Friday, 23 January 2015

Waldorf Inspired Valentine's Day Crafts

15 Waldorf Inspired Valentine's Day Crafts

Being ecclectic homeschoolers, we like to pick things that we love from different educational philosophies.  If we are ever looking for craft or handwork ideas, we head straight to our favourite Waldorf inspired blogs.  There is always something so peaceful and beautiful about their projects.
If you're looking for some inspiration for your Valentine's Day crafting, check out the following ideas from some awesome bloggers (seriously, some of my favourites are in here!).

Waldorf Beeswax Resist Valentines Bunting from Frontier Dreams


Wax paper Stained Glass Hearts from The Magic Onions

Wax Paper and Crayon Stained Glass Window Hearts :

Heart Necklace from The Magic Onions

Colourful Heart Garland from The Magic Onions

 Heart Garland for Valentine's Day :

Puffy Hearts Wall Hanging from Wee Folk Art

Valentine Babies from Lusa Organics


Sew-a-Heart Valentines from Red Bird Crafts

Valentine's Day Peg Doll from Buzz Mills


DIY (needle felted) Valentine's T-shirts from me!

Valentine's Felt Gnome Tutorial from How to Run a Home Daycare


Knitted Hearts from Natural Suburbia

Love Inspired Suncatchers from Twig and Toadstool

Pinecone Love Fairies from Twig and Toadstool

"You Rock" Rocks from Here We are Together


Tissue Paper and Glitter Heart Jar Candle Holder from Here We Are Together


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

DIY Felt Embellished Valentine's Day Shirts

I know that some people ( husband) think that co-ordinating holiday t-shirts are silly but I can't help it...I love them.  It's getting harder and harder for me to find shirts that I like so I'm having to take things into my own hands. 

Enter the DIY Felt Embellished Valentine's Day Shirts.

These are quick to make, which is great for those of us that have to make many of them, and they're easy! They're also super cute.

What You Need
  • plain long sleeved t-shirt
  • wool roving
  • felting needle
  • sponge (either the special ones made for felting, or just a regular sponge works too)
  • cookie cutter 
Put the shirt on and mark where you want your design to be with the pencil. Take the shirt off.

Put the sponge inside the shirt, underneath where you will be working.

Arrange the roving inside the cookie cutter.

Stab away at it with your needle until it has felted.  The roving will shrink down significantly and be harder. Be very careful about keeping fingers out of the way...these needles are sharp!!

If you look at the other side of the shirt when you're finished, you'll see that the roving is sticking out the back.  

Spritz the felted areas with water and iron them (both sides) to set it.  

 And voila!  Go put your kids in their adorable new Valentine's Day shirts and enjoy!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Pinterest Boards for Seasonal Crafting

Pinterest Boards for Seasonal Crafting

We do a lot of crafting in our house.  I love all kinds of handwork and you will often find me nestled on the couch with a blanket and some knitting.  My kids have grown up surrounded by yarn and felt and all kinds of other mediums.  They have come to enjoy crafting just as much as I do (and sometimes more).

We also enjoy observing the seasons.  We are lucky to live in a part of the world that has four distinct seasons and we often tailor our crafting and homeschool lessons to fit with the season we are in.  Seasonal planning makes my life easier when it comes to choosing our projects for the year and it provides a whole lot of rich subject matter when it comes to learning.

If you are looking for seasonal crafting and learning ideas, please check out my pinboards!  I'm always adding new content.

Follow Kalista // When We're at Home's board Winter on Pinterest.
Follow Kalista // When We're at Home's board Spring on Pinterest.
Follow Kalista // When We're at Home's board Summer on Pinterest.
Follow Kalista // When We're at Home's board Autumn on Pinterest.

Click the image below to see what the other blogger from iHomeschool network are pinning.  There's a huge wealth of information being shared and I'm quite sure there will be something for everyone! 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Day 5: Schedule In Some Fun!

