Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ARTistic Pursuits {Schoolhouse Review}

If you have done any research into art curriculum in the homeschool community, you know that ARTistic Pursuits consistently ranks among the best.  As you can probably imagine, I was excited that we were blessed to do another review for them!  This year we are now working through Early Elementary K-3 Book 2:  Stories of Artists and their Art by Brenda Ellis.

What is ARTistic Pursuits?
ARTistic Pursuits is a homeschool art curriculum for Preschool to High School, that covers art history, art appreciation, and art techniques, and encourages student creativity using a variety of materials.  It is a gentle introduction into all areas of fine arts in one book!  Brenda Ellis has made it easy for the artistic and the not-so-artistic (ahem) to teach and enjoy art with their children. 

Last year we reviewed Book 1 and we loved it, so I was excited to start Early Elementary K-3 Book 2:  Stories of Artists and their Art with my 7 year old.  My 4 year old was not always interested in participating, he still likes "to do his own thing" with art and that is perfectly acceptable!

Although Book 2 is a continuation of the first book, it stands alone and can be used independently.  There are 36 lessons that help children make connections between artists and their own lives, and will also help my kiddo produce 36 complete and unique projects that include drawings, paintings and prints!  I love having such a well-rounded art curriculum that covers all facets of art education, and you know what else?  It's always exciting to open a giant box of FUN school supplies! 

ARTistic Pursuits Review

The Materials
You can order supplies directly from ARTistic Pursuits, but they also give suggestions for procuring them in other ways.  Brenda Ellis does suggest specific brands for some materials, to ensure higher quality results, but they aren't necessarily "expensive" brands, so you needn't worry about blowing your budget on art supplies.  I also appreciate that the curriculum uses unique materials, like spackling paste; things I might not have thought to hand over to my child in the name of art.  It has helped open my eyes to how much art is really around me.  

In the beginning of the book, there is also a suggestion for how to group the supplies so that you can easily grab what you need for individual lessons.  Some lessons also give a brief tutorial for how to set up your supplies or properly use materials.  Showing the little ones how not to use a paintbrush via the picture in the book is easier than trying to explain the right way to do it. I teach this age group in co-op, so ask me how I know! 

The Lessons
The lessons cover not just how to use the materials, but art history, important periods in history and famous works of art.   They generally start with a short reading about the artist to help us understand their background and their artwork.  Then there is often an opportunity to examine a piece of their art, but there are questions already printed in the book in case you need a little more hand-holding for picture studies.  Lastly, there is the project, where the student gets to create!

ARTistic Pursuits Review
This is Elliott working on a "gold leaf" painting, of a King.  We used yellow origami paper for the gold, as suggested.  Of course, had I looked further, I could have found the gold colored origami paper in our package, but it is what it is, and he enjoyed the process!

Often a few lessons will build upon each other and are connected, but they are not repetitive.  For instance, in Lesson 3 we read a short "story" about Giotto as a child, and learned a little about scratch art and frescos.  Then we created our own Scratch Art with oil pastels.  In Lesson 4 we learned about typical Gothic art, examined Lamentation of Christ by Giotto to learn what made his art different.  Our project was a Fresco painting with spackling paste and watercolors!

ARTistic Pursuits Review
We learned that artists prior to Giotto painted stiff, expressionless people, but Giotto was known for painting people in movement and full of emotion.  The assignment was to create a fresco scene that shows people with emotion.  He chose to paint a happy game of soccer.

Our Thoughts
This curriculum offers everything you need for an art course.  It is comprehensive, yet easy for the someone not as confident in art to follow along and teach.  Other than gathering supplies, there is no prepping ahead to plan lessons, because everything is written out for you right in the book!  I think it gives a good overview of chronological art history, with a nice mixture of projects to keep students interested and engaged.  Even though the book is geared for K-3rd, I think it is easily adaptable.  Some mature Pre-K students may be able to participate on their level, and older students who haven't had many formal lessons or art history will gain a lot from this curriculum.  It can certainly be used with several children of different ages and abilities at one time, whether in a family setting, co-op or art class.  I also wouldn't limit it to homeschoolers.  I could see this working well for families who want to add more fine arts than traditional schools include, or for the artistic child who just craves more.  I also love that it is non-consumable, so the $47.95 retail price averages out well in the long run.  It's a very user-friendly art program, and we really enjoy it!

