Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Saying goodbye to Summer and hello to Fun Schooling

The leaves are starting to fall, the evenings have got a chill to them and there's more garden harvest than I know what to do with; I think it's safe to say that fall is upon us. It's a bittersweet fact around this house: we are summer lovin' folks. The season of the sun is fairly short lived in the Pacific Northwest and as much as we don't mind the rain, the sunshine is a gift we hold onto as long as we can. Autumn is slowly winning us over though. With it's mountains of apples, beautiful landscape and piles of fresh books and a new year of school to dive into! 

September was a semi-summer holdover month for us with lots of end of the season trips and plans and so much garden preserving to get done. I think October will be our official buckle down into a structured school pattern month. We have dipped our toes into the academic year and it's been an encouraging intro to the school year. I did put some semblance actual goal setting and lesson planning together in August and I think that's going to be a blessing in the coming weeks! For now, we've jumped into some seasonal and interest led projects- such as apple sauce making and apple sauce inspired poetry writing, constructing "measure for measure" paper skeletons of the boys and of course, a lot of fall nature study. We are warming our way back into Morning Time and Asher is excited to be an "official" preschooler this year. Cole and I picked back up in the "100 easy lessons" reading book were we left off at the end of last year and we are both really encouraged by how much more competent he is with reading now! He's started to pine over being able to just being able to pick up a book and read it. I think his actually really wanting to read and pride in what he's learned so far is really going to take him a long ways this year! 

Another new dimension I'm really excited to add to our school plans this year is not only educational, but also just plain fun! we are going to enjoy some Fun Schooling with Thinking Tree books. I have had my eye on this super creative and open ended series of interactive books for quite some time now (complete with having a pretty full Amazon wishlist of the titles I wanted to try out most on standby ;). Sarah Janisse Brown is a homeschooling Mama of a large brood who has authored and illustrated so many titles in this ever growing and unique collection of homeschool books. They fit nicely into "out of the box" unschooling and as a Charlotte Mason-esque supplement, as I intend to use them.  Sarah was very generous and sent me a hefty box of personally curated books for my boys and I to enjoy and share with all of you. I can't wait to get these bright and engaging books into my boys hands and share in depth looks into new titles with you through out the school year. I really think my boys are going to learn so much copying things into their very own fun schooling journals and I'm going to look for excuses to "learn" things to jot down in my own homeschooling handbook ;) (spoiler alert!) I foresee these books doing a wonderful job of keeping the joy in learning under the guise of just being "for fun"!

The first book I want to share with you is the perfect example of how focused Sarah is in these titles on capturing the interest and heart of a child. The All about Horses Homeschooling Journal is a thick and delightful six week unit study on, you guessed it, Horses! The first page asks students to write down several things they want to specifically learn thru their study time about horses and then instructs them to go to the local library and pick up six books to use as "text books". The book may be all in black and white but it does not lack in beautifully detailed illustrations and all the more opportunity for kids to get creative themselves in coloring it in! 

Each day's study opens with a fun circle the date intro page and place to fill in a daily to do list and daily inspiration. After that, Sarah does a fantastic job of mixing things up each day and including a wide variety of activities and "subjects". One day the student is learning to draw a horse, finding spelling words in their horse "text books" and another they are watching a documentary, writing up a days worth of meal plans and doing a nature study sketch. I just think this is a really great way to engage a maybe hesitant student who would rather be out, say, riding a horse than working in school books.There is an impressive mixture of inspiring, yet open ended project prompts to definitely document education but the learning itself is coming from such pleasurable, real life experiences. 

I would have LOVED this book as a homeschooled farm girl growing up and I have a little animal lover middle child who I think will grow into this fun resource nicely. :)

I received these products in exchange for my honest review.

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