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 

“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.

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.

Electro Dough

We are at that point in the school year where I am cleaning out the curriculum closet to make room for the new stuff.  I’m basically going through everything to see what I still want the girls to finish, what we never used and can sell/trash, and I’m even finding treasures that I had forgotten about.

One of those was the DIY Electro Dough Kit from techwillsaveus.com  I had ordered this at the beginning of last year in our Timberdoodle kit with the idea that the girls could do it with dad (he worked as an apprentice electrician for a number of years and his dad is an electrician).  The major problem with that plan?  I’m not sure I ever told dad about it or I might have mentioned it briefly but then stuck it in the curriculum closet where he never goes!  And here I was, wondering why he never did it with them….whoops!

We finally took it out today and played with it.  We had a ton of fun but the kit is seriously lacking in instruction/explanation.  The kit has the dough recipe and some brief examples of easy circuits you can make to get started.  No explanation of what the parts are or WHY it works so it helped that we had an electrician making with us, lol.  You can go to their website for more advanced projects and the manual which goes more in depth in the terminology and the WHYs.  So it really depends on your own personal knowledge of electricity and circuits as to whether or not you would need the manual—I need it to help me explain why/how you can turn the lights and buzzer on with play dough but dad didn’t need it.

The thing that I really love about this kit is that we can keep it and do this again as much as we like.  At their ages, the girls LOVED the novelty of getting the lights to turn on using play dough but they weren’t totally interested in the concepts behind it.  But as their curiosity grows or if they have a unit on electricity in their next science course, we can pull it back out, make a new batch of dough, and keep playing and learning!

So for now, this will get put back into the curriculum closet and hopefully not forgotten about this time…

Tinkerlab Art Challenge

Tinkerlab recently did a 5 day art start challenge in which we participated. It was free and used mostly we already had around the house.  There was a Facebook group to share, ask questions, etc. But each day, we got an email explaining the setup, materials, daily journal prompts, and extension ideas.

We are crafty people so daily art isn’t that far off of our norm. However, I did get some great new ideas and some guidance in how I can best foster the girls’ creativity. 

We had a blast with this art challenge and the girls loved the surprise every day of seeing what the setup would be.

Day 1 setup.

Avery’s creation with her painted coffee filters…a Hawaiian Hula Girl!

We will definitely be watching for anymore of these organized art challenges but until then, I will pull out my Tinkerlab book and schedule in different setups for the girls on a weekly basis. They love them and it is so easy to get a setup going (way easier than any Pinterest art projects we’ve tried!).