The crew reviewed several different ARTistic Pursuits books including preschool, elementary and middle/high school levels, so be sure to check out more reviews or find Artistic Pursuits on Facebook!


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Monday, April 28, 2014

The Glorious Flight and Paper Airplane Experiments

It's the last Monday of the month, which means it is time for another Poppins Book Nook!  You know my affinity for children's books, so this is such a good fit for me.  This month's theme is Trains, Planes and Automobiles.  I had grand plans for a hot hair balloon theme, but with Easter and everything else, I decided we had to simplify.  We chose a lovely classic, The Glorious Flight:  Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice and Martin Provensen.

The Glorious Flight

This story is all about trial and error and perseverance.  We talked about how Bleriot continually improved his design and we studied the changes in the airplanes.  These were simply delightful illustrations, by the way!  I love Alice and Martin Provensen's works.

Since the boys like making paper airplanes, we decided we needed to have some fun experimenting with our own paper airplanes!  We were inspired to build several different designs and determine which style would fly the farthest. 

We used the simple designs from Amazing Paper Airplanes.  There's information on the paper designs, and some information and videos on a few of the planes.  The boys found the videos exciting!  After exploring the website, we then built the five simple models.

We created The Basic Dart (Elliott informed me that this is the style he and Daddy make together), Sailplane, Ballybutton Glider, Delta Fighter and the American Lung Association Delta Fighter.  We just used regular copy paper for our planes, but you can also download printed paper from their website.

Which planes flew the distance?

Unfortunately it was pouring the rain when we started this project, so we had to fly inside.  Elliott lined the contestants up at the "airport" and then flew each one in the order that they were built.  We flew several runs, and the Delta Fighters were generally neck and neck, flying roughly twice the distance over the other three models!  The American Lung Association Delta Fighter was our frontrunner though!  We talked about the bodies of the planes and why different styles might fly farther than others.

The Glorious Flight

This was so simple, but it was engaging.  I don't think it's necessary that every lesson and activity be detailed or fancy.  Simple is fun too!


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Saturday, April 26, 2014

LEGO Love Week 17: LEGO Inspired Reading Chart

I have mentioned before that Elliott is a math-science oriented kid.  Perhaps that's why he loves LEGO so much.  However, when it comes to reading, he only tolerates it for me.  He'd prefer to be doing {anything} rather than reading.  He's an emerging reader and needs a little nudge sometimes, as reading isn't something he would choose to do in his free time.  However, LEGO is something he almost always chooses to do in his free time.  While LEGO is a completely acceptable and encouraged choice, I decided to combine his love of all things LEGO and my desire to encourage reading, and I made him a LEGO Minifigure Inspired reading Chart.

LEGO Reading Chart

I made a blank template first, so I can update it and make new ones.  Then I inserted book titles.  I started with the easiest ones in the house so he could read aloud to Emory to build his fluency.  I knew having an audience besides Momma would be more appealing.  After this chart, the titles will slowly become more difficult so he can build his confidence to reading independently.

LEGO Reading Chart 
He may choose the book to read to us in any order, with the stipulation that if the book is on the chart twice, he cannot read them on consecutive days.  Once he reads the book he can draw a face and color his character.  So far it seems to be working!  Elliott doesn't like to leave things unfinished, and he wants his charts complete.  He is voluntarily reading to his little brother here, and let me tell you, this tickles little brother!

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©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

CTC Math {Schoolhouse Review}

As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I am sometimes asked to review curricula that I might not have come across on my own.  One such program was CTC Math.  I was given access to the American version of the 12 Month Family Plan and I decided it would be a good opportunity to take a break from our curriculum and try something new.

