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January Homeschooling Adventures – To China and Back Again

Although I’ve always known we’d be on the path to homeschooling, this year we really got down to business and made a commitment to this way of life. Our kids Luca (age 7), Rose (age 5) and Remi (age 2) explore life and learn every day through reading, imagination, play, and time spent together and with our community. We are documenting our experience here. Enjoy!

This month we are studying China… but before heading to the other side of the world, here we are exploring the incredibly beautiful Mushroom Rock State Park in Kansas. I explored these rocks many-a-magical-time growing up and it was delightful to see my kids and their cousins finding that same magic among the majestic prairie rocks.

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…on to China! Here is our dragon for the Chinese New Year in the making:

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The kids filmed me doing a dragon dance:

The kids loved the idea of creating a Chinese garden with all of the traditional elements present: a building, water, a bridge (Lego of course!), flowers (fake, but look pretty good!) and trees (branches snapped off of our Magnolia tree).

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Can’t do China without noodles!

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We are so lucky to have family around us who are happy to lend a hand in our homeschooling exploration – here is Aunt Mary sharing Chinese numbers with us – Rose trying out some number writing on the Buddha board!

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Luca capturing some Chinese characters in his journalimg_7567 img_7568 img_7569

We also enjoyed a wonderful morning with Meme and Grandpa Bill – diving into pictures and stories from their travels in China and family history (Sandy’s great grand parents spent a good deal of time in China and Sandy’s grand mother was born there).

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Sampling some traditional teaimg_7572

Sandy’s Aunt Eleanor and her mother (the kid’s great great grandmother) in Chinaimg_7573

Hand painted bottles from Meme and Grandpa Bill’s travelsimg_7563

We had a wonderful Chinese New Year party! Here is the invitation:

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Rosie’s Chinese princessimg_3703

Luca has really been enjoying The Magic Tree House series and this one seemed fitting!img_3609

Some other lovely books that we found at the library. Our favorite was The Story About Ping of course!img_7630

A section of Rose’s world princess puzzleimg_7580

Luca’s collection of dragon paper air planesimg_7578

Also this month we’ve touched a bit into Exploring Nature with Children – especially enjoying reading the poems and looking up the artwork that is paired with each week.

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Luca spent about 30 minutes whittling with his pocket knife on a little willow branch. But I could hold this memory in my mind’s eye forever…img_7536 img_7535

Checking out the winter beach – always magical finds.icey-beach

Enjoying a brief hike up into the Northumberland forest with the whole family.

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Some other lovely books we enjoyed:

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My boy band:drums-and-guitar

Loved this moon phase craft that we did at our library hour:img_3667

Rosie playing the addition, subtraction gameimg_3591

Our usual:img_7530

There is maybe nothing better that Luca likes creating then weaponry! Thank goodness for duct tape!img_7526 img_7528 img_7524 img_7523

Flags are also always a hitimg_7520

Remi checks out our growing rocks that Aunty Lua gave us for Christmas – they turned out so beautiful!img_7594 rock-crystals

Another great library project – mini constellation peek holesimg_7574

Rose loves to take pictures on my phone:roses-photots

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Adventures in homeschooling – December 2016

December! The month of so many strings coming together, the making of sweet delights, the giving of ourselves in love and gratitude, the hustle and bustle, the late night magic making and the early days with twinkle lights and coffee.  Homeschooling in our home isn’t necessarily the time spent working through a math book or spending allotted time learning our letters (although that happens here and there), but looks more like the spending of time together making cookies, playing Uno, stealthily moving through the house as ninjas or joining together in the search for just the right Christmas tree – basically the gathering of days together in exploration. This month we did a lot of gathering. Gathering with friends, gathering in the kitchen, gathering together at night to snuggle under our blankets after reading. There is nothing else in this world that we would rather do.

A Japanese inspired meal including kimonos, a low table made of laundry baskets, a scrap board, some great dragon fabric from my stash, some homemade chicken (from leftovers – yeah!) fried rice and a couple of kid-style chopsticks! Worth the effort.

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Listening to your spouse : Sandy had this idea that the kids might love making a number chart and counting the leftover pole bean seeds from our fall harvest. I thought this sounded like the most boring activity ever! Boy was I wrong! The kids literally spent hours sorting the seeds, making their number charts and counting, counting, counting! It was a lesson learned for all involved!

