A New Year, A New Routine

Since I’ve already gotten the jump on goal setting and intentions for this year, I though it was about time to shake up our routine a little too.  As unschoolers, we don’t have set subjects or curriculum we cover each day, but we do have certain activities and blocks of time that we do daily.  We read daily, spend time exercising or doing yoga, go outside for adventures or errands, and have quiet time / tablet time in the afternoon.

Little Sis spends most of her day asking Big Sis to play with her.  Big Sis usually will, but not always at the time Little Sis wants.  A few nights ago Big Sis agreed to play with her after supper, and although it started off great, after a while the excitement and silliness had built and it was hard bringing them down for bedtime.   So the next morning, I tried something different.  

Little Sis and I did a few stretches and exercises together when we first got up. She was happy to make the connection with me first thing so she went off on her own to play for a bit. When Big Sis woke up a little later, I did a few more stretches and jumps with her. Then we all sat down while I read two chapters from a book we never got around to before Christmas. When they started squirming, I suggested to have playtime then.  Their moods were relaxed and friendly and they played great for over an hour.  

Early afternoon is still the best time for outside activities, field trips and errands, and quiet time usually follows when we return home.  But I’m going to try and incorporate another connection moment in the late afternoon, before supper busyness takes over. Tuesday we had an afternoon cookies and poetry session that went over well! Other short activities to break up the afternoon include yoga, coloring together, puzzles, crafts, baking, etc.  

A New Year, A New Routine

Now that the playtime is taken care of in the morning, Little Sis isn’t asking Big Sis to play all day long, and calmer activities like coloring, Lego and reading can take place before bedtime and help prevent the big bedtime meltdowns. 

Another bonus to our change in routine is that I’m now fitting in more physical activity during the day with them, plus I have more time to myself for self care, blogging and to tidy up during the day when I don’t have to tend to “I want to play with you / I don’t want to play right now!” squabbles!

Have you though about switching your routine around? Has it helped at all? We’re only a few days in, but the added stretching and exercise has already help calm our moods and increase my patience! 

 

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A New Outlook for 2017: Setting Intentions and Vision Boards

2016 was a year that many found exceptionally hard, myself included.  But with the beginning of 2017 here now, I am eager to set out on a new journey and transform into a better version of myself. 

I am always full of big ideas and intentions but I don’t always have the best motivation and follow through.  For the past few months I have been reading more on setting intentions regularly and sending them out into the Universe.  For our household, full and new moons can occasionally cause havoc on our moods, attitudes and sleep, so I thought since we are so connected with the moon phases, the new moon at the end of December was a good place to start.  

I wrote down my intentions for January as well as my bigger goals for all of 2017. When I finally had a quiet moment late in the evening, I dimmed the lights, sat on the floor, took a few deep breaths and read all of my new intentions out loud. It felt odd to be talking out loud to myself but I could feel the confidence building as I read out my list. 

In the days that followed, I had so many positive images, goals, ideas, etc. floating around in my head! I picked up a few new journals to start the new year off fresh and the idea of a vision board flashed in my mind, so I took to Pinterest for inspiration.  

A New Outlook for 2017: Setting Intentions and Vision Boards

 

I have a couple of big goals for the coming year and early next, and if I don’t stay on track throughout the year, I won’t complete them.  I thought maybe the constant reminder and motivation of a vision board would keep me moving in the right direction. This article on Huffington Post seems to agree and really, how can staying positive and motivated be a bad thing?

I have been compiling pictures of places I want to visit, healthy habits I want to incorporate into my daily life and fun things I experienced with the girls last year that I want to continue doing with them like camping and exploring nature.   Interspersed with the pictures will be words and phrases that really resonate with me at this time in my life. 

A New Outlook for 2017: Setting Intentions and Vision Boards

I’ll spend a few more days compiling images and I hope to have my new vision board up and motivating us by the weekend.  Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see my finished product! 

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SCA Fine Arts Presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Strathcona Christian Academy Fine Arts put on a wonderful performance of the Little Mermaid back in February.  The girls and I enjoyed every moment, from the decorations throughout the hall, visits with princesses, and then the show itself!  

sca-2

Stunning singing and great performances took me back to when I was young and rewound my VHS copy of the movie over and over just to hear the songs again. It was a great moment seeing it live with the girls. 

sca-1

This year, SCA Fine Arts will be putting on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,  May 2-5, 2017. Tickets go on sale in the New Year and will be available on their website. In the meantime, be sure to check out video highlights of The Little Mermaid, also on their website. 

sca-fine-arts

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Free & Frugal Learning Resources

Homeschooling families are experts at frugal learning experiences.  In this list, I have included some of our favorites, plus I enlisted the help of one of our fabulous local homeschooling support groups for added resources.  The links are for children of various ages and grades. 

