"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Paddle to the Sea

I am so pleased with this book!  A good friend of mine recommended it to me as a geography read a loud.   This book was written in 1941 and has become a favorite among readers for many years now.  A young boy carves an Indian and canoe naming it Paddle to the Sea.  He places him into the water, with a note attached giving the Indian and canoe's name with the instruction to place him back in the water.  This journey takes him from the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, to the Atlantic Ocean.  While on his journey he has many experiences and meets many people, braves danger, sees various wild life and gets the lay of the land!  It's a great way to do geography.  The author has three more books similar to this one as well.  

I found this book on a curriculum site called Beautiful Feet Books.  They had some great curriculum with it, including a sturdy map to plot Paddle to the Sea's journey.  It's nice but I will make our own. ;)  On that map page, at the bottom, is a neat link that one of their customers created to go along with the book Paddle to the Sea.  The link is a google earth application with some of the places Paddle to the Sea visited.  If you click on the canoes, you can get more information and such about the place(s) the canoe visited.  I will be utilizing that for sure!

I am happy with how Geography is shaping up for our until study in January.  It will be great fun. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: History/SK Work/Math

This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up. http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/2012/12/weekly-wrap-up-no-words/
Esther working on her Mm page and looking through My First Picture Dictionary for words that begin with Mm.

SK Work

We continued into the third week of Sonlight's Language Arts K Program (Beginning Letters and Sounds).  Esther has been enjoying the work and it quite capable of sitting for the 20-30 minute time it takes.  We are on letter Mm this week! :)

Heather writing out a message in the Norse Alphabet.
We have continued with our Viking Study as part of our Canadian History (Donna Ward's All Inclusive Canadian History Bundle).  Along side of the Discovering Canada Viking book  we added Viking Adventure as a read a loud.   The kids have been enjoying this book immensely and will often beg for more chapters to be read from it. 

What I thought was neat was that one of the characters (on older man) from Viking Adventure is trying to convince a young boy to learn to read and write so that the boy can carry on the tradition of writing down Viking events and tales to preserve their heritage.  He is aware that he is approaching the end of his life soon and needs someone to fill his spot.  At the same time we studied some Norse writing and alphabet from the Discovering Canada Viking book.  The kids were very excited about the co-relation and practiced writing out Norse letters, making them into messages to record events.  I love how when the information we are studying comes alive for them and out of their own initiative run with the material.  That's when real learning happens, they embrace the knowledge and make it their own.  I love how we have the freedom to do this in homeschooling!
Esther often listens in on all these read a louds but I will pull out some of her books to go along with what the other kids are reading.  She looked through the Viking Section in Usborne's Living Long Ago Book.

The kids trying desperately to find the the camouflaged lizard in its habitat.
We dug into Apologia's Creatures of the Fifth Day with some readings and lap book activities.  They really do enjoy the Apologia's series and had specifically requested Flying Creature for our next science section.  We do science twice weekly with a reading from the Apologia text and follow that up with a lap book activity.

We have also been working through a book we choose for our Book Club called:  It Couldn't Just Happen by Larry Richards.  We are taking that in little chunks with daily readings from it.  There is a lot of information in that book, so we are sifting through it slowly so as not be overwhelming.  


We've been using Jump Math for the two older kids this year.  Heather has completed Right Start from A-D and has a good grasp on math.  She is finishing up her grade 6 math in Jump and will be on to grade 7 soon enough, and ahead of schedule.  She's been working long division this week with no problem at all.  She is naturally gifted in math.

Graham seems to work better with a Jump Math Work Book.  It's components are similar to Right Start and we pull out all the manipulatives and games to compliment his learning style.  He's been doing so much better with this approach and finds it less complex to wrap his mind around.  I like how the Jump Math takes things in steps and breaks it down for them to see it all.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: WOW Canada

We had been doing a plain work book for Canadian Geography and it was boring us all to tears so I decided to look into something more engaging and fun.  Geography is not one of my strong suits.  We do it but it's not my favorite subject! I decided I had better spice things up a little: for all of us.  Canada is truly a gorgeous country from coast to coast and I want our children to see that we live in one of the most amazing, versatile landscapes in the world!  

So, I did some digging, asked advice from a friend and found this incredible book:  Wow Canada!.  It reminds me of an Usborne Book.  The book is built around a family who traveled coast to coast, province by province to learn about this beautiful Country of ours.  It is written from the perspective of 12 year old, Guy, whose humour engages, and his survival tips enlighten the reader with all types of information that kids will hold in their head for years to come.  
Front Cover
This book is eye catching from page to page.  There are gorgeous pictures of landscape, culture and natural resources.  Lot of information about each province abounds.  The author skillfully weaves together cultural history along with geography, natural resources, wild life and the like in each page you turn.   This is a very pleasing book.  A wonderful read a loud that can ignite a desire to learn more about this beautiful Country, definitely a WOW book. :)

I will be using this in tandum with a few other goodies I found.  Including:  Province to Province (I got this one from The Learning House)  , Paddles to the Sea, Scholastic Canada Atlas of the World (or Collins Canadian World Atlas) and Symbols of Canada.  You can get this one for free from our government, providing you have a Canadian address.  See link for that one (allow 2-3 weeks to receive it).  It can also be purchased on the Donna Ward Site: link.  
Inside the book

We won't be starting all this geography until the new year.  I hope we can wait! :)   I threw out our plain white and black workbooks and we will move on! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: History Sketches

This week has been a fun one, we really enjoyed our week!  

