Monday, October 8, 2018

October is for Pumpkins

Now that October is here, everything is PUMPKINS!
(I think October is all of our favorite month of the year :) )
Rowan and I have been browsing through Pinterest, looking for pumpkin crafts we could do together... we love doing our *projects* together...
He wanted to do this stuffed paper bag pumpkin (we've done this one MANY times before)... pretty easy~ just stuff the paper bag with torn crumpled paper bags, tie at the top with raffia or jute, and paint! You can add construction paper leaves / pumpkin vines after that.
Next we thought we'd try these toilet paper tube / strips of paper pumpkins~ they were a lot harder than I thought! For some reason there was no orange construction paper so we colored orange paper then cut the strips & I stapled them to the TP tubes. Then we added our stems & leaves. They turned out a little crunchy, but much like the shape of a realistic pumpkin :)
Here's a little "pumpkin patch" Rowan made by himself from scrunched up paper pumpkins:
(and Legos)
~Happy learning!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A Lovely Drive & Hike up the River

We went for a lovely drive the other day, up through Poudre Canyon.
Summer had almost officially ended, and we thought we could catch a bit of Fall color in the higher altitude. It was a bright blue day, unusual, since we had so many fires this season. We didn't see any aspens turning, but there was color in the brush; bright red poison ivy and assorted tree shrubs.

We hadn't taken the kids on a drive in a while, because they had been *crazy* in the car lately, but we had just gotten a new (to us) van, and the kids loved it, so they were eager to go for a drive.
It was so beautiful up there~ the camera did not capture the color~ the hills were bright yellow.

Rowan was *so happy* to find this very nice rock, and they were both so happy to be there~ I could tell it was healing their bodies and minds to be there...
The boys started hopping rocks, upriver, trying to make it to a big rock they saw up ahead. They never did make it to that rock because it was too hard to get across, but they sure had a lot of fun.

On the way down the mountain, we crossed over and took Rist Canyon the rest of the way home. After a quick stop at Wendy's we came home & had lunch. That was an unusually special and happy day we had together.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Hills & Angles... Making Old Toys New!

The kids are back to studying hills again...
This summer Fynn got rid of his training wheels AND got a bigger bike...
Rico has been taking the kids all over town and their favorite thing is to ride up & down "Taft Hill", which Fynn says is 13 degrees.
Another steep hill in town is Trilby Hill, about 16 degrees. Bingham Hill is probaby about 15 degrees, Fynn says. Overland hill is only 9 degrees, and West Vine Hill: 6 degrees.

Lombard Hill (in San Fransisco) is about 21 degrees. "That's pretty steep, right?" says Fynn. We drove down that one a couple years ago.
Baxter Hill (in Los Angeles) is about 35 degrees! We got excited about watching The Little Rascals again, because they roll their "fire truck" down it...
Baldwin Hill (in New Zealand) is the steepest residential street in the WORLD and it's about 45 degrees! Fynn's new goal is to ride his bike up Baldwin Hill, and to practice, he has been riding up Taft Hill on the highest gear!

The kids have been building all levels of hills with the train tracks, all over the yard and in the house.
I had been tackling the enormous project of trying to sort through the mountains of old toys in the closet~ they were all mixed up, dirty and buried...
I finally got some of them sorted into these nice lidded bins...
They slid nicely underneath their *new* bunk bed...

...And it was like Christmas!
To the kids, it was like having brand new toys around!
And that is why they went right ahead building hills with the train tracks...

Rowan was very excited about the Legos, also in their new box, and began building special and fun "places". He was so happy. It was very sweet.

It's hard to see in the picture, but this track is filled with a succession of hills in different sizes~ all modeled after the different hills we have been talking about.
There were cardboard hills too, and Fynn's chalk drawings.
All in all, I'm very glad I didn't throw away those old toys after all! You know, everyone says, if you don't use it in a year, throw it away, but our family tends to do things in cycles. When they're bored with one thing, we can always find something new, or even better than new! All it takes is a little organization.
Happy learning!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why (and How) We School Year Long!

1. Because we can! The great thing about homeschooling is that we can choose a schedule that works best for us!

2. There will always be those doldrum days throughout the year when no one is motivated or inspired - especially the month of January. So it makes sense to just keep going when we're excited and there are still fun things in front of us!

3. With child-led-learning, the whole wide world is school. So we follow wherever our curiosity takes us...

4. ...And our curiosity has so many places to take us in summer!

Summer is the perfect time to grow gardens. We plant a seed, we watch it grow! It is perfect for botany and biology; to study life cycles of plants. And for entomology; there are so many amazing bugs in our yard everyday! We can study their life cycles as well. We can study spiders' webs, bee hives and wasp nests...

Summer is a grand time to explore the auspicious forest fires and floods and their effects on different habitats...

To observe a family of robins until the babies leave the nest...

What happens in the compost pile???

Exploring rivers and currents... What happens when you skip a rock across the water?

Collecting rock samples...

Storms. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, rainbows. Observing weather & cloud formations...

Picking delicious wild & traditional foods...
A summer full of beautiful things is a summer full of learning.

painting a picture of the garden
pipe cleaner bee
"pollinating" the flowers
Happy learning!

Friday, June 10, 2016


It was last spring that we were studying clouds. We had just put up a fort/tower/swing set in our backyard and had climbed up on top. From there we could see the whole wide world. It brought me back to springs in my childhood, long forgotten, as we stood up there in the midst of the bright blue sky and billowing clouds. We were daydreaming and looking forward to all the things that spring would bring.

I am always looking for ways to introduce new subjects to the kids, so when I saw one particularly beautiful and mysterious cloud, I said, "Wow. I wonder what kind of cloud that is." Immediately Fynn came to see what it was and Rowan followed close behind. "What is it?" they asked. They were now curious about clouds. So we went in and researched clouds on the internet together. It turns out that cloud was a cumulonimbus.

We found a cloud identification game online that Fynn liked to play for a while, and I made us a cloud chart to hang on the wall, or to take with us in the car. Now we could identify any cloud in the sky. Fynn memorized them pretty well and made his own chart using a blue table cloth and pillow stuffing. We made cloud experiments with water, stuffing, bubbles, shaving cream and so on.

As the kids' interests turned to other things, I went on in my pondering of clouds. We had learned that clouds are formed  by water evaporating, and that it takes particles for the molecules to cling to, but there seems to be so much we don't know. For instance I can make a "cloud in a jar" but I'm really only creating steam or mist. I can't re- create those billowy white beings. I suspect the charges of ions must have something to do with their swirling billowing patterns. Water and wind seem to also have these patterns. And in a rigid, less flowing way, so do continents and land formations! Also, there seem to be so many more kinds of clouds in reality than we learn about in books. I'm still looking for answers to these questions, while the clouds themselves continue to inspire me, reminding me of the past and making promises of future adventures.

I will leave you with this verse from Joni Mitchell:

Flows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
Feathered canyons everywhere
I looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's clouds' illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Happy learning!