MULTIPLE SUBJECTS:

Ace Online Schools – List of 25 virtual field trips

Crayola – Free printables, coloring and worksheets 

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool – Free

Educents – Free to join, free (enter free in the search field for complete list) and paid resources

DK Find Out  – Free

Homeschool Share – Free

Ninja Plans – Free to join and free downloads, user contributed Alberta curriculum teaching materials and lesson plans

Pinterest – Free

Starfall – Free and membership

Teachers Pay Teacher – Free to join, free and paid products

YouTube Kids – Free app, learning category cover multiple subjects

MATH:

Khan Academy – Free

LEGO Math – Free learning ideas and worksheets from Scholastic 

Prodigy – Free and Membership. Memberships can be billed monthly or yearly, or if you can find a group buy, it reduces the membership down to around $15 for the year

LANGUAGES:

Duolingo – Free

SOCIAL STUDIES / GEOGRAPHY:

Google Earth – Free

Google Maps – Free

SCIENCE:

Crash Course and Crash Course Kids – Free, You Tube

Magic School Bus – On Netflix or DVD (recently spotted at Costco), select episodes also found on You Tube for free, free corresponding worksheets here

Mystery Science – Free for first year of membership

National Geographic Kids – Free

PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH

Cosmic Kids Yoga – Free, You Tube

If you know of more links for free or frugal learning resources, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

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Tree Lightings & Light Displays 2016 – YEG + Area

Tree Lightings

Beaumont – Brighten Up Beaumont

Friday, November 25, 6pm-8pm, fireworks at 8:30pm  More info here

Edmonton – Holiday Light Up

November 12 4pm -7pm  More info here

Fort Saskatchewan – Holiday Lights Up Celebration

Friday, November 25, 5pm-7pm More info here

Sherwood Park – Celebration of Lights

Saturday, November 19, 3pm-5pm More info here

Spruce Grove – Christmas in Central Park

Saturday, November 26, 2:30pm-5:30pm  More info here

St. Albert – Snowflake Festival

Friday, November 25, 6:30pm-9pm  More info here 

Stony Plain – Christmas Light Up

Thursday, November 17, 6:30pm  More info here

Light Displays

Alberta Legislature Grounds – December 1 – 23  More info here

Candy Cane Lane – December 9 – January 1  More info here

Enchanted Forest, Fort Saskatchewan – November 25 – January 7  More info here

Leduc Country Lights – December 1 – January 1  More info here

Luminaria, Devon Botanical Gardens – December 2-4 More info here

Zoominescence, A Festival of Light, Edmonton Valley Zoo – December 9-18th More info here

 

 

 

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Day 31: Trick or Treat

Growing up, I would go out for hours with my cousins on Halloween, coming home with a garbage bag or two of candy that I would keep stashed in my room for months! My girls are still learning the ropes of trick or treating and love getting out in the neighbourhood, but after 45 minutes – an hour, the “it’s too cold” or “the bag is too heavy” comments start coming out.

They picked out their costumes a few weeks ago and have been eagerly awaiting the chance to wear them out.  They wore them around the house when they first got them, but tonight we completed the looks with tights, make up and hair color.

Day 31: Trick or Treat

Day 31: Trick or Treat

An article had popped up in my social media earlier in the day about the history of Halloween, so after we got home and sorted out the treats, I read it to them. They have asked before if witches are real so we also had a discussion on Wicca and people that practice it. The Day of the Dead has also been discussed frequently as well, as Kai is a big fan of the movie The Book of Life. It’s always interesting to learn the meaning behind the holidays that are celebrated here and around the world.

You can find the complete list of my 31 Days here on my landing page, Days of Learning Through Unschooling. Also, be sure to check out other awesome bloggers and their series at Write 31 Days

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Day 30: Movies and More Minecraft

With the rainy weather last week and our moods a little down, the girls haven’t had the chance in a few days to burn off their extra energy.  On Day 30, they got out of the house for the afternoon with their dad before he heads out of town for work again, and I had a chance to get the house straightened up before another busy month starts. 

