A few simple Home Ed resources… doesnt have to cost a small fortune!

When I first started looking into homeschooling I thought it would cost a fortune to get a little set up going. I scrolled through blogs and Instagram feeds of flashy and expensive resources. I love looking through these things still for inspiration and connection to a great community but initially I found it a little intimidating. What I soon realised was, it was more about taking away a lot of the unnecessary  and unused “stuff”, that served no purpose and was just taking up space. It was more about really looking at what the kids used and taking a minimalistic approach with maximum usage focus. Also things that facilitated their learning and interests, also things that had a beautiful quality about them, or were handcrafted.

So I thought I would share a few things that the kids love to use and use all the time. Our simple approach has the kids playing with things over and over and finding new ways in which to reutilize the same stuff. It’s been super interesting to watch. It’s really hard to moderate what kids in the modern world have in terms of excess. They have so much! So I feel for us it’s about providing more in terms of quality and experience and trying to scale down the amount of unused and waste.

So here are a few things we love to use… also I might add our biggest resource by far is the internet. We use it to print charts and find information, watch documentaries, look up projects and experiments… recipes.. how to everything! I think internet, books/library card and a simple art and craft kit will take you 90% of the way, then just get out and explore!

Felt and wood toy food:

We do a lot of real-time cooking and baking and the kids love it! But they love to play shops or cafes and cook up lots of delish “pretend food” too. They use this stuff daily, they have a little toy register that they use to punch in the numbers and at the moment my son is really starting to become interested in how much things cost and the value of money. They love to lay the food out and draw it, they play tea parties and they feed it to their stuffed toys. It’s such a hit!

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Musical Instruments:

It seems music is always playing in our house, whether it be via the speakers where the kids play musicals and tracks they like, or the constant singing that is coming out of the wee mouths of babes, or my husband plays a few instruments and we love to play some vinyl! I love as soon as they hear something they like, it’s straight to the musical baskets for party time. We have bells, shakers, maracas, triangles, tambourines you name it! My little girl loves jamming on the Uke. Music is a fundamental part of our household. It’s a way we express and connect. I find with these simple percussion instruments they are such a good outlet and release for the kids and simply just so much fun.

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Art Supplies and Air drying clay:

Our art cupboards are always full! We are all always trying out new mediums for the kids to experiment with but I always feel that there is something to be made when the cupboards are full. We tend to use acrylic paints, watercolour paint, oil pastels, beeswax crayons, coloured pencils, air drying clay, hot glue gun, moulding clay, craft nic nacs, coloured paper, ribbons and pretty much any thing from the recycle bin that sparks interest from the kids to create projects, models, toys and art! They tend to ask now “can we make something out of this?” We use an awesome online programme called Artventure which I know a lot of homeschoolers use and that is widely used in schools. My son loves this and is now able to set it up on the computer, navigate it himself and knows all the equipment he will need to get going. I highly recommend a look at this great tool. I also wanted to note how awesome air drying clay is. I always have some in the cupboard and my son loves to use his hands to make all sorts of stuff. Generally he paints it after and then plays with it. It’s such an easy to use and great addition to any art kit.

Books :

I love books and this is a little weakness of mine. I find we utilise our local library ALOT! We even library hop! But I do love having some good quality books at home to refer too. Who doesn’t love reading and re reading books! I tend to spend money on good books at birthdays and christmas. I have had some good finds at Op shops and charity stores too. Again I do try to navigate from that same space of quality over quantity. It’s something we have tried to spend time really instilling in the kids, a love of books and reading. I feel like it is a gift you have for life. You can take anywhere and can get lost in worlds so far from your own, find any knowledge you seek.

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LEGO:

You can never go wrong with a tub of lego! We have a load of duplo that the kids play with and now my son is getting older he has a few sets of the modelling lego. To be honest we don’t really follow the recommended age as they both love playing with both sets. Lego is great for creative play, counting, colours, problem solving, you can pretty much use it for anything you want to teach! They get so creative with what they build and we are going through a big fortress building phase which is awesome to see how my son is figuring out how to solve the problems that arise when you have an idea in your head, that you want to build and bring to life.

