Celebrating Canada – Lapbooking the Provinces of Canada {Free Printable!}

Canada Day is one of our family’s favourite holidays! We usually celebrate by dressing the part and taking in our local festivities. We attend our community’s pancake breakfast, parade, and fireworks.This year we are having some extra fun by adding some Canada themed activities to our studies as well!

Here are some ideas to incorporate some national pride and celebration into your homeschooling days:

Maple Leaf Cookies – make your favourite cut-out cookie recipe or use this one .

Canada Playdough!– die your usual recipe red or use this recipe from The Chaos and the Clutter. She’s got an awesome method for making playdough that will give your arms a break!

Celebrate Canada with Canada Day Playdoh!

 

Handprint Flag

This is a super easy project for all ages! My sensory loving 4 year old just loved covering the palm of her hand (and later, both palms!) with the red paint.

Celebrate Canada with handprint Canadian flags!

Maple Leaf pancakes  – use a mould or a large cookie cutter to make maple leaf shaped pancakes! Don’t forget to use real Canadian maple syrup on them!

Maple leaf pancakes | www.learningmama.com

Canada Lapbook – Use my Lapbooking the Provinces of Canada lapbook to add some Canadian content to your homeschool! We had fun exploring provincial flags and flowers, natural resources and industries, and First Peoples coast to coast. Download your own colourful, 24 page lapbook! This lapbook is available for free to my subscribers, enter your email in the box below this post and click “subscribe” to get yours!

Lapbooking the Provinces of Canada | FREE printable | www.learningmama.com

Stop by the Canadian Homeschooler and check out what Canada Day themed activities and resources the other members of the Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team have put together! And link up your Canadian resources below!


Thoughts On Self Education

One of my great goals and aims in educating my children is that they develop self discipline and become life long lovers of learning. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? We want to see our children grow in knowledge and develop a passion for some subject or other.

But what do we know above all about how children learn? As the old maxim goes “children learn what they live”, and our children are watching us. What kind of example for learning and self education am I setting? Do my children see me pursuing my interests? Do they see me struggling to learn or master something new, trying again until I get it right?

There have been a few things I have been interested in learning in the last few years. When my oldest was quite young, I wanted to be able to make decent, homemade birthday cakes for family celebrations. This was “pre Pinterest” so I took a few classes and can now whip up a nicely decorated buttercream cake for my girls’ birthdays. Then, I wanted some basic sewing skills. I took a weekly, evening class and can now (usually) correctly thread my sewing machine. I truly hope my children see that adults are still learners as they are!

One area I do believe I have been neglectful both to my own personal development and in setting an example to my children is in keeping my mind fed. Before becoming a mother, I was a voracious reader. I spent HOURS each day reading. I lost track of time reading. If in the middle of a good book, I could read all night without even noticing the passage of time.

As the years have passed, I have been reading less and less. These days it seems I am constantly checking books out of the library only to  return them several weeks later unfinished. I still LOVE books. I love booklists. I love book reviews. But actually sitting down and getting through a book has become a real challenge to me.  Add to this the desire to be able to read the classics and the great literary works, and I have been feeling pretty defeated.  Is it possible that I am no longer able to really READ a book anymore?

This past year, for the second time, I checked the book,  The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had out from the library. I really wanted to read the books listed. I really wanted to read those classics in each genre. But I knew I just couldn’t.

It’s time to model that growth mindset, that perseverance, and that love of learning to my family! Surely I can spare 30 minutes a day to build the habit of reading back into my life! Starting today, I commit to reading a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Will you join me? Follow along with me on Facebook, and I’ll post each week what I’m working through! If I don’t, you can give me a nudge!

Here is what is currently on my stack:

What's on my stack! /Learning Mama @ www.learningmama.com

How to Read a Book

I had this one out from the library a few months back and returned after having only read the introduction. It had a request on it and couldn’t be renewed. I’m on chapter 5 now, and I’m hoping it will make a better reader out of me. I’m taking notes!

The Story of Art

This title came highly recommended to me when I was searching for a way to chose and organize my own art curriculum for our homeschool. My knowledge of art history, art, and artists is really lacking and so far this book is really interesting!

The Bible

This book is always on my stack! I can remember the first time reading through God’s word when I was about 16-17 years old. I really felt my eyes opening as truth was revealed to me so freshly for the first time. I truly hungered for it!  I confess that it hasn’t been so in recent years.

What are you reading? Do you have a hard time fitting reading and self education into your busy days?

