Monday, November 28, 2016

Wild+Free Reflection


I've been reflecting ALOT!  (I do my best reflecting in the shower like every mom seems to)

I love looking back at our road schooling trip.  It makes my heart flutter when I think back!  That was an epic family moment of sweet memories that we will forever hold in our hearts.  We connected more than EVER as husband and wife, parent to son...as a family! Life was simple "up there".  And it seems to be easier to connect when things are simple.

After a month of bliss, we returned to LIFE.  Going here and there and everywhere!  I started to slowly disconnect from that simplicity.  I started to not find time to sit down and listen to my kids play (or fight depending on the day) like I did EVERY afternoon on the porch in Colorado.  I was quickly losing these moments because LIFE was back. (And laundry!)

I made a promise to myself upon our return.  I was going to try to maintain simplicity back in real LIFE... God clearly heard a sweet prayer that I sent up one evening in November.  God knew that this momma was hungry for connecting with my boys again.  And he knew that I needed to reflect in a place other than the shower!  LOL  

And this is how he answered that sweet prayer...

I had seen a post regarding a Wild and Free conference in Wimberley Texas...HOLY CRAP!  That's only 45 minutes away...on a ranch...all about being a mom and homeschooling!  

I was so in, but just needed a ticket (and maybe 1 more for a sweet momma friend)  I said a quick sweet prayer and left it at that ...

The happy ending to this story is that WE both ended up getting tickets and off we went, BIG Texas-sized truck and all!

This is a member of "my tribe"and awesome homeschooling momma of 3 boys!

We heard from a hand-selected bunch of Wild and Free Mommas that inspired me to the fullest!
I was blown away.
Oh this lady is one of my favorites!  The sweetest Sarah Makenzie!
https://amongstlovelythings.com/
Jodi Mockabee!!  She's pretty amazing!!!
https://www.instagram.com/jodimockabee/?hl=en

     
Rea Berg - mom, grandmother, author!  http://bfbooks.com/

And we got RC Cola's delivered by donkeys!  Texas fo'sure!

They spoke boldly about being comfortable with who YOU are as a Mom and a Homeschooler.  They shared stories with us that made us laugh and cry.  But most importantly, they made us reflect!

So I came home, ready, to become to explore a new homeschooling style.
We have read more, together!
We have explored more, together!
We have learned to slow down and enjoy...more...together!





If you look back, throughout my blogs, you can clearly see the evolution of our homeschool.  I'm not ashamed of anything that I've done.  I am just amazed at the journey it's been...and it's not over yet!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Using the World as Our Classroom - "cabin sweet cabin"

Once we got to our family cabin (our home base for 1 month), I knew that I wanted to focus on 1 thematic unit and a few individual units based on the interests of my little learners.  

Our BIG focus for the month was “The Hydrologic Cycle” aka “the water cycle”.  What better place to really understand this than in the beautiful mountains dusted with snow.

I printed out these great placemats from, none other than, the USGS.  We walked around Lake George, looking at the lovely backdrop of mountains, streams and the lake to discuss and talk about how the water got there.

Side Note:  The boys were throwing rocks into the lake the WHOLE time during this lesson/discussion.  I found the interesting!  We often tell kids to be still and listen, and sometimes that is appropriate.  But other times, let them "throw rocks in the lake" or kick the rocks in the dirt.  That's how they learn...boys need to be learning by seeing, by hearing and by doing!



When we got back to the cabin, we made a model using clay and rocks in a plastic shoe box.  I cut a hole in the lid and we added a small collider (that was my great grandmothers...so cool), along with some ice cubes.



We placed it in the sun and observed...then played...then came back to observe throughout the day!  We saw the ice melting, forming a stream down the mountain, down the rocks to form a lake!

We even left it out over night and THIS happened!!!  They were so excited to touch and feel the ice/snow that had formed over night!


THIS is Child-led learning (and child inspired)

When you have a dinosaur lover that only wants to read about dinosaurs and play with dinosaurs and talk about dinosaurs...you take him to visit DINOSAURS!


The Dinosaur Resource Center - Woodland Park Colorado

And when you have a 5 year old that is obsessed about anything that can fly.  You make some fun stops like these...

Ft. Garland Colordao

Penny Arcade -Manitou Spring, Colorado

And when you little learner is CRAZY about knowing the time, you buy him a cool watch to start teaching him how to recognize numbers.


Counting with Pinecones was HIS favorite thing to do in the mornings

At-Home Learning

When we were "out there" learning, we were right here.... 
Exploring
Cooking
Soaring...


Relaxing and Writing...

Fishing, Climbing, Observing, Listening...



...doing life as a family!


* Side Story - My great grandfather had this cabin built for his family back in 1940.  It's a magical place and means so much to me and my family.  My Mema was "one of the best"!  She was always up for simple, fun and it was always with friends or family.  I "talked" to Mema a lot this trip.  Specifically, when the boys would play the player piano in the front room or when we'd hike up to big rock every morning as a family.  Or when Mason and I made playdough in the same kitchen that her mother once cooked.  

Mema would have LOVED these boys! and they would have loved my Mema!* 


Anything else you'd like to know about our trip?  Or maybe you you have some questions about how we did this and that?

Feel free to leave a comment or email me (mommyslittlelearners@gmail.com).


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Using the world as OUR classroom - Our first "leg"


This world is a beautiful place and what an amazing classroom it can be for families!  And now with the internet, your curriculum for your road schooling trip is just a click away.

Once my hubby and I had come up with our route and stops, I researched a lot!  I've found that most major attractions have an educational link for school field trips.  Those links are PACKED with printables, book titles and so much more that can really make learning fun (and easy) when you are on the road.

For our epic road trip, we were stopping at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, so I looked at their website and discovered their brilliant Jr Ranger’s Program!  BOOM..that was going to be my core curriculum for a few days.

The Great Sand Dunes had a great set-up in their Visitor's Center for their Jr. Ranger Program.

And we learned right with our kiddos as we observed how ALL this sand blows across the plains and piles up to create THIS...


We called it "America's BIGGEST sandbox"!

We camped at The Great Sand Dunes Camp Ground...this was our view!


Side note:  The Jr. Ranger Program is AMAZING!!!

Find out more, here, about the Jr. Ranger


Our next stop was a geothermal swimming pool in Hopper, Colorado called The Sand Dune Swimming Pool.  One our first day, my husband (who is a USGS hydrogeologist) helped us incorporate this into our morning lesson before we hit the pool for some swimming.


 

J's diagram of the Geothermal well that provided the HOT water for the pools.

We camped there for a few nights, so learning, in the fresh mountain air, was the perfect way to start our day...followed by our VERY LONG recess at a pool that was a perfect 98 degrees!



And this is just the beginning of our trip!  Check back to see how we learned at the cabin....more Jr. Ranger adventures, some dinosaurs and learning all about "The Hydrologic Cycle".

Happy Learning with your Little Ones!!!





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