CTCMath Review

CTC Math is an online tutoring program.  Pat Murray, father of ten and Australian math teacher, covers Kindergarten through high school level math in this program.  Even though CTC Math is specifically labeled as a tutoring program and not a full curriculum, I decided we would use it exclusively during the review period for our math so Elliott could review concepts from a different perspective, and I could get an accurate feel for the program.

With this family homeschool plan (currently on sale for $118.80), I have a default of five accounts, but you can contact them directly to have more added.  I will say that I created an account for myself, so that I could experiment in the program at different levels without altering Elliott's results, as well as do a little brushing up on my own math skills. 

The Student Account
When a student logs in, they have full access to every course, which means they can move up and down as necessary for review and practice.  Elliott is technically in 1st Grade, but his current mathematics curriculum follows a non-traditional scope and sequence, so he falls between 1st and 2nd grade in math skills.  At first I just plugged him in the 1st Grade course and decided we'd play around for awhile to see if we needed to "fill in any gaps" or if he was good to go.  This is a screenshot of MY student account, playing around in the 1st Grade Course (I like to check it out before I put the boys in a computer program) but gives you a representation of what the student sees and what materials and activities they can access.  They can access everything at any given time.  There is no "unlocking" of levels, which means they can work at their skill level on individual topics, which is particularly important to me. 

CTCMath Review

The red pencil/paper symbol means there are tests for the unit, and the '1' is the number of times I've taken it.  With the tests, there is a Standard and a Comprehensive test, which can be utilized in a variety of ways.  You could have the student "test out" of a section; you could use one as a pre-test and one as a post-test evaluation. You could use them for periodic review of topics.  

The Lessons
Each lesson begins with a short video tutorial, which is full of visual demonstrations.  Once the video is complete, the student can watch again or move on to the questions.  In the lower student levels, these questions are interactive--students can often manipulate items similarly to the video, and they type in the answers.  At the end, the questions and correct answers appear in a worksheet format, so you could easily print these for record keeping purposes.  You can then answer more questions if the student need more practice or want to raise their average.  In the lower grades, the last three attempts are averaged, and the higher the score, the higher the certificate they are awarded. 

CTCMath Review
This is a 2nd Grade addition lesson.  Elliott liked the use of blocks similar to the ones he uses in his math program, but laughed at the 'longs' and 'shorts' terminology!  You will encounter little things like this occasionally even though it is the Americanized version. 

Aside from the video there is no audio, so if you have non-readers, you will have to be more actively involved.  Elliott can work independently, and emergent readers could probably make inferences after watching the lessons, but when my 4 year old plays around in Kindergarten, he needs me there to help with instructions in the questions.

Parent Account
From the parent account, I initially add each student, and I can set the "passing" standard.  This means I determine the level of mastery for my student.  Once they begin using the program, I can see all of the results.  I can see the last time he logged in, how many lessons he completed, and average efficiency record.  I can view detailed records of the lessons, including how many times he took a specific lesson.  Each week, I also receive a detailed email that includes the dates and times that every activity was completed for each student.  You can't assign specific lessons or control what your student does from the parent account, but it does give a good overall impression of what they've covered and how they are using their time.  I see how this is especially valuable for older students working independently.

Something to Consider
One thing I want to point out, because I feel this is important for building a strong foundation in mathematics, is the difference between simply counting to reach a total and actually adding.  Many of the addition/subtraction lessons in the younger grades rely heavily on counting, and even use counting on fingers as an instructional method within the lessons.   In other lessons, it refers back to counting with "if you get stuck, just count on your fingers" in the videos.  I prefer not to introduce the idea of counting on fingers at all, so I spent way too much time previewing lessons to avoid these videos.

Final Thoughts
Elliott was not initially impressed with this program, and this is a child who loves math and loves working on the computer.  I think he finds the overall pace of the program a bit slow.  It's not necessarily a fault, because it is a tutoring program, and I imagine children who need additional math support need that pace.  Despite this, he did like the idea of earning certificates, and they were usually motivation for him to continue through the lesson most days.  He would even redo lessons if he didn't get 100% because he wanted a higher average.  He also liked it better when I bumped him up to 2nd grade, with more challenging material.  Another part he liked was the speed drills, because he likes to beat his previous score.  See a pattern here?  As it is though, he will do this program when I ask it of him, but he doesn't love it.  

