Day 9: LEGO

LEGO is a universally recognized symbol of childhood.  Children love it – the colors, the mini-fIgures, the sense of accomplishment.  Parents sometimes have a love – hate relationship with it though – the storage, the price of an elaborate set, or stepping on a piece!! But then they see their children’s determination to finish a set and the hours of play time it evokes, and it makes a bit of that pain worth it!

Day 9: LEGO - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We have had LEGO in the house for a few years now.  A favorite request at Christmas or birthdays, they now have some traditional kits mixed with specialty sets in their favorite characters and themes. 

Day 9: LEGO - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

It is a great activity for improving fine motor skills, problem solving and following instructions. Taken a few steps further, LEGO can also be used to discuss fractions, patterns, dimensions and area. 

Is LEGO a favorite activity in your house?  Do you build along with your kids? 

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Day 8: Poetry Tea Time

We tried it occasionally in the past, but this school year, we’re trying to make Poetry Tea Time a weekly event. It breaks up the afternoon and allows us to reconnect, and it has been going well so far.  A different tea and sweet each week and I usually read for 30-45 minutes.  

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

I happened to spot poetry books while I was at the library a few weeks ago and they have been a great jumping point to the sessions.  As the year goes on, we’ll look at more styles, poets and writing our own. 

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Do you include a poetry time in your homeschool?  Who are some of your favorite poets? 

 

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Day 7: Playgrounds

Either with just the three of us or meeting up with friends, the girls always look forward to the playground.  Fresh air, exercise, and a bit of independence make for a great afternoon or evening before bed.  Often, daytime homeschool playground meet ups will last for 2, 3, or more hours. Children are off creating stories while flipping around on the equipment and flying down slides, only coming back for a sip of water or a snack.

Day 7: Playgrounds - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities 

Then there are the proud moments.  The first time they figured out how to use their legs to keep swinging, the first time across the monkey bars, the first time down the big ramp on their skateboard.  Moments that came after lots of hard work and determination. 

Day 7: Playgrounds - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 7: Playgrounds - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Playgrounds are more than just homeschool gym class and a place to socialize, they are great for building character too. 

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Day 6: Imaginary Playtime

Imaginary play time is a big part of our homeschool. The girls are still young, 5 and 8, and learning through play is extremely important still at this age.  It teaches them to work together, compromise, share ideas, plus the creativity that they have and their elaborate story lines are amazing to listen to. 

Day 6: Imaginary Playtime

Playing with a new friend at John Janzen Nature Centre

We have a huge handmade wooden toy box full of costumes and accessories, sort of like Mr. Dressup’s tickle trunk that I grew up pining for. We have acquired costumes and dresses from Christmas and birthday presents, buy and sell sites and leftover Halloween costumes.  They learn how to improvise with what they have and use their own clothes and accessories to be part of the costume.  

Day 6: Imaginary Playtime

After reading Charlotte’s Web and seeing a play, they dressed up as Wilbur and Templeton the Rat.

It is definitely a highlight of my 5 year old’s day when big sis wants to join her and play together.  They love recreating shows, movies, and plays that they have seen and coming up with their own unique stories.  

Day 6: Imaginary Playtime

Dress up at home and visiting friends. 

Day 6: Imaginary Playtime

Sometime they make due without any costumes. They love this rock garden area at Beaumaris Lake and retell stories from the Lion Guard. The largest rock is Pride Rock!

What are some you your children’s favorite stories to recreate? 

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Day 5: Arts and Crafts

Kids love doing arts and crafts.  They don’t always turn out Pinterest worthy (although Pinterest is my go to for ideas), but there’s usually a lot of fun had throughout the process. I have built up bins of supplies at home, one full of paints and brushes and another full of pompoms, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, yarn, popsicle sticks, etc. If there’s a holiday coming up or a friends birthday, we’re able to create something festive or a fun card without shopping for additional supplies. 

Day 5: Arts and Crafts - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

It’s also fun to get together with a few friends to work on projects. Michaels craft stores has a craft room you can rent for free for non-profit meetings and activities, so a couple moms and I had our first meet up this week.  We worked on fall crafts that included pumpkins and leaves and my kids came out saying they had so much fun. Even the littlest ones enjoyed themselves with finger painting! 

Day 5: Arts and Crafts -31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We are lucky to have a few great art studios around us that offer classes in various mediums.  My oldest has already attending a class on glass fusion and she is registered for two painting classes through our homeschool board, one on watercolors and another on Van Gogh.  The Art Gallery of Alberta offers classes, workshops, camps and drop in programs for kids of all ages.  Admission is always free for children under 17 and Alberta post secondary studens, as well as adults on Tuesday and Wednesday evening from 5-8pm. 

This year we have also started discussing famous artists at home.  I recently found a few books on Kandinsky at the library and after we read them, the girls put their abstract skills to use. Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Monet are names that the girls recognize (thank you Little Einsteins and Mr. Peabody and Sherman!) so we’ll probably dig deeper into them throughout the year as well. 

