Our week-long patio make-over has come to an end and we are very happy with the results.
Before we started things were quite bleh.
There was no color, very little in the way of toys or activities. Everyday we added just one aspect of fun outdoor play. (more…)
So far the only “gardening” our family had done this year was our take on a fairy garden:
Creepy Zombie Forest. Which LittleMan recently decided to add a gnome to, lol.
As I’ve mentioned before, our family has done different things to try and cut back on costs every year, including one year having a veggie scrap garden. (more…)
Due to Star Wars Day, today was a light day on the Pimp My Patio front. Don’t worry, tomorrow’s post will be awesome.
I did of looking around online for inspiration before I started this week-long project and I noticed that all the coolest, best outdoor spaces for children seemed to have something I couldn’t provide: a hide-a-way. A small space for the children to retreat to when they are tired or things are too hectic for them. There’s just no room on a small apartment patio for a teepee or a tent.
Still the need is there. Whenever my children, or my neighbors’ children, get tired we notice them trying to find a corner to slip into. Unfortunately there are two natural “nooks” in our common yard which both have something unsafe for the children, one has some wiring while the other has an a/c unit. We needed to find a place where the kids could feel sheltered but not be alone with something dangerous.
The solution was so obvious, I’m not sure how we didn’t think of it before: (more…)
I don’t know about your children but mine love when it rains because rain means mud. Gloriously messy, disgustingly wonderful mud. I’ve never been a person to abuse my Purell bottle, however even I struggle to remind myself that the benefits of playing with mud outweigh the annoyance of clean-up.
I often say aloud, “God made dirt, dirt don’t hurt,” as a reminder to myself that its ok for the children to get muddy.
More than ok, actually. Dirt has healthy, naturally-occurring bacteria which aids in building up young immune systems. Beyond that, mud is a sensory experience and, as we all know, sensory experiences aid in development of language, comprehension, and fine motor skills.
On that note, we put a “mud kitchen” in our patio make-over.
Due to limited space and the logistics of leaving a mud kitchen out where the children have constant access to it in an apartment setting, we did something alittle unconventional with our mud kitchen.
We woke up to a bit of bad news this morning. Well, two bits of bad news.
The first is that someone has stolen a chair from our patio. This really isn’t such a big deal. The chair wasn’t expensive and they could have done worse. However we were very surprised, our neighborhood is generally peaceful and has a low crime rate. Oh well.
The second bit of bad news was the weather. Cold and rainy. We only spent about an hour outside rather than the 5-6 hours we had been enjoying earlier this week. Again, it could be worse.
Today we were hoping to play some outdoor games but that just didn’t happen. We did however manage to move all of our outdoor sports and games equipment from the inside closet to the outdoor storage shed for easier impromptu play.
Among our stash is… (more…)
In an ideal world we’d live in small house with a large backyard, and we would be able to keep hens for eggs, perhaps a pygmy goat. I had one as a child and they really are delightful pets. But back to the subject at hand, a personal petting zoo isn’t really an option when you live in an apartment. Luckily for us, our apartment complex is dotted with beautiful full-grown trees everywhere you look. Along with trees comes wildlife. Wood bees. Moths the size of your fist. Metallic ground beetles. And the birds, ugh. Cardinals. Wrens. Robins. Just last week we found some beautiful pieces of robin’s eggs on our patio! I suspect there is a nest in my upstairs neighbor’s rafters.
We are so very, very blessed to have all of these wonderful teaching moments available to us, surrounding us. So today the Homeschooler family focused our attention on the wildlife in our own front yard.
We started off making bird feeders for the large tree about 15 feet from our patio.
Today was day 2 of Screen Free Week, and in our patio make-over we decided to focus on adding musical and pretend play elements.
Inspired by an outdoor music wall we found at Filth Wizardry, we decided to make a smaller, apartment friendly version.
