Bella Learning For Me

There as some things that I’ve wanted to learn how to do or about for almost 20 years now. Things that since my hands are full with teaching my own children I thought I wouldn’t have time to study till they were at least teenagers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve woven some of what I want to learn into our daily lessons, nature study and most things history are favorites of mine along with social studies and geography. But there is more that I’ve wanted to learn and especially in the early years and sleepless nights of babies I all but gave up. But since we have discovered fun-schooling I’ve been taking a little more time for my own lessons.

It’s amazing how much more my own children want to sit and work on learning when they see mama doing it. When they hear me passionate about a new subject and narrating to them or drawing doodles about the subject. All those things they are getting to do in their journals.

This post does contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you and only to things I enjoy.

I’d like to say we have been doing this for a while, but really I didn’t get somewhat serious about my mom-school time until I sat down to do Dyslexia Games with them. And then today, yes just today a lazy Saturday morning with no place to go and nothing to do and no fun fiction to read I dug into one of the other books on my shelf.

This is a book that begs for me to take notes, to do copy work, to look up how to say phrases and study history and cook food. This book asks for its very own “unit study” of delight directed learning… for ME. What is the name of this magical book that is inspiring me to put together a basket just for me? La Bella Lingua and while I would love to give you a full review, I’m only a few pages into the second chapter so I cannot yet.

So now I am looking at what I can put in my Bella Basket, besides the book and google. Today I asked google “how do you say ‘fart’ in Italian” because I have a 10 year old boy and he wanted in on my searching for Italian words.

  • This isn’t a mom journal so if your teenager is all things Italian like I am, this could be a good one for them too. I really like the Steampunk cover because it reminds me of Leonardo De Vinci. High School Journal with Steampunk cover. PDF or this one would be nice too, I really like how the spelling pages are set up. I can imagine writing the Italian word on one side and the translation on the other.
  • Under the Tuscan Sun. Do not be fooled by the movie, the book is wonderful and just wonderful! But don’t blame me if you want to eat all the Pine Nuts after reading it too.
  • The about book has plenty of recipes to keep me busy in the kitchen but I wouldn’t mind adding a book by Giada to my collection. (My daughter loves watcher her food network show as much as I do.)
  • The Poetry of Michelangelo an Annotated Translation. I bought this book in my early 20’s, it’s still a favorite of mine!
  • Renaissance Coloring Book. Generally I’m all about the impressionists but as I delve into more things Italian I cannot help but be drawn to the artists of the Renaissance
  • Kids Animated History with Pipo. My husband and I actually have been watching this via Amazon Prime.
  • YouTube Learn Italian. This gal is really fast, but so far I enjoy her the most.
  • I’m always on the hunt for more games to play, and card games happen to be a favorite. I’m excited to try this one.
  • And of course, movies like this one to inspire you to keep you wanting to study till you can buy the tickets to travel. This one with English subtitles is a favorite as well, when the main actor received his Oscar I cried for joy with him. To this day its the only Oscars I’ve enjoyed and I’m so happy its one that I watched.
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Fun- Schooling in Survival Mode

I’m not going to lie, I did not take my advice this past year and I spent most of it in survival mode. Hopefully, my suggestions will save others and myself future stress and drama and bring fun back into our days even when it feels like I’m drowning.

Keep it simple! No really, that is it…keep it simple! It’s not rocket science, it’s survival. What HAS to be done? For us that is Bible, Language Arts and Math. I know, some days it feel hard to do just those. Don’t try to add more than what your really NEED to do.

I have this great little 90 day book that helps me. Sarah’s Secret 90 Day Pocket Planner “The easiest way to live your dreams and get out of survival mode.”  It asks you, mama to look at 4 important things or 4 necessary things each day. For each of that it will be different and from day-to-day it will change too. Let’s remember that we are not only their teachers, we are their moms. Most likely we are also the cook, maid, consoler, driver, social director, wife, friend…and so much more.  But even while we DO IT ALL…we don’t have to do it all, all the time.

