Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Winter Solstice Meditation

"These next few days are the days of the Winter Solstice, a time when those who are very attentive to the skies note that the sun, which has relentlessly moved southward on the horizon since last June, seems to pause on its journey before beginning to climb northwards to center again. Solstice is a time of pause. So…pause. Breathe. Relax. Rest. Be at peace.

Spirit of winter rest, help us to enjoy your peace in this quiet place.
Remind us to pause during this season.
Grant us awareness, keep our gratitude fresh each day.
May the songs in our heart be blessings and insights to us and to others
and may compassion always shine forth from the depths of our hearts."

~Christine C. Robinson

Friday, December 16, 2011

We sure do use a LOT of paper...

Making christmas presents; a quick google search and I found these stockings with writing promps on them. We plan to do the set then get them laminated, bind them, and give them to grandma for solstice. 
These ones say: 
Christmas is... By LOCH Christmas is the smell of LOVE & Christmas is the sounds of HOHO

Santa Lucia day included making hot cross buns and star boy / candle hats. 

A quick and easy santa lucia inspired sewing card. I made a few paper starts and punched holes in them for the boys to 'sew'.

Sanint nicholas day fun. Using shoes to print patterns on paper.

And robots.... always robots...

Grouping. I have a bunch of little 'things' that make their way into my house. Here we grouped them by rocks, metal, and alive things.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sneak peek for Yule/Christmas

Christmas can be hard, what to get the kids? I have some ideas for you to make Yule/Christmas fun with secretly educational toys that the kids will love.

(Bonus if you live in Fairbanks/Anchorage I bought pretty everything locally: Check out Enchanted Forest Toys for Fairbanks or Over the Rainbow if you're in the Anchorage area. Both of these will ship so check 'em out.)

Okay lets get started shall we... a sneak peek at my kids yule loot.

  A pretty rocking wooden castle with stairs and a bell. Wooden dragon, a farmer & his wife. Also a really really really cool hearth with cauldron. (Can you tell that one might be my favorite?)

Hoop painting kit, a purple Sarah's Silk, a game of pick up sticks, and a story telling game.

Sewing kit, Harp with music inside, build your own wooden construction truck, Geo gear blocks, and this magnetic 'drawing' tablet. 

Stocking Stuffers phase one: a foldable block dragon.
A paper fan, & wooden cow that is a music shaker.

Stocking Stuffers phase two: Don't disregard Micheal's and Targets dollar sections. They are a fantastic for inexpensive little stuffers.  None of these cost more then $5.

Also Just because it's old to you doesn't mean it can't be new for them. I recently went through boxes of my childhood things and picked out these books that I thought my own children would love. Now they get a whole new life and the kids get another thing to get to rip the wrapping off of.

Happy Yule / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa / Christmas / Hijri  !!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Curriculum for the younger years?

The question pops up on homeschool forums every few weeks, it goes something like this "What curriculum should I buy for my 2/3/4 year old?" Often the answers are mostly saying this like don't. Play, read to them, let them help with cookies, take walks, provide make believe toys etc etc.
 Although this is true play is the main way of learning for kids until about 1st grade or so it is a totally unhelpful suggestion for a parent just starting out. Normally parents grew up in a public school setting and are not used to unstructured learning. It's not that the child/ren needs structure it's that the parent needs a check list.

 This is okay. In fact it is good. If just left to float in a pool alone many parents will soon feel overwhelmed, alone, and toss in the towel before they have even begun their homeschooling journey.

 So what curriculum would be good? Well, okay. I'm totally bias. There are plenty of curriculum sources out there for preschoolers but I will give you my favorites. As an avid curriculum hoarder I've tried most everything or at least looked through it so here are my choice picks for the toddler / young kindergartner;

Toddler / Early Preschool

Little Acorn - This is my most favorite EVER. It is a very easy natural rhythm type of 'curriculum' Each month provides you 4/5 weeks of stories, fingerplays, poems, songs, and a craft a day. It is not too overwhelming to do one craft a day so works well for busy mom or someone with several children.
For a younger child it would require some tweeking of the crafts to account for ability but having used this for 2 years in a row (and about to start again with my new 2 year old) it is a minor inconvenience for an abundance of fun & learning.

Timberdoodle - I wouldn't buy a whole grade level but it has great materials for getting ideas or picking and choosing what looks fun. If you just want some good educational toys to play with Timberdoodle has you covered.

Sonlight - A very Christian company but the secular books on their lists are AWESOME. Many are classics (Make Way for Duckling, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Goodnight Moon, etc) but there were a few books on the list that I had never heard of that are now family favorites.

Christopherus - This is not a day by day check list to follow but if you need some inspiration, songs, finger plays, and ideas this is a fantastic resource.  I suggest; Kindergarten with your 3 to 6 year old.