Today is our last day of the Simplifying Your Homeschool Series!  I hope you've found some ways to ease stress and add peace to your days. 

The last thing we're going to do is Schedule in Some Fun!  Things are a whole lot simpler when you're actually enjoying doing them.  It seems silly that there would even be a need to schedule fun into our days but it's pretty easy to get into "school" mode and forget to take a break and just have some pointless fun.

 Schedule Fun Breaks Throughout the Day

Break up your school day with fun breaks.  They don't have to be long or complicated.  Just take a few minutes to give your mind a break, let the kids get their wiggles out and have a good laugh together.

Play Simon Says.
Have a five minute dance party.
Do a minute to win it challenge.
Practice you head stands.
Go outside!

Schedule Family Fun Nights

Schedule a weekly family fun night.  We have ours on Friday nights.  It's something that we all look forward to throughout the week.  It's nice to finish up the week by reconnecting with each pressure, nothing that needs to be finished.  Just good old fashioned hangin' out. 

Have pizza and a movie night. 
Go skating or swimming.
Have a picnic supper at the park.
Play board games.
Have a bake off!
Have a crafting night.

Schedule Yourself a Night Off

You also need to make sure that you give yourself a break.  Schedule yourself a night away and go have some fun.  And no, lesson planning does not count.  It's easy to get so wrapped up in your roles as mom and teacher that you start to forget who else you are.  Don't let that happen!  Take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your kids!

Go explore a book store while drinking a fancy coffee.
Go on a date night with your spouse.
Meet up with friends for supper.
Go for a run.
Go dancing!

Things are always simpler when you're enjoying what you're doing.  Since it can be easy to forget, make sure you pencil in some fun. 

What do you and your family like to do for fun?



Thursday, 15 January 2015

Day 4: Reduce the Clutter

It's time for my favourite part of simplifying: purging!!!!!  To me, this part is therapeutic.  It is so much easier to concentrate when the room isn't cluttered.  Our days go more smoothly when we aren't drowning in toys.

Homeschooling often comes with a lot of stuff.  Math manipulatives, books, art projects, science experiments.  It's easy to let it get over run.  But in order to really simplify our homeschool, we need to get control over the things.

It's time to tackle the bookshelves and tame the art cupboard.  Clean out the desk drawers and organize the closets.  It's time to get rid of all that stuff you've been trying to work around this year.

There are three major areas that I think most homeschoolers will need to tackle: projects, books and arts and craft supplies.

You know all of those pictures and paintings the kids made that you don't want to throw out?  So instead they're just filling up drawers or cluttering up desks?  It's time to go through them.  Let's be realistic here.  You can't keep every little thing that your kids make.  You need to find a system for deciding what you're going to keep and what will go.  Then you need to find a way to store the things you are keeping.

I have a magazine box for art projects.  At the end of every month, I choose one art project or drawing per month per child and  I file them away in their binder for the year.  If they make a particularly large project or something that doesn't go in a binder (like a salt dough map of Africa, for example), I take a picture of the kids holding it and that goes in their binder instead.  Now I've got an organized binder that shows the highlights of their work for the year.  The nice thing about keeping one for each month is that you can really see how their skills progress throughout the year.  And the kids love looking through their binders.  They don't miss the stuff that's gone.  Trust me!

I love books and I do not mind having a bunch of them.  We love to read and I like having a big bookshelf full of books to choose from.  I do not, however, love having to pick up all 1100 books everytime the toddler decides to clean them off the shelf.  Finding a way to organize your books will make life a lot easier. If you've got a lot of books, maybe it would be helpful to clean up and clean out.  Your days will be a lot simpler if you're not having to dig through a giant pile every time you need to find a book.

Start by going through your books.  If there are books that are really damaged, consider getting rid of them.  We've got quite a few that were chewed on and coloured in.  Not to mention the ones with the covers ripped off.  Have I mentioned that my youngest is a lot like a tornado?  Adorable but totally destructive.