For Bible, it can be as little as YouVersion verse of the day and Amazon Music Hymns or Psalty’s. My oldest does copy work and we pray. We pray our praise and our needs and lift up others.

For everything else the Fun-Schooling Core Journals like this one that covers a whole year or my sons Minecraft Journal is perfect for when I am pushed to my limit. It covers ALL subjects he needs except for math. (And while in survival mode, Khan math and other apps work pretty great. Once he is reading more independently his normal math is perfect for self-directed learning as well.)

With my little two, we read books. They also play learning games on their kindle or have more story time with Epic.

Does that sound too basic or simple? It really isn’t. Now personally I believe, while in survival mode, it is important I would even say necessary for me to make positive connections with my kids. For me that is going to be lots of snuggling while reading books, watching shows and listing to audio stories.

Audio stories tend to be a favorite for all of us, because they like it when mama breaks out the treats and doodle or coloring or some other type of art pages and sits at the table with them and DO side by side while we listen. We have a collection of audio books that appeal to my oldest and I more than the younger too. But it’s the Around The World Stories that engage all of us the most. (I don’t let us binge listen to these, we have to wait at least till the next day or even a whole week. We treat them like an old fashion radio show and it really builds our relationship with the characters and what we are learning about. You can read more about our love of these stories here.)

Playing games is another fun way of learning and creating positive moments in the survival of the season. Hedbanz is one that we like playing during meal time and Bean Boozeled gets all the happy endorphins going. Hit the Habitat Trail covers all things science and Brain Quest Smart Game give us a bit of learning in all the subjects. And did you know that you can play a game instead of “doing a lesson” and you have still done “a lesson”?  Yep, that is fun-schooling!

Also getting outside with them! Even if all I do is sit and sip tea in the sun while that run about it makes a difference. Getting that Vitamin D naturally, or in a supplement (The kids and I LOVE this one) and other nutritional supplements is needed when in survival. I can’t begin to explain how LOW I was feeling this past year as I let my eating get out of control (sugar is NOT my friend) and didn’t have my vitamins. Proper nutrition, rest and movement make a difference when you are wanting to thrive not just survive.

 

 

Review: Unhurried Grace for a Moms Heart

Right away I knew that I was going to be blessed by this devotional. After all, it is written by one of my favorite authors who’s homeschooling book is on my MUST READ list. I’ve not been disappointed!

Unhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart: 31 Days in God’s Word is the first devotional that I’ve read that I can honestly see the fruit of reading it over and over again, many times in a year or over the course of my motherhood journey. Durenda has a natural way of mentoring via the written word (or even via her podcast at http://www.durendawilson.com) that is brilliant. Combining this gifting with the Word of God, allows the Holy Spirit to speak new and fresh and to YOUR heart with each chapter.

Each chapter includes a section for you to write out your thoughts to God and a place to jot down what you hear Him saying back to you. I personally am using a blank journal for this part because I have a digital copy. Even if I didn’t using the journal allows me the room to write out the section of scripture that speaks to me, and write what I’m hearing that day. This will allow me to also come back to this devotional more than once and read it “new”. This journal is alive with the Word who is always speaking to us, it is a devotional that clearly can and should be revisited lots on this mom journey.

Also included at the end of each chapter are a few questions you can ask yourself, just ONE of the special ways God used Unhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart: 31 Days in God’s Word to speak to me was in the chapter titled “God’s Wisdom or Mans?” and the question at the end. It was along the lines of “what does God want my day to look like”.

When reflecting on the question, it had me thinking about an issue that had been bothering me. We do not have a set schedule (road schooling family here) but I know what our days should include. I’ve studied and wrote on this before but that morning it was crystal clear what He was saying to me about my days.