As I announced yesterday, Screen Free Week is Pimp My Patio Week in the Homeschooler household. I decided to dip my toes into our patio re-do by focusing on the visual aspects. Children love bold colors, rainbows. Our patio was nothing but grey and bleh. So here’s a few ideas for bringing color into an outdoor play space.
2013 Screen-Free Week is from Monday April 29 to Sunday May 5. This will be the Homeschooler’s second year participating in Screen-Free week and we are excited!
Unlike many American families, we actually ditched the concept of a tv in our living room 3 years ago. Our tv is in an area of the house the children aren’t allowed in (parent’s bedroom) and is primarily used by my husband, Marmaduke, to play video games.
We don’t have cable. We don’t have Netflix.
What we do have is a laptop and a stack of approved dvds which the children are allowed to watch for one hour everyday after dinner.
Thats it. One hour.
We are obviously not big tv people. However there are other screens which plague our children’s childhood. Mainly laptop screens. Marmaduke, LittleMan, and I each have our own laptop. Thats 3 laptops for a family of 4 people. (We actually had 2 more last year which we gave the boot when we moved.)
LittleMan’s laptop is admittedly rarely used outside of teaching him basic computer skills (moving the mouse, clicking, etc..) in a simple paint program, and letting him watch his one hour of “tv time” after dinner.
Marmaduke and I, on the other hand, leave our laptops open all day long, logged into our Facebook, email, Pinterest, etc.. We may only spend 5-15 minutes at a time looking at our laptop screen, but those small chunks of time add up to several hours by the end of the day. Several hours staring at a computer screen rather than engaging with our loved ones.
So what are we doing for Screen-Free Week? (more…)
My name is Caitlyn, but you can call me Suzy.
I started this blog in February 2013 to connect with others, share ideas, and document our journey as a homeschooling family. There have been many homeschool bloggers who have inspired me along the way, just as I hope to inspire others who visit my site.
I identify as an introvert but I pride myself on being open and honest with my readers.
Some personal fun facts about me, I love animals of all shapes and sizes. I’ve worked as both a pet groomer and dog trainer, volunteered countless hours with the United States Humane Society, and at one point of my life I went to school to study veterinary technology.
The people who know me best would describe me as being crafty, frugal, creative, and a fun mom.
My husband, Marmaduke, and I have an unconventional, mostly happy marriage. We share passions for table-top games, fantasy books, sci-fi movies, tattoos, and raising our own well-rounded geeklings.
LittleMan, born February 2009, is a massive comic book geek. He takes full advantage of the freedom that comes from homeschooling, which means many days he studies while hanging upside down in his chair. But thats ok because he’s working at his own pace and following his passion for STEM subjects.
SunnyGirl, born February 2012, is excited to start having daily lessons like her big brother. She is still figuring out what she is most interested in but so far art and literature are where she excels.
We are owned by a number of pets.
Our cat of 9 years, Eclipse.
Our Russian Tortoise, Speedy.
Our veiled chameleon, A Toothless.
Our darkling beetle, Strax.
A colony of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.
And our puppy, Newton.
Our family loves to see the world and hates staying put in any one place for too long. As a former Army family, we’ve lived in Colorado, England, and Oklahoma while my husband served. Most moves took months upon months to plan and prep, however we have once experienced emergency relocation (and hope to never go through that again!) Some of our homes have been in tiny apartments with only a concrete patio, while others have been in houses with large backyards, but no matter where we live, we make a point of getting outside everyday. Our sense of adventure can not be suppressed.
Currently we are located in Lansing, Michigan, but I’ve got big dreams for the future. It is my desire to purchase a retired school bus and convert it into a mobile home so that the children and I can spend a year or so living on the road.
If you’re looking for activities, lesson plans, or other homeschooling stuff, check under the Homeschooling tab in the main menu where you’ll find everything divided by school subject. All of my Free Printables can also be found through the main menu. For products I love and recommend, check out my Amazon store. This site does use affiliate links, for more information on that please see my disclosure policy.
If you’d like to contact me you can do so via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or via my Facebook page [here].
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