Homeschooling

Milestones

One of my goals as a homeschool mother is to see the older children reach a level of aptitude, maturity, desire, and confidence to help teach their younger siblings.  Carrie reached that milestone last week.  She offered to help Sophie and Louis with their math work.  She walked them through their instructions, answered questions, assisted them with the use of their manipulatives, and reviewed their finished work.

I am thrilled!

Milestone

Milestone

Milestone

Milestone

Milestone

Milestone

“Qui docet, dicit” – He who teaches, learns.

 

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Nesting…

Spring is here.

For the last couple of years, this pileated woodpecker has made her home right behind ours, at the edge of the woods.  She favours this tree which must offer up all sorts of goodies.  And it quite conveniently provides a perfect location for us to view her – from our kitchen window.  She isn’t bothered in the least by the children who clamber up into the chairs to watch.  Although they try very hard to be quiet, there is a certain amount of bumping and scraping.

Pileated Woodpecker

I suppose she can’t hear anything above the sound of her own drilling.

Pileated Woodpecker

We watched for several minutes while she fiddled with some bits of straw from this hole, and hopped around this branch picking and pecking.

Pileated Woodpecker

I was able to grab my telephoto lens and snap a couple of pictures before she flew off further into the woods.

{I have figured out a temporary work-around for editing and uploading photos to the blog. YAY!}

Passport to Wonder

 

 

 

 

“I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new”
― Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days

Yesterday, the children finished up their unit study of “Around the World in 80 Days”.  The passport books are full and packed away – with fond memories.  We’re looking forward to the next adventure.

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

{Made for Learning} | Around the World in 80 Days Unit Study

 

“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.”
― Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days

 

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Preparing for the New {Liturgical} Year

November is winding down, bringing with it Thanksgiving… and the end to our liturgical year.  The Sunday following Thanksgiving is the Feast of Christ the King.  It is a gloriously triumphant farewell to our year, followed by a liturgically quiet week before entering the season of Advent.  In our house, that week between Christ the King and the First Sunday of Advent is spent scrambling around looking for the Advent wreath and calendar, and for violet decorations.

It wasn’t so very long ago that we were also scrambling for Advent candles.  And we always seemed to leave it until the very last minute and often had to improvise by purchasing coloured and scented votives at a grocery store.  This often involved running to multiple grocery stores on the Friday before the First Sunday, after spending the previous two days cooking for Thanksgiving.  That generally doesn’t make for a very happy or calm Mama.

I decided to cure my problem by making my own candles.  And I had lots of help from Caroline, Sophie, James, and Jack.  Measuring, measuring again, melting, colouring, wicking, pouring, and unmolding…

{Creating} | Advent Candles

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

{Creating} | Advent Candles

 

It is a lovely way to spend the afternoon – creating, chatting, drinking tea or cocoa.  And learning about the process of making candles from bee to candlestick.

I have relatively recently discovered that Advent candles aren’t actually all that easy to come by, except online.  And finding high-quality beeswax (vs. parafin) candles that are solid colour (not dip-dyed) is even more difficult.  It seems that being caught out by the arrival of Advent is something of a pandemic, even among organized Catholic mothers.  This year, we made sets available to other families and sold out so quickly that I didn’t even have time to post photos and descriptions in our store.  We are pouring last minute sets this week – every one of them sold out in 9 hours.  Next year, we’ll make lots more and earlier.

 

 

{Made for Learning} Time and Money

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Learning how to tell time and to count money is an important milestone in a child’s education. It is as important as learning to dress oneself, to tie one’s shoes. It gives him a particular kind of independence and confidence. And there are other benefits as well. He will learn, gently and naturally, how to skip count (by fives, tens, and more); and about fractions.

 

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Teaching time is a simple as can be.  You’ll need a clock.  You clock can be battery operated (without the batteries) or electric (unplugged).  You can use a broken clock so long as the hands are still moveable, and will stay put when you set the time.  Ours was purchased from a discount department store for under ten dollars.  My only criterion was that the clock be analog and not digital.  This clock is large enough to be read easily, yet small enough to be handled comfortably by small hands.

Explain the parts of the clock, show your child how the hands can be moved with the knob or dial, and – if you’d like – introduce him to “AM” and “PM”.  If your child is, or will be, taking Latin, explaining the origins of those two labels will be a nice introduction and connection.

Next, demonstrate different times by demonstrating to your child how YOU make the different times with the clock, as shown on a series of pre-printed cards (which can be easily created with slips of paper or card and bright markers).  I chose to demonstrate the quarter hours from twelve o’clock.

 

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Let her have a go at moving the hands to get her accustomed to moving the dial – backward and forward:

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Now let her try setting the time from a card:

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Show the different ways in which a particular time might be expressed, including how the same time would look on a digital clock.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

If you are a military family, it might be fun to add expressions for the twenty-four hour clock.  You might even be able to find an analog clock that has twenty-four hours on it (usually printed in tandem to the usual twelve hours).

Now try another…

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Beautifully done!

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Make as many cards, and try as many different times as you are happy doing at one time.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Teaching a child to count money is just as simple.  The only tools you need is a jar of change and possibly some small bills.  We collect loose change from our wallets, and have a quart sized jar filled almost to the rim.

We tipped our jar of loot out into a lined tray. It keeps all of the coins from rolling away, and muffled the rather loud jingle.

 

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

I created labels for each denomination with its common name and its value.  I also made labels to tell how many of each denomination equal one dollar.  I then placed one of each type of coin below its label.  This helps with the sorting activity.

Sorting coins by denomination helps familiarize your child with each type of coin by sight and touch.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Practice creating stacks of ten of each type of coin:

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

One dollar equivalents for each denomination.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Now, have him make equivalent change from each denomination. Place a one dollar bill on the left, with its label. On the right, place the label that tells what the equivalent in coins is. Here, Louis is counting nickels.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Dimes.  With help from Sophie.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Dimes, neatly stacked. Always emphasize tidiness. Subconsciously, this instills a sense of care and good stewardship.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Now some pennies. Stacked neatly in groups of ten. This is sometimes a tedious activity for a child. Help from you, or from another sibling can make it more engaging.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

James is helping here to pick out pennies from the pile. He feels like he is doing something meaningful to help, and he is also learning to distinguish pennies from other coins.

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Ask questions like: “How many stacks of ten pennies do we need to make 100?”,  “How many stacks have you completed?”,  “How many more stack do you need to make?”   These encourage skip counting, addition, and multiplication.  Later, this will help the child relate to simple fractions and decimals.

Sophie counting the stacks of pennies, while James counts single pennies out for her to stack:

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Keep the activity light and fun.  If your child becomes bored or frustrated, gently suggest finishing another day and pick up your tools.  This is an essential skill to learn.  It’s a good idea if they have have memories associated with it.  but that is true of all of childhood, isn’t it?

 

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

Encouraging care and tidiness when putting tools away is pretty important.  This activity is one of those that can easily devovle into chaos, noise, and mess.  “Gently, softly”, and soft praise for their care.

James putting away the coins. Using a jelly funnel makes it easier and less messy:

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

Josie tucks the neatly folded bills into the top of the jar. Learning to help and be neat starts early here. 🙂

{Made for Learning} | Time and Money

 

 

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