  1. Study Gods Word & build a strong relationship with Him
  2. Independent work & helping hands (to cultivate work ethic)
  3. Family Learning with beautiful stories, exploration & games
  4. Independent exploration of gifting’s, talents & interests.
  5. One on one time & meaningful conversations

Too often I still get bogged down about all there is to do and keeping up with everyone else. But God created us each unique and that unigueness needs to transfer into our homeschool life as well. How we do school is not often going to look like anyone else that doesn’t make us better or worse, it simply means we are walking in OUR calling.

I’m not going to share with you all that God has been speaking to me as I’ve unhurried my way through this devotional but I will tell you that there has been growth. He had been comforting and ministering to me right were I am at in each page of this book.

 

 

Review Thinking Tree Spelling Time C Journal

So the kids are playing freely with their dramatic imaginations when all of a sudden Pumpkin is pretending one of there characters is from Belgium. To which we all have a fun fact sharing time and it ends with him pretending to be the little boy peeing fountain that Belgium’s like to dress up in costume. Oh, if only I had gotten that photo!

And then because we had recently just enjoyed learning as a family about the Netherlands with Stories From Around The World, we were able to talk about the Netherlands being north of Belgium and that one of the languages they speak is the same. “They don’t speak Belgium, they speak German and French and Dutch just like Jasper!”

The study of Belgium wasn’t a country I wrote up in our lesson plan, but it is a place included in the Spelling Time C Journal Pumpkin is working on. And if I had any thought that maybe we should be doing something else, the last few minutes of their play confirmed that this journal is the perfect choice for us right now.

I shared more here about how Pumpkin is using this journal as part of his Minimalist Learning Plan for this year. But because we are so loving the journal I thought it deserved it’s own post.

This post does contain affiliate links, but as always, only to things we love.

From A-Z there are 26 animals for nature study, hello science! There are 26 musical instruments, music history and appreciation right there…perhaps some play if I’m feeling brave. And 26 places! Countries, cities or states in such variety with only your child’s interest to limit what you are learning about them. And then there is advanced spelling words, vocabulary, creative writing, coloring and drawing too. This Journal is a gold mind!

This journal really is the perfect addition for us to our family symposium and math fun-schooling and language arts. It provides just the right amount of research of a variety of subjects to provide a feast of knowledge. The lessons are as short or as long as you and your child wish to make them. And if you have younger siblings there are corresponding journals A & B that go along well with it if you wan to include them. Personally, we are enjoying working this journal into our one on one time each week.

Now, you may note that this journal that we are using is for ages 10 and up. Well, Pumpkin is not 10 yet but I’m not asking him to do this journal all on his own. We do work on it together, sometimes he writes his facts other times I write them for him while he dictates to me. He watches videos, reads books or uses read to me books from Epic for his research. If we are unable to find anything from those sources we have, mama will take to google and read content to him.  We are both enjoying this timing together and it’s been a great way to gently teach him how to research on his own.

I had originally thought we would do one letter a week, but because we Slow Loop and Roadschool it’s taking longer then that. But since we are not really using it for spelling that works well for us. If you are also looking for something simply to expand your child’s interest base and the core journals feel a bit overwhelming to you and them I suggest giving this one a try. It might be just what your child needs to inspire their own delight directed learning and prepare them for a core journal like this Minecraft one on our shelf.

 

 

What is our Symposium “morning time”

There are so many inspiring parents out there whom have Morning Time or Symposium or Morning Basket and golly, it’s so lovely and feels SO unattainable to me. But I’m not one to give up on lovely, instead I’m all about finding what works best for my family.

Guess what? Sometimes our day starts with Pumpkins lessons. Sometimes it starts with a show. Sometimes our family “morning time” doesn’t happen till well after lunch, so in our home we call it Symposium. During this family time we cover Bible & Nature Study  or History or Social Studies as a family.

However our Symposium slow loop always starts with Bible. Each kid takes a turn choosing a book from our Bible Basket, however I’ve been letting Pumpkin choose even on days that are not his if he wants to read. He generally wants to and I love that. I share something from my Bible and then we do our Good Confessions and Stretches.

