Sunday, December 11, 2011

Young Naturalist Club~ Conifer Activity

Following our online Conifer Study, we had an evergreen afternoon!

We had a sample of all ten New Brunswick conifers on display.

The group then had a chance to make a conifer holiday arrangement to take home.

Very pretty!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Linky Monday~ Conifer Study

The Holidays are upon us and the crisp smell of evergreen is in the air. A perfect time to take a closer look at the beautiful conifers that can be found here in New Brunswick.

Conifers (phylum Pinophyta) are woody plants that have thin leaves, called needles, and seed cones rather than flowers. The Conifer group of plants includes more than 550 species, ranging from tall trees to short shrubs. Conifers can be found growing in a wide range of habitats, from coastal cliffs to mountain tops. Well-known conifers include firs, pines, cedars, junipers, and spruces. (via)

Canada has a diverse forest range and New Brunswick is part of the Acadian Forest.


The following conifers are found in the forests of New Brunswick~

Balsam fir, Abies balsamea
Black spruce, Picea mariana
Eastern hemlock, Tsuga Canadensis
Eastern white-cedar, Thuja occidentalis
Eastern white pine, Pinus strobus
Jack pine, Pinus banksiana
Red pine, Pinus resinosa
Red spruce, Picea rubens
Tamarack, Larix laricina
White spruce, Picea glauca


Trees of New Brunswick

Fun Stuff

Monday, November 7, 2011

Linky Monday~ Space and Astonomy

The kids (and adults) really enjoyed our outing to the observatory last week so I thought I'd put up some links to continue the exploration of space!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tracks on Tuesday

We had our first Young Naturalist meeting last week and it was all about Tracks and Scats. Here are some links if you want to do some additional learning on the subject.


Track Activities


My sister and I were lucky enough to do some hands on track study with our families over the weekend!

Our parents have a summer place over in Parkindale and they had found some bear tracks in the woods a few days earlier. We figured it was the perfect time to do try out the plaster cast technique. They covered the three best tracks with pails to preserve them until we arrived.

A perfect specimen!

Make a cardboard frame and sink into the mud.

Mix up the plaster~ one part water, two parts plaster.

Pour it very gently into the mold.

Even it out.

Then wait.

One hour later...

Lift out the casts.

Give them a light brush to take off the mud and then voila!

Three pretty cool bear tracks!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Linky Monday~ The Schedule Edition

The start of the year always brings with it talk of schedules and plans start being drawn up on computers and in planning books all over the homeschooling community.  For the last couple of years I would basically follow the public school calendar but instead of taking the summer off we would move into a "Summer Schedule" of sorts. I basically like the idea of homescholing year round but I don't think we were taking enough time off.

This year I have decided to change things around and our new year round schedule is blocked off in terms with a week off between terms and additional weeks off at Christmas and in the summer. It ends up being the same number of days as public school but arranged differently.  I have changed our daily schedule too. I used to make specific plans for each day but this year I am making a weekly plan of the things I want us to get done. I have an overview plan loosely done for the year which I broke down to the different terms.  The terms are then broken down by week. Some topics are touched on daily but others are only done on a weekly or months basis. I only plan ahead a term at a time as things change and I like having our schedule open and adaptable. We'll have to see how this works.

Not all homeschooling families grapple with the scheduling dilemma but if you do these links may help you out. Keep in mind that many homeschooling families from south of the border have to report and document all their hours of schooling so some of these plans and tips reflect that.

 Daily Schedules

Yearly Schedules

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thinking about homeschooling? Scheduling.

So you have picked your style and settled on some ideas. Great! Now, how are you going to plan your day? Your year? How are you going to homeschool? Will you have a room? Some shelves? A cupboard and drawers in the kitchen?

These are all things to think of as being organized and having a place for everything will help everything run as smoothly as possible. Here are some links that deal with organizing your homeschooling environment.

Now that your space is organized, it is time to look at time! Just because public school runs September to June, Monday to Friday, doesn't mean that is the schedule every homeschooler needs to adopt. That may work for some families while others need a different flow. There are many things to take into account when you set out to plan a schedule, follow these links to help sort out the information you need.