I would also consider getting rid of books that you didn't enjoy or that you won't read again.  There's no use taking up space.

After you've whittled down your collection to those you want to keep, find a way of sorting them.  I like to separate mine by age group.  Board books for babies, picture books, early readers, family read alouds and books for mom and dad.

Now put them back on the shelf.  You might want to consider placement if you've got a baby or toddler in the house.  I like to keep everything but board books on a higher shelf, out of reach of those sharp, paper hungry baby teeth.  When we move, I would like to colour code the books with stickers on the spine so that the kids know where to put them back on the shelf (my husband rolled his eyes when I told him this...maybe my type A is showing again?).  If you can get the family on board with keeping things organized, life will be even easier.

Arts and Craft Supplies
We love arts and crafts.  So much so that I have developed a bit of a craft supply addiction.  I love picking up new pom poms and stickers.  We probably have enough water colour paints to paint an entire house.  This is not a good thing.  How is anyone supposed to find what they're looking for in all that stuff?  Kids get so easily overwhelmed that when there are too many options, they'll often give up before they even start.

It's time to clean out the art cupboard.  Throw away tiny pieces of scrap paper that somehow never make it to the garbage bin.  Combine half empty bottles of paint and glue.  Sort those little embellishments into containers instead of letting them roam free in the bottom of a box.

I like to sort my art supplies into labelled boxes.  We've got a box for paint supplies, one for cut and paste, one for stickers and small paper supplies and one for beeswax and playdough, etc.  When the kids want to do a craft, they can just grab the box they want.  When they're done, everything goes back i the box and the box goes back on its shelf. It makes it easier for them to find what they need and easier for them to clean up when they're done. I even hang their aprons right next to the art cupboard so that everything they need is right there.

I really believe that we function better in a clutter free space.  If you take the time to clear out the extra stuff that's kicking around your school space, I bet you'll notice a change in the tone of your days. 

To read the rest of the Simplifying Your Homeschool posts, click the image below.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Day 3: Decide What's Working (and What Isn't)

Now that we've set some goals for our homeschool, we know where our priorities lie.  We know which things fall in line with our homeschool mission statement and which things don't.  So today we are going to use that information to decide what is working and what isn't.

Simplifying Your Homeschool: Decide What's Working (and what isn't)

There are only so many hours in the day and us moms try to squeeze everything we can out of every last minute.  Our time is precious and we certainly don't want to be wasting it on things that don't line up with our goals.  Taking the time to re-evaluate the things you're investing your time in can be tough but it is oh so worth it!  You might have to make some hard cuts but in the end, you'll be freeing up time.  Just imagine what you can do with an extra 15, 30 or even 60 minutes in your day (Eat, pee, sit down...oh, the possibilities)!

So today I want you to take a minute and compare your mission statement and your goals with the stuff that you spend your time doing.  Specifically, let's look at curriculum and activities.  If your goals include exposing your children to great literature but your curriculum is all textbooks and worksheets then maybe it's time to change it up.  If you want your children to have lots of time to explore nature but they never get outside because they have hockey 5 days a week, maybe you need to cut back a little.

It might be a struggle for you to let go of some things.  If that's the case, think about what value it's adding to your life.  If it isn't helping you meet your goals, is their some other benefit to it? Contrast that with the negative impact it has on your life.  If the good out weighs the bad, keep it!  If not...well, it's time to let go.


 I know that curriculum can be a little harder than activities to just let go.  It costs money and there may not be more room in the budget to buy something new.  So let's discuss what options you've got.

What to Do When Your Curriculum Just Isn't Working

Tweak It: Just because the curriculum you've chosen isn't helping you meet your goals now, doesn't mean it's a lost cause.  You can take what works and leave what doesn't.  You can add in more hands on projects instead of doing the worksheets or you can read living books that compliment the course material. If you find it too repetitive, don't do all of the lessons.  If you find it not repetitive enough, add in your own practice questions.  With Pinterest and Google on your side, I am confident that you can make most programs can be altered into something that fits your family perfectly!

