Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Outdoor Life Challenge Interrupted!

Our regularly scheduled program has been interrupted! Family vacations have a way of doing that. :)

I have a Week 6 log written down, but I don't have access to the pictures I wanted to post with it. I'm not even sure what "week" it is now. We're going to explore the area and see what happens. I don't think I'll be able to post pictures for awhile. 

We're not "doing school" but we've got our curiosity and some nice weather. Oh, and nature notebooks! I couldn't resist bringing those! Just in case...

Happy outdoorsing, wherever you are!

~ Lindsey

Monday, May 22, 2017

One big Suburban, three little kids, and over 3600 km...

We're gearing up for a road trip around here! Yes, over 3600 km of driving, round trip. With three kids. Gulp.

This baby has 3 bench seats and 9 seatbelts.

It will be the first time our family has undertaken such an adventure! 

I have many memories of road trips as a kid. If we wanted to go anywhere from our small town in the NWT, we had to drive quite a distance. (It was three hours to the nearest town, with a fire tower and an outhouse in between.) I know Dad always eagerly anticipated the first Tim Horton's, a mere ten hours into the drive. Back in those days, I remember sleeping on the floor of the backseat, or stretched out in the back of the wood panelled station wagon. I remember the tragedy of being stuck in the middle seat between two sisters who complained you were in their space! I remember my legs going numb after sitting still for so long. I remember getting out at various provincial and territorial borders to take a picture with the big welcome signs. I remember stopping to take pictures at the world's largest Nickel(!) and Canada Goose(!) conveniently situated in the middle of nowhere, aka northern Ontario. Fun times indeed! 

And just how did we pass the time, in the bygone days before in-car DVD players and various mobile devices? 

I remember reading books, at least until I got queasy. I remember trying to sleep in awkward positions, jolted out of slumber by some pothole with drool leaking out the side of my mouth. I remember playing Punchbuggy and I Spy and seeing who could spot the most license plates from different provinces or states. And I remember a lot of just staring out the window. I don't suppose kids do much of that these days.

But I think what I liked best was the music and audio books we played in ye ole cassette player. I don't remember all the albums now, but I remember singing along! We liked to sing as a family. (Sometimes Dad would even play the harmonica that we kept handily in the glove compartment. While driving. The only thing was he tended to exceed the speed limit just a tad while doing so . . .) I have vague recollections of Agatha Christie and James Herriot audio books too, borrowed from our local library. 

Our twenty year old "new" to us Suburban doesn't have a DVD player, or even a CD player! We're letting our kids have the "vintage" car experience with a classic tape player and roll down windows. But we've got a $3 piece of technology that looks like a cassette tape with a cord that plugs into a "modern" device. So one thing I'm definitely doing for this trip is loading up on some of our favourite music and audio books. It's certainly a lot easier with digital files! 

What's on our list for this road trip? Here are a few I'm adding to our road trip playlist:

Music & Musical Stories:

  • Maestro Classics - Including our favourites Peter and the Wolf and The Carnival of the Animals. We got the whole set at the start of the school year! These have been great. We've used some for our composer study, and the rest we listen to just for fun.
    • Right now you can get some of these albums as part of the Build Your Bundle sale! Carnival of the Animals is included in Elementary Bundle #1, which also has my Advent devotional, Abraham's Advent! (Thanks for using my affiliate link!) 
The BIGGEST Homeschool Sale of the Year!

  • Classical Kids - Mr. Bach Comes to Call and Beethoven Lives Upstairs (We just got these second hand, and I haven't listened to them since I was a kid. I'm excited to introduce them to my kids.) 

Audio Books:

  • James Herriot Treasury for Children ~ narrated by Jim Dale (AO Y1 booklist)
  • Winnie-the-Pooh ~ narrated by Bernard Cribbins (AO Y1 free read)
  • Peter Pan ~ narrated by Jim Dale (AO Y1 free read)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ~ narrated by Anne Hathaway
  • A Little Princess ~ narrated by Justine Eyre
  • Anne of Green Gables ~ narrated by Karen Savage (free from Libravox)
  • Teddy's Button and Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince ~ from Lamplighter Theatre

So with all of that loaded up on the iPad, and a few of my mix tapes from the 90's, we should have lots for our listening pleasure. 