Day 5: Arts and Crafts - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Do you enjoy doing arts and crafts at home, or do you prefer instructional classes? 

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Day 4: Music

Even though I have zero musical ability, music is a huge part of our life and homeschool. We listen to the radio daily in the car, with the kids belting out their favorite modern hits. As I write this, my 5 yr old is strumming a guitar in the basement. We also have a keyboard, ukulele, harmonica and wood block / mallet that get used frequently while they are putting on their playroom performances.

YouTube is a great source of music for us, being able to look up almost any song we can think of.  In a homeschool support group today, a person was asking about Canadian folk songs that mention geography or social issues. While searching for some examples for her, I went on a stroll down memory lane looking up East Coast favorites that I grew up to. My oldest and I have spent a few evenings going down the rabbit hole of YouTube listening to classics and oldies.  I have introduced her to Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, Queen and so much more.

As mentioned in Day 3, we love attending local festivals for the music and entertainment.  It was the frequent exposure to Metis fiddling earlier in the year that inspired her to start fiddle lessons this fall.  She is only 5 classes in but is enjoying it so much!  In the past she has tried glee club style choirs and piano lessons.  Her younger sister loves music so I’m sure there will be more lessons in the future! 

Day 4: Music - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 4: Music - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We recently attended Arts Education Day, a free set of workshops put on at the Jubilee Auditorium as part of Alberta Culture Days. We attended four arts related workshops that morning, with the first one being a song writing session.  Our group was tasked with coming up with ideas and lines, while the musicians created the harmony and blended it all together.  It was such a fun event and showed us how to get our ideas out and make a song in 25 minutes! 

Day 4 - 1Day 4: Music - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Do you or your children play any instruments or sing? What are some of your favorite ways to introduce music to them? 

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Day 3: Festivals

Edmonton is known as the Festival City.  It is packed with festivals year round and showcases loads of amazing talent, food, culture and amazing people.  Almost every week / weekend throughout the summer there is another fun festival to attend.  There are also some incredibly entertaining ones during the winter that we have enjoyed the last few years.  More often then not, they are free to attend, encouraging people to come out into their community, meet your neighbors, and learn valuable information about the cultures that live around us.

Day 3 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschool Activities

118 Ave during Deep Freeze Festival

The festivals in Edmonton are hands on learning at it’s best.  There are art festivals that showcase so many different mediums – children’s entertainment, busking, music, painting and drawing, theatre, and even sand and ice sculptures. Food festivals serve up delicious local and international foods and allow you a chance to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.  One of our favorite festivals (and recently voted Edmonton’s favorite) is Servus Heritage Festival, held on the first weekend in August.  This year it had 75 tents representing almost 100 countries and is known to be one of the largest festivals of it’s kind in the world!  So many delicious menu items to try and the performances are simply outstanding! We were only there for a few hours this year, but we had a chance to try  food, drinks and desserts from Hong Kong, Eritrea, France, Cuba, Thailand, Nicaragua, Spain and Uganda. Next year I’m upping my food ticket budget to try even more tasty menu items.

Day 3 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschool Activities

Mosaic unicorn at Whyte Avenue Art Walk

Day 3 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschool Activities

Heritage Festival

Day 3 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschool Activities

Eating crapes in the France pavilion

To get a glimpse of the experience at the Heritage Festival, check out this video from one of the food judges.

 

With Edmonton being such a multicultural city, there are many great cultural festivals. At the Deep Freeze festival in January, we learned about Indigenous Peoples in Canada way of life through food, dance and drumming, visited a Viking Encampment and stepped inside a Mongolian Yurt. We watched a Lion Dance and other cultural dance performances during Chinese New Year celebrations. At the Flying Canoe Volant festival in February, we celebrated the music and culture of French Canadians, First Nations and Metis. We celebrated Canadian history and heritage with the Canada 150 festivities. At the Heritage Festival in August we took in dances, songs and martial art demonstrations from Syria, India, Nicaragua, Sudan, China and many more.

Day 3 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschool Activities

Deep Freeze Festival, Edmonton

Day 3 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschool Activities

Deep Freeze Festival

Are festivals part of your homeschool and family life? We have made wonderful memories so far, can’t wait for more! What are some of your favorite festivals where you live?

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Day 2: Puzzles

I love puzzles!  I have since I was a child.  Growing up in the country, many weekend nights were spent cosying up with my cat and a 500 or 1000 piece puzzle.  As a busy mom, I have recently reacquainted myself with puzzles for my own enjoyment.  I love the quiet and sense of accomplishment it brings me, as well as focusing on it so much that all my daily stresses leave my mind.  

Day 2 - Puzzles: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

My oldest has acquired my fondness for puzzles and we often work on them together after the youngest has gone to bed (although she has become an excellent side / middle piece sorter, she hasn’t yet developed the patience / focus to sit through longer sessions). 

