Little moments

Leave it to a homeschooling mom to turn a broken arm into a mini unit study on the skeleton.

We put together a skeleton and learned what bones she broke, (there are 3 broken bones). We looked at the structure of the human arm and compared other animal’s arm structures.

Lantern Festival lesson plan

As the sun is going down early, you may be looking to brighten things up a bit. We decided to have a lantern festival to perk up our November. It may just turn into a tradition!

The lantern festival is based on the story of St. Martin of Lourds, a soldier who gave half of his coat to a beggar. He then had a dream that people carrying lanterns at night, led him to Jesus, who wore the other half of his coat.

We learned 2 songs, the first one, a long time favorite, “this little light of mine”. The next one song took a little more research, but eventually we found and learned “I go with my little lantern“.

We read many different stories, our favorite is the story of St. Martin found in the Christopherus curriculum, grade 1. We also enjoyed the lantern story by Reg Down in his festival of stones book. His book has been a great resource for stories that cover various celebrations through the year. His stories are very captivating and imaginative with many fun creatures like fairies and mice (We own 3 of his books, and read them over and over). We also read about the rest of St. Martin’s life in Saints tell their stories (get it from the library, it is only 2 pages out of the whole book). Another story we enjoyed was Hugen’s lantern in Tell me a story, a Waldorf collection of stories.

The kids have each made their lanterns for our party.

It was amazing to watch them spontaneously break out into song as they worked. They sang “I go with my bright little lantern” together, it was definitely a “homeschooling mom payday”!

We also made tiny lantern carrying peg dolls, which the kids play with, and I use to tell stories.

We have also been reading about Moses and the burning bush, which is a loose tie-in, but they have not seemed to notice.

Next weekend we will be hosting around 20 kids, who will arrive with lanterns ready to show off and a lantern festival themed snack to share. What is a lantern themed snack you may ask? (You aren’t the only one to ask, don’t worry!) We will be making lemon meringue tartlets to share, pineapple slices, lemon bars, orange slices, morning glory muffins, anything yellow, orange, sun or light related will be a delightful addition.

We will carry our lanterns around the block and sing our songs, light some candles then share a snack.

Apple Picking

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After reading and doing many art projects related to apples and pumpkins, we decided to go visit an apple orchard.

The kids got to learn about the various types of apples, learn more about pollination and how bees affect apple trees.  This was timely because in their nature classes they had also recently learned about pollinators.  Of course the kids now want to have their own bee colonies… #partypooper

we picked many apples and then went to a friend’s house and made our own apple juice.

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Why go screen free?

Have we ever let our kids play tablets or watch tv mindlessly?  Yes.

Will we ever again?  Probably not.

What happened?

It was the first practice for my girls’ competitive cheerleading team, and my boys were looking around, bored, sticky and hot in the crowded viewing area to see if there were other kids to play with.  There were, there were almost ten other boys Caleb’s age, but they all had their necks flexed as far forward as possible, transfixed by tiny flashing screens.  There were even kids as young as Owen (who is two by the way) breathlessly holding onto their parents’ cell phones as surprise egg videos played for them.  At one point, a mom was receiving a call, when she tried to retrieve her cell phone from her toddler… you would have thought she was trying to pull out her kidney!  All the moms seemed to nod, knowingly.

Hey, I am a mom of 4, I totally get public displays of bad behaviour, but can we not see a causal link here parents?  This technology is addictive and inappropriate for this age.

The day this happened, I did still allow my kids to access screens at least most week days.  When Owen napped, the other kids could have an hour or so of tablet or tv time. Although I didn’t love it, I figured it gave me a chance to catch up on work I needed to do or have some alone time.

However, watching those small children clutching onto those screens as fiercely as a drug addict would his next hit… it flipped a switch inside of me.

It has now been a month, and I can’t see us going back to screens.  The changes that I have witnessed have been spectacular and as I have researched further into screens and their impact on young people, it has solidified my decision.

Look out for part 2 on how we have removed screens.