Interested in the Build Your Bundle sale? It's live today! If you're in the market for digital, printable or online curriculum, now is a great chance to get some amazing deals!

If you'd like to try Maestro Classic's Carnival of the Animals (and my own Abraham's Advent!) it's part of this bundle here:

Elementary Bundle #1 - Save 86%!

Or you can browse all the bundles and see what you can get for up to 96% off. (If you end up purchasing using one of my links, you are supporting a fellow homeschooler! Thank you!)

The BIGGEST Homeschool Sale of the Year - ends 5/30/17

~ Lindsey

Friday, May 19, 2017

A bit of homeschool excitement ~ and a Build Your Bundle giveaway!

I'm just popping online this morning to share something that is exciting in my world. Have you ever heard of the Build Your Bundle sale? It's a great way to get all kinds of digital homeschool curriculum at discounted prices. 

Enter to Win ALL 20 Bundles - Over $4,000 Value!

The thing is, little ol' me has a product in the sale this year!! I feel like such a tiny fish in the big sea of the online homeschool world, but there you go. (My main writing blog is Red Letters, if you'd like to have a look.) 

This year's sale starts on Monday, and I've had a sneak peek at the bundles. There are some great deals, so if you're a homeschooler you may want to check it out! 

Also, if you click through to the Build Your Bundle site using one of my links here, I will get a little more back in my pocket if you end up making a purchase. I'm not big on sales pitches, but I thought I'd mention it in case someone would like to take advantage of the sale and support a fellow homeschooler. :) 

This weekend there's a pre-sale giveaway happening too! There's a chance to win all 20 bundles, and also a coupon toward your purchase. 

For more information on the sale and what it's all about, just click on the link below.

Enter to Win ALL 20 Bundles - Over $4,000 Value!

You can get your coupon now, and the sale starts on Monday!

I'm not familiar with all of the curriculum, but here are a few of the contributors whose products we've used and enjoyed in our home:

We got the whole set of these albums at the beginning of the school year and have been enjoying the music and stories. Our favourites include Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals. We used a few of these with our composer study this year. It's a fun way to introduce and increase classical music in your family. Great for anyone, not just homeschoolers!

We've used Reading Lessons Through Literature for the phonics aspect of our reading lessons. It's a comprehensive yet uncomplicated program that fits in well with a Charlotte Mason approach. 

There are some lovely fine arts series put together for you here. If you're looking for ideas for your next Charlotte Mason artist study, this is a great resource.

Perhaps there's a deal on that will be just right for you. :)

~ Lindsey

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Outdoor Life Challenge: Week 5 Log

Here are the days I had written something down in addition to the kids' usual 30-60 minutes outside before our morning lessons.

Ah, spring!


It was a rainy day. Thanks to MEC one piece rain suits, the kids went out twice! They weren't exactly enthused to begin with. There may or may not have been some complaining and/or stomping and/or door slamming. But once they got out, they had fun making a mudslide, biking around the driveway,  investigating various tunnels and holes, and doing things that only make sense when you're 5 and almost 7.


We all went out on the sunny front porch after breakfast. We hung up the baby swing and Ivy had her first go in it. We also set up the playpen on the porch so all three kids could hang out for a little bit while I was inside doing things. The afternoon was taken up with our weekly expedition to town.


This was another sick day for me. Thankfully, by the afternoon I was starting to feel better. It was sunny and warm, and the kids begged me to go outside with them. I brought out a blanket and the big black Handbook of Nature Study and lay out in the sun while the kids played. Eventually, they were curious to know what I was reading about, so we read a little bit about flowers together. Then we had an impromptu dandelion dissection, a mini rainbow scavenger hunt (blue, purple and red were hardest to find), and a "Picture Painting" session. We played "I Spy," and noticed how we had to keep moving the blanket out of the shadow of the house as the sun swung around the sky. When Ivy woke up from her nap, she joined us on the blanket and was happy to sit and watch the world go by. The older two picked dandelions for her!


This morning we sat out on the porch together again after breakfast. This is one of my favourite things about the warmer weather! We did some spring cleaning in the afternoon, which was mostly inside, but when that was done the kids headed out to play and Micah joined them after work.


