Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Petite Papa Noel

Austyn is learning this song to sing at the library. Zoe is learning the chorus to sing with the other children and Austyn is learning as much of the song as he can to sing on his own. This video is Celine Dion's version of it and some of it is translated into English. I think it's a very pretty song. Here are the actual lyrics and the English.

C'est la belle nuit de Noël
La neige étend son manteau blanc
Et les yeux levés vers le ciel
À genoux, les petits enfants
Avant de fermer les paupières
Font une dernière prière.

It's a beautiful Christmas night
Snow spreads its white coat
And eyes lift toward the sky
On their knees, small children
Before closing their eyes
Say a last prayer.

Petit papa Noël
Quand tu descendras du ciel
Avec des jouets par milliers
N'oublie pas mon petit soulier.
Mais avant de partir
Il faudra bien te couvrir
Dehors tu vas avoir si froid
C'est un peu à cause de moi.

Little Santa Claus
When you come down from the sky
With thousands of toys
Don't forget my little stocking.
But before you leave
You should dress well
Outside you will be so cold
And it's kind of my fault.

Le marchand de sable est passé
Les enfants vont faire dodo
Et tu vas pouvoir commencer
Avec ta hotte sur le dos
Au son des cloches des églises
Ta distribution de surprises.

The sandman has passed
The children are going to sleep
And you will be able to begin,
With your sack on your back,
To the sound of church bells,
Your distribution of surprises.



Il me tarde que le jour se lève
Pour voir si tu m'as apporté
Tous les beaux joujoux que je vois en rêve
Et que je t'ai commandés.

I can't wait for sunrise
To see if you brought me
All the lovely toys that I see in my dreams
And that I ordered from you.



Et quand tu seras sur ton beau nuage
Viens d'abord sur notre maison
Je n'ai pas été tous les jours très sage
Mais j'en demande pardon.

And when you are on your beautiful cloud
Come first to our house
I wasn't always very good
But I ask for your forgiveness.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Math that is so much fun?! It's true!!

I know I've said it before, but our math program is way too much fun! We use RightStart Math and do the lessons at our own pace. This lesson that is finally finished was in a previous post and is made for a group of kids to do. We did it on our own. It took some time. This is called the Cotters Fractal Ten Triangle. It is meant to be stuck on a wall and ends up being 6 feet tall when finished. HERE is a recent post I read on another blog that features this triangle on their school room wall. I love their description and details about fractals.
We didn't put our triangle on a wall because we don't have a house to put it on the wall of. We are living with relatives and they don't want this big triangle thing on their wall. The floor was the next best place. There are tiny triangles that we coloured and cut out. Then we took ten triangles and pasted them on a larger triangle so that they were edge to edge to make a larger triangle. Then we took the larger triangles with ten triangles on them and pasted them onto a larger triangle in the same fashion making one large triangle with ten medium triangles that were made from ten smaller triangles. This project helps children understand how tens make up larger numbers and how equilateral triangles can be placed together to make larger triangles.
I have read that some people didn't like this project because it was tedious and time-consuming, but Austyn loved it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Following Interests for ANY Age

When people ask about our homeschooling they usually ask us if the school gives us their curriculum. When I tell them that we don't follow the school curriculum from our area they usually look surprised. I do remind them that the curriculum isn't free, we pay taxes and don't get any of that money back for school tax (in Ontario) and I probably wouldn't follow the curriculum if it WERE free and delivered right to my door. I generally get a really strange look by this point. You know the look! The one where suddenly I must have three heads.

They usually ask more questions. "What curriculum do you follow?" "But what do we do for math?" "Do they learn to read?" "What grade would they be in?" "Do they get tested?" "What about socialization?" "Why do you homeschool?" I will answer any questions asked very politely, even if they seem a bit defensive or rude. Usually people just sound surprised and confused. I explain that we follow the interests of the kids and I don't make them do anything they don't want to do. They love to learn, they love our math program, they don't get tested and that the socialization I see my kids experience everyday far exceeds what I remember experiencing in school. Usually by this point my kids are talking the parent's ear off and telling him/her things that they do and know.