 

Globe :

We got this Oregon Globe for christmas last year and it’s interactive. It’s pretty neat, as you navigate the wand over countries, cities or places it can tell you facts, national anthems, games, quizzes all that relate to the area you would like to know about. My son is particularly curious about earth, maps and planets so this really appeals to him. He is learning how to work it but really enjoys all the information that it relays. We also use the globe as a constant reference to the many questions popping up about languages, places and travel. It’s out on our dining table all the time!

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Chalkboard :

This small chalkboard is indoors in the kids space. They use it to draw all the time and love it. It also has a white board on the other side. I am finding this particularly great at the moment as we are starting to work on spelling with my son. He is always asking how is this spelt? and that? so the chalkboard is out and easily accessible for him or I to write on. He is also starting to practice words he remembers on there and ask is this spelt right? It’s old-fashioned yes! But it’s reliable and handy! Oh and it works for us at least. its great for me to write a bunch of words on for him to copy in his book throughout the day also. Again this is something that you can adapt for many learning uses. I think we scored this from Ikea a while ago!

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These are things that many would have in their home and I guess what I am trying to say is that you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune. Especially when they are small because there is learning opportunities in all the stuff you have around the house. I would highly recommend joining your local library and many have toy libraries as well. Visit your local op shops and charity stores and you will be amazed at what you can pick up! Mostly though I would reccomend to get outdoor and go exploring. You will be amazed at the kind of learning that happens on a bush walk, a visit to a beach, a trip to a new park. You will talk about all you see and can extend on the learning through things as simple as conversation, a quick google search can answer so many questions! They love just doing and being apart of your life.

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I would love to hear some of your favourite learning resources. Please share your experiences. Just remember it’s not about quantity but quality and really the time you invest in your children is far more valuable than anything that can be bought!

Peace x

A

Field Trips – Wollongong 

This weekend we extended our weekend, due to Anzac Day and headed out of town . We’ve have had a couple of science museums on our radar in Wollongong for a while and so we decided as it was Miss 2’s b’day we would celebrate as a family on a little adventure.

We didn’t really get Little A any gifts (she managed to get so many from family and friends anyhow). We have decided that we would prefer to give the kids more experiences over material gifts for birthdays. So we try to encourage this as much as possible.

I had seen somewhere, probably in my constant, addictive googling! That there was a kids only museum in Wollongong. THE KIDS EARLY START LEARNING SPACE. I thought this sounded pretty cool and as Mr 4 loves going to museums and anything science based, (and Miss 2 loves anything her older brother likes), it’s been on the radar for sometime. We decided to get there as early as it opened and I think this was a good idea because by lunch time it was pretty packed. We went on a Saturday but it was the tail end of school holidays so that could also be a factor. The space was awesome in the 3.5hours we spent there, the kids were busy and engaged the whole time. There were many different areas and it catered for many different learning abilities. I loved how hands on it was. They run shows throughout the day also. We didn’t get to either of them as the kids were “too busy”. Some of the activity areas included an area for human body where you could brush oversized teeth, human body puzzles, books and charts. Felt wall hanging where you could move body parts, human body torso, that you could take body parts in and out of to discover where they were positioned in the body.  The shop and cafe, this was probably by far the kids favourite area. My kids LOVE creative, imaginative play and being able to get their own shopping trolley fill it up with groceries, take it to the register was right up their alley. There was a little pizza and sandwich making space, like a cafe restaurant and the parents could take a seat and the kids could come over take your order and make some food. It was super cool. They also had a giant mouth and esophagus that the kids could crawl through and see how the food travels. Another highlight with its burping and farting noises! There was a huge pirate ship to play on, a building site to get right into and loads of musical and dress up areas and activities. Like I said we were there for almost 4 hours and if the kids weren’t totally exhausted we could have stayed longer as they loved it. The cost of entry was $60 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I would highly recommend this space if you live near, or visit regularly the Wollongong area. Even if you are passing through its definitely worth a visit.