Sunday afternoon we went as a family for a walk down the path beside the river. We met up with the neighbour and had a nice chat, found some marsh marigolds growing, and generally enjoyed our time together.

I don't always do a good job of keeping track of our time outside. One of the reasons for this is that we're in and out quite a bit. I think that's a good thing! The outdoors just becomes an extension of our house. I'm so thankful for our big yard and the many wonders right outside our door!

It was a difficult week in some respects. An ear infection, a headache, multiple dentist and public health appointments, and generally being off our schedule made for some trying moments. But the time that we did spend outside together stands out as some of the best moments of the week.

Nature helps us all to clear that mental fog, resets attitudes, and brings us all together. Being cooped up inside can lead to tunnel vision. Getting out expands our horizons and helps us see beyond the many little things that can weigh us down. It wasn't perfect. I didn't reach my goals. And yet, every moment was worth it!

{Note to self: Become more familiar with flower anatomy.}

Happy outdoorsing!

~ Lindsey

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Outdoor Life Challenge: Week 4 Log

More catching up to do! Last week we still had one sick child, so we weren't operating at our best. I didn't get outside with the kids every day, although they played outside every day.


We found our very first dandelion of the season! It was on the south side of the house. We decided that was nature journal worthy, so we brought out our supplies and each made our own entry. Funny how such a common little flower can bring so much joy.

Mom's and Arden's journal entries

I think the passing cars may have been wondering what we were doing lying beside the house staring at the ground!
This is Arden's shorthand for dandelion! She was careful to observe and replicate the colour of the stem. 

Jack's entry

We also had our afternoon snack outside!

And dried some winter outdoor clothes on the line, with the hopes that they can be put away for the season. . .

All together: 90 min in the afternoon


No entry!


We were in town in the afternoon, but once we got home we all did some yard work together. That's always fun. :) We even did a bit of garden weeding. Arden was delighted with all the worms she found in her little plot, particularly with a big, fat one that she decided was the grandma of them all!

All together: 60-90 min in the afternoon


It rained in the morning, but the kids have been making good use of their MEC rain gear so far this year! I decided last year that if we were going to be spending more time outside "whatever the weather," that we would need the right kind of clothing. The one piece rain suits are great. On chilly days the kids put warm layers underneath. So far, so good! They played outside by themselves in the morning.

By afternoon, the clouds had moved away and things were dryer. While the baby napped, we snuggled together on the front porch swing under some blankets and read a few chapters of Farmer Boy.

All together: 60ish min?


No entry, and I'm drawing a blank on that day! I keep thinking I'll remember what I did on what day, but if I don't write it down, things get foggy.


1. Spend a portion of our day together outside

This didn't happen every day this week. However, I went out at least 3/5 days. The times we did spend outside were good.

2. Have a snack or lunch outside

The kids had a few afternoon snacks outside.

3. Nature journaling 

We all made an entry on Monday - the humble dandelion!

4. Make outdoor play our default play

This is slowly progressing. This week Micah got out the baseball bats and we rounded up various balls. The kids spent quite a bit of time with their dad hitting balls in the backyard. I love to see them playing together! With warmer and lighter evenings, the kids will often head back out after supper for awhile.

The weekend was also great for family time outside! Weekends aren't technically part of my challenge, but we're making more of an effort as a family to get out together too. On Sunday, Micah had the older two off for an expedition, and I took Ivy for a walk down to the pond. She is getting used to crawling around on the grass now, but it still spooks her a bit! I'm looking forward to her discovering so much for the very first time this year.

5. Continue my own nature education

I read a little further in "Home Education."

A few random thoughts . . . 

I can't tell you how refreshing and almost healing it is to hear the robin song again. There was one evening in particular where Mr. Robin was singing right outside the dining room window. It must have been about 8:30, because it was almost dark. I opened the window and sat in the dim light and just listened. There were many things competing for my mental attention that night, but the robin song seemed to cut right through all of that. We live in an age of distraction and mental stress. I think God has a way of calling us back to more natural rhythms, if we have ears to hear.

Happy outdoorsing!

~ Lindsey
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...