Strawberry Fields

We spent last Monday visiting a nearby berry patch where we picked our hearts out.  If you've never gone berry picking before, go now.  It's so much fun.  Plus, there's just something about picking it yourself that helps you really appreciate your food.
This transfers to children as well.
Trust me.
We couldn't keep the boys out of the basket on the way home, so a full pound of strawberries never even made it to the sink for rinsing.  
It's been nearly a week and our berry basket is beginning to look scant.  The boys are already asking when we'll be going back to pick some more.  


Homeschool Independent Work

We've recently started incorporating a new method into our daily 4th grade homeschool routine, and it's been a total hit!

We call it our Morning Work Basket.

Using our basket has freed up so much time in our daily routine, and makes homeschooling feel so much easier because it allows for some of our daily work to be done independently, and at times that are convenient, rather than trying to cram all of our school work into our allotted "alone time" when my toddler is napping.

The night before (or early in the morning If I've slacked), I put everything that Bent should be able to do independently into a basket.

Here's a look at what currently goes into the basket:

His reading for narration
Handwriting practice
Math work
Silent reading

Right now, we're using Aesop's fables for narration and copywork.  He reads the fable, and then uses the moral of the story for the copywork.  For now, I write out the moral on a piece of handwriting paper, and he copies the words right below.  In a couple of weeks, he will just start copying the moral straight from the book.  Once we finish Aesop's fables, we'll move on to The World's Best Fairy Tales, which has stories that are a bit longer, but still not too overwhelming.

We are working on learning to write in cursive at the moment, so I place a sticky note on the page to be done for the day.
We do silent reading for 20 minutes everyday, so there's a sticky note on the front of whatever book Bent is reading at the time telling him to let me know when he wants to start the timer.
We're also just getting our feet wet with Spanish, so he watches 15-20 minutes of this Spanish dvd a few times a week.

As for Math, we've just started into a new Math book, and it's mostly review for the first part section of lessons, so he's been working independently in Math.  I can't say enough great things about Saxon Math 3, and so far, Saxon Math 5/4 has been great.
Incorporating the Morning Work Basket into our daily routine has changed our homeschool day so much!  We have so much more time to devote to other subjects during school now, and sometimes we just take advantage of not having nearly the workload during our "school hours" and just enjoy our free time!  I only wish I would have thought of it sooner!


Into the Woods

We meant to start the new year in the woods.  To set the tone for the year by making it a point to do what we wanted to be sure we'd do more of - nature related activities.  And then, life happened.  We had errands to run, one of which required us to travel to a neighboring town 30 miles away, and we didn't make it back before sunset.
It had me feeling crabby, unaccomplished, and worried that 2017 would end up a bit too much like 2016 with "worldy things" taking up way more of my time than I'd like.
As it turns out, the weekend left us able to complete a huge house project that has been on our to-do list since we bought our home over a year ago, leaving us feeling very accomplished, and freeing up this weekend for some nature time.
In the week between, Bent has developed an interest in photography, and has been snapping pictures of everything in his path.  He couldn't wait to hit the trails and find new subjects. His newfound interest has helped him become so much more aware and observant.  He realized as we were trekking how many more things looked really cool to him than before.
When the batteries died, he and Jon were quick to spot what looked like train tracks ahead, so we made that our goal - to get to the tracks.
We recently watched Stand by Me with Bent one night after Cole went to bed, and he hasn't stopped talking about it since.  Some of the subject matter may seem a bit harsh for a 9 year old, but that's probably why he liked it so much. It was one of Jon's favorite movies growing up, so he was in heaven.


Mickey Mouse Toddler Room Tour

Our toddler has been drawn to Mickey Mouse ("gah," as he used to call him), since before he could talk.  I really didn't want one of those super cheesy, toddler character rooms for him though - mainly because character love can be fleeting in children, so this was my solution.

My favorite thing about the room is that so many items were purchased from small, handmade businesses.
Superhero mask pillow is from Oh, Susannah.
Mickey and the Beanstalk bunting is from an awesome little shop on instagram called @LivingBooksNook.
Wild sign is from @stellar_co
Hand kites (which nicely double as window decor) from Legacy Learning Academy

Mickey bedding and the bookcase are from Amazon.
Bed, table and chair, and step stool are from IKEA.
Rocking horse was thrifted - as was the dresser which we painted.


Be here. Now.

Since making the decision to slow my shop way down, I've felt  It's been nothing short of wonderful.
I finally feel like I'm the mother and wife that I used to be.  The one who would love to play a board game (or 5 with her children), or cook a slow, whole foods meal every night, or watch her children do this trick, and this one, and one more time!
I've had time to slow down and be mindful of so much more.
The birds after the rain.
The moon.
The silence of the night on our evening walks.
The crunching of the leaves under our footsteps.
The smell of bonfires in the crisp, cool air.
The sounds from my boys as they play together when we are supposed to be doing school work (because something in me just cannot stop them when they're in the middle of imaginative play).

Mostly, I love watching these two.  The way they interact. The hero worship from Cole for his big brother.  The way it brings out leadership from Bent.
No regrets at all from this mama.

We love supporting fellow handmade businesses.
Geo Bear tee from West of 3rd
Blue Shorties from Cute Little Babes
Come Explore With Me tee from Raconteur Kid

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All content and images are © Melinda Collazo 2011-2016.



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