We started each morning out with advent readings from Luke.  It has been such a blessing to learn about Christ's life and ministry from the chapters we're reading through.  The kids love to discuss what impacted them about the readings.  I am often amazed by their insights.  

We began Monday with Book Club, which the kids were eagerly awaiting. :)  For the past 6 weeks or so we've been studying Shakespeare's play: Much Ado About Nothing.  The kids loved it and we will definitely be studying more Shakespeare in the years to come.  I usually do a Book Sharing Monday Post but when we have book club I combine the two. I run the Junior Book Club and it has been one of the highlights of my teaching year to do so.  It is a pleasure to watch all the kids' enthusiasm to share and participate.  If you are interested in reading more on our book club you can view the book club post here.

I was excited to pick up a wonderful used book for further Shakespeare study and group activities called: Stepping into Shakespeare.  I was so happy to get this book, as we will be studying more Shakespeare for the book club and it will be a gem of a resource book for teaching at home as well.  

We started in on Vikings as part of our History this week.  We are using a few resources in our study including the Discovering Canada Book: Vikings, along with Usborne's Time Traveler (gorgeous pictures and information in that one), and the read a loud :Viking Adventure.  The kids have been very excited about this part of the unit study.  They were fascinated to learn that the Vikings visited parts of Canada well before the typical Canadian Explores we hear about.  They were equally as excited to learn that a Viking Village was unearthed on the shores of NewFoundland. :)  I had them do some sketching of Viking Ships using an illustration from the Discovering Canada Viking book.  And of course the read aloud for this section is always a hit for them!  

Heather began a new series of books for her personal reading time called:  Elijah Creek and the Armor of God.  She has been gobbling those books up and finished book one already, passing it along to me.  I confess I am having a hard time putting that book down! lol  Heather is on to the second one in the series.  I am so glad a friend of mine recommended them to us.  We love it when we find great reads.

We've had some struggles in math this week for my eldest.  She is accustomed to getting math concepts on the first try and with very little effort.  We were working on long division and she was having trouble grasping the  concept.  I reminded her that she doesn't have to get a concept the first time that sometimes it takes a bit to grasp something, and that's okay, but she was so frustrated with it that I stopped the lesson. It just wasn't worth it to continue with her that frustrated. I love that we can do that though, take a break when we need to.  Sometimes a break is all we need to refocus and come back with a fresh start.  This mornings lesson went fantastic and she was able to grasp the concept as we tried a couple more different ways to illustrate it.

Graham has been doing great with his math, getting perfect on nearly every work sheet this past week.  He has turned a corner in both math and reading over the past few weeks.  This has been such an encouraging week for him and he was excited to share his work with his Dad. 

Heather working on her Viking Ship Sketch.  She loves to add lots of detail!
Graham working on his Viking ship sketch.  He loves to add colour and create scenes.

My youngest has continued to work steadily through her Language Arts Program from Sonlight. (Beginner Sounds and Letters), her Right Start Math Level A along with one of her favorite books right now: The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Nature and Science.  She loves that book. :)  

She also wanted to do some Christmas Drawing and Cards.  She had me take a picture of that. LOL  I told her I would put it up on my blog this week.  She was pleased with that.

Esther drawing a Christmas card for her little friend next door. :)

This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Silly Yak Bake Day: Blueberry Cobbler ~ Breakfast Style

 This is a nice treat on a cold winter morning.  I make this every once in a while for a morning breakfast or mid morning snack.  We all love it, the kids get very excited when I tell them what's in the oven!  It's super tasty and easy to make.  I make this with Gluten Free Flour but you can also use whole wheat or white flour.  Honestly, though: using various flours for baking, even if you are not GF, is a good way to add variety and health benefits to your diet.  It's not as hard as it seems - really! :)

Blueberry Cobbler - Breakfast Style

1 1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cups GF flour (could be almond flour/rice flour/ all purpose flour/ sorghum flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of cow milk OR rice milk OR almond milk
2 eggs
1/4 butter
1 cup of blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare a 9inch x 9inch pan.

2. Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Whisk together milk, egg, butter.

4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture, mix well and then fold in fruit.

5. Pour into the baking pan.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until it has a nice golden colour.  Cool on wire racks.

*This dish can be served with some a dallop of yogurt or kefir on top!


