Monday, October 5, 2015

Grade 6 - Roman History - Week 2 (The Kings of Rome)

All the ressources I am using for this block are listed here, under Roman History. It will be a five week block lesson. Week one is here.

Day 1 - We recited O Roma again (and did every day this week a the beginning of our lesson). The girls know it by heart now. I read chap. 5 and 6 from Charles Kovacs' Ancient Rome book, the story of Numa Pompilius (here)  and the story of The Horatii and the Curiatii (here). They girls draw and wrote this in their MLB: 

Day 2 - I read the story of the Tarquins (here). They girls draw Lucius Tarquinius and wrote about the Seven Kings of Rome in their MLB: 

Day 3 - I read chap. 8, 9 and 10 from Charles Kovacs' Ancient Rome book. They girls draw Horatius on the bridge and wrote about the beggining of the Republic in their MLB: 

Day 4 - I read the beginning of the story of Hannibal that is in the Christopherus' Roman History bundle.They girls draw Hannibal and wrote about him in their MLB:

Day 5 - I finished reading the story of Hannibal that is in the Christopherus' Roman History bundleThey girls draw Hannibal crossing the Alps and wrote about him and Scipio Africanus in their MLB (The top drawing is Mara and the bottom one, Aisha's):

Math : we finished Key to Decimals 2.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


People still ask me why we decided to live on the road.  Here's my attempt at an answer:

We chose this lifestyle because we wanted to have fun together and wished to spend as much time as possible enjoying nature. Our backyard constantly changes and only a small amount of time is necessary to keep our little place clean and tidy, so we have more time to play together!

I remember sitting with JF one night in front of the woodstove at our farm house and asking him what his best childhood memories were. As he turned the question to me, I realized that we both had very vibrant memories of the time we spent traveling and/or camping with our families. We simply decided to create a life that would provide us with tons and tons more memories of connecting together in the wild.

:: Morning lesson. David reading outside with his mom. I wish I had taken a picture of Ellie reading in a kayak on the lake. ::
:: Feeding their soul and their body: Okanagan blue grapes, almonds, organic dried apricots and figs dipped in tahini. :: 
:: Going rock climbing in the afternoon. Much more fun than a phys ed. class in my opinion. ::
:: Botany lesson ::
:: Our friend Marty gave the girls a great lesson on the blood moon eclipse on top of a cliff we had climbed to watch it. Learning from other interesting adults is so important. ::

We want to give our girls the gift of time. The time to live, to listen to themselves, to find out who they truly are and what makes them feel alive and happy and connected to their essence far from the colossal influence of the majority, of mainstream society. We want to offer them a childhood away from the stress, from the life that goes too fast. We want to offer them parents who are truly present, relax and available, but above all, we want to learn and discover the world with them, because this is what makes us the happiest.

What our girls learn in books is important, but what they experience living from the Yukon to the dry desert of Arizona and everywhere in between is priceless.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grade 6 - Roman history - Week 1 (The Founding of Rome)

All the ressources I am using for this block are listed here, under Roman History. It will be a five week block lesson.

Day 1 - I retold the story of the Trojan war to the girls (since last year history study finished with the Trojan war and Alexander the Great) and then told them a brief version of the Aeneid. You could use the book In Search of a Homeland or like me, create a resume from The Aeneid for Boys and Girls that you can access for free here.

I then read Chapter 3 from Charles Kovacs' Ancient Rome book and the girls wrote about it in their Main Lesson Book (MLB):

Day 2 - I told the girls the Story of Remus and Romulus (Kovacs, Chap. 4) and they wrote and draw this in their MLB:

Day 3 - I read Chap. 5 in Kovacs book and the girls draw the Seven hills of Rome in their MLB and wrote a resume about it:

Day 4 - I recitated the poem O Roma (in lating) to the girls, translated it for them so they could understand it (I'm sure glad I did 4 latin classes in College! Reading this poem reminded me so much of going to mass when I lived in Italy...). Then, they copied it on their MLB and we practice memorizing it together (we will work on this for the next week until they can recitate it easily).

