch
27.   Murmel, Murmel, Murmel by Robert Munsch
28.   No Two Snowflakes by Sheree Fitch and Janet Wilson
29.   Odin’s Family by Neil Philip – 2 stories
30.   Once there was a house, a house that was a... Home by Alex T. Smith
31.   One Potatoe, Two Potatoe by Cynthia DeFelice
32.   On Market Street by Arnold Lobel
33.   Out on the Prairie A Canadian Counting Book by Cora Taylor
34.   Pond Circle by Betsy Franco
35.   Scary Stories and Songs by Diane Goode - 10 stories?
36.   Show Dog by Meghan McCarthy
37.   So Say The Little Monkeys Nancy Van Laan
38.   Ten in the Sled by Kim Norman
39.   The Eco-Diary of Kiran Singer by Sue Ann Alderson
40.   The End by David LaRochelle and Richard Egielski
41.   The Invisible Moose by Dennis Haseley
42.   The Little Red Fish by Taeeun Yoo
43.   The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg
44.   The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth
45.   The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
46.   There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Trout! B Teri Sloat
47.   He Pup Who Cried Wolf  by Chris Kurtz – 6 chapters
48.   The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman (CD)
49.   The Sad Night by Sally Schofer Mathews
50.   The Scarab’s Secret by Nick Wound and Christina Balit
51.   Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson
52.   Zoom by Tim Wynne-Jones and Eric Beddows (3 Stories)
53.   Zoomer by Ned Young

Read to Austyn:
1.       Air is Everywhere by Melissa Stewart
2.       Animal Lives The Barn Owl by Bert Kitchen
3.       Aztecs by Catriona Clarke
4.       Galileo’s Journal 1609 – 1610 by Jeanne K. Pettenati
5.       Odin’s Family by Neil Philip – 1 chapter
6.       Rain Player by David Wisniewski
7.       The Duck and the Owl by Hanna Johansen
8.       The Honey Jar  by Rigoberta Menchu – 12 stories
9.       The Secret Life of a Snowflake
10.   Tikal by Elizabeth Mann

Austyn Read:
1.       Are You Ready to Play Outside? By Mo Willems
2.       There Is a Bird on Your Head! By Mo Willems
3.       We are in a Book! By Mo Willems

Read to Zoe:
1.       Eats by Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter
2.       Button Up! By Alice Schertle
3.       Sherman Crunchley by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans

Zoe Read:
1.       Bob Books Level 1 (red books) - 4x
2.       The Bored Book by David Machael Slater and Doug Keith

If you want to join in this challenge here is the link.
100 Books A Month Challenge

Winter Wednesday - Getting Up To Date

We are using the Winter Wednesday Notebook Pages and Activity Ideas from Barbara over at her blog called Handbook of Nature Study.

It's been a little while since I posted our Winter Wednesday Nature studies. For our first one we went to a park, but there was a murder there only a week or so later and being new to this area I'm not certain what nature areas are safe. We've not been going to any for now, which is a bummer. However, I don't want to stop the studies. We'll have to focus on what we can see. The picture above was taken of a chicadee under a pine tree infront of our apartment.

 We did our night sky study on our new iPad. There is a program called SkyWalk and the kids can move the iPad around and look through it, like a window, at the constellations.You can point it anywhere and see what stars are in that direction at that moment.

 I demonstrated how the night sky is different from the summer to winter with a globe and a flashlight. They looked for the winter constellations on the iPad. It will look through the earth at the other side as well.

 We studied the winter silhouettes of deciduous trees by looking out the window and comparing what trees we can see. We talked about what deciduous trees are and how trees can be identified by the silhouette. We also talked about other ways to identify different deciduous trees. Zoe drew a deciduous tree silhouette.

We studied evergreens. I ran out in -20 degree Celsius weather to collect a cone and a branch clipping off of one of the evergreens in front of our apartment. I tried to identify it for them but didn't have much luck. We watched the videos provided with the Winter Wednesday package and learned about how evergreens reproduce.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our Little Ballerina

 It was so fun to watch Zoe in her dance class this week. 