The next day we visited THE SCIENCE CENTRE AND PLANETARIUM. When we heard there was a planetarium in town we knew without a doubt that we had to go. Mr 4 has had such a strong interest in space, planets and all things astrology for some time now! When we told him we were going he was pumped. The planetarium does a few shows daily and it’s really worth a visit. You are looking up into space and seeing constellations and then go on a ride through space with some alien friends. It was super cool and miss 2 and mr 4 both sat through the 1/2 hour show without so much as a peep. Actually so did mum and dad!!

The science centre also runs a bubble and balloons show. Which was fantastic. It again goes for approximately half an hour and is a demonstration and a few experiments. Mr 4 got up and volunteered to be a helper in an experiment which was great to see. Usually not so confident in standing up in front of a crowd like that. It really showed me how when a child is engaged in something and has that wanting to learn they will. They will let you know when they are ready.

The actual Science Centre itself was also pretty neat. There were many displays and it’s set over 2 levels. Lots of hands on and tactile learning to be done. Some of the displays included bee keeping, the effects of earthquakes, dinosaurs, parachute/gravity, electricity and magnets, plus so much more! I also loved watching how Miss 2 and Mr 4 navigated the space so differently, they both went on everything but were getting different things from it and that was really cool to see. Again we spent another half a day here and the kids were very much engaged the whole time. My recommendation especially with little kids would be to check out the show times online before you go and arrange your visit around that. Again the cost of entry was $60 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I would also suggest taking your own lunch as the cafe is full of snack type food and not a lot of healthy options.

So we loved this as a bit of a birthday get away and treat for my daughter. It was heaps better than presents that she wouldn’t remember and it was not only educational but a lovely chance for us to connect as a family. The kids were pumped about the adventure to get down there, the thrill of sleeping in a hotel and getting to out and visit heaps of fun stuff! The greatest moments are those shared amongst our loved ones. I love sharing experiences where we are learning together.. Being able to watch my kids and see them grow not only in a literal sense but in a spiritual sense is such a divine gift.

Please if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask or if there is anything else you think i should add let me know!

 

Many blessings xx

Children’s Book Review: I AM YOGA – Susan Verde, Art Peter H Reynolds

So a few weeks ago now I completed a kids yoga teacher training course. It was awesome and I loved every bit! Although it was funny to observe myself in a large learning group, I find I do get overwhelmed and can feel myself kinda slip into some old bad habits of being hard on myself and feeling doubtful of one’s capabilities. But in saying that I was able to take a step back and check myself, like “hey sure I am not a super bendy, yoga master, but I have a hell of a lot of life experience, knowledge and depth that I can share. I have a lot to offer and I am passionate about giving children tools to be the best in mind, body and spirit they can be, so  hold up a minute and just do this.”

So over the last few weeks I have been looking for some resources that I can use, adapt and that inspire me and I came across this little gem that I thought I must share! It’s such a sweet read and for anyone who wants to get there kids attention with yoga or alternatively see if they have an interest, this could be a great starting point.  I know I already said it but it really is such a sweet read!

So I would say this book would be great for pre schoolers to early primary. But that is just me, I kinda think if you are enthusiastic the joy is infectious and as I read to my 4 year old, my almost 2 year old loved it also. Plus the illustrations are stunning and really detailed. It takes you through a series of 16 poses throughout the story and as I read through to Mr 4, he is happy to impress me with what he can do.  He tells me ” This is easy I can, I can do this!” and ” Oh this one is a bit hard mum”. It’s great to watch them navigate their bodies through a gentle instruction and to see their reactions.

