Feed the Birds

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It’s been a cold, long winter here and while we have been able to cozy up by the fire, the birds have been left to the elements.

And so we have been doing our part to keep them fed – here are a couple of our favourite homemade bird feeders:

 

Peanut Butter Sunflower Rolls:

The kids really enjoy making these ones. They are quick and easy and only require a few items.

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Materials:

– Peanut Butter

– Plastic Knives

– Sunflower seeds (or any birdseed)

– Bowl or plate (for rolling)

– Toilet paper rolls

– String (for hanging)

– String

IMG_3356 Method:

Allow the children to spread peanut butter onto their desired number of toilet paper rolls. Then roll in your choice of bird seed. Lace a string through the roll, tie and they are ready to hang!

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Blueberry Cheerio Hearts:

These feeders are a tasty treat for the birds and also double and triple (and even quadruple!) as a snack for the kids and a fine motor and patterning activity!

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Materials:

– pipe cleaners

– cheerios

– blueberries

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Method:

Allow kids to thread the Cheerios and blueberries onto each pipe cleaner. This is a great opportunity to encourage younger children to be more precise in their fine motor activity, especially with the blueberries, which require much less force! For older children, ask them to create and continue a pattern as they thread. Once the kids are satisfied with their creation, twist the pipe cleaner ends and bend into a cute heart shape! Hang.

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 Our finished products are loved by the birds and even make the trees look pretty, but best of all, they bring the sounds of Spring to our yard…since the snow and cold don’t seem to be in a hurry to go!

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 Do have a favourite way to feed the birds in you area? Care to share? We are always looking for new ideas!

Cooking with Kids: Toblerone Shortbread

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I love baking with my kiddos! Yes, it’s messy and makes WAY more dishes than if I just do it myself, but their excitement for the process and pride in the finished product is TOTALLY worth it!

This was our favourite new recipe over the holidays – Toblerone Shortbread Cookies –  and we used it to practice our reading and measurement skills this week!

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I began by taking out all of the ingredients and measuring implements required and placing them on the table. Then I wrote out cue cards of each amount of ingredient that would be needed. I laid everything out for the kids to explore.

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The kids looked at each cue card and found the matching measuring cup/spoon and ingredient. It was a great practice for number, letter and word recognition/reading.

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If they found the correct match they got to measure it out and mix it into our recipe, which added a nice competitive streak to the whole ‘game’ of it!

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Bonus: We even got these delicious cookies out of all that learning 🙂

Bush Kinder Mornings

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I follow some amazing peeps on Instagram and came across this idea of Bush Kinder from some UK mommies on there. From the moment I first saw it, I knew it was something I wanted to do in some form with my own littles.

When the decision came to homeschool Little Momma, I quickly began networking with some like-minded homeschool families and began to orchestrate a weekly gathering. My goal was to find some homeschool playmates and to spend at least one child-led morning out in nature each week.

We are only 2 weeks into the program and my goal has been achieved and then some!

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Our group focuses on one nature trail each month, with the thought that the children will have the opportunity to work towards mastery of their environment, as they explore and discover on their own terms. And let me tell you, it has been incredible to watch these little ones running wild and free, choosing when to charge forward and when to take in the beauty around them. WHAT they notice is so refreshing and eye opening, and I can only count myself blessed and priveledged to watch it unfold.

These are the moments that pull me away from my need for planning and curriculum and towards the unschooling movement. I see value in both ends of this continuum, but cannot argue the value of learning initiated and directed by a child (with some adult facilitation of course!).

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I am beyond excited to continue this adventure of learning and growing at Bush Kinder, alongside some amazing littles!

Becoming a Homeschool Mom

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Today I became an official homeschooling mom. After much discussion and prayer, we determined that Little Momma would benefit most from home instruction for her Junior Kindergarten year. This does not mean I think every other kinder parent who put their child on a bus or dropped them at school today made the wrong decision. It simply means that our children are different, our families are different and as a result, we may do things differently. So please don’t feel even for a moment that my decision passes any judgment on yours (and I ask for the same treatment in return please!). I am fully aware that each of us is on a mission to do what is best for our individual families and children, and you’re best, and mine is AMAZING!

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Our first day was not perfection…in fact it was far from it!  Mr Man was a feisty terror, Baby Girl is cutting a million teeth and we had some extended family health issues and an extra canine family member to add to the mix (nothing short of exciting over here will do!). And yet still, more than once today I stopped and commended myself for sticking with my gut and making this difficult, and against the grain decision. Although I’m still finding my bearings, I truly believe this is going to be a beautiful and fulfilling journey for all of us!

My *goal* is to journal daily for each child on what we touched on that day (for the assessment and reporting obsessed teacher in me!) and I must say I am flabbergasted at how much we covered for our first day. Check out our Instagram feed @mommyschool for details on today’s activities! And keep following along to see what we get up to in the coming year. I am looking forward to sharing our adventures!

I hope to find my groove in the coming weeks, but for now I feel a sense of peace, telling me that for the time being, we are exactly where we are meant to be ♥

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Happy Back to School (or not) to everyone! 🙂

 

 

The Conflict of Kindergarten

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I have been in the throes of deciding whether to send my Little Momma to public school this September, or to unschool at home. A decision, I might add, I never thought I’d be considering!

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My Little Momma is a beautiful, intricate and often complicated soul. She feels so deeply, expresses emotion with such great fervor and masks uncertainty and discomfort in a way I wish she wouldn’t. She’s 4…it should be okay for her to feel and express, but she is cautious and oh, so aware of watchful eyes, pretending all is well and fine until she feels safe to admit otherwise. In the last few weeks, this has resulted in multiple episodes of a sobbing, distraught preschooler in my lap, nervous and afraid of what’s to come. I can’t help but feel that this shouldn’t be a normal part of starting school, and thus I’ve been thrown into the thick of this inner turmoil.

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 I’m so conflicted. As a former elementary school teacher, I never doubted public school was the route my kids would go. I even turned my nose up at the thought of homeschooling (apologies to my Mother-in-Law, as I now stick my foot in my mouth!). But being a Momma does funny things to your heart and changes the way we see even the most mundane things.

{And now I hyper-analyze my own childhood} I have always been shy and struggle with anxiety in social situations. And now looking back, I really don’t think that public school was the best place for me. I always felt awkward and never had a real sense of belonging. Don’t get me wrong I did fine and was quite successful academically, but don’t we all just want a little better than fine for our own children??

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I don’t have an answer – just a heavy Momma heart.

I feel that homeschooling and unschooling are so very in-line with my parenting ideals, and yet I also hold the social experiences & real-world preparation of public education in high regard. But is my 4-year-old emotionally ready for this? I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m shoving my baby bird from the nest before her time. I feel like we should give Junior Kindergarten (JK) a shot and see how it goes, but I also feel so strongly that it just isn’t the right fit. I also have two younger children to consider in all of this. One thing is clear for sure….I’m conflicted!

So I guess I’m banking on an epiphany or some Divine intervention to guide me in this. I just want to do what is best for MY family. Motherhood has so many variations of best, that finding the optimal route for us is so very blurry.

I don’t want to rush this. I just want her to soak up every moment of being little and allow her beautiful self to fully emerge in all the ways it’s meant to. In her own time. That can’t be too much to ask, right?!?

Please send clarity & decision-making mojo my way…clearly I need it! 😉

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