Adding Enchantment

 

I know, I know, I’m obsessed with all things Brave Writer.  Sorry, not sorry.

One of my favorite things about Brave Writer is the emphasis on enchantment.  One of Julie’s key phases is “An Enchanted Education.”  What does that mean exactly?  You can read it straight from the source here.

I am in the midst of planning and researching HOW I can add enchantment to our homeschool.  I know that part of the magic is in the unplanned but I want to be sure to set my girls up with lots of opportunities when they may easily become enchanted.

For me, planning field trips and “Good-Enough-Parties” are such great ways to add opportunities for enchantment (more on Good-Enough-Parties later).  The girls and I made a wish list last week of field trips that we would like to take this year.  I added the usuals: Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center.  Kaylee added camping.  We usually do a lot of camping but daddy has been out of town this summer so we haven’t been lately.  My girls are missing it and it’s clear that our camping time is some of most important, best quality family time.  Avery added Texas and Alabama to the list.  We’ve never been to either and I have no idea where she got the ideas for those but as soon as she said them, I knew I wanted to make at least 1 happen for her.  Her dad called the next day and said his next training is going to be in Dallas…..fate?  I think so! We are definitely planning to piggy back on that trip!

Our Field Trip Wish List:

Word Art

But Julie is clear on the fact that enchantment doesn’t have to be these big, grand ideas.  Is there enchantment to be found in letting your 6 year old decide a location and plan an across-state-lines trip? Sure!  But all of that isn’t necessary.  As I learned in another blog post of hers, enchantment can be as simple as using cookies as your math manipulatives, taking our read aloud to the park (or Starbucks!), or dressing up in princess costumes to do their fairy tale Jot It Down project.

I want to see all of YOUR enchanted ideas!  How do you add enchantment to your school year? Any brilliant ideas for me?!

Wikki Stix Alphabet

Back in February we went on vacation to Maui and on the airplane, my girls received coloring books and samples of Wikki Stix from the flight attendants (seriously, A+ Alaskan Airlines!).  The girls loved the Wikki Stix and spent a good portion of the flight playing with them.  For a mom traveling with 2 small kids, anything that keeps them occupied is a total win in my book.

Imagine how awesome it was to see that Timberdoodle carries Wikki Stix and that they are used in an educational capacity! Timberdoodle has the Wikki Stix Alphabet in their Pre-K Curriculum Kit which is perfect for Kaylee’s age!

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Kaylee is 4.5 and is right in the middle of mastering her letters.  She knows most of them well enough that she sometimes gets bored doing the standard alphabet workbooks but she does need more practice to master them.  This Wikki Stix Alphabet set is perfect for her to keep practicing her letters while switching up to something new and different and FUN!

Wikki Stix are easy to use and easy to manipulate.  They bend and flex in the tiniest hands and you just push them gently onto the boards to stick.  The boards clean up with a dry paper towel without leaving a sticky mess around (because we’ve got enough of those already).  As per the instructions, we cut a few of them into halves and thirds but the girls were also happy to fold them over as needed.  Try as Kaylee might, they don’t just tear apart which is awesome if you have a little honey badger like I have 😉

Even 6.5 year old Avery got into it!  Since she wanted to try them out too, I gave her the boards with b and d since she still occasionally mixes those up.  She also went “rogue” and started spelling her name and small words with the Wikki Stix.

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As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite things about Timberdoodle curriculum is that it is FUN and the girls don’t necessarily see it as “doing schoolwork.”  Wikki Stix Alphabet totally fits into that category!  The girls love it and choose it during free play time, in addition to when we work it into school time.

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Anything that puts such huge smiles on my girls’ face is worth every penny….the fact that its educational?  A serious bonus!

 

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own!

Farm Life

My parents recently moved from the neighborhood where I grew up to a 5 acre hobby farm.  This has been our first visit to the farm and we are having a blast!!! 

I cannot imagine a better way to wake up than coffee on the deck, watching my horse run!! 

In addition to our normal family fun, this visit has been chock full of Grandma’s farm animals! I have owned my horse Cody for over 20 years and this is the first time that any of our horses have been able to be home rather than boarded at someone else’s farm. 

Grandma also has chickens, kittens, bottle fed baby goats, and she hatched a baby peacock while we’ve been here!!

