Weekly Nutshell

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Last weekend, we created three more “little boxes of love” to mail out to young cousins, and my daughter in college who asked me, “Don’t I get one, Mom?” :)

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While Marissa created heart wands, Marcus created new chalk pastel art cards for two of his friends, his big brother and his big sister.

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Aren’t these great?

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Marissa now has a Wednesday art class at a local art center. It’s during the day and there’s only one other student. So she gets lots of one on one attention. She’s working on her sketching and using the art kit she received for Christmas.

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Isn’t this a cool sculpture? It’s just outside our local library.

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This week Marcus started a fun science experiment building his own stalactite and stalagmite. I think it’s working! We found this experiment in this fun book.

In case you’re wondering how Marcus’ plant experiment is coming along, these were taken on February 4th and both have grown more since then, but the radish plant growing on the right, in a magnetic field, seems to be growing faster and taller than the control on the left. Meanwhile, the marigolds are just starting to poke their way out and seem to be in a tie. Only time will tell!

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And that is our week in a nutshell. :)

Homeschool With Confidence

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I have been on a homeschooling journey for seven years now. If there is one piece of advice I could give to every homeschool parent out there, especially newbies, it would be this:

Believe in yourself.

When you are exploring different homeschooling philosophies and methods, from Charlotte Mason to Waldorf education, to eclectic to unschooling, and you start to feel uncertain… Believe in yourself.

When you are researching curriculum and you marvel at all the choices out there, and you wonder how you will afford it all and how you will know what will actually work for your child… Believe in yourself.

When your mind starts swirling around all the subjects of traditional education, such as: history, science, math, reading, writing, music, art, health, physical fitness, etc. and then you start to think about schedules and fitting it all in, and then it hits you that you actually took it upon yourself to educate your own child… Believe in yourself.

When you are reading other homeschooling blogs and you look at other homeschooling families in action, and you’re tempted to compare… Believe in yourself.

When neighbors, friends, family and strangers criticize your choice and right to homeschool… Believe in yourself.

That’s right, take a deep breath, relax and believe in yourself. YOU can do this homeschooling thing. You’ve got this!

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So, if you are worried about teaching your own child, remember, you have three things already going for you: First, you are your child’s first teacher. You already teach your child. Second, no one knows your child like you do. Third, no one will be as invested in your child’s education as you are. Believe in yourself and your ability to homeschool.

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Here are some homeschooling truths I’ve learned along the way-

  • There is no right or wrong way to homeschool. :)
  • It is not essential to follow a homeschooling method or philosophy.
  • Nor is it necessary to spend oodles of money on fancy-smancy curriculum.
  • However, if a particular method or curriculum appeals to you, go for it…
  • And make it your own. Tweak it to your heart’s desire. Mix and match. Anything goes!
  • If something stops working, it’s okay to abandon it altogether and go in a new direction.
  • Not all subjects need to be tackled at the same time or even in the same year!
  • And they certainly don’t need to be taught the same way as public school.
  • Learning takes TIME, but it’s not a race.
  • It’s okay to have days where all you do is read to your child. :)
  • Homeschool blogs are fun to read as long as you remember that every homeschooling family looks and functions differently, and that’s okay.
  • In other words, don’t compare! Your family’s uniqueness is what makes your family awesome.
  • The only opinions about your choice to homeschool that matter are your own (you, your spouse and your children).

You’re welcome.

Valentine Cards & a Box Full of Love

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We enjoy mailing holiday cards to my younger nieces and nephews. What young kid doesn’t enjoy receiving their own personal snail mail? We usually buy a variety of dollar store cards and write personal messages in them and include some stickers as well. For Valentine’s Day this year, we decided to make our own cards and then I got the idea to create a little “box full of love” for each family.

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We bought inexpensive craft supplies from the dollar store, and Target and Michael’s dollar bins. We found pink feathers, foam heart stickers, pom poms, ribbon, washi tape, paper straws, tissue paper, heart shaped dollies, paper shreds, chenille sticks, blank cards with envelopes, etc.

Marissa and I have been making cards like these.

DSC03131Marcus is really liking chalk pastel art at the moment. He made these masterpieces for his boy cousins (on the left; the desert scene on the right was just for fun).

For the boxes, I layered the bottom with paper shreds and then I put random craft items and sticker sheets on top, added the homemade Valentine cards, and last I put in a little treat for each child (this one was for my brother’s two daughters). Then I decorated the inside box tabs with washi tape, and ta da! A little box full of love. I figure my nieces can make good use of the craft items.

Plant Growth Experiment-Part 1

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On Saturday, we went shopping for supplies for a plant experiment Marcus wants to conduct. He wants to test how two different plants will grow in a magnetic field.

             In the garden center there were turtles so of course we had to check them out.

Our cart with supplies, including 4 pots, potting mix, 2 seed packets (marigolds and radish), long metal screws and neodymium magnets.

At home, Marcus proceeded to prepare the pots, plant the seeds and place the magnets in two of the plants (one marigold and one radish).

Thus the experiment has begun. Stay tuned for updates and results in the weeks to come.

Learning Chalk Pastel Art

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This morning we had an art session and the kids tried chalk pastel art for the first time.

Marcus followed a Star Wars BB8 droid tutorial from Hodgepodge and Marissa found a picture she liked off Pinterest and used it as inspiration.

It was a great way to start our homeschool day and we’re thinking of making it a daily habit. There’s something so fulfilling about creating art.

Peek-a-Boo View

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Dew drops glisten in

cottony strands;

Feathery breezes ruffle

stems of green.

Mysterious croaking

beckons the sleuth-

A pixie glitters near

velvety moss;

And whispering wings

caress silky petals.

 

January in Arizona

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Honestly, Arizona is not my favorite place to live, but I have to admit, it is rather nice in the winter months to be able to wear capris and go without a jacket. The temps are warm, but not too hot. The landscape is a desert of course, so there is always a chance of running into a snake or scorpion, but it has its own kind of beauty.