From My Makeshift Homeschool to Yours

Time for Art Tuesday 4

Well I was going to “curate” some awesome links for art for you today, but I found this one post that has it all in one space…videos, lessons, basics, history, etc. It’s amazing. So check out Menlo Park Art for some great art resources!

One thing I really like is the idea of an art rubric. Obviously, you need to have expectations that match your child’s ability, but I really like the idea of showing children levels of quality. If they don’t know what a 4 is supposed to look like, how can they know if they have done 4-level work?

Explore these resources today and see what you might like to do. I was thinking of looking at the elements of art to begin with! There are lots of video links on the post and you can make this as simple or complicated as your students can comprehend!

Lego Challenge: Build a train!



Something Fun Friday 3

I have been busy trying to get some things ready for Nate’s upcoming birthday, so I haven’t had time to blog. I thought that what I would do for Friday this week was some fun Easter crafts. Hopefully you have some of these items on hand!

We made these cute sock bunnies from Feeling Nifty.

Or try these cute washcloth bunnies from Smart School House
More slime from The Best Ideas for Kids
How cute are these little bags from the Latest From Lauri
Cute egg carton craft from Typically Simple
These would be fun to make and mail to family and friends that we can’t see right now! Find at Kids Craft Room
I’m a big fan of functional crafts….We Know Stuff
I’ve made these cute little masks before from Kids Craft Room

Do you have any great craft ideas to share? How about yummy treats?

Lego Challenge: Make some glasses!



Workout Wednesday

Wet n’ Wild Wednesday was getting too hard to do under these strange circumstances and crappy weather. So I came up with Workout Wednesday and I actually like it a lot because the kids need to MOVE now more than ever.

There are so many great free resources out there. Today, we are going to do some yoga. Logan was doing yoga at school before the break and he wasn’t really a fan, so I might have to convert him. I found this link at Preschool Inspirations that has a long list of yoga videos for kids. Let me know if you have some favourites or you discover a really good one – even if it’s on the list!

Lego Challenge: Build the tallest tower you can.


Time for…Tuesday 3

I’ve decided that Tuesdays can be Time for Anything. It leaves it open for more ideas! I have a new Wednesday idea too…stay tuned!

Today we are going to do Time for Reading again and I will read out loud to Logan, because we didn’t get it to this last week. You could also do Time for Service, Time for a Walk, Time for Lego, Time for Art, Time for Games…anything! Any great ideas? Please share!

Now that Logan’s online schoolwork is in full swing, I don’t feel the need to come up with as many ideas. We still do extra math and reading every day. I’m really trying to get him excited about writing, but he finds it a real chore. I’m not pushing it, but maybe the Writer’s Notebook will catch on and inspire.

Lego Challenge: Build a house – bonus points for a furnished inside!

For the students who are struggling with focus and emotional regulation, I like the idea of “breaks”. I had to do this with Logan yesterday, but he doesn’t need as many breaks as some children might. Check out this idea from Autism Adventures. Logan would probably only need 3 breaks, but some children might need 10. I think it’s a great idea to limit the number of breaks they get from their schoolwork and give them a visual. It also allows them to ask for a break without using words or arguing. But if they use up all 10 breaks in the first half an hour, they will quickly see that this is a problem! They might even surprise themselves and not need all of the breaks they have. I have made a couple of Calm Down Kits – I will post about what is in mine another day!


Crisis Schooling Week 2 & Make Something Monday 3

This is my third week posting, which means that we are going into the fourth week of isolation. I’m still not used to this, as I’m sure is the case with everyone else. My boys have been remarkably good, all things considered, but I’m not really enjoying the whole “because you have school” argument we keep having. It’s like it hasn’t totally clicked with Logan and Jaxon that we aren’t on vacation.

Today, I am going to continue on with our writing journey. Hopefully, your students have been writing in their Writer’s Notebooks (anyone want to share?) and might be ready for the next step. If not, keep writing. I’m not sure Logan is ready for the next step, but he hasn’t been very diligent about writing, so this week, I will try to encourage more writing.

The next step is Drafting and Revision. Again, I am referencing “The Art of Teaching Writing” by Lucy McCormick Calkins. She says:

“This is why I write. I put words on the page in order to use them as a lens, in order to look through them to what I want to say…I focus in again to try and tell the truth…For me, revision does not mean repairing a draft; it means using the writing I have already done to help me see more, feel more, think more, learn more.”

Lucy encourages writers to explore moving between drafts and revision. She quotes William Faulkner: “Take chances. It may be bad, but it is the only way you can do anything good.” She goes on to share:

“And so I write notebook entries about silly worries, about small moments, about uninspired ideas… but as I write these, I’m leaning forward to learn. I know these entries are meant as beginnings. I’m watching for something to snag my curiosity, to move me.

