Thursday, November 19, 2015

Creative Nature Study by The Old Schoolhouse- A Review

I was given the opportunity recently to review the "Creative Nature Study" by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  Their Review Crew has reviews for all sorts of products and curriculum. I was amazed by the wide variety of stuff that they reviewed it's not just books. If you are looking for ideas for your school days, you should definitely start there! 

When making the transition back to unschooling, I knew that I would need to incorporate more outside time with the Crunchy Kiddos. The same nature walks looking at the same leaves and trees had become almost boring to us. I needed to spice things up, try something new. I was drawing a blank. This book came at the perfect time!
Creative Nature Study is full of fresh ideas to help make nature more fun! I had not thought about packing a nature bag.There were so many ideas and resources that you could take with you on a walk to help make it more educational and fun.
I am a firm believer in the fact that nature studies are the best science curriculum that there will ever be! It is also one of the best ways to really see who God is. 
"The heavens declare the glory of God; 
the skies proclaim the work of his hands." 
Psalm 19:1
I want my children to grow up appreciating what God created. I want them to enjoy searching and learning about His creation. I just needed a little push to get me back on track. I needed some fresh ideas to help motivate me. This amazing book not only did that, it also included scavenger hunt pages that I could print off to help steer me and my children in the right direction. It gave us ideas of things to study that sometimes are forgotten about. 
I love that through nature you can even learn to be a better writer. The descriptive words that you use to describe all the sights, sounds, and smells help to create some very lovely creative writing assignments and poems. Here is a haiku that was written after a nature day:

by Popper age 7

Fall leaves are very pretty.
They always crack under feet.
Red, yellow, orange, brown, and green

The fall air is fresh.
It makes me feel cold sometimes.
It makes it rain leaves.

Squirrels collect acorns
to store away for winter.
They hide acorns in the ground.

Fall is beautiful.
All the colors of nature
make me want to smile.

I would encourage everyone to add a little nature to your lesson plans. If you are new to nature studies or are bored with the same old walks, this book would be a great resource for you. You can find it on The Old Schoolhouse's website! You will not be disappointed! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Unschooling, Back to Our Roots!

School had gotten boring. We were beginning to hate it! With the diagnosis of dyslexia, I realized why it was harder, but that still didn't change the fact that it was hard. We struggled to work on anything on our lesson plan. Reading and math were nightmares that I avoided like the plague! Then, I read Life Love & Dyslexia. I remembered why I started homeschooling to begin with!
I wanted my children to love learning! I wanted them to get books that interested them, not assigned readers. I wanted the world to be their classroom. I didn't want workbooks and tests. I wanted nature studies and notebooking! I wanted to read together, watch documentaries, and explore the great outdoors! I wanted to unschool my children!

I had given in to the lie that my children needed structure and curriculum to learn properly. While that might be true for some families, it is not for ours!
So, along side my friend Heather, we started over this week. Our children were equipped with their journals, both plain spirals and some fun ones from Dyslexia Games. We set out to allow the children to learn! Here are just a few of the many fantastic things that we did!

Top Right: Sister, Popper, Diva, and Fashionista are learning to sew.
Top Left: Tiger Lily is researching the Holocaust.
Bottom Right: A group game of Monopoly Jr. to help with math skills!
Bottom Right: Brother Bear and Turkey Boy make Yodas out of theraputty!

Left: Turkey Boy showing off his nature scavenger
        hunt finds!
Top Right: Fashionista found some tree sap.
                 She thinks it smells like honey.
Bottom Right: Brother Bear is cradling our sweet
                    hen, 'Penguin.'

Top Left: Diva and Popper are enjoying the                            chickens and trying to decide which ones                  are hens and which are roosters.
Top Right: Popper is holding 'Bat girl' (though the                      chicks gender is still unknown)
Bottom Right: Tiger Lily and Fashionista are burying                       the others during an afternoon of                               outside learning!
Bottom Left: All the kiddos journaling about their                         finds on the nature scavenger hunt!

We had such a good time learning together this last week! We started each day with our daily Dyslexia Games lessons and journals which I don't have pictures of. I also failed to get pictures during reading time, but there was learning of subjects across the board from Holocaust to Titanic to Gorillas. I feel like we learned more together in this time than in the last 2 months!

This is my passion for my children: to create an atmosphere of learning. Teaching them to follow their interests to the furthest point and back again! I want them to be curious about life and search out answers on their own with a little guidance from mom and dad when needed! My job is to help fuel that curiosity not squash it! I want to come along side them, learn with them, and learn from them! This was the reason that I started homeschooling my children! Thank you Sarah Janisse Brown for reminding me of that in your book!

Thank you, Heather, for joining me on this journey! Learning together with your children is so fantastic! Thank you for your friendship that means more to me than you'll ever know!

Above all else, Thank You, Father God, for the privilege of getting to learn right along side my children in this way!

And to you friend, thank you for joining me each week! I am so excited about where our school year is headed and can't wait to share them with you!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Life, Love, and Dyslexia: Sarah's Journal- A Review

This is not one of my normal reviews. I actually was given a copy of "Life, Love & Dyslexia: Sarah's Journal" by my friend, Heather. With the recent reality that Popper has dyslexia, I wanted to know more. Sarah Janisse Brown not only has dyslexia herself but 3 of her 10 children have it as well. She is the author and creator of Dyslexia Games. I knew that with all that she would have answers for my many burning questions.
She might, but this book did not answer those questions. Instead, this book took me on a faith journey. It challenged my level of surrender to God, It made me re-evaluate just how serious I took my relationship with Him, and so much more.
I have more highlighted phrases, underlined verses, and prayers in this book than any of my other reviews. God used this book to get me face-to-face with Him and His calling on my life! I was reminded that He will take care of every single detail! When He gives you a promise, command, or calling He will provide all of the details that go along with it!

I cannot say enough good things about this book! Even if you or anyone in your family doesn't have dyslexia, this book still is a gem that you need to read! You will see a level of faith in Sarah that will challenge you and cause you to believe deeper, and desire to grow more in your relationship with God.
There is humor there too! Stories of her and her children that will make you laugh, and wonder how she does it all!

Get your copy today!  You can get it on Amazon.