Book Club: Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing


Our monthly book club met today to discuss Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing!  Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy about love, a plot to destroy love, a plot to trick a couple into love, betrayal, loyalty and the truth coming to light.  For more on the play, here is a great summary.

 I had wanted to end this study with a Shakespeare production of Much Ado About Nothing but as it happened they saw the production first.  This actually worked out very well.  The play was in Stratford. The kids LOVED the production and it sparked a great deal of enthusiasm to study the play once we got home.  The production was incredible and the acting superb!  It peeked an interest in theater for my children along with a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare.  

For the study of our play we began by talking about who Shakespeare was, where he lived and the time he lived in.  There are some nice books that help with this but I did not have them on hand so I used the good old internet to help us out.  But if you are looking for books:  Usborne Internet-Linked World of Shakespeare along with Shakespeare for Kids are good ones, We also discussed various aspects of the theater of that time period along with Shakespeare's contributions to theater and acting.  I felt like this set the stage well enough for them before we actually read through the play.

To delve in to the play I began with Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare to introduce the kids to the basic plot of the play. I would have also used Illustrated Stories From Shakespeare but that book did not have the Play Much Ado About Nothing.  We did have on hand Much Ado About Nothing from the Shakespeare Can Be Fun Series, so we read through that as well.  We then followed that up with reading through the actual Shakespeare play.  The kids really enjoyed each part of the process and came away more then willing to see more Shakespeare and study more of his plays. :)


I have been running a Junior book club for a number of months now.  It is proving to be a most enjoyable experience for all of us!  The kids are happy to participate and share their insights about the works we are reading.  Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing was no exception.  

We began by talking about Shakespeare, his works, his time period and the theater.  The kids were more then happy to share thoughts, impressions and what they learned at home about the life and times of Shakespeare.  I read through some of the Usborne Internet Linked World of Shakespeare with them.  The picture in that book are amazing, so we took in some of those as well.

Then we talked about the play.  They were eager to answer questions about what they liked about the play, what scenes were their favorite and why, what they learned etc.  They shared what they did at home to help the play come alive: watching a production of it, listening to a version on audio, acting it out with play mobile,  reading through it, and acting out various parts were among those shared.  It was exciting to hear how they made the play come alive as they studied it!

For our book club the activity was sketching a comic strip of their favorite scenes.  Not only did they participate in the sketching but there was some wonderful conversation among them as they talked about the scenes they were recreating.  We just used pencils and plain paper!  That was all that was needed to get them going.  It was a great book club. :)

Working on his Comic Sketch
Forming out her page for the individual scenes.
Look at all these kiddos! :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: Catch Up and Snow Play!

We've been catching up on a lot of seat work this week as last week was such a short week!  Despite catching up on everything, we had a nice relaxing week.  In addition to their regular readings, the kids pulled out tons of books throughout the day and looked through them.  The maze books from Usborne captured Graham's attention so he made several mazes on his own.  He features one of them below.

Esther has been doing well with her beginning reading program from Sonlight: beginning letters and sounds along with the primer for Explode the Code Series: Get Set for the Code book A.  My eldest, Heather, has taken it upon herself to teach her a little extra at night before they go to bed and most nights Esther is happy to oblige!  She loves to look at books before she drifts off to sleep, taking a huge stack of them with her on her bed.  I often find a couple books right beside her after she has fallen asleep.  

The kids all received mail this week from their cousins.  Their cousins are homeschooled and as part of their grammar program they wrote letters to us and the kids were more then happy to write back! :)  It was great practice for them.

Piano lessons this week included Christmas Carols.  This is one of the highlights of their piano experiences for the year.  They love to help pick out the music and practice their carols for us and others to enjoy. Graham has shown an interest in stringed instruments, specifically the violin.  I'm not sure yet when or if we will switch him from piano to violin but I am mulling it over for him.

This year we are delving into Canadian History using Donna Wards All Inclusive Canadian History Bundle.  We finished up our unit on the Natives of Canada and will be moving on to Vikings this coming week using the Discovering Canada Series.  After the unit on Vikings we'll make a 'news paper' about vikings and Canada as part of their history program.  It will be similar to the Usborne Newspaper books.  We have a few of those on hand and will use them as examples of how to create a newspaper.

We started a new book for book club this week:  Jason's Gold.  We just finished up Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing.  I will blog about that on Monday when I combine my book sharing Monday post with Book Club.  The kids are looking forward to Book Club, this will be our forth one and it is nice to see them eagerly awaiting it!

We are starting the advent reading today using Blessed Beyond a Doubt's advent reading schedule.  We will do it during our first fruits devotional time.  I love to do the advent readings with the kids come December. :)

The kids enjoyed some snow up north while having our Christmas with my parents.  They were sad to leave all the beautiful white, winter wonderland behind.  I can't say I blame them, snow is so much fun to play in and we don't see nearly enough of it where we live.  
My parents back yard up north.

The girls before they head out for a now ball fight and fort building.  I didn't catch a picture of Graham in the snow but he was there alright! lol

This post is linked back to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up!