I think that the concept of following the child's interests is fairly easy to understand, even for a main-stream or traditional type of person. Most people show signs of seeing some benefits and even give me examples of how their kids or grandkids lost interest in a subject or something wasn't taught in a way that they liked and turned them off of school. I think that if more people knew about child-led learning there would be changes in the system to be more flexible to the needs of every individual child. At least that would be my hope.

I am no perfect homeschool mom. We have bumps in the road, but here is an example of following an interest. Some unschoolers who are more radical than I would just leave kids and let them explore on their own in the world. I think this is great if it works for them. I will introduce subjects in our house and see if there is interest. I just don't force anything. This can be done for any age, but sometimes you don't even really have to introduce anything, or at least not intentionally. A good example of this is Zoe's interest in mermaids. She is only 5 and if you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she will answer quickly because she already knows that she wants to be a mermaid! I would never tell her that she can't. Why should I?! It's a great thing to aspire toward! Why can't she set her sights on being a mermaid? She is only 5 years old. And I know I met someone before who became a mermaid when she grew up! Yup!! I did!! Really!!!! Haven't you ever been to Disney World?!!

This is an interest that can't be passed up in our homeschool. I looked for printables on the internet, she draws mermaids, makes mermaids, watches mermaid movies, and reads mermaid books. The librarian went to work for us, after learning of Zoe's interest and came up with some really great mermaid books and some so-so mermaid books. These three were our favourites.
The Mermaid Secret is a story of two sisters who found out that they had a secret past and their whole view of their world and themselves ended up changing as they went through a strange adventure. The cool thing about this book is that the author is from Alberta and the places mentioned in the book the kids knew well. One of those places was the West Edmonton Mall! So, according to this fictitious story... mermaids have been in the pool there! Both of my kids loved this story.
The middle book is a book all about the history of mermaids and their myths. It's a beautiful book with many fold outs, flaps and much more. We are still getting through this one because it is long and a bit more time consuming than the other two.
The book on the right was a fast read with some of the facts of mermaids that people claim to have experienced. There are sightings, some examination, and a bit of mystery left for the reader to wonder.
Even though this was Zoe's interest, both of my kids loved this subject and even if your life is busy, reading books cover many subjects all on its own. Math, geography, history, myths, reading, language, and much more can be learned just from reading books. Reading can create enthusiasm and ideas in each child to do other things related to what they have read.
I don't know if you noticed this or not, but these three books are not your average 5 year old picture books. They are probably rated for a much older child and are almost novels. I know that even some homeschool families follow age ranges of books very strictly. We don't!!! At all!!! Some of the best books are geared toward older children, but if my kids want to read them, and they don't appear to have any inappropriate subjects in it (eg. sex, drugs, extreme violence) I read them!! The vocabulary is usually more advanced and the stories are more detailed and my children have become accustomed to this. If I never did this they may not have the vocabulary that they have or understand as much as they do. They take in what they know from more rich material and ask questions when they want to know more and leave what they aren't ready for behind until another time.
Well, that's a little more about us and how we homeschool and follow interests.

Book Sharing Monday - The Marshmallow Incident

If you liked the book Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs you will love this book. The Marshmallow Incident by Judi Barrett carries on the same bizarre twists as other books written by this author.

It's a story about two towns separated by a guarded dotted line that nobody was allowed to cross. One day something strange happened and the people from both towns began to question this law.

I bet you are wondering where the marshmallows fit into this story. Well, I may just have to keep you hanging...  ;)

It's a great book to illustrate how our world may have some silly laws and if people don't question them sometimes life may not be as great as it could be for all people. It is always okay to question these things.Yes, this also stands for parental laws. LOL!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beginner Hockey Fun!

I think these pictures speak for themselves. 
What fun Zoe gets to have.


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