I love how the book begins with a young girl who is feeling “small in a world so big”,  “wondering if she fits in”, feeling overwhelmed by life. ( Hey I still have these feelings) This could even be a great introduction for children, which no doubt there are many whom are experiencing these similar feelings but finding it hard to express or communicate them. Also a subtle way for parents to open up a dialogue if they have any concerns. She the goes on to “tell my wiggling body to be still”, “tell my thinking mind to be quiet” and “tell my racing breath to be slow” and so it begins ..

She closes her eyes, opens her heart, mind and imagines… I AM YOGA!

Then she goes on a journey through the trees, sky, ocean and so on and makes her way through the following poses :Mountain , Tree, Airplane, Star, Half moon, Boat, Camel, Eagle, Downward Dog, Warrior 1 and 2, Peaceful Warrior, Flower, Bow/Basket, Child’s, Relaxation.

She then comes to the end feeling calmer, happy, loved as her mind is still, her body is relaxed and her breath is steady. It’s really simple but addresses a lot and I found it super effective and easy for my kids to connect with. I love the wording as it’s so gentle, magical, soft and really encourages that connection.

I also like at the end  of the book, each pose is explained in more depth, a “how to” with sanskrit name also.  So it can meet many different ages and learning levels.

So if you are looking into some books and resources for kids to play and have fun in the realm of yoga. If you want to introduce them to or even create a little morning or bedtime ritual I would highly recommend this book. It’s a beautiful read and I feel lighter and brighter after I read it also!  I will also be trying to share some tips, techniques and resources I come across as I navigate my way through the amazing stuff that is on offer out there.

Please let me know how you go with it or if you have read it before!

Blessings friends.

 

Play doh Sundays

As we woke this Sunday morning I myself was quite tired but happy to have had a bit of relief from the heat overnight. The weeks have been hot down here in Australia as to be expected at this time of year, but upon waking to a overcast and cooler morning I truly felt grateful.

We pottered around the house with usual Sunday morning activities, breakfast, play it was a gentle to start to the day. We started talking about what we wanted to do for the day and as the drizzle of rain continued outside we decided something crafty might be fun. We wanted to use what we had at home so to the cupboards we searched and then we googled. After googling a little we thought making some homemade play doh might be fun. Although we had most the ingredients but not quiet all. So Dad and lil O made a list and under took the mission of the 10 minute drive up to the shop for some salt and food colouring.

We sat, all for of us and started to measure and follow the recipe we had found online. It was lovely to watch both kids so engaged and having a ball using their hands to knead the doh.As  we made red play doh first, it is O’s favourite colour it opened up a discussion about primary colours and secondary colours. Also questioning if we mixed this colour with this colour what would be the result? There is something so grounding about making something with your hands, feeling it, plying it, creating it and enjoying it. It’s a special gift to give your children to make your own things, not always store bought. Their is such a sense of achievement and joy.

Time flew by and we had such a beautiful family morning doing something that was inexpensive, kids loved it, we connected and engaged, we learnt something and the thing I was most pleased about was that both kids seemed to connect and enjoy equally. It was one of those moments that kinda happened organically and felt like such a beautiful space to be present in. It’s really something special to connect as a family, to get into a rhythm in which you are all in sync. I find with small children this can be challenging at times as their are so many variables and ultimately they are just dealing with so much (as are we generally.)

Here is the recipe we used

PLAY DOH RECIPE

2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

1 cup cold water

1 tbs oil  (we used vegetable oil worked great)

2 drops food colouring or as needed ( we used a bit more )

  • optional glitter  we added this in at the end for some fun it did get everywhere but had a cool affect

PROCESS:

  • Combine plain flour and salt
  • Add water, food colouring and oil. Mix well till combined
  • Knead till you can roll in a ball
  • If consistency is too wet add more flour
  • Add glitter if desired

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I highly recommend doing this with your kids and I would love to hear or see how you go so please comment if you try and like it. Take some time time to play and connect, enjoy and watch the little souls shine. You may even relax and have some fun too.

Peace