One little chalk board

One little chalk board

Almost two years into this homeschooling thing I have come to realize something very important. Having the right supplies matters so much, at least for me. I love the chalk drawings traditionally done in Waldorf education partially because they are beautiful and fun to do but mostly because my kids respond really well to them. I found it hard to do them on small boards and when I tried on my kids chalk board easel they would erase or draw over my works of art. I realized I needed a board just dedicated to my work! One of my struggles with homeschooling and not having a separate space for school is creating a dedicated space that doesn’t leave us feeling like we are always in school.I decided I need something large to fit a lot or writing and drawing and that it needed to be something I wouldn’t mind looking at everyday. I spent hours searching for an antique school chalkboard, I love me some antiques, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. I remembered there was an old mirror tucked behind a dresser in my room, it was waiting to find a new family. It turned out to fit everything I needed, it is huge and fits the style of my house. I took the large mirror and turned it into my little piece of chalkboard heaven. I removed the glass and painted the backing board with chalkboard paint. This little board has made all the difference in the world. I draw out our main focal points for the day with vibrant chalk colors. It helps to center me, and the kids.
I am a little obsessed:)

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I love Dinosaurs!

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Last week we started learning about Dinosaurs. This study will probably stretch out for a while and will eventually lead to the study of time, other living things, and the environment. Our first activity was to make a Dinosaur foot, it was a super cute activity, the foot then became a research project for my 3rd grader, and then ended as the most adorable collage. I love this project, It is so cute and a great way to introduce the concept of research and presentation.

What we did::

1. Made a foot out of paper painted green with white toe nails glued on

2. Went on a trip to see a Dinosaur ( U.C. Berkeley has an entire Dinosaur display{kinda awesome})

3. Learned a dinosaur song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0FOZ0-VpcU)

4. Researched a fact about Dinosaurs

believe it or not Dinosaur Train is a great resource (http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain/games/fieldguide.html)

5. Made fossils (http://www.lovingmynest.com/learning-activities/dinosaur-craft/)

6. Made a volcano, we talked about some of the theories on what happened to dinosaurs. Since making an exploding volcano is a little more exciting than a meteor we opted for focusing on this theory!

7. Made a dinosaur garden (dinosaur garden), super simple we just used ferns and tall plants with some plastic dinosaurs mixed in. We also put our volcano in our garden.

8. Wrote a research paper to bring it all together

 

This was an great project all of the kids ages 2,3,4, and 8 got into it. My 2 year old is now obsessed with Dinosaurs! Yes, mission accomplished:)

 

Dinosaurs

A beautiful day

Today was an unusual day. Nothing specific planned, but lots to do. Today is myFiLfAcBkol1oP0bTEJQKjVBZtYI9OFa4wfm2nEYUDA4 favorite kind of homeschooling day. It is days like this when the kids spend time with each other, cuddle with me, and explore outdoors. I love that reading circle in our house  turned into a mash up of bigs reading to littles and littles well… trying to read :). We started off the day with Imani(8) deciding to read a story to Saeed (2)  and Kai (1). They all sat in a circle and explored books. When the story got too long for Imani I took over and read to her. Saeed and Kai then ended our book time with reading to us all.

For recess we took a hike. The kids love to explore, run, and be silly.They play with sticks, dig in the mud, and get dirty.  I love that they are learning that moving their bodies can be fun and connected to nature. An added bonus is the amount of energy our puppy burns.

Days like today remind me of the levels of connection that are possible for us and our kids as well as for our kids and one another when we slow down and let the day unfold.

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Back in the swing of things

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So it turns out homeschooling a 2nd grader and full time parenting 2 toddlers can take a little bit out of you! We finished out the 2012/2013 school year strong. I was amazed at how much learning took place. At the end of the school year we had two graduations and a presentation of learning ceremony.

The graduation ceremonies were sweet and really solidified for me that we are part of an amazing community, that school is not the only place that our children can make deep and meaningful relationships. In fact I have witnessed my daughter develop deeper and stronger bonds with her friends as a result of not having the pressure of school in the backdrop.

The presentation of learning ceremony was a pretty spontaneous thing. Our big project last year was on The Great Migration, and as part of our research we interviewed the grandparents. At the end of the project we ended up with an amazing book that we wanted to share with the people it was written about. We assembled both sides of grandparents and had Imani present not just the book she wrote but all of the other big ideas throughout the year, including a walk through of her garden. It was amazing, she was amazing! She learned so much and was so connected to her learning I nearly cried about fifteen times!

As we launched into our summer I had so many great ideas on how to continue the learning, but none of it happened! We hung out, went to the park, went camping, and just relaxed. Now we are back in the swing of it and I am excited to be back chronicling our adventures in homeschooling!