 She is very good at dancing, or maybe I say that because I'm her Mom. LOL!

 She seems to enjoy it. It was a good decision to sign her up.

It was good practice for Austyn to take the video of her.

If you like Zoe's Tutu and want one for your little ballerina, you can get one like it at:

Monday, February 28, 2011

How we do Science

As some of you know, I tried to follow a curriculum in the beginning of our homeschool journey. This approach didn't work out so well for us and that is why we unschool now. I still have all of the books and continue to purchase books that follow a curriculum (The Well -Trained Mind), but we just don' follow it (at least not how it is intended). Instead, I've found that my kids love to learn through books. So, instead of following a course outline ("say this to your kids, ask them that, now do this, have them do that... bla bla bla... etc.") I now just order the books from the book list at the end of the long description. Much of what is suppose to be done is usually in the books anyway. So, what I do is read what they originally intended to myself so that I have an understanding of what is to be learned and I just go ahead and order the books from the library. If not all of the experiments are covered in the books through reading and doing, I see if we want to do them after.

This applies to most subjects and seems to work better for us. The kids aren't bored, seem to enjoy it more this way, and they seem to retain the information better. Here is an example of how we do Science, and remember that this is only done when they want to. It's never forced. I have many science experiment books available for experiments when we feel like it but I also have a book that was intended for Grade 2 of the Well-Trained Mind. 

This book is called Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding by Bernard J. Nebel, Ph.D. I find it to be laid out in a way that would be used for a class room of kids by a teacher or a large homeschooling family with children of many ages. It claims to be for grades kindergarten to grade 2, but seems to overlap many ages in how things are suppose to be done. The book lists at the end of each lesson, however, work out perfectly for the ages of my kids.

Each lesson is long and drawn out in it's explanation of what needs to be done. This would work well for a regular homeschool family or school situation, but it doesn't usually work well here. I tried it for a couple of the lessons and decided to get rid of it for the rest of them. I love that I can read the lesson to myself, though, and I can go forward with an understanding of what my kids should learn. I review the experiments and keep them in mind for after we read the books from the list in case they were not done while reading those books. 

So, for example when learning about matter, one lesson was all about understanding that air is matter. There was a book list at the end. Here are three of the books we read. I find the books recommended are rich in information and not boring. In many cases there are experiments in them for the kids to do and we do the experiments as we read along. If Zoe gets bored or isn't interested she is allowed to leave the room and go do her own thing.

Keep in mind Austyn does experiments of different kinds on his own as he gets ideas and he loves to study nature. Interest led (unschooling) doesn't mean that he never learns anything out of his own experiences. I believe that the more he has access to the better. Facilitating a rich environment and setting up activities that he loves naturally in our home is a great way to expand his knowledge without dictating what he has to learn or when he has to learn it and if anything seems unenjoyable we just don't continue (hasn't happened yet with doing it this way). This approach seems to work here. I know that Austyn loves science and he loves doing most of his subjects this way especially when he has run out of things to do on his own. I may get the books as a way of facilitating his learning but through the books he feels in control of his own learning by insisting on doing the experiments and initiating related conversations on his own.

Book Sharing Monday - Wolves

What a cute story with a bit of raw humour! If you have a sensitive, young child, this may not be the book for you. For my kids it was funny.

Wolves by Emily Gravett is a story about rabbit visiting the library. He chooses a book on wolves and reads all about them.
In the process he ends up in the story and in the end something really terrible happens but then the author adds an alternative ending. You'll just have to get this book and read it for yourself to see what happens to this cute little rabbit.

To join in on the fun of Book Sharing Monday or to read other entries visit

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Austyn has been very interested in colouring lately. He's never really been big into colouring but now that he is interested in it, I see improvement in his skill every picture he colours. He takes his time and does the best job he can do. It's so amazing to witness how an interest makes a child excel quickly. Sure, he wasn't really ever made to colour and he hardly ever picked up a colouring book but now that he is interested he seems to be doing so well.

Lego Submarine

Here is a submarine Austyn made from scratch with no help from anyone or any guide.


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