When an entry or a line catches my attention, I may decide to see if I can develop it, to see if I can grow something out of it. And so I tend to dedicate a few pages of my notebook, a few days of my writing life, to pursuing that one subject. I write, watch, remember, read, talk, question, imagine, pretend…and all of this writing brings new layers of meaning around my original idea….Now revision changes. Now as I listen to language, I attend to the rhythm of words, I trim away excess.”

At this point, ask your students to go through their notebooks, reread all of their entries, and find something that is of interest to them that they would like to develop further. Allow your children to choose what is important to them. Don’t second guess their choice because you think a different idea would be better developed. Instead, be sure to support their idea and help them think of how to develop this line of thinking by asking questions, encouraging them and giving positive feedback. Now help your writer think of possible entries that they could write to add to and develop their chosen topic.

As your student works to write more about their topic, they might see a pattern emerge. They might find inspiration for a piece of writing. Maybe they would like to write a poem or a series of poems, a letter, a short story, a journal entry…there are so many forms of writing. Encourage your writer to pull out the most important and best parts of their writing to reshape them into a more refined piece of work. This can be a cyclical process where they keep drafting and keep revising. Lucy again:

“Revision…is not unlike the revision process an artist experiences. The jeweler shapes some silver into earrings, some into a necklace. The sculptor finds, in her wood or marble, a lion or a horse…Of course it is true for the writer as for the jeweler and the sculptor that the magic is never in the material alone, but in the artist’s ability to reimagine it.”

More on revision next week. This week, focus on a topic and write more around that topic. Be sure to let your writer lead the way!

Make Something Monday: I have a few ideas today.

Lego Challenge: Weekend Lego challenge was to make a stop-motion movie with your Lego. Today it is to build a zoo enclosure.

And now for some emotional regulation. One book I love and highly recommend is “The Whole-Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson. Here is a short video of Dan reviewing one of his awesome strategies: Name it to Tame it.


Crisis Schooling Day 5 & Something Fun Friday

Something Fun Friday: I saw this idea on Pinterest and I think I am going to do it! How much fun would an Escape Room be? There are so.many.ideas. on Pinterest, but here are a few good ones.

This one has some great challenge ideas using math, which I love.

The Activity Mom

This one uses social emotional learning!

This one is very timely. Could be great for curious little learners, but could also cause some anxiety in others. Use discretion. 🙂

Here are some great ideas for codes to use in your escape room! Free printables!

This one from Hands-On Teaching Ideas has some fun ideas as well. (No picture!)

Lego Challenge: Build a boat


Crisis Schooling Day 4 & Thinking Thursday

Logan started using Google Meet with his Grade 4 class today. All I have to say is YIKES. I am so grateful I don’t have to teach this way. Trying to get 25 plus kids to listen in a classroom is hard enough, now throw technology into the mix and it is an absolute gong show. Everyone is talking at once, interrupting, no one is muting their mic and the questions…totally irrelevant and repetitive. Teachers DO NOT get paid enough for this.

Writing: How is your Writer’s Notebook going? Logan has actually used his a little bit, just jotting down ideas and thoughts as they come to him. I haven’t even had to ask him to do it! Next week, we can do something with our notes if you would like. Would you please comment below to let me know if you would like me to keep up with the academic tidbits? Are you using the Writer’s Notebook idea? What is your child’s response?

Read, read, read! In case you haven’t heard of it, Epic is a great online resources for books.

Math: Logan is still playing Prodigy, but I am not 100% convinced about the math content at this point. He seems to spend more time doing some of the other stuff, so we will see. I need to watch him use it for an extended period of time.

Thinking Thursday: Do you have any games at home that require a little bit of brain power? We haven’t been playing games as much as we were the first week, so I think we will pull out some today. Some of my favourites:

Prime Climb
Bananagrams
Suspend
Gravity Maze
Bonus – they can play this game by themselves!
Robot Turtles
Game to learn coding concepts – great for younger kids
Qwirkle
Mastermind
There is a version of this game at Dollarama for $4 or something….

What are your favourite “thinking” games for your kids? Please share!

Lego Challenge: Build a band


Crisis Schooling Day 3 & Wet n’ Wild Wednesday

Late post today! Keep on keepin’ on! We are just doing more of the same. Tomorrow, I think we will do some more focused math, since Prodigy seems to be more gaming than math…

Add to your Writer’s Notebook! Thoughts, feelings, wishes…

Wet n’ Wild Wednesday: Here are some fun ideas for indoor water activities for all ages over at What Do We Do All Day?

Also it is Orca Week over at Live It! You need to sign up for their all access pass, but it’s free. Check it out here. Every day at 11 am there is a new activity or video to explore Orcas! It’s really great!

Don’t just watch it, Live it!

Lego Challenge: Police station