This all seems very confusing and stressful at first but like everything in homeschooling such as curricula, organization and methods; schedules can be changed and altered as needed. Nothing is ever written in stone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thinking about homeschooling? Resources.

On the side bar of this blog you will find lots of different resource ideas. The internet is full of thousands of ideas and you can find just about anything you want if you just take some time to surf around.

Once you decide that you want to homeschool then you need to choose what style of homeschooling will work best for you and your family. I wrote about each style in the posts~ Homeschool Research and you can get tons of ideas and associated curriculum. Check out Homeschool Diner too as that site is very informative! You can also take a look at The First Ten Steps.

Once you find a style you like, read through some relevant blogs and see how some families are homeschooling right now. Most blogs will share their curricula choices and resources.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thinking about homeschooling? The Law.

I thought I would do some posts on getting started with homeschooling as I get a lot of questions involving what to do, where to look and how to structure your day.

First off, you should familiarize yourself with the laws regarding home education.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Fun

We are getting ready to swing into our summer schedule and are excited to get Summer rollin'! We will be taking a break from anything computer related until next Fall. Wishing you all a fun and relaxing Summer.

If you are looking for some neat things to do check out these links~

Here are some Moncton area Summer Camps

Last year we had fun with Gigantic Bubbles! You can make your own SUPER WAND by checking out these links.

The second one comes with a bubble recipe that I know works well because we have tried it. The recipe we used last Summer is the following~

Best Bubble Recipe

In a clean bucket, in the following order, stir gently:

12 cups water
1 cup of dish soap
1 cup of cornstarch
2 Tbsp baking powder

As you can see, it works very, very well!

You can also finish the day off with a nice homemade icepop.

Have a great Summer and we'll see you in September!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Linky Monday~ Homeschooling Methods~ Pt. 4

This is our last look at different homeschooling styles. Today we will be looking at the worlds of Holistic/Alternative Homeschooling in the Waldorf , Enki and Reggio Emelia methods.


The Waldorf Method is a fast growing international movement arising from the philosophy and methods of Rudolf Steiner who founded the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany in l9l9. Steiner's insights have lead to new approaches in medicine, architecture, the fine arts, economics, and agriculture as well as education.

Waldorf education is designed to address the whole child: the head the heart and the hands. It stimulates the mind with a full spectrum of traditional academic subjects; it nurtures healthy emotional development by conveying information experientially as well as academically; and it teachers the hands to be valued members of the child’s being through a broad range of artistic and physical activities.

Waldorf education emphasizes respect, wonder for nature and reverence for human existence. Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of vast amounts of information; rather, learning becomes an engaging voyage of discovery, both of the world and of oneself. Because it touches children on a deeper level, they remember more easily what they have learned.


Waldorf Resources

Waldorf Curriculum

Waldorf Blogs


Enki homeschooling is a curriculum which aims to join vision and practicalities into an ideal education. Each activity must be worth doing and support the overall health of the family.

Features of Enki Philosophy

  • Rhythms and circle times are used to cover content areas.
  • Arts-integrated curriculum is woven into family life.
  • Focus is kept on the core issues of what the parent wants to bring to the children, i.e., health and happiness.
  • Methods are adaptable to various learning environments.
  • Sensory integration and artistic movement activities.

Other features include meeting needs for community and meeting the needs of multiple age siblings.

Content Areas

  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Projects and crafts
  • Foreign language
  • Visual arts
  • Movement arts
  • Music

  • (source)
Enki Links

Enki Blogs

Reggio Emelia

The Reggio Emelia Method originated in Italy and is seen as a wonderful way to see Early Childhood Education. It is an approach more than a curriculum but it has been used in planning homeschooling.

It is fairly new this side of the world so not many resources exist. I have to admit I have not heard of it before I started researching the different homeschool methods. The method and how it has been used is discussed in the following links.