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Classically Homeschooling
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First Language Lessons – Memory List Printables

Poetry memorization hasn’t been much of a problem for us, and we have really enjoyed working through the selections in Levels 1 & 2 of First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. Less enjoyable, but still easily accomplished were the parts of speech definitions. We have, however, been hitting quite a roadblock with the memorization lists for pronouns, state of being and helping verbs, conjunctions, articles and prepositions. Oh, the prepositions! There is nothing fun about these lists!

I can’t believe we have gotten this far in the program and I am just now taking the plastic off the Audio Companion CD and putting it in the CD player! I bought the older, combined Level 1 &2 edition used for $5 a few years ago, and the lady I bought it from also threw in the CD, and she hadn’t used it either.  And it turns out it’s really good! It may be late in the game, but we are going to be using it from now on. Even the 4 year old was starting to recite the prepositions at odd times during the day, and I’ve also caught myself singing “These are the prepositions we sing about!” while I’m puttering away in the kitchen. The guitar and lyrics by Mike Smith are really enjoyable, and surprisingly not annoying!

Here are the memorization lists I prepared for Big Sister’s grammar notebook, to follow along with the chants and songs on the CD:

First Language Lessons Printable - Memory lists (articles, prepositions, state of being verbs etc)

 

You may also find my Parts of Speech Prints useful, as well as the Poem Printables  available from Homeschool Creations.

 

What have your children found the most challenging to memorize? Are you seeing the benefits of memory work for your students?Free Homeschool Printables Week from the Bloggers of the iHomeschool Network
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A Spring Nature Walk

Spring has officially arrived and we have been spending a lot of time outdoors. We’ve been playing in our backyard, eating on the lawn, and planting our gardens. We’ve also made a few visits to our local conservation area which has 6 kms of trails to explore wetlands, woods and wildlife. On our first visit we found a cracked, hallowed egg and a snake! On our most recent visit we had the opportunity to observe butterflies, birds and several spring blossoms including our beautiful provincial flower, the trillium.

Spring Nature Walk - robin's eggA Spring Nature WalkWe are planning a nature hike with our homeschooling friends this week, complete with a nature scavenger hunt to help the kiddos remember to keep their eyes open and observe their surroundings.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 9.57.24 PMI

 

 

If you would like to use the scavenger hunt I put together, just click here and save yourself a copy. Then go ahead and plan a hunt with your kiddos or organize a group with other homeschoolers! Enjoy the great outdoors!

 

 

 

 

Nature Scavenger Hunt & Paper Bag Nature Journal

 

I also made these cute paper bag nature journals for the kids. I used a free printable from Spell Out Loud for the cover and inside pages. The paper bag journal also has little pockets for saving treasures from your walk, perfect for preschoolers!Paper bag nature journals

 

 

 

I can’t wait to see how everyone likes them! And of course, to be out in nature with such a cute group of nature enthusiasts!

What is your favourite place to go to be out in nature with your children?

 

Do you want to see some more spring posts? Check out the link up hosted at Teach Beside Me for more spring themed ideas, resources and fun!

Blogging Homeschoolers Spring Link Up

 

Getting Started (Again) With Nature Notebooks

I made a delightful discovery a week or so ago while riffling through some boxes in the basement – a tote bag stocked with three pretty notebooks and several pencils. These notebooks were our nature journals from two years ago! I have some sweet memories of walking along trails with  my girls, examining wildflowers and pinecones, sketching, and searching field guides to determine what our treasures were. A year and a half ago these books were packed up for our move, and then put into storage while we spent a year in our (quite small) temporary home. I’ve had some fun finding things I had been searching for or things forgotten, but these were the most exciting yet!

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What a perfect time to find these journals too – I had recently purchased Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study and have been gearing up to put it to use while enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

Nature Journaling - The Handbook of Nature Study

It’s so lovely to look back on Big Sister’s drawings and notes, written two years ago – she’s come a long way! Little Sister had a journal as well, but at two years of age she had filled hers with scribbles. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with now at the age of four!

Mama has a notebook too! My drawings aren’t skilled, but my printing is neat 😉

So far this week we have made journal entries for dandelions (which have invaded our backyard) and the American robin. We have been watching the robins in our neighbourhood and looking up at the trees for their nests (we haven’t spotted any). I’m sure we will be seeing the young robins soon!

Big Sister's dandelion entry
Big Sister’s dandelion entry
How do you include nature studies in your homeschool? Do you keep a nature journal?

 

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A FUNdamental Education!