While this is not the program for us long-term, there are still a lot of features I like:  multiple students on one account for a set price, full access to all material, incentives for the student to continue practicing.  We will probably continue to use it occasionally for a change of pace, and I do think it would make a good supplement for many learning styles.  The homeschool family plan is currently on sale for $118.80 for the whole family, so if you have multiple students this is a reasonable price.  I definitely recommend the free trial so you can get a feel for the program and decide if it's a good fit for your family!

Be sure to read more CTC Math reviews from the crew to get a more thorough understanding of this online math tutoring program, especially other grade levels, and see different perspectives!


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Saturday, April 19, 2014

LEGO Love Week 16: Color Challenge

Generally speaking, Elliott prefers purchased kits when building LEGO.  It's not that he doesn't like to build on his own, but he's our logical, systematic kid, and he enjoys following the instructions and displaying his hard work.  Giving him a LEGO Challenge stretches him and forces him to think outside of the box, but sometimes he will even ask for a challenge, and that's a good thing!

This was a Colour Challenge from The Canadian Homeschooler.  He decided to use the first suggestion and create something with his favorite color. 

This started out as a Red Rocket, but then he wanted to add wheels so it could drive around on the moon, so it turned into the The Red Moon Rover!  


He stepped out of his comfort zone, and he had fun!


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yummi Pouch {review}

I've made a lot of baby food over the last 7 years, and I have always looked for ways to make that process easier.  With the boys, they transitioned to a bottle, so feeding on the go wasn't difficult and anyone could help out.  This time around, Eleanor refused to take a bottle.  Ever.  As she got older, nursing on the go became more of an act of acrobatics rather than an act of nourishment.  So I started grabbing those little disposable packages of baby food for convenience.  You know the kind, with the twist off cap, the kind that older babies and toddlers can feed themselves.  They were so easy to toss in the diaper bag for her brother's basketball practice or church or co-op or restaurant dinners.  They are also nice when mom is under the weather and needs a break from cooking.  Even making my own baby food at home, though, those pouches still added up!

Yummi Pouch Review

Then I found out about Yummi Pouch!  I could use these reusable pouches for my own baby food.  Now by the time I found them, Eleanor was technically a toddler and could feed herself with a fork.  I do not advocate limiting that experience for little ones just for convenience, but I was still interested in the reusable pouches for some of our busier days.  I also make a lot of smoothies, and she loves applesauce and yogurt. These pouches would be pretty useful for messier foods at home, as well as picnic style lunches!

Straight From Yummi Pouch
  • Each pouch holds up to 2.5, 6, or 10 ounces of your favorite homemade smoothies and blended snacks.
  • Food grade material is BPA-, PVC-, phthalate-free.
  • Dishwasher safe, just expand the bottom and stand upside down over the prongs.
  • Freezer safe.
  • Reusable and recyclable.
  • Great for healthy, on the go snacks.
  • Easily fillable through the reinforced, leak proof zipper seal.
  • Backed by our 30 day product guarantee.
 Yummi Pouch Review

How Do They Work?
The Yummi Pouch is fairly intuitive to use.  The first pouch I tried (the 2.5 oz) did not have a fill line so there was a little trial and error to make sure I didn't overfill.  Larger pouches had the fill line, and as long as you don't go over, you can zip it up without it expanding and making a mess.  Just make sure you spoon or pour your food in carefully so as not to 'slosh' a mess.  Yummi Pouch does sell a funnel pitcher, and I think if I was still making purees for every meal and using these regularly it would be worth it. 

I have not had a leak yet either, which I love!  The caps are interchangeable on different size pouches, which is nice, and the caps from the commercial pouches fit as well.  I know, because I still had a few commercial pouches and I tried it out. 

The sides are very stiff, so you have to make sure you get any food from the bottom corners, but I always rinse thoroughly, then put in the dishwasher.  So far they have held their shape. I don't use them every day, though, and would probably wash them by hand more often if I did use them rigorously. 