I can still hear my mom calling to me as I walked out the door for school “to have friends you must be friendly” “great is He that is in you then he that is in the world” “you can do all things who strengthen you”. And I would repeat them all back to her. Gosh, I’m so glad she did that!

There is life and death in your confession! And man, I’m 38 years old and my confession can still do with some good schooling.

We have not done much in the way of Bible memory yet, but I do want my kids to know what God says about them and have that hidden in their heart. So I picked out a few of my favorite confessions from God’s Creative Power, wrote them in my Bible and each morning we do some yoga type stretches while we make a good confession.

Putting physical movement to this time really helps keep the attention of my little group of Pastries and helps in the transition to our Nature, History or Social Studies reading after.

Overall this time we have, it is a simple simple simple time! It’s about building healthy habits, strong relationships and warm memories. I’m not trying to create somebody else beautiful morning time in my home, I’m creating our own beautiful morning time.

Symposium Social Studies

I’ve decided that our mornings Symposiums are missing Social Studies. I know history is considered a social study, but with our love of living books I decided we needed another idea added to our Morning Symposium Slow Loop in order to fit in the long list of books I want us to read and some more varied richness that I feel our week is missing.

I’ve been surprised to discover how well even the younger two are doing with chapter books during our morning time. So Morning Symposium Social Studies will follow that same theme, but I expect we will have more “short” stories on our reading list for now.

Its been on my heart to include more mission and cultural diversity into our weeks, that being said this will be a great time to include some early American historical fiction books as well. Picture books are great for this and are definitely included into our Books & Blankets time, however I really like the idea of making more of those connections and having them slowly looped into our mornings. I expect this will have a domino effect and should naturally spill over into our Hands On time more regularly to.

These are just a few of the books on our reading list, the ones that are a collection of short stories will be sprinkled between the longer books.

Or some mornings I will make it really easy on my self and use Stories Around The World instead.

 

This post does contain some affiliate links but as always only to things I love and of no extra cost to you.

Poetry Tea Time in a Basket

“Put the kettle on.” Was something I heard every time a guest walked into our home. Formal tea time was not something we did because we always had tea time! Now that I have children I find that I’m the same way, the first beverage I offer a guest is a cup of tea. And while I won’t give up my many cups of fortification each day, I do want the magic of Tea Time for our family.

Poetry Tea Time was the answer to finding that magic and my Slow Loop provides just the right amount of regularity we want and need.

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So just about every other day (some days we don’t loop) I pull out the teacups my Grandmother gave me for my birthday the year my daughter was born. I fill my tea pot that was my Mum’s, with some decaffeinated tea. I check to make sure the sweeter bowl is full of a stivia based “sugar” and I decide on a little something to nibble. Most of the time I do this myself, but the children are working in turns to serve the other with their Helping & Hosting Hands.

My husband picked me up a box of Red Rose tea recently and the children were delighted to find the glass figurine inside. So, we are now collecting them so that they can decorate our tea time table and be played with at that special time. However, they were very disappointed that they could not help me drink that tea so we could buy a new box sooner. Now that I think about it, perhaps that is way they have been so extra helpful about making me tea these days.

After the table is set and the food is made, I pull out a collection of our poetry and literature books, no ebooks for tea time!

Each one of the kids choose a poem or story for me to read and my oldest picks a few for him to read as well. It’s so fun to hear Macaroon pick up our book of Robert Louis Stevenson Poems and declare, “This is my favorite one!”. Or notice that Pumpkin always picks from Shel Silverstein or that Cupcake will take her time and choose from among all our books.

If time is passing peacefully and their attention holds I will also take this time to read a longer story from one of our anthology books and have lovely conversations. If they are being cheeky monkeys I quickly dismiss them to play outside as soon as they are done with their treats so I can savor the last of mine.

These are the books currently in our Poetry Tea Time Basket.

And these are a few on my wish list for when we have exhausted or just need to freshen the ones we own..