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Snowflake making, geometry and multiplication go hand-in-hand

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Remi turns 3!!! He also had his first Preschool Christmas concert (we think he was a dog?), which he wasn’t too pleased about (basically all of the singing and smiling part)… but he did love meeting Santa!

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It would not be December without cookie making! Here the kids are making chewy ginger bread – complete with ninja attire.

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Rose and I had a wonderful mother/daughter outing to Snow White the Panto! Luca and Rose at the first sledding of the season (Remi cried in the car), an arsenal of snowballs awaiting Sandy’s return home and one happy chicken (our chickens hate the snow).

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This is where I store most of our homeschool supplies – although I wish it was three times as big! Our favorite things are the letter writing supplies, the games, the Childcraft encyclopaedia, the kids journals, the microscope and the art supplies tucked in every corner! . Luca enjoyed a few moments with the knitting needles this month and maybe someday soon we’ll do more . Family Uno . Rose as a magical being

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The making of many things . Badges designed by the kids to aid in adventuring with their Grandpa Bill – lots of different levels to achieve (swimming, fishing, birding to name a few)

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Finding our tree! Notes to Santa and his reindeer and the kids on Christmas eve opening their traditional Christmas ornament and wearing their new jammies.

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And lastly, but not least (even though this will be our last!), we share our news of the tiniest Flindall joining us in July 2017! Just more to love!

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Our Adventures in Homeschooling – September

Although I’ve always known we’d be on the path to homeschooling, this year we really got down to business and made a commitment to this way of life. Our kids Luca (age 7), Rose (age 5) and Remi (age 2) explore life and learn every day through reading, imagination, play, and time spent together and with our community. We are documenting our experience here. Enjoy!

September:

Our Weekly Chalkboard : Every week I write our plan for the week. The kids often enjoy adding in their own ideas and following along as the week goes by.

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A few of the books we’ve enjoyed this month: Island of the Blue Dolphin (Luca and Rose documented this one in their journals), the vintage set Childcraft Children’s Encyclopedia (which we had when we were young and are still so great!), Little House on the Prairie books (theses are so wonderful, peaceful and beautifully illustrated) and Home Grown (for mama!)

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Homemaking : Rose helping with pie baking and Remi helping with the tomato sauce process. Measuring, math and homemaking skills abundant. The kids also really enjoyed making lavender sachets. Drawing our their patterns, pinning, cutting, sewing and filling with lavender.

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Art and Crafting : Luca and Rose loved creating these masks from the Childcraft Encyclopedias. A few of Rosie and Luca’s drawings, including Rose’s own design of her birthday cake!

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Journaling : The kids and I really enjoy a practice called “Document Each Day”.  We draw a simple picture of something from our day, maybe it is something that just happened, maybe a favorite memory from the morning, or even a feeling in the moment and what we see. I usually put a little text with it to further remember that moment and what was going on.

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Luca was really enjoying creating shields in his journal this week

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St. Peters : Remi is attending a pre-school at a local church around the corner from us. He goes two mornings a week and this really helps me be more present on those mornings with the older two kids. Here he is on his first morning. He loves it to say the least!

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Letter Writing : We have a box just for letter writing. We try and write a letter and post it every week. Sometimes the letter is to Grandmama and Grandpapa in KS, sometimes it is to their cousins in CO and KS, sometimes it is to a friend in town (which we’ll hand deliver).  Sometimes it is a “Bon Voyage” letter to Meme and Grandpa Bill to go with them on their travels to Ireland and Hungary!

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Nature Time : This month we worked on gathering and preparing a box of nature findings for our Nature Pal Exchange. We were paired with a family from Saskatoon and really enjoyed gathering finds along the beach, in the park and especially in our favorite place: Peters Woods. The kids loved using the guidebook as we walked the trails and later used it to identify and label our findings.

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Outings : We have a wonderful Homeschooler’s Library Hour every week. We also get out to our beach at least weekly!

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Go Where The Love Is

Hello friends and family!