Day 5 - The girls did a beautiful cover page for their MLB

Math : We continued the Key to Decimals Workbook 2.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On skills, time and quiet

In a world of busy and fast-pace everything, most of us relish quiet and time. If there is only one thing that I wish my girls will feel grateful for when they grow up, it's the time we tried to give them to be who they are. Even as homeschoolers, it's easy to overschedule our kids (but they love it! *It* being, the dance classes, the soccer team meets, the guitar lessons...). And we become the family taxi driver, believing firmly that this is in the best interest of our children...

We want to give them the best chances. I get it. But what if giving them the best chances in life was not as much about how many instruments they can play or about enrolling them in as many activities as possible...What if by giving them some time and space to simply be, we were giving them even more important skills. The skill to dig inside them, to not rely only on outside entertainment, on adults' guidance to create something beautiful. To be happy on their own.

I also hope that by seeing us choosing to be present with them and to enjoy life, they will want that for themselves too. By enjoying nature, its quiet, its beauty and its centering effect on all of us, I hope they will want to protect it and come back to it to find their own center, their own peace.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grade 6 - Physics - Week one (sound)

Since this week was only a 4 day week, I had planned accordingly (Monday was Labor Day).

Day 1 - We talked about what Physics is and we wrote a short description (Physics is the study of nature, in order to understand how the universe behaves. The word physics comes from the Greek word, physis, which means nature.) and created a cover page just like the one from Homeschooling Waldorf (most of this week drawings are copied from that site).

Day 2 - We talked about Acoustics and practiced different pitches with our musical instrument

Day 3 - We talked about Frequency. I told the girls the story of Pied Piper and we wrote down that verse in our MLB:

As they reached the mountain-side, 
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.

Robert Browning, The Pied Piper of Hamelin: A Child’s Story

Day 4 - We talked about how sound travels differently through air, water and matter. We made a few experiments (namely, the string-and-cup telephone, and tried how different it was with shorter and longer strings). We talked about thunder and lightning (the closer together the sound and light, the closer the storm).

We almost finished our Key to Decimals Workbook 1 (that we hadn't finished from last year).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How do I know I have what it takes to teach my children?

Honestly, there are days where I feel I don’t. Especially now that we are in the older grades. It’s not the material per se (not that I know everything by heart, but I try to study it in advance), but all that surrounds it…

When one of the girl can’t remember what 12 minus 8 is, I feel like a failure… and I don’t have it in me to summon the patience and tolerance needed to calmly go through explaining that when subtracting decimals, YOU HAVE TO LINE UP THE FREAKING POINTS!!!

So, sometimes, I feel like I bring them down instead of building them up…
The tough part is this: it is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.

And this, my friend, is a big burden to bear. And some days, it feels too heavy to be carried by one persone only. I completely understand why a lot of parents *put their children back in school* at this point. It’s challenging. I feel raw, vulnerable, naked in front of them. You know that mirror that young children put in your face when they start pushing your buttons at 2? When they get to the pre-teen years, they start looking into it with you and pointing at all the ugly stuff they see… and you can’t ignore it.

If there is one thing that this journey is teaching me is that there is no immunity against our struggles, that growing up is hard and lonely… There are days when I mourn the girl that thought that finding her place in the world would keep her from the suffering, from the hardships, from the doubts… But growing up is realizing that there is no such thing as finding your place in the world. You have to find that place inside you. And to keep coming back to it. Over. And over. And over.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

So how many hours a day?

The great thing about homeschooling is that you can pack all the learning goodness in 3-4 hours a day! And you don't have to learn anything else for the rest of the day! Of course, I am kidding! You know we don't believe in separating learning from living and even if we now have more formal sit down periods of school-like learning, we are still life learners. The girls love our mornings of learning together. We are usually done by lunch time and we have our afternoons to do lots of fun stuff, usually outdoors when the weather allows it. Have a look!

The other day, we found some fish heads, guts and tails left behind in the shallow water by the dock and jumped on this opportunity to do some dissection to learn fish anatomy. It was super interesting!

 The kids love to create very elaborate plays with their friends. They write a script (they have a narrator), design their costumes and practice sometimes for days before showing it to us.

On cold or rainy days, the girls write, draw, craft, play board games, sew or knit in the comfort of the bus.

 We go mushroom hunting or berry picking when in season.
  We bike, we hike, we rock climb.
And we even teach them some Volkswagen mechanics!