What Did We Think?
Eleanor gives them a big smile!  She loves to feed herself, but she also loves her pouches.  If I were using these regularly, I would want the funnel to save on time and mess, but considering their size and shape, I'm not sure these would be ideal for making and freezing baby food in bulk.  However, I like that I can portion out servings of "messy" snacks ahead of time, and just grab-and-go.  We spend a lot of time outside in nice weather, and I often take snacks for the big boys--the Yummi Pouch will be nice for a busy toddler!  I haven't tried freezing them yet, but I'm sure I will be using them for homemade fruit smoothies this summer.  I make a lot of homemade smoothie "pops" for the boys, but frozen pops are so messy for toddlers, and it will be nice to have her smoothie contained!  ;-)

Depending on the size and style, you can get a two pack for $7.99 or a starter set for less than $30 from the Yummi Pouch store.  You can also find Yummi Pouch on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Art

Elliott has been doing a lot of ART lately!  We spent last week working through most of The Crossmaker DVD from See the Light

GLORY {Lettering}

The Empty Tomb {Chalk Pastels}

This was a Scratch Art project from an upcoming ARTistic Pursuits review.  He came up with the subject matter on his own.  He wanted the one in the middle to be bigger. 

Three Crosses {Scratch Art}

Just a sampling of what we've been up to lately!


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Monday, April 14, 2014

Curiosity Quest (Schoolhouse Review)

When I look for television programming, I look for dual purpose shows.  If it can entertain my kids, and teach them something in the process, it's usually a winner in my book.  Curiosity Quest offers viewers an inside look at the things they are most curious about.  The host, Joel Greene, takes questions from real viewers and literally goes on a quest to find the answers.  He visits sites around the country to get answers for the experts!  I recently received DVD Combo Pack - Produce and  DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea to review.  Each DVD retails for $24.95 and contains three episodes that are approximately thirty minutes each.  This is geared for ages 7-14 years old, but is a family friendly product.

Elliott admitted that he wanted to watch animals first, but then he decided that since animals need food to live, that we needed to watch the produce video first.  You have to love their logic!

On the first DVD, we watched episodes on Mushrooms, Cranberries and Orange Packing.  Even though each episode focused on something very specific, they all gave details on some similar topics such as the growing and harvesting seasons, differences between species, and how they are sorted, packaged and shipped.  They also talked about what they do with produce that might not be presentable for grocery store shelves.  Mushrooms are used for soups for instance, while oranges can be sorted for orange juice or even cow feed.

Swimmers of the Sea
This DVD contains Penguins, Turtle Rescue and Salmon Hatchery.  From the aquarium to a turtle hospital to Alaska, each episode gives a unique look at three very interesting animals.   Elliott was thoroughly disgusted and engrossed as only a 7 year old boy can be as they prepared vitamin fish for the penguins.  Emory wanted to know if we could go "find these animals in real life" and Elliott decided that Turtle Rescue was his favorite episode of the six because they helped turtles that were sick or hurt.

What Did We Think?
I think we all liked the Swimmers of the Sea best.  Animals are just so much fun!  I appreciated the conversational tone of the host.  He was funny and interacted with everyone around him, not just the person giving the tour.  He gets right into the process and tries out many of the tasks carried out by a variety of the employees such as harvesting mushrooms or preparing food for the animals.  The videos offered "street talk" type clips with several kids throughout the episode, asking them questions about the topic of the quest.  I found these quite amusing, because as you know, children can up with some interesting answers!  I also appreciated that the episodes were short, only half an hour, which is the perfect length for younger kids.

These videos were a nice break from the routine and a fun supplement for our homeschool.  They would make a great starting point or addition for an in-depth unit study.  In terms of value, 3-episode combo packs for $24.95 are a better value than the individual episodes.  The company offers different membership options, but for homeschoolers, there is a Curiosity Quest Homeschool Monthly Membership, where you will receive two DVDs and homeschool curriculum for $24.99 each month  Or you can check to see if the show airs in your area.

