Saturday, September 12, 2015

And we're off!

I'm happy to say that we successfully completed our first week back to school!!  Once again, it felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff just waiting for that push!  The feeling wasn't nearly as frightening as it was this time last year but it's there...kind of nagging at me but not really bothering me much.

Once again, I've realized that if I'm prepared...which 99% of the time, I am, then the days flow rather nicely.  The kids know how we roll so for the most part I am the facilitator of the day.  Moving them from one subject to the next with little fuss, allowing them free times to draw, play, and expand on what they really love to do.  All the while working in things that they don't always want to do like "work".   (math, spelling, handwriting, etc) But we do it in a way that allows for the most fun and freedom as possible.
This week we really eased back in doing some handwriting practice, vocabulary words that corresponded with my 9/11 unit that we wrapped up on Friday.  We talked a lot about 9/11.  They're old enough now to see *some* of the imagery, talk about what happened and how we all changed because of that day.  We did a ton of independent and group reading, keyboarding lessons, started our Spanish curriculum, started a pretty in depth art project, math review, started our Medieval lapbooks, geography and had two amazing science lessons.  We discussed school and personal expectations for this year.  My goal is to guide them toward being a bit more independent in their learning process.  I want them to be able to do work without having me with them every step of the way.  I want them to become independent thinkers and doers.  I want them to be engaged and involved in their education, not to simply be a participant.   
prediction time!
super awesome Ivory Soap science experiment!
investigation time
I think the biggest change all around thus far is that Ari is now joining us in the classroom for a significant portion of our day.  Which, to say the least, keeps me on my toes.  He's curious and interested and I'm trying to engage him at every turn.  
He ADORES stickers of all kind.  I stocked up at the dollar store and he will sit contentedly for as long as I continue giving them to him.  After 3 or 4 packs I'm the one who calls it quits as he would literally go through all of them in one sitting if I allowed him to.  

He's loving our homemade play dough.  It's much softer than the canned stuff and it smells better, too!  He rolls, squishes and cuts it.  He likes to stick things in such as marbles, toothpicks, matchbox cars, (he's not a mouthy baby so I feel comfortable that he can play with small objects like coins, marbles, etc without risk of ingesting them) and all manner of plastic toy into the play dough.  He also adores coloring!  
As with Kendall and Tyler, he'll sit and color page, after page, after page as long as they're provided for him!  I tape the pages down using blue painter's tape.  It's super easier to get up off of the table quickly so I can change out the coloring sheets.  

I made him a "wallet" out of an old milk carton that he absolutely adores.  He carries it around with him and will sit and open the spout (this is what holds the wallet closed), carefully take the contents out, carefully put them back in one at a time and then close the wallet.  This will go on four or five times in a row.  

I also purchased some manipulatives for him which he loves playing with.  Counting, letters, blocks, etc.
He is heading to a little "pre-pre-school" program that will meet a couple of days a week for a couple of hours at a time.  This is mainly to help him be a little more social.  Let's face it, I'm a 40 something Mom with a two year old.  I have two friends with children similar in age but we don't get to see each other much.  It was different when Kendall and Tyler were little as that's all I did was get together with friends and let the kids play.  But homeschooling older children does not lend itself well to playdates for littles very often so he'll go to this program for now.  Next year he'll head to the same pre-school where K & T went simply because it is literally the BEST preschool ever.  It's five minutes up the street from me and if he were old enough to go there now, I'd send him.  But he's not and that will be there for us next year!  

We enjoyed yoga at home and walking this week along with outdoor play.  We're trying to soak up the last bits of summer while we have them! We'll be crunching leaves and donning long sleeves before we know it!  

Here's the rest of the photo reel for this week:
Candy in Science?  Yes, please!!

95 degree heat!!  
making Spanish flashcard 
dragonfly catching
a brand new stack of gorgeous books!  Thank you Wellesley Bookstore!
giggles all around
warming up their brains with some hidden picture puzzles!
quizzing each other
the complete color set!
that smile!!  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Hello and welcome to my new blog!!  For those of you who've come here via my crafty blog, Paper Canteen, thanks for making the jump over here with me and for those of you who've come here via other methods I welcome you into our little corner of the world!  I've named this blog "My Very Suburban Farm Life" for a number of reasons.  First off, I'm not a farmer.  In a perfect world I'd LOVE to be.  But I'm not *really* that outdoorsy!  I love the IDEA of farming and I dabble in gardening but that's about as far as I take it.  I'm with our three children and our sweet as can be ten year old dog all day.  The concept of being a farmer more translates to my waking and sleeping hours more than anything else.  We live in a quiet suburban town about an hour outside of Boston.  I wake most days somewhere between 4:30 and 5 am and fall into bed somewhere around 10 pm.  I joke that I feel like a farmer with my crazy early mornings, hard working days, and getting into bed dog tired at the end of my very rewarding days.  Hence the "farm life" catch phrase.  I find myself funny and amusing.  =)

Last year was our first year of homeschooling.  It was an unbelievably amazing year and I still can't believe it's over!  For those of you who actively follow, I know I kind of left everyone hanging at the end of the "school" year with no end of year post.  I must admit, I was definitely burned out.  I felt like I was on the last legs of a marathon and just barely made it over the finish line.  That being said, it was a wonderfully fantastic year.  It was just a TON of work and by May I was exhausted.  I'm adjusting my blogging schedule whereas I used to try to blog daily, this year I'm going to be compiling our adventures into a weekly post.  Daily posts were great for me to be able to look back and see everything we did but daily blogging is not realistic for me.  It's way too time consuming. If you are interested in following there's a link on my sidebar to sign up for email subscription.  I promise I won't barrage your inbox with too many posts!  I'm working on a blog post schedule that will be consistent weekly so stay tuned.  I will warn you that I take a tremendous amount of photos and usually load my posts up with them.  I like to be able to read but also see the progression of our days in photos.  I like to document our lives.

