The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 4

 

Set it Up!

Okay! You’ve carved out a schedule for your day, now it’s time to sprinkle in the fun, meaningful learning activities {I call these “invitations”}.

Setting up an invitation requires a bit of prep, but the benefits are SO WORTH IT.

If you lay out the basic supplies needed in an inviting way, your child is SURE to dive in, and be engaged far longer

The kinds of invitations I'm talking about...

  • DON’T require you to be glued to your child’s side 
  • DON’T involve tons of pricey, scarce supplies
  • DON’T involve drill + kill worksheets that will turn your kids off learning.

These kinds of learning invitations are set up with your child’s many languages in mind {in Reggio we call this “the child’s one hundred languages” - meaning, kids express themselves in MANY ways: art, movement, music, sculpture, construction, drama… 

These invitations are meant to be FUN...

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The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 3

 

How to Homeschool when you’re NOT a homeschooler!

Setting up your Basic Schedule 

Now that you’ve got some ideas to create your impromptu learning space, it’s time to make a structure for your day. Kids THRIVE on structure, routine and predictability.

Neuroscientists have found that children's brains need a predictable schedule - because when children feel safe and comfortable, learning flourishes.

That said, your schedule should be flexible. Rhythms, routines...a general, predictable FLOW is what I'm talking about...

Make a list of the “musts” for the day.

Meal time. Outdoor play time. Naps. Chores. Bedtime etc.

Schedule it!

Create a schedule that works for your family. Carve out chunks of time for a morning meeting (15 minutes), some focussed learning time (20-30 minute chunks), baking or cooking, as well as free unstructured play time. You can include your children's input here also. Be intentional about screen time - come up with...

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The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 1

Unexpected Homeschooler?

Don’t Panic! Deep breath. You can do this. *I promise.*

School closures are happening across the nation. This is a guarantee.

But for how long? This is still an unknown.

If you find yourself in the position of a “sudden homeschooler,” but also need to get work done, you might be wondering…

  • What do I do with the kids?
  • How do I occupy them without the iPad or Netflix 24/7?
  • How can I maintain some structure and order in the home when things feel utterly chaotic?
  • How and what am I supposed to be teaching my kids?
  • How do we all stay sane?

Look, Mama. You’ve got this.

 

And I’m here to support you through it all. 

 

Before you continue to read, let’s start this post with a serious #mindsetshift

So here we are. At home. With kids. For 2, 3, 4 maybe more weeks….

What a BLESSING! 

Seriously. Before you let the panic, stress and overwhelm consume you, step back and think… in a...

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The Sudden Homeschooler's Survival Guide: Part 2

Uncategorized
 

Now that you’re ready for more of a schedule for learning and some structure in your home and ways to dive into learning, let’s talk about ways to set up an impromptu learning space.

Now for a disclaimer. 

  1. You do not need to set up a mini-Montessori-school in your home.

 

 

2. You do not need to burn your printer ink out with 1,000,000 free worksheets off the internet.

3. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive arts and craft supplies from Michaels.

What you will need is an open mind, open heart and a wee bit of patience as we set our kids up for success for playful learning at home.

Step 1. Designate a Learning Space

Your kitchen. Your Dining room. Living room. Nook at the end of the hall.

Wherever it is, designate a small area as a special “learning space,” where you will do a tiny bit of direct teaching {I promise, nothing groundbreaking here}, a place where you gather to do projects, explore learning...

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A Day in our Reggio-Inspired Kindergarten Homeschool

 

 

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a Reggio-Inspired classroom?

Do you dabble with the approach - injecting the odd provocation here and there, experimenting with emergent curriculum, but also enjoy a more predictable, structured {planned} curriculum?

Have you wondered how to meet all the academic outcomes, but also how to balance a child-centred, curiosity-driven approach?  What are the rhythms and routines? How does learning “happen?” What does a typical schedule look like?

Today, I’m pulling back the curtain, and sharing the ins and outs of our days here at Brillante Beginnings, a homeschool enrichment program for Kindergarten aged children.

I’m also sharing my {somewhat controversial} stance - as someone who straddles the line between a traditional, teacher-directed approach with a more Reggio-inspired, child-centred approach. The "sweet spot" where wonder meets rigour.

I used to struggle with internal questions like:

"Is this...

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My Dollar Store Classroom

 

So you want to Reggio-fy your classroom.