Curiosity Quest Website
Curiosity Quest Store
Curiosity Quest Blog
Curiosity Quest on YouTube
Curiosity Quest on Facebook

Also be sure to check out more Curiosity Quest reviews from the Crew!


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©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Saturday, April 12, 2014

LEGO Love Week 15: The new "LEGO City"

This is what I find when I walk into my boys' bedroom.  I spoke a lot the last week about giving my children free time and trusting the process of Masterly Inactivity.  I mentioned that my kids often turn to LEGO.  The educational and creative impact of this toy are limitless, and therefore it is an acceptable and completely encouraged choice for free time.  This week, the boys have turned a small card table into their own "LEGO City."

Most of the buildings are parts of other sets that they have rebuilt, or adapted/adjusted throughout the week, then used as part of their town. Do your kids do this?  What are they building this week?


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Relaxed Homeschooling On the Go

I have showed you two days of relaxed homeschooling when we're home.  Those are average days, though often there's an art project or science experiment thrown in for good measure!  The plan for today was to show how our relaxed school days look when we're out and about for part of the day.  The reason this is important to me is because I know moms who don't like to do extra-curricular activities during the day because it interferes with school work, and they can't afford to "lose" a day.  Now I'm not advocating the whole sign up for anything and everything mentality.  In fact, I'm pretty selective with our extras because I want to choose purposeful activities that fit our family dynamic right now.  However, I'm not going to pass up on something just because it's during "school hours" on a weekday.  Education is an all-day, lifelong process.

We usually have 6 weekdays a month where we're out of the house.  Every Wednesday is Gymnastics and AWANA and every other Friday is co-op.  This was a Wednesday, though it didn't go as planned.

In full disclosure, this Wednesday I'm sharing came a week after the first two "day in the life" posts, purely because I didn't get the Wednesday or Friday of that week recorded, so you may notice the same red shirt on one and a haircut on the other child this week.  However, I really wanted to show you an "out of the house" day and why I feel a relaxed mindset is important.  

7:11 AM
Momma, my leg . . .
My leg . . .
Momma, I'm going to lay on the couch.

That was how I woke up.  You know, they come in with something extremely important to tell/show you, but by the time your eyes are open, their mission is accomplished and they've conveniently forgotten their troubles!  Everyone was up and fed by 8:00.  After that it was regular morning free time.  The kids seemed to split up this morning, with Emory in the living room lost in his pretend play and Elliott in the bedroom with LEGO.  Eleanor toddled back and forth with her "baby" that she's never liked before now.  I really think it's because she likes to say the word Baby.

I spent the morning doing bits of chores, and then trying to write out a library list for later.  I couldn't reserve anything online because I forgot my PIN number, so I was going to have to do it the traditional way *gasp* and pull the books myself!

10:20 AM
Eleanor went down for her morning nap.  Elliott came to me to show me his brick separators looked like skis. I suggested he make a mountain for the LEGO minifigure to ski on.  This posed a problem for about 3 seconds, as he contemplated how to make a sloped mountainside.  He then decided to go with a stair-step build.

11:30 AM
Yes, my boys went that long without any direction or interference from me, just minor guidance.  I'm really learning to trust Masterly Inactivity.  Hearing Emory's imaginative stories when he plays is enough for me not to interrupt and impose anything else on his little mind!  Anyway, I served lunch to the boys, then shortly after Eleanor woke up and ate.  Then I directed my little people to start tidying up and getting ready to leave for the afternoon.

12:25 PM
We pulled out of the driveway on time!  I had a headache at this point, but didn't think much of it at the time.  On the way to gymnastics, we listened to the rest of My Name is Handel:  The Story of Water Music (upcoming review - and we're loving Maestro Classics!)  When it ended, the CD player kicked over to a Christmas CD that had apparently been left in, and the boys insisted on leaving it on.  In April. 

1:00 - 2:00 PM
The boys have Homeschool Gymnastics and I chat with other moms!

2:10 PM
We pulled out of the parking lot, and I remembered the library!  However, I forgot my list and I forgot to ask about my PIN while I was there.  Oh well.  Emory wanted Star Wars, and the librarian overheard and helped him pick out a few books.  Elliott picked out some books on different states, dinosaurs and planets.  I bet you wouldn't have guessed those last two, huh?