After reading about all these methods for the past month and looking at all the cool blogs filled with thousands of ideas and plans for your homeschool, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I have about 100 blog posts bookmarked with ideas I'd like to incorporate into our day. I will probably whittle them down to 20 or so actual "do-able" ideas. This is about finding inspiration and being creative. This isn't about setting unattainable standards for yourself and your kids. Find one neat thing you'd like to try and work that in gradually. If you want to add something else a few months down the road then great! This is a great blog post that sums it up quite nicely.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sackville Day

We had great weather for our Sackville Day which is surprising since it has been raining so much!

The group enjoyed a tour and activities at the Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University.

In the afternoon, the group had a very informative tour at the Waterfowl Park with a marsh dipping activity too.

Thanks to everyone who came!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Linky Monday~ Homeschooling Methods~ Pt. 3

Part three of our homeschooling methods tour involves the following methods~ Traditional, Unit Studies and Unschooling.


This method is also known as Structured and School-at-home.

In this approach to homeschooling, the child works on each subject separately every day. All learning is planned and followed by grade level. Schooling does not get off track and everything is covered, with no worrying about learning gaps. Many homeschool programs that use the structured approach provide textbooks for each subject, along with a teacher's manual. Tests often follow each lesson, to be sure that the child is learning. Most structured homeschools have a daily schedule. Some structured homeschoolers run their programs Monday through Friday, from June through September; others run a year-round program.

Most structured homeschools enjoy the curriculum since the units and textbooks can be purchased (no need to create them). With a purchased structured curriculum the schedules, lessons, scope and sequence are planned for you. Some parents purchase a preplanned, structured curriculum so they have something to fall back on, diminishing the worries of homeschooling. Many parents that are new to home education start with this type of program.(source)

Boxed Curricula

Calvert (secular)
Core Curriculum (secular)

Traditional Homeschooling Blogs

Unit Studies

Homeschool Learning Network describes Unit Studies as follows~

The unit studies approach is designed to give both in-depth and broad understandings of subjects revolving around some entire theme that interests the child. This integrated approach includes science, math, geography, art, music, history, language, literature, drama, and creative movement. It is often referred to as a multi-disciplinary or a thematic approach. It is an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. It is believed that when children go into such depth, and spend a generous amount of time on each theme, their retention of the subject is higher than in traditional methods.

Since the central focus is on one theme, all core subjects are integrated together based on that particular theme. The primary advantage, of course, is that the subjects are blended together and not learned separately. There are many other advantages with the unit study approach:

  1. Children of all ages and different levels can learn together.
  2. Unit studies are relatively low in cost, especially if you create your own unit.
  3. Because the studies are learner-generated, the child gets an in-depth understanding of each topic, and in turn develops mastery and retention of the material.
  4. Since there are no time restraints, the child is given ample time to think, experiment and discover each topic through his own natural way of learning.
  5. Since unit studies are multi-aged, the younger child learns immeasurably from and through the older child.
  6. The creative hands-on projects and activities are great fun.
  7. Anything can spark an interest: television, radio, books, and common conversations. This makes unit planning fairly easy.

Relevant Links



This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. Lately, the term "unschooling" has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn't use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear. The advantage of this method is that it doesn't require you, the parent, to become someone else, i.e. a professional teacher pouring knowledge into child-vessels on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling on an "on demand" basis, if at all. This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work. So, for instance, a young child's interest in hot rods can lead him to a study of how the engine works (science), how and when the car was built (history and business), who built and designed the car (biography), etc. Certainly these interests can lead to reading texts, taking courses, or doing projects, but the important difference is that these activities were chosen and engaged in freely by the learner. They were not dictated to the learner through curricular mandate to be done at a specific time and place, though parents with a more hands-on approach to unschooling certainly can influence and guide their children's choices.

Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not "natural" processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority. Therefore it isn't unusual to find unschoolers who are barely eight-years-old studying astronomy or who are ten-years-old and just learning to read.

(via~ Pat Farenga)

Relevant Links


Unschooling in Canada

Radical Unschooling~ Sandra Dodd

John Holt

Delight Driven Learning

Life Learning Magazine

Enjoy Life Unschooling

Great Unschooling Blog Posts

Family Unschoolers Network

Radio Free School


50 Best Unschooling Blogs

Rickshaw Unschooling

I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write

Unschooling Lifestyle

On Bradstreet

Life Without School

An Unschooling Life

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