My Father’s World Review

This is a review partly about a curriculum, but mostly about my new homeschooler ineptitude.  Perhaps in jotting this down, that will help me avoid it in the future!

Since my kids were in second grade, 5k, 4K, as well as a toddler, who isn’t schooling yet, my thinking was, I should get the Exploring Countries and Cultures, which is suggested for grade 3 and up… are you seeing where this is going yet?

It does seem obvious why this didn’t work in retrospect, however, there are a few reasons I misjudged the level.  They do say that if you have an older child, you can start this curriculum a little younger.  Also, we were beginning this curriculum in late winter, and I figured this could be used for the next school year, when my oldest would be in 3rd grade.  The reasons behind beginning a new curriculum mid-year deserves a whole other post, and won’t be addressed here.

Despite buying a curriculum for older children, and having challenges within a few days of beginning this curriculum, I pushed through for the majority of the remaining school year.  However, I noticed I was slowly shedding materials like layers in the spring.  The kids were not into it.  Of course my kids are brilliant *wink, but it seemed like some of the material was just going over their heads, and it was a fight to sit through the read alouds.  These are the same kids that happily sit for 2 hours when I read different books, so I realized it just wasn’t a good fit.

Another aspect that is a plus or minus depending on your personality is the daily grid schedule.  For me, it was a little stressful.  Coming out of a private school setting, I had concerns about organizing everything in homeschooling, just like the kids would do in school.  I did not find a way to be flexible when the kids had extra interest in certain areas.

Although, when speaking with other homeschoolers, many people appreciate having everything laid out for them on a daily basis.

We started ditching the things we were not interested in, and I just built my own units based on what we were interested in doing.  Some examples: Ancient Egypt, the Human body, Bears, Wolves.

The kids were fascinated with the ocean, and I saw online that the Good and the Beautiful were offering a free unit on the Ocean, and we loved it!  We took our time with it, and added in extra things, like the Professor Noggins Ocean game, Toobs ocean life, a few Shark week documentaries and many many books from the library.

I also started researching for alternatives and found Julie Bogart’s youtube videos, and added in much more poetry, and art study.  We began the Jot it down program and the Quiver of arrows in the last 2 months of school, and the kids loved it!  Gone were the struggles to do school work.  In fact, the kids have done many writing projects over our summer break, inspired by my Bravewriter readings.

Although, I could see how a family who wants to have a plan laid out for them would love it.  The curriculum is complete, and covers a lot of material.  Most likely, if I had gotten a younger grade I would have loved it.  However for us, My Father’s World is currently living in a box under my bed.

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Happiness in the little things

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This little guy got his first haircut, and surprisingly loved it.  We went to First choice haircuts in Oakville.  It wasn’t busy, so this little man got a lot of attention.

Last week, the two oldest kids had a red and black day at school.  So I had a little fun with Caleb’s outfit.  His shirt says “It’s not broke, don’t worry, I’ll break it later”.  His suspenders are skull and cross bones with black h&m slim jeans.  I even found him some red and black sketchers with skulls on the back.

Elise picked her own outfit… avoiding a long discussion about clothing choice, I put out two full outfits with accessories and let her pick her favourites.  She ended up with a red dress with plaid patches from the children’s place and black leggings with stars on them.  I guess she’s into patterns these days…. but who isn’t?

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Little happenings

On this very snowy day, as we huddle and enjoy hot beverages, we’ve been looking through some fun family moments from the last month or two.

20171225_111605-ANIMATION.gif  Who doesn’t need a little Star wars battle in their front hall?

20180121_185242.jpg We have also had a lot of chess battles around the house in the last month.  The oldest 2 kids have gotten very interested in chess lately.  The games occasionally veer off into creative regulations… but Dad is trying hard to make sure they learn how the pieces move.

20150712_185711-COLLAGE.jpg This guy has been growing like crazy, in height and in variety of interests.  When he isn’t playing hockey or soccer or doing push ups (I don’t know… he has just been doing them every morning), he can be found building elaborate multilevel homes out of boxes, go-carts out of scraps, and shoveling sidewalks for neighbours.  He also loves coming up with stories.  On his last PD day, we spent the morning putting together a book with a story he dreamed up.  The story is about a little boy named Jack who rescues fairies from peril after waking up to find himself in the desert, and returns home in time to strengthen his relationship with his parents.  If only I could get this little book animated for him, it would make a very cute gift for his friends.

I hope you other mommies that are snowed in, enjoy some special time with their little treasures!

Backyard Ice rink

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This has been our little project this winter.  We have built a big ice rink in our yard.  The girls have learned how to skate and Caleb has been able to work on his stick handling.

The rink has gone through 3 evolutions.

The first, I spent 3 days dumping buckets of water over an area in the backyard.  It gave us not so great ice, very uneven with holes.  One section had such a slant to it, we called it downhill skating.  But the kids skated on it and had fun.

Then when it got a bit warm, Brian got 4 inch pvc piping, created a frame and put a white tarp over it.  We filled it up and had a much better ice rink.  The tarp developed a hole during filling and then began leaking.  Because of the leak we had some areas that cracked.  We had to stay out of one corner.  But the rink was much better.  It continued working really well for a few weeks until we got a warm spell and the shallowest parts melted and cracked.

Then, we decided to fork over the money for a real hockey rink liner from Rinkmaster.  However, the ice had not melted all the way and we had to place the new liner right over top to fill it.  But it seems to be holding and we are all enjoying skating almost every day!

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