I have two elementary aged children.  K is headed into grade 5, and despite the fact that our town puts grade 5 and 6 in middle school, I still consider that elementary age, and T is headed into grade 3.  I also have an almost 2.5 year old boy.  Our reasons for homeschooling are many.  Bottom line, it works for us.  We are secular in our homeschooling.  I have links on my sidebar for some wonderful homeschool blogs and other homeschooling resources.  Some of these have religious components while others do not.  I use what works for us and leave what doesn't.  It's as simple as that.

I decided to start a new blog specifically for our homeschooling and life learning adventures as I found that intermingling these type of posts into my crafty posts over on Paper Canteen got a bit muddled as time went on.

I'm finding we're all in a state of excited transitions in our house these days.  My DH (darling husband) just started a new job, our littlest one, Ari, is heading off to a little pre-preschool program later this month (gasp) and the rest of us are gearing up for a busy and fun homeschool year.  As the littlest Winston with a 42 year old Mom, he doesn't really have peers his age.  When my older two, who are only 17 months apart, were babies I had a group of women who had children all the same age as mine.  My children were immersed in playgroups and playdates.  Not so much for our 2 year old.  And while he's fine, we want him to be able to groove a bit on his own and intermingle with peers a little bit.  It'll be good for him and for us.

I've been heads down these last few weeks researching and purchasing curriculum, manipulatives, and supplies as well as lesson planning.  I like to describe our approach to homeschool as a loose "school at home" style.  K was in public school through grade 3 and T completed through grade 1.  They thrive on routine as do I.  They like and need to know what's coming next and what to expect throughout the day.  It works.  And while I love to have a routine, I'm getting better at being flexible within that routine and allowing things to change last minute and adjust to accommodate their needs.  That being said, our first official day is Tuesday, September 8th.  I'm busy preparing our first weeks lessons, experiments and projects.

We've had an amazing summer.  Lots of sunny days playing in the yard and on the driveway.  Water balloons have been a particular favorite this year.  We've enjoyed copious amounts of colorful sidewalk chalk, playdates, long walks, sensory play, bike rides, homeschool co-op creative time, gardening, deck play, trips to Maine, day trips, ice cream, and other summery treats.  We've read lots of amazing books, had fun with art and coloring, built many fairy houses and gnome homes and enjoyed two weeks at a most amazing nature day camp.  And who could forget that this summer Ari potty trained!?!  A total win for us!  We've had celebrations, milestones, and lots of teachable moments.  We still have one week left of summer and we're going to relish in every single moment of it.

Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section and make sure you leave an email so that I can respond accordingly.

Thanks so much for visiting us!!!

And now I'll leave you with what I'm going to lovingly call our Photo Reel!
one year post injury and she's AMAZING!!
A visit to the carousel & aquarium in Boston post checkup at Shriner's Hospital - Kendall's hands are now totally fine.  She has very minimal scarring.
He learned the way of the smoothie this summer!
ALWAYS picking flowers for us
At co-op!

all dressed up for Auntie's birthday!
One entire years worth of school!
the sweetest lid ever...
nesting orbs
the birds absolutely LOVED these!!  there is still yarn all over my yard and we found some in two downed nests!!

pretty amazing, right?
a last day of school field trip to a new and AMAZING bookstore near us!

let summer OFFICIALLY begin!
off to Maine!!
Goodwill Store finds!!
Awkward sitting at it's finest!
my babies...
first time kite flying!!
time for deck play!
fun at the beach!
just any old day out and about!
content in the yard...
foam sand!!  An amazing sensory experience!
Our weekly haul from our local CSA!!  YUM!!!
feeling very glamorous for my brother's rehearsal dinner 
it's wedding time!
best picture EVER...
my *almost* daily view...
she's really growing and experimenting with her fashion and i LOVE it!
happy 4th!!!
lots of fairy house building!!
I love that she's not too old or thinks she's too cool for playing with dollies and stuffed animals =)
he's creative, caring and loving...he'll be the BEST dad someday!
we read THIS this about throwback!!  just awesome...
at co-op!!!
Back to Maine!
a fun local fair!
watching ATV!!
she's in total heaven
painting time!!!
off to the river for Ari's first canoe trip!  
I'm kind of terrified...I'm not going to lie...but they LOVED it!!  
our view of the house from the "island"
waterpark fun!!
eggs anyone?!  
after about 5 days into our 12 day stay I finally relaxed and found myself in the hammock for at least 15 min each day...
there's no shortage of fun at the farm!
rebuilding the fire pit
summer treats
this is how summer felt to me...whatever "this" is! was a STUNNING day...
what's up Portland!? is she only 10?
Harnik family dinner!!
Mackworth Island!!
very busy building fairy houses!!
oy that face!!
she's a notoriously terrible passenger - hence the "thunder vest" and the super awkward sitting!
listening to music in headphones for the first time!
He's my daredevil!!
a fantastic pool party to wrap up the end of Summer!!