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 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.

 

 

Fun-Schooling Language Arts my 6 year old

IMG_20170517_150951_555Cupcake is in this in between learning stage. After spending the past 5 years learning more about teaching I’ve come to agree with the starting formal “school” at 7 that Finland and Charlotte Mason are both big components of. However, since she is showing a desire for more formal language arts lessons NOW I am working in some language arts fun-schooling for “kindergarten” or year .05

This post does contain affiliate links, but only to things I love.

The following are what we are using for Cupcakes one on one and learning with mom.

Travel the World in a Basket

Geography is a pretty natural subject for us to study while we roadschool, in fact making sure we had room for our globe was a must when choosing our home. But I’m still so often tempted to try and eek out some stand alone geography time because I remember having that in school.

Want to know what I don’t remember from school…geography! To quote Cloe (any Pitch Perfect Fans here?) “I failed maps.” I don’t want that to be my kids but I don’t want to just drill them all the time to make sure they know were places are. I want them us to have a real connection with the world around us.

Five In A Row first helped me see the easy of teaching geography to my children. I’ve since applied that “read about it and find it” on the map to EVERY STORY WE READ! Its been wonderful and easy and such a quick way to make meaningful connections with the world. After all PEOPLE are the most important part of the world. (But don’t forgo animal stories when teaching the world as well, they work really well for my youngest to make geographical connections.)

However, I still like to have some “geography” reference books handy. You never know when we might become fully engrossed in a new country because one of the kids found some food they wanted to try in The Usborne Round The World Cookbook. (Scones anyone? My oldest is ready to take us on a culinary tour of the world with baked goods.)

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

A common theme in the world of fun-schooling is “baskets”. We don’t have a lot of room for them in our traveling abode but I still like the idea of them. I have a few Dollar Tree baskets left over from our house day, so I’ve re- purposed them in our RV. And since space is small I rotate the subjects they hold. I made up our Geography basket  past week.

In our basket:

I also have my eyes on these for when we need to spark some more interest.

FYI our globe isn’t as fancy as the one above, but it’s on our wish list because its totally drool worthy. But fancy isn’t needed! This globe is just as good…and if you don’t have one in your home I strongly suggest you get one. Its amazing how familiar even the youngest two are with the world just from “finding where we read”.

 

Our Fun-Schooling with Minecraft part 2

Y’all, the creators over at Thinking Tree have done it again! They have made another Minecraft Fun-Schooling Journal and this time is geared to the 6-8 crowd or younger readers.

While the first journal has a mining theme, this new one is an animal and farm theme. So for us this focus is extra awesome because now big brother gets to teach little Pastries about subjects they are learning about too.

I was given a copy of this new journal as a PDF for my honest review and let me tell you… I like it even more then the first journal. But maybe because it meets more of the needs my son. Plus this journal has way more colored pages!

This journal includes:

  • Reading
  • Handwriting
  • Logic
  • Spelling
  • Classical Literature
  • Classical Music
  • Mathematics (My son just about freaked out when he found out that he gets to not only use Minecraft but also “bricks” for math.)
  • Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication Practice
  • Animals and Habitats
  • Geography
  • Computer Skills
  • Building & Design
  • Creative Comics
  • Research & Library Skills
  • Unit Studies (based on the students favorite topics)
  • Poetry
  • Brain Games from Dyslexia Games A & B

I still suggest the PDF of this journal because of the beautiful color pages, ability to print for more then one child and adjust the lessons per your need. However they are also selling the journal HERE and in black and white on Amazon.

This post does contain affiliate links, but only to things I love.

Our Fun-Schooling with Minecraft

Let me admit right hear and now that I was FULLY against Minecraft for the LONGEST time! But after reading about all the cool ways folks were using it in the homeschooling community I started looking more into it and decided it was something good I would do with my son when we were done traveling.

Then I discovered this Do-It-Yourself Curriculum Fun-Schooling Minecraft and the Pocket Edition of Minecraft  (offline play yeah!).
The journal covers:
  • Reading
  • Handwriting
  • Creative writing
  • Spelling & vocabulary
  • Classic literature
  • Biographies
  • Classical music
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History
  • World geography
  • Social Studies & current events
  • Computer skills
  • Building & design
  • Art, drawing and design
  • Creative comics
  • Research & library skills
  • Unit Studies (based on students favorite topics)
  • Lots and lots of fun!
And yes, it sounds too good to be true BUT it’s not!
I elected to purchase the PDF so I could print selected pages in color and print extra pages that I know would be a benefit for my son to have. Plus this way I can choose the order of the pages and put some of them towards the end of the book that he is not as ready for yet. However the journal is also available in print. (I love the paper they use to print the journals.)
The Pocket Edition of Minecraft is loaded on my son’s kindle, thanks to the expansion card we purchased for it. And soon will be loaded onto mine as well so we can play together from time to time. (His request!)
He tends to stay in creative mode even when not playing for lessons. (The zombies kind of freak him out.) And I found a whole slew of child appropriate how to play videos, on Epic! books for kids, that helped our learning process along.
Pumpkin and I are both big fans of using this as our core curriculum for 2017 and I expect that in a few years the younger kids are going to be fans as well. (Yeah for PDF!)
This post does contain affiliate links, but only to things I love.