3:00 PM
We headed home with a bag full of books, listening to the audiobook we borrowed, Charlotte's Web!  I had to pause it a few times to answer random questions from the four year old, but we managed to listen to three chapters before arriving home.

3:30 PM
We came inside and had a quick snack.  Eleanor went straight down for a nap, and the boys took some of their library books to quiet time.

4:00 PM
My headache was so bad by this point that I plopped on the couch to close my eyes for a few minutes, and woke up after 5:00 when the phone range!

5:30 PM
The headache was worse after that nap, but I fixed a light dinner.  I knew there was no way I could drive to church, and Eleanor still hadn't woken up from her nap (remember, she's a terrible sleeper, so we take it as it comes), so we stayed home from AWANA.  The boys were understanding and compassionate, and they went back and played in their room for a long time.

(Normally we would leave for AWANA around 5:50pm and arrive back home around 8:30ish pm.)

5:50 PM
Ms. Eleanor finally woke up from her nap and had dinner.

6:30 PM
By now I was feeling a bit better.  Eleanor found my phone and manged to turn on some music, so she occupied herself by dancing around the living room!  {Sorry it's blurry, she's a head bopper when she dances, and I'm no photographer!}

7:00 PM 
Elliott asked me if I would read one of the state books he picked out, so we read about West Virginia.  We had a TON of interesting side conversations about West Virginia:  it's name, it's nickname, how it became a state, slavery, and coal mining, just to name a few.  The book also mentioned black bears, so naturally that led to a discussion about pawpaw hitting a bear with his car.

7:30 PM
Emory's book was next, and we read three chapters from a Star Wars book he brought home, before he spent time looking at pictures from another book.

7:45 PM
The boys sat down at the computer to work on some LEGO City Comic Builders.  These are great for narration, because even though they don't like to add dialogue to them yet, I ask them to simply tell me about their picture, and the stories start flowing!

The one on the left is Elliott's comic.  He explained every frame, but in short, it's about a forest fire.  On the right, Emory's is about . . . well, there is no short story to his, and nothing is really connected.  Each one is it's OWN story!  Notice the bear.  ;-)

After Emory built his comic strip, he wanted to make a magazine (probably because his LEGO Jr. magazine has comics in it) so I did a quick google and printed the simplest layout I could find (many have the comic bubbles in them though!) and he drew this.  Captivating, huh?

8:15 PM
We watched a Netflix movie about Disney World and some of the rides/attractions, but it was not nearly as good as the History Channel's Modern Marvels Disney World we all enjoyed.

9:15 PM
The boys didn't want a bedtime story tonight, so Daddy and I tucked them and said goodnight.

Looking Back at the Day
Now, many people might call this day a wash.  It was mostly free time and there were no formal lessons.  No textbooks, no worksheets, no drills.  We missed church on top of that.  The thing is, when I look back and see everything we did, we still covered so much.

LEGO - STEM activities
Maestro Classics - History and Music
Gymnastics - PE and that "socialization" word
Library - Literacy Development (if it counts for public schools it counts for homeschoolers!)
Charlotte's Web audio - Literature
West Virginia book - Geography/History
Comic Builders - Narration

The thing about Relaxed Homeschooling, is that the mindset reminds me not to stress when days don't go as planned.  It allows me to take days like this and see that no matter how unstructured, how informal the day looks, my children are still learning.  I am not opposed to textbooks and curricula, and obviously we do use them.  I just love the freedom to take a day like this and see the natural learning.

Day 1:  What is Relaxed Homeschooling?
Day 2:  Masterly Inactivity, or not Becoming a Helicopter Parent
Day 3:  Relaxed Homeschooling, A Day in the Life
Day 4:  Relaxed Homeschooling, Just Another Day
Day 5:  Relaxed Homeschooling On the Go

Before you return hop to check out all the fantastic topics my crew mates are sharing, I encourage you to check out some of these posts!

Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ Centered Character Training


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