Our relaxed, year round schedule of home education lends itself well to ensuring that there is much fun being had at our house!  That’s one of the reasons I favour year round schooling – it allows us to have a lighter load and also to “drop everything” whenever there is something else we’d like to do! Some of the things we readily “drop everything” for are spending time with grandparents (who often visit for a week at a time), travelling to spend time with family, play dates with friends, “educational” field trips and taking family vacations at non traditional times.

There is also much enjoyment in our relaxed days while we are at home following our regular studies. Here are a few of the things we have been enjoying while we are learning:

Fun Fridays!

Fun Fridays are something we began this winter and is proving to be so enjoyable that I think we will keep it as a permanent fixture. We have been playing math games while improving Little Sister’s number recognition and sense; and assisting Big Sister’s math fact retention and problem solving skills.

DSC_4834 DSC_4761 DSC_4737 DSC_4719

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands On Learning

DSC_4769My children are both really enjoying the experiments, demonstrations and activities we are doing this year while studying astronomy. Science activities and experiments have always seemed like too much work to bother with to me – I was rarely able to get my act together to have all the required equipment and supplies, and we often ended up skipping it. So this year I cheated – I bought the lab kit to accompany our science spine. I’m sure all the individual items included could be purchased for a fraction of the price, but the money has really been worth it in terms of ease of use. I basically just open the box and pull out the baggies labeled for our particular lesson and we are ready to go. So far since Christmas we have built a model of our solar system, melted chocolate using the sun and a magnifying glass, made a solar eclipse, made a model of mercury, and made a lava demonstration. I also plan to have our experiments on Fridays, to add to the fun we are already having with Math.

skeleten

 

 

 

 

Making History Come Alive

DSC_4865History is already Big Sister’s favourite subject, but there are so many ways we add fun to this! History is anything but dry when you take a living book and literature approach to it – no dry, memorization of facts and names required! Even in their play, my girls are constantly reenacting the people, stories, and events of the history we have covered. We have built pyramids with Lego, “mummified” numerous dolls, and the most popular of all activities was building our own volcano and erupting it (half a dozen times at least!) after studying Pompeii. My daughters also LOVE making their own paper dolls, and while only a few have been provided with our Story of the World Activity Guides, there are numerous available online.

Our history lessons this past week have included making Viking paper dolls, putting together a model Viking ship, and making Viking masks, battle axes and shields. I think we have a Viking funeral planned for next week!

DSC_4861

Field Trips and Group Activities

We meet with a small group of homeschoolers in our circle of friends once a month for a group field trip. Apple orchard, corn maize, skating, art studio, pottery and gymnastics have been planned since beginning with this group. We also meet two Fridays a month for gym time or art & music. The local homeschooling group also organizes a huge group for swimming lessons once a year. There are likely many options for social activities and group learning  in your community for homeschoolers, and if you can’t find any, plan one yourself and invite other homeschoolers!

Tea Party!

My girls enjoy having afternoon tea parties at least once a week. There is no particular educational goal here, but we do it because it’s fun and we can!

Tea party!

Book Picnics

In good weather and throughout the summer, we enjoy taking our books outdoors. We pack a lunch,  books, nature journals, and sun hats and head out either on foot or by bike to a park for reading and playing!

 

How have you been having fun while homeschooling? Please share with us what you have been up to!

 

You know what’s also a lot of fun? A giveaway!  This is my first post working with the Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team, and along with this month’s posts, we are offering an amazing giveaway from Picabo Yearbooks! Five lucky winners will each receive 1 Picaboo Yearbook -(softcover, 20 pages, 8½x11 size).  Giveaway is open to Canada only, age 18+.Enter before May13th @11:59pm EST. 

 

canadianhomeschoolbloggingteampekaboogiveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Lisa Marie’s review of the Picaboo Yearbook here.

Check out how the other members of the Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team are having fun in their homeschools here.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!

 

 

 

 

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Parts of Speech Printables

Are you looking for a visual aide to use with your grammar memory work? I’ve created these lovely prints to co-ordinate with our grammar curriculum, First Language Lessons, that are both practical and lovely. No reason to have hand copied or simple typed cue cards!

 

Beautiful parts of speech prints! Conjunctions
Revised and corrected Conjunction card 🙂

Parts of speech print - noun FREE Printables Parts of speech prints - adjective FREE printables Parts of speech print - adverb FREE Printables Parts of speech print - interjection FREE Printables Parts of speech print - pronoun FREE Printables Parts of speech print - preposition FREE Printables Parts of speech print - sentence FREE Printables Parts of speech print - synonyms FREE Printables Parts of speech print - verb FREE Printables

 

Simply right click on the images and save the files to your computer, and upload to your photo finishing website or print at home!