Day 2 - Puzzles: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 2 - Puzzles: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

There are many reasons I love puzzles as part of our homeschool: problem solving, cognitive skills, fine motor development, and a sense of accomplishment are a few.  Also, we have had several informative puzzles come our way that the kids have really enjoyed – a map of Canada, flags of the world, floor sized puzzles with information sheets on sea creatures and the human body (this one is extra cool as it is double sided – one side bones, other side organs).  

Day 2 - Puzzles: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 2 - Puzzles: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Do you use puzzles in your homeschool / family life? What do you enjoy the most about them? Follow along all month for my 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

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Day 1: Nature Walks

Nature walks are probably in my top 3 of favorite homeschool activities.  They can be whatever you want them to be.  A short trip, a long walk or hike, an excursion with a specific purpose or just a stroll to reconnect and clear the mind.  

Day 1: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the end of September and we were able to get out on a few different trails to take in the beauty of the season.  Edmonton is known for it’s gorgeous river valley and extensive trail system, and although I’ve lived here for almost 13 years, I’m still exploring new trails. 

Day 1 -31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Kennedale Ravine, Edmonton

Day 1 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Kennedale Ravine, Edmonton

On nature walks you have a chance to discuss trees, vegetation, fungi, animals, birds, the weather, and even human interactions with nature such as construction and littering. We have spotted wood peckers, squirrels, chickadees, porcupines, beavers and even moose on our adventures within city limits and within nature areas around the edge of the city.  

Day 1 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Beaumaris Lake, Edmonton

Day 1 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

MacKinnon Ravine, Edmonton

It can be nice to just find a quiet trail to yourself, with the kids collecting rocks and other treasures or coming up with stories along the way.  But homeschool meet ups for nature walks are also a fun time, with children working together to build shelters in the woods, playing together and often coming home dirty and happy.  Plus the moms usually have a chance to hang behind and catch up (when we’re not scooping the kids up out of shallow creeks and deep puddles). 

Day 1 - 231 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

A favorite rock garden play are at Beaumaris Lake, Edmonton

Nature walks can also be experienced year round, giving you the chance to look at a familiar area in a whole new light. In the winter you can discuss how the animals have prepared for the cold or investigate what creatures have left a track across the snow. One of my favorite memories from this past winter involved a warm winter day, snowshoes and a visit to Elk Island National Park.  We snowshoed across Astotin Lake to a small island, had a picnic then explored and climbed around the trees before heading back. 

Day 1 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park

Day 1 - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

If the kids are climbing the walls, you’re feeling a little stressed out or you’re looking for some inspiration, head out on a nature walk.  If you’re in the Edmonton area, check out my blog series Get Back to Nature for beautiful nature trails around the city and beyond. 

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Write 31 Days Challenge 2017: 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

It’s that time of year again, time for the month long writing challenge I’ve been a part of the past two years.  September started off quickly and the fall hasn’t slowed down a bit.  With both girls registered in classes and activities this year and myself entering my second year as a homeschooling, working from home, single parent, we haven’t had a lot of down time in the past month.  

I was reminded of the challenge mid September, and although I was initially excited, my thoughts quickly turned to, “would I be able to fit it all in?” 

I’ve had a few blog post ideas floating around in my head all month, but I haven’t been able to find the time to write them down or edit pictures. I was unsure if I would find the time to complete the challenge and end up stressing out more over it. 

But I realized that one of the biggest challenges with being a mama wearing so many hats is finding the time to focus on yourself and things that interest you. I was fortunate enough to have some me time last weekend and enjoyed a long acupuncture session and a Moon Energy workshop, and this writing challenge is also something I enjoy.  

So I’m going to give it a go! In the past I have done 31 Days to Get Outside and Explore and 31 Days of learning Through Unschooling (snapshots of learning through our daily life). This year’s topic is 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities – all the fun, cool, unique things that keep up busy and running from here to there! 

This will be my landing page.  Everyday, the new daily post will be added to the list (a link will be added once the post is live).  You can also find them through the 31 Days tab on the menu. Feel free to comment on the blog or Facebook posts and let me know your favorite homeschooling or family activities.   

Day 1: Nature Walks

Day 2: Puzzles

Day 3: Festivals

Day 4: Music

Day 5: Arts and Crafts

Day 6: Imaginary Playtime

Day 7: Playgrounds

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time

Day 9: LEGO

Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites

Day 11: Homeschool Science Classes

Day 12: Science Experiments at Home

Be sure to check out the Write 31 Days website to see all the topics covered and links to fabulous bloggers. Below are a few topics and bloggers that I will be following this month. 

fullsizeoutput_62c1 A Life of AuthenticitySo Not OrganizedNichelle Renee

Amy Hoogervorst

write31days

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