You see all the inspiration on Pinterest, on blogs and your imagination, but there's one problem.

You have ZERO budget.

Having taught in the Inner City, I know that teachers' meagre classroom budgets are barely big enough to cover writing supplies and a few notebooks and maybe a field trip, let alone flexible seating, beautiful matching wicker baskets and a gorgeous oversized rug.

You know the importance of creating Ambiente. The importance of creating a space that is responsive to our students' emerging interests; a space that is inspiring enough to pique curiosities and promote engagement, and comfortable and cozy enough to feel like home away from home. 

So how can we begin to take steps to transform our classroom learning environment so that it is more inviting and inspiring, so that children will feel more comfortable, at home, and engaged in their learning? Where do we start, given our limited budget?

Well,...

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My #TeacherCrush Blog Series Vol | 02

 

You know teachers who make you want to level-up your own practice?

You soak up their every word, nuance and lesson. Their students ADORE them, their administrators RAVE about them, and every parent wishes their kid was in her class?

One of those teachers is my new-found friend, Bela Luis. Her students know her as Bela, and she shares her gifts with other teachers through workshops {where I got to see her space first-hand!}, and has been invited to share her love for Land-Based Learning at a conference in Oakland, California later this year. 

Being in her classroom is how I picture heaven for teachers. She takes environment as third teacher to a whole new level. I know you will find so much inspiration in this interview, and especially in the photos of her learning environment.

Folks, meet my friend Bela. A much-respected teacher from my own hometown, Winnipeg, Canada! 

Please share a bit about your education: your school, major/minor(s) and
graduation year, as well...

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Valentine's Invitations to Learn // Play // Create

Uncategorized
 

L-O-V-E is in the AIR!

I love Valentine's Day for so many reasons, but mainly because they offer SWEET MOMENTS for learning.

In today's blog post, I'm sharing a few PLAY + ART-inspired ideas to get your kids engaged and learning!

1. Valentine's Day Bakery {Writing + Sensory Play}

Set out PLAY DOUGH, heart-shaped cookie cutters, loose parts and recipe books for inspiration.

Invite your kids to create menus, signs and recipes for their Bake Shop.

My favourite go-to homemade play dough recipe {that last for weeks!}

 

2. "Love Is" Bookmaking Ideas {Writing + Representing}

These accordion-style handmade books are a wonderful way to inspire young authors. We created a list of all the PEOPLE, PLACES and THINGS we love, and added them to our envelope books.

3. Tape-Resist Valentines {Writing + Representing}

Simple, geometric painted hearts make the perfect Valentines for loved ones. Tape various lines across paper (watercolour paper works best), and paint the inner...

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My #TeacherCrush Blog Series Vol | 01

 

Once in a while, you meet a teacher {online or in-person} who absolutely blows you away with what they are doing in their practice. I call these my "teacher-crushes." Folks who educate, inspire, uplift, enlighten, and even entertain us with their amazing work in the field.

As I keep my circle of Insta-teacher-influencers small {limited to those who share a Reggio/Arts/and Play-oriented philosophy}, I get to meet a truly inspiring educator every now and again. These teachers model best practices, are role models for their students and a true inspiration in the field.

I thought I would start a "spotlight series" to share the work of these inspiring educators, and unpack their biggest challenges and struggles. 

We all face similar obstacles: whether we are practicing teachers, homeschoolers, or mothers providing enrichment for our kids.

The feelings of overwhelm, lack of time and resources, and meeting the needs of varying ages and abilities are commonplace issues....

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Organized Art Storage for Kids

Staying organized in today's busy world is getting harder and harder to do.

Especially when it comes to children.

Staying organized with ART SUPPLIES is a whole different ballgame, and because of its inherently "messy" nature, many teachers and families shy away from art with their kids.

In the Reggio-inspired world, art is a language with which kids first learn to communicate. In fact, the atelier is a very important, dedicated space for art creation and experimentation in Reggio-inspired schools. 

Art holds tremendous power for kids - to express feelings, fears, dreams and ideas. Giving children tools, and presenting them in a thoughtful, organized and beautiful way, invites kids in to explore, and use this language in creative ways.

I believe that art supplies (and other toys/materials) should be VISIBLE, and within kids' reach.

This way, they can make independent choices and not feel thwarted by always having to ask permission. (always asking for help and permission...

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