Enjoy!

 

 

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FREE Printables {Round Up}

ABC Matching Fun – FREE PRINTABLE!

Little Sister has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 6 months. She’s growing like a weed and wearing Big Sister’s hand-me-downs from LAST YEAR even though she is three full years younger. And she’s having a blast riding on her “big girl bike” that she refused to even try last summer. She has also gone from being able to identify only a handful of letters to knowing them all and their sounds (most of the time). We are starting a gentle, slow introduction to phonics with the early lessons of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. I have noticed however, that although she has mastered the uppercase alphabet, she is having some difficulty with some of the lowercase letters.

Printable upper and lowercase letter tile matching activity pages FREE! - www.learningmama.com

So I created these fun little match-up sheets both to keep her busy during our morning lessons and improve her identification of the lowercase letters. The cute little pictures will also reinforce the letter sounds. We are using these letter tiles. After all the work of putting it together I thought, why not share them with you?

Big Sister helping out and enjoying in the fun!
Big Sister helping out and enjoying in the fun!

I hope your little students enjoy them as much as mine did! Click on the FREE Letter Tile Match-Up Printable image above or the link below to get your activity pages.

ABC Match-Up Fun!

 

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I’m linked up!

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Drawing With (My) Children: Lesson 3

 

My oldest daughter has been drawing quite passionately since our last lesson – she will sit at the table for an hour or more at a time with her sketch book and work away on her pictures. One day last week I invited her to join me with our books and a pile of Eric Carle books for inspiration. I even found myself having fun with it! One of the pictures we found inspiration in was this duck from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Using Eric Carle's Brown Bear for drawing inspiration! - www.learningmama.comI love how Big Sister thought to add cattails to her picture, I wish I had thought of that! We both thought it looked like mama duck was looking over her shoulder at her babies so we drew in some ducklings.

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Drawing From a Still Life

Next up for our lessons from Drawing With Children is Lesson 3: Drawing from a Still Life! I reviewed this chapter several times knowing that it was going to be a more difficult one. Although this lesson is for learning to draw from a still life, the author takes the reader through the lesson of drawing a picture of a still life. This is necessary because she walks you step by step through the process needs to be able to refer to specific, predetermined objects. After completing the lesson, we can make the transition to drawing real objects and constructing our own arrangements.

The photo of the still life is an arrangement of a teapot, vase, cup of kitchen utensils, and an abacus on a placemat. I decided we would only do Level 1, which is only the teapot and the vase. We discussed choosing where to start, placement and drew preliminary sketches before starting the lesson.

Like the previous lessons, step-by-step directions are given for drawing the objects. Big Sister had a much harder time with this lesson than the two previous. She made many mistakes (although the book discusses that there are no mistakes!) and we talked about how to adjust/cover them up. When the time came to add detail to her picture, and therefore incorporate some of the things she was displeased with into patterns etc. she had lost interest in her picture and wanted to be done. The next day, however, she was willing to give it another try and did a much better job of it. I think this week we might have some fun setting up our own arrangements from household objects and, now that it is spring, we should be able to get lots of practice in using our nature notebooks as well.

Drawing With (My) Children Lesson 3: Still Life - www.learningmama.com
Mine, Big Sister’s and Little Sister’s first attempts at Lesson 3. Big Sister was not pleased with all with this attempt but happier with her second try the next day.

 

The next lesson will cover much more advanced concepts such as volume drawing,  positive and negative space, and lighting. I think we will stop here though, it’s getting pretty tough and I think we will revisit this after we have had some time to practice (and mature!). Instead, we will go back and do the second level lessons for lessons 1-3 which should keep us busy for some time.

While the sample pictures of children’s work in the book is quite impressive, I do think it is a bit much to expect that a non-art experienced parent teaching their children at home will have similar results as those who have received the same instructions provided in formal lessons by a skilled artist.  I really wish this book had more of the early level instructional lessons because this has been a lot of fun and I’d like to keep the momentum going!

This post is fourth in a series reviewing our experiences using Mona Brookes’ book Drawing With Children:

1. Drawing With (My) Children: Our Homeschool Experience Using the Monart Method

2. Drawing With (My) Children: Lesson 1

3. Drawing With (My) Children: Lesson 2