Replace It: Of course, if you've got the money, you can replace your curriculum with something new.  You can often buy used curriculum at a discounted rate at curriculum sales or online.  Check with your local homeschooling group, maybe someone has something to sell or lend out to you.

Dump It: If you really can't make it work, and you've decided that the cons really do outweigh the pros, it's alright to just stop.  Maybe you take a break from formally teaching that subject this year.  That doesn't mean the learning stops.  You can always find real life situations to use as teaching opportunities.  History can be taught quite easily through living books.  Math can be taught through baking and knitting and a whole lot of games.  Science can be observed for free just by exploring your backyard!  If your curriculum really isn't working, dump it.  Make a list of all the things you want to cover in that subject and start thinking of ways you can teach it with no curriculum at all.  I bet you'll surprise yourself in how simple it can be.

Your days will be so much simpler when you do away with the things that are taking up time without adding value to your homeschool.  I encourage you to take a critical look at the things you choose to fill your time with.  Your time is precious...make sure you spend it wisely!

To read the rest of the Simplifying Your Homeschool series click the image below.
Also, check out the series that the other bloggers of iHomeschool Network have going on!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Day 2: Simplify Your Homeschool by Setting Goals

We're on day 2 of our Simplify Your Homeschool series and today we are talking about how setting goals can help you simplify.

January is kind of a popular month for goal setting.  And I know, lots of people love to hate on resolutions.  But when it comes to homeschooling goals can help you with simplifying.

It's so easy to get overwhelmed with the unending curriculum choices out there.  We all want what's best for our kids and we can get bogged down wanting to teach them every subject that every expert says our kids need to know. But we don't need to do it all.  We all have different priorities, different passions, different goals.

 In order to decide what to keep and what to toss (which is coming later this week), you need to know what it is that you're trying to accomplish in your homeschool.  What's important to you?  What do you want your children to learn this year? What do things will you teach them that you feel will best serve them in the future?  Knowing the answer to these questions will help you decide what to include in your days.

Start out by writing a mission statement for your homeschool.  Figure out what you think education should look like.  Think about why you chose to homeschool... about what it is that you most want your children to take from their time in school.  Now translate that into a mission statement that you can check in with when you're wondering what the heck it is that you're doing.

Our mission statement looks something like this:

In home educating our children, we hope to nurture their natural curiosity and cultivate a spirit of wisdom and virtue.  We hope to aid them in developing a love of learning and give them the tools necessary to answer questions for themselves.  We will expose them to great literature, art and music in the hopes that they will learn to love and appreciate the beauty that is all around them. We will give them ample time to explore and learn from nature.  We will help them to develop skills that we feel are necessary for success including good work ethic, self-discipline, initiative and creativity.  Above all, we want our children to learn to love God and serve others joyfully.  

From the mission statement, I can create smaller goals or themes for the year, like:
- read aloud everyday from a variety of quality books
-encourage creativity through various art projects and lessons
- find at least one tangible way to serve others in our community each month

Of course, you can break it down even further and make specific goals for each child.  For example, some of my goals for B include:
-achieve fluency in reading so she is comfortable doing so independently
- work on slowing down and doing her best work instead of rushing just to finish
-expose her to and allow her to experiment with different forms of art

When you've got these goals laid out in front of you, it's easy to see whether or not an activity or project will help you achieve them and it's easy to see what things aren't worth keeping. Things will be much simpler when you aren't filling up your schedule with frilly extras that aren't serving your purpose.

So how about you?  What are your goals for your homeschool?

To see the other posts in the Simplify Your Homeschool Series, click the image below.

This series is part of the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch.  Click the link below to see what series the other bloggers have up.  You'll be glad you did! :)

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