Little Reminders of Love

Little Reminders of Love
Two pencil holders, one for each of my boys, made by sweet friends of ours.

We homeschool our boys.  Last year, my oldest son took a once-a-week art class.  That was the extent of our formal, every week classes.  This year, he’s taking three classes.  The same once-a-week art class, a nature class, and an all-day enrichment class that covers a variety of topics (robotics being the most exciting part for him).… Continue reading

Learning is Fun: Making Bead Necklaces

My 4-year-old has recently become very interested in necklaces.  He’s always had a bit of interest in my necklaces, but it never really stuck.  Then his big brother bought him a cat necklace at the Artisan Fair where his big brother had a booth, which immediately turned my 4-year-old into an every day necklace wearer.

 

Following the introduction of the cat necklace, we took a family trip to Michigan, where – in addition to lots of family gathering and fun – we cleared out my [deceased] mother-in-law’s belongings in order to donate them to a local women’s shelter.… Continue reading

When a Random Comment Reflects Learning

My four-year-old getting ready to carry the beetle to our garden after his talk with it.

After they find out that we homeschool, people often ask me how I know my kids are learning.  After all, while kids in schools (and even some homeschoolers) take tests, I don’t test my children.  And the answer is, in a myriad of ways.

 

Sometimes I know they’re learning because they demonstrate a skill. … Continue reading

Learning by Doing: Manning a Table at a Local Artisan Fair

My 8-year-old manning his booth at the artisan fair.

Last year, my elder son made a family friend a series of four bead ornaments depicting the life-cycle of a caterpillar (an egg, a caterpillar, a chrysalis, and a butterfly).  She loved them, and suggested that he start a business selling them.  My then 7-year-old leaped on this idea and began to make ornaments to sell.… Continue reading

Edible Fresh Fruit Flag

Last year’s Edible Fresh Fruit Flag, cut and assembled by my [then] 7-year-old.

In case you’re looking for a last-minute, healthy, patriotic dessert idea, it’s hard to go wrong with an edible fresh fruit flag.  It’s essentially a disassembled fruit salad.  It tastes delicious, looks great, and is very easy to make.

 

We began the tradition of making an Edible Fresh Fruit Flag as part of our July 4th celebration two years ago. … Continue reading

Family Game Night: Uno Card Game

I love to play games.  Board games.  Card games.  Strategy games.  Word games.  Puzzle-solving games.  Any of them.  And my boys seem to have inherited that same love.

 

Over the years my 8-year-old has been a fan of a huge number of games, each for their own period of time.  My 4-year-old is just beginning to enjoy game playing with games that aren’t cooperative, meaning everyone works together (Cauldron Quest and Wildcraft are two cooperative games that we enjoy; I’ll review them another time.).… Continue reading

The Pen is Mightier

The Pen is Mightier
My younger son’s note to his big brother.

While my boys generally get along well, like all siblings they sometimes squabble with each other.  The other day when we were cleaning up my [then] three-year-old’s room to prepare for his birthday party, I found the above message on his shelf.  It was clear he had taken the time to write something, but I wasn’t aware that he could spell (let alone write!) words other than his name, and so I wasn’t certain what – if anything – he was trying to communicate. … Continue reading

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Our local library recently started a program entitled 1000 Books Before Kindergarten as a way of encouraging parents to read to their young children.

 

In our house, we read all the time.  I homeschool my kids, and our homeschooling largely consists of sitting down with stacks of books and reading them together.

 

When one of the children’s librarians told us about the program, my older son immediately announced, “Mama, we should sign up [my 3-year-old].”  He paused briefly, “You want to do it, right Kyle?”  Of course, my 3-year-old said yes. … Continue reading

A 3-year-old’s Lesson in Spending

My 3-year-old's Lesson in Spending
The car my 3-year-old bought, and then realized it was a mistake.

Last week my 3-year-old walked up and handed me his little car, “I’m ready to give this to Ari,” he declared.  (Ari is the grandson of our next-door neighbor.  When my 3-year-old outgrows his clothes or toys, we pass them along to Ari.)

 

“Are you sure?” I asked.… Continue reading

Chapter Books with Strong Female Characters

A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of my family’s favorite picture books with strong female characters.  Today, I am posting a list of our favorite chapter books containing strong girls or women.

 

The list contains everything from books accessible to early readers to chapter books that are appropriate for young adults.  I’ve read most of the books geared at younger readers with my 8-year-old, though none of the young adult books (those are waiting on our bookshelves for future reading).… Continue reading