We are in the dead of winter up here in Canada. The snow has come in deep folds and drifts, our walks are short and brisk and I’m starting to dream of those warm summer nights just like everyone else! But we aren’t done with this season just yet, so I am sharing with you two of my favorite things that are bringing me through these cold days…

1. Journaling

Time is a sparse and fleeting thing around here while we homeschool our three children. But when I do have a quiet moment (or a chaotic one alongside my little artists!), I love spending time journaling. I try and capture my kids conversations, some of their favorite words of the day, and their imaginative play. Along with my own doodles and ideas forming with pen, pencil and my favorite Faber Castell markers, spending time with this sort of expression is beautifully freeing and grounding. It brings me right into the moment and I love that. Lately I’ve been enjoying creating little boxes of simple images and filling them with bold colors as you will see below. Sometimes I only have a block of five minutes before the next little one is needing attention, so this sort of simplistic documenting through art and journaling is great way to connect the dots of the day without having to devote an entire hour or two. Although I wish I had an extra hour to myself (or ten!), feeling like I’ve captured a little bit of our life together is rewarding.

2. Dancing

What better way to warm the body, mind and soul than by dancing through these winters days.
I have been dancing my whole life, having trained as a classical ballet dancer and later teaching as a second career. But when the babies started arriving, getting to the studio became harder to manage. But I’m so thrilled to announce that I am back at it! Two other local dance professionals and I have formed a new dance company called the Northumberland Contemporary Dance Collective. See and Like our Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/NorthumberlandContemporaryDance

We meet weekly to rehearse and are slowly developing a repertoire that we are excited to share in our first performing gig this Valentine’s Day! (Insert shameless self-promotion). We will be performing a community inspired piece about the many facets of love called
Go Where The Love Is
. It is part of the Green Wood Coalition’s Imaginate – An Evening of Possibilities. It will be a wonderful night of Ted-Talks inspired performances, music, interviews, local food and drink and dance! It is happening this Saturday evening at 7:30pm at Trinity College School in Port Hope. See the lovely poster and link below to purchase tickets for this wonderful community cause:

http://www.greenwoodcoalition.com/imaginate.html

 


Members of the Northumberland Contemporary Dance Collective during a radio interview.
Left to right, Katie Flindall, Rebecca Baptista and Stephanie Booth.


NCDC rehearsing Go Where The Love Is


During rehearsal of Go Where The Love Is, NCDC using a small children’s table prop to represent

community dinners and how we can connect with each other through meals together.

Thank you all for your continued support of my art in each and every form.

Stay warm, stay in love and keep be in touch,

Katie

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Community Art – Thank you!

Studio Tour 2014 was a wonderful experience for me! Thank you to the local and not-so-local (Paris France!) folks who came out and supported the arts in our community! Speaking of community, many people who stopped by added their colors and words to one or a few small blocks of wood for a community art project. Today I arranged the pieces into a swirl of one combined piece. Let us call it “Better Together”.  Enjoy the pictures of the finished art installation.

Memories of Studio Tour goers both young and old leaning over the table engrossed in a creation of their own… that is what will stay in my heart. Thank you!

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Peaches and Cream

If only I could gather every moment. Every laugh and tear, every joke, every first climb up the stairs, every watchful stare, every bounce and run….every breath during sleeping dreams. There are so many moments to gather. I want to hold each marker drawing of my son’s smiley faces close and remember the hand brushing over the paper. I want to cup my hand over my daughter’s head and feel her soft curls ever curling and breezy. I want to hear the giggles and first baby words my littlest son, as life makes him bubble over. But the days are fleeting….the summer is drawing to a close. Autumn in quietly making her steady approach. It is ever so as a Mother. You want to stop time. Stay where you can always hear your children’s laughter. So I’m gathering the memories and tucking them away in my heart. Trying my best to live in the now, right where they are.

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Remi’s first peach

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If only I could hear what they were saying.

 

New Art! . New Booth!

This year I’m changing things up. For almost ten years I’ve enjoyed my corner booth in the Lions art tents at the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. But this year I’m changing things up and opening up a sparkling new booth in the Rotary tents! I’m going to miss the breeze off the lake, but I’ve been having a lot of fun designing a whole new booth and new paintings to hang in it too! Here are a couple of new pieces that I’ll be bringing next weekend!

Baby Love

“Baby Love”

The Owl Field

“The Owl Field”

Lion Parade

“Lion Parade”

Making a Fairy Door

I am joining forces with the fairies! And sometimes with the amount of dishes and laundry edging me out of house and home, I wish I could do just that! But maybe this wee door that I’ve been painting will do just the trick and tuck me away in a magical little world for a small vacation!

This is the Homes, Gardens, Music and Fairy Door Tour! Check it out:

http://horizons.ca/Events

Here are some moments in the process of Fairy Door creation! With compliments to Meghan Sheffield for her serious camera skills!

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