They went to West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls in the world, for an afternoon of fun including lunch, an indoor playground and a trip to the movies to see Storks. They had a full but fantastic time at the mall and enjoyed their quality time with their dad while he was home. 

When they got home after supper, they were so wore out from all the excitement, they just wanted down time with their tablet before bed.  Chloe’s been working on a few new buildings in one of her Minecraft worlds, including a restaurant, an arena, and a re-creation of our house.  She sat down in the evening and gave me a tour of a few of her buildings.  She loves adding detail to her designs – rooftop gardens, pastures for animals, and lanterns and flowers for home decor. 

Day 30: Movies and More Minecraft

Day 30: Movies and More Minecraft

Day 30: Movies and More Minecraft

One final post in my Write 31 Days challenge but you can see all my post here for my 31 Days of Learning Through Unschooling

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Day 29: From Muggle to Gryffindor

I was just starting university when the Harry Potter books, and then the movies a few years later, started coming out.  It wasn’t really my thing at the time and till this date, I have not read any of the books or seen any of the movies.  Well that changed on Day 29. 

We have had tickets to the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry put on by the Let’s Talk Science organization at the University of Alberta since they were release at the start of October and the girls were excited about a day of  fun science! With the Harry Potter theme to the event, I figured it was a good time to introduce the girls to the story. We watched the first movie in the morning and discussed the characters and elements of a story. When is was over, we got ready for the afternoon session at the university.  

The event had many references to Harry Potter, and with it fresh in their minds, they made the connections easily.  They watched science demonstrations, saw snakes and other reptiles, spiders and owls, had a chance to try science experiments first hand and took part in crafts including coloring ties and making wands. 

Day 29: From Muggle to Gryffindor

Day 29: From Muggle to Gryffindor

It was our first time at this free event and it was such a wonderful experience! The volunteers and organizers did an amazing job of bringing cool science to children!

Day 29: From Muggle to Gryffindor

Day 29: From Muggle to Gryffindor

With only a few days left, check out my complete list or 31 Days of Learning Through Unschooling

 

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Day 28: Getting Crafty

The week had lots of ups and downs but with Friday and Day 28 now here, I was looking forward to fun weekend activities and hopefully a little bit of rest.  It was a rainy day but we ran a few errands in the afternoon, including a first time visit to the Resuse Centre to look for craft supplies.

I have a collection of toilet paper rolls I save for crafts and I saw a cute craft earlier in the month from Danya Banya that would be fun and easy to do for Halloween. Soon as the girls seen it, it was an immediate yes.  I try to have a stash of googly eyes on hand but I needed yarn to complete the project. We picked up yarn and a few books at the Reuse Centre and talked about reduce, reuse and recycle and how everyday items can be reused for cool projects. 

Day 28: Getting Crafty

We whipped these creatures up in 30 minutes before bedtime!  They had fun picking their monster’s attributes and even tried the glue gun for the first time. We could of used yarn or pipe cleaners for the hair, but they wanted feathers like in the original so we will pick those up to complete the piece.

Day 28: Getting Crafty

Join us for the final few days of 31 Days of Learning Through Unschooling

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Day 27: Prepping Pumpkins

The weirdness of the week continues.  I  don’t know if it’s the weather, or the early darkness creeping in, but we all seem to be a bit off this week.  

The girls continue to pretend play lots throughout the day and Chloe has been busy building new things in Minecraft this week.  We still have a few Halloween crafts planned for the next few days but Day 27 was the perfect day for pumpkin carving.  Before we got to carving, we took a few minutes to measure and compare the pumpkins.

Day 27: Prepping Pumpkins

Kaiana is a sensory seeker and loves to get messy.  She frequently comes to me me covered in marker, loves getting dirty outside and every painting experience usually turns into finger painting.  But when it comes to pumpkins, she’s not a fan of the goop inside.  I scooped it off the walls of the pumpkin for her and gave her a set of tongs to pull it out. Chloe on the other hand, who needs to wash up after playing in a little bit of sand, was elbow deep scooping and flinging pumpkin innards. 

Day 27: Prepping Pumpkins

They both had ideas for what they wanted their pumpkins to look like.  Chloe choose a cat (like she does every year), and Kai wanted a spooky face. They both drew it out on paper first and then used a washable marker to draw their idea  on their pumpkin. We worked on the carving part together and they were both so happy with the finished products! 

Day 27: Prepping Pumpkins

Day 27: Prepping Pumpkins

With only a few days left, you can check out my full list of 31 Day of Learning Through  Unschoooling here

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