Following a Trail

The other day I wrote a post about how to design your own curriculum (Living Curriculum). In it I gave steps for revealing opportunities around you that are aligned with your learning goals.

Well, the last few weeks I have been wondering what kind of environmental project I wanted to do with the kids. We spend a lot of time outside loving nature but I wanted to do something to give back; I was looking for a service project we could engage in. 

I had read an article a little while back about a dead whale found with its stomach clogged with plastic. I said something about it to the kids. We went grocery shopping and didn’t buy anything in plastic, talking about how so much of it ends up in the oceans.  Then my daughter noticed trash on the side of the road as we drove by and we talked about picking up trash sometime. 

Later, I came across an article about the problem of plastic (and trash in general) in our oceans, suggesting trash clean-ups as a way to be environmentally involved

So, you can see, there was an emerging theme in regards to an environmental project. Yet I wondered if picking up trash was enough.

Literally the next morning after that thought, I went outside to wheel the garbage can in. What I found was that somehow my garbage did not end up on the truck…it was all over the street. Obviously I picked it up and reflected on the humor of the universe. Trash pick-up seemed like a valid offering after all. 

That evening, I received an email from a friend (and fellow homeschooler) saying she and her son were signed up for a volunteer trash pick-up event. Need I explain that I also signed up?

The kids are looking forward to this upcoming project and are extra happy to do it with a friend. 

From starting with an idea or concern I remained curious and open to ideas and opportunities around me. By acting on an opportunity that has arrived I am following a trail aligned with my learning goals.

Are you following learning trails in your life? Tell me about them in the comments. I would love to hear. 

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Finding Our Center

With our long summer days coming to an end and the winds of fall arriving, I am wondering how I want to create a new routine. I can feel the restless energy of the kids as summer activities slow down; their bodies sensing like birds the coming change in season and activity.

Since the twins will be Kindergartners this year, we will mostly focus on the fundamentals of math and reading. Our co-op group is thinking about learning Spanish together, we have a piano now which will be central to our homeschool, and both kids have been asking for a Hip-Hop class so we will bring those things into our schedule as well.

I first went through my list and made a classic “Daily Schedule”. Although it covered everything I intended for our days, it didn’t have the feel or connectedness that I wanted it to have.

After brainstorming ideas and writing catchy phrases like, “Jazz it up”, “Space between” and “feeling flat”, I got into a bit of a musically minded mood. Music, aha! That moment when an idea catches you. What if I put music at the center of our day and let everything propel outward from there? Math, Language, Patterns, Reading, Writing, Storytelling, Focus, Skill Building, Habit Formation, Practice, Performance….music could be an efficient tool for integrated learning.

So I’m going to ride it. We will start with music. As we put our attention on learning the piano, we will make connections with our other subjects. As the kids learn to read lyrics and musical notes and play with fractions and patterns, they will be achieving their learning goals in a meaningful way.

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Living Curriculum

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Steps for creating a living curriculum: It’s that time of year when we begin to think about putting our yearly homeschool goals into action. Although I consider myself a year-round homeschooler, the truth is, the summer has a very different … Continue reading

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Skill Building

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Earlier this year, during the spring, neither of my kids (5 years old) knew how to swim without a lifejacket. Last year, my daughter wouldn’t even swim with a lifejacket. Before the subject of swimming came up I would hold … Continue reading

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Synchronistic Teaching Moments

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These moments can feel mystical. Yesterday my daughter (5) was playing a math game called “Shut the Box”. When she plays she will roll the two dice and then ask me a mathematical equation, “Mom, what’s five plus three”. I … Continue reading

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Outdoor Explore

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The child’s sense of wonder is rich and deeply connected to their own internal dialogue. Continue reading

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Winter Reflection

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I thought moving to the outskirts of the city would make me into an instant homesteader. Ok, I will remind myself here that it is winter after all and it is fine that my garden is….well…some land covered in leaves … Continue reading

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Bananagram Phonics

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About a year ago my sister-in-law gave me at set of Bananagrams for my kids. If you have never heard of Bananagrams before, they are the little tiles like you find in Scrabble, played the same way but without a … Continue reading

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“Gameschooling”

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We are starting off the new year with a 31 day Gameschool Challenge from my-little-poppies.com. The challenge is to play a tabletop game every day. http://my-little-poppies.com/gameschool-challenge/ Sine I don’t have any board games for the kids we have been playing … Continue reading

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Sunflower Milk

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I put off making sunflower milk for some time, because like sesame milk, it just sounded too bitter for my tastes, let alone my kids’. But I didn’t have any almonds. Or cashews. And the hempseeds sat abandoned in my … Continue reading

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