I’m calling these 3 weeks an extended field trip because they sure have been educational! #homeschool 

Mud Run

The girls and I have been on vacation visiting my family. Our 3 weeks here have been packed with fun and one of those events was a kids mud run.  

Avery did the run with her aunt, uncle, grandma, and cousin. Kaylee did a few parts of the run but was too young to do it officially. I acted as the official photographer for our group!

They all had a blast but the clothes and shoes were a lost cause!!

“We homeschool so…..”

Do you have a favorite or funniest “we homeschool!” anecdote?  Where your child does something differently than other kids and you feel the need to explain the reason why is that you homeschool?

We went on a field trip with our co-op awhile back to a nature center.  Someone gave us a talk about bones, skulls, and native animals. It was really interesting and we learned some great info.  The instructor would hold up each skull and ask to which animal it belonged.  She was expecting the kids to raise their hands to answer but Avery just kept blurting it out.  Each time, the lady would look at her and remind her to raise her hand and then call on someone else to answer.   Avery literally had no idea what the lady meant, she just really did not know the concept of raising your hand to be called on.  Eventually, after like 3 rounds of this, I just blurted out “We homeschool!!”  And further explained that when I ask a question, she’s expected to answer it, not raise her hand.  We were there with our homeschool co-op so everyone laughed and agreed that it was a foreign concept to a lot of our littles.

I did, of course, explain the situation to Avery.  I explained to her that when there are so many people in a group, it can get a little crazy if everyone is blurting things out and so people are often expected to raise their hand and wait to be addressed before answering/speaking.  But really, I was just so darn happy that she was participating since she can often be shy in new situations!

Imagine you are at a dinner party and a song comes on.  Someone asks “Who sings this?”  If you know the answer, do you just blurt it out or do you raise your hand to answer the question?  We just blurt it out.  Maybe a couple people blurt it out, everyone laughs and agrees or discusses if they think it was a different band.  But in general, we don’t raise our hands and wait for the opportunity to answer a question.  I mean, that’s kind of weird if you think about it.

So yeah, I will concede that there ARE some things my kids are missing out on by being homeschooled….mainly how to raise their hands and how to stand in line!

But I think they’ll make it in life anyway.

The best Mother’s Day gift!

In anticipation of going out of town, my husband took the girls shopping a few weeks before Mother’s Day to pick out presents for me.

My husband bought me new grill tools.  We had recently joked about how grill accessories were a traditional fathers day gift but I am the grill master at our house and I really needed new ones. Score #1 for him!

The girls walked past an aisle and saw teapots.  They insisted on buying one for me.  At first, my husband thought it was a classic case of wanting to buy the first thing they saw.  But they explained to him that I had been wanting a teapot lately and that we had looked at them together recently. They went into detail about poetry teatime and how a teapot was necessary.  Daddy let them pick one out and crossed his fingers that I really did want one.  They were right!! Score #2!

They picked out a beautiful, shiny teapot that I LOVE.  However, my heart was bursting for a different reason.  The gift of a man who listens, really listens, to small children when they talk to him.  It would have been easy for him to brush them off, afterall, I had never mentioned wanting a teapot to him.  Those were conversations I only had with the girls.  But he didn’t brush them off.  He listened to them as explained why and for what I wanted a teapot.  He didn’t ruin the surprise by texting me and asking me if I really wanted one.  He knew that nobody spends as much time with me as those girls and if anyone knew most what I had been looking for, it would be them.  He values them and knows their worth and THAT is the best present of all.

Naturally, we had our first poetry teatime on Mother’s Day and it was magical!! We try to do it once a week but the girls ask for it 3-4 times a week. Poetry teatime is everyone’s favorite!

You are my reason.

I have had a classroom sign saved in my phone as inspiration…a reminder of how I want my girls to feel and be treated when they walk into our “classroom”. When we sit down or go outside or lay in the bed to do our work, I want them to know that they are capable, that they are important, and that they are my reason for everything.

Then my husband made me some blank wooden signs out of scrap wood and I decided to turn that inspiration picture into a sign that can hang in our home.  A sign that my girls can look at and read daily.

I had a bit of trouble with the paint bleeding but I was able to correct enough of that and overall, I’m THRILLED with how it turned out.