Tag Archiv: screen free week

Pimp My Patio, Day Seven

So far the only “gardening” our family had done this year was our take on a fairy garden:
Pimp My Patio Day 7 from Suzy Homeschooler - Zombie Garden Update #2
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…)

Pimp My Patio, Day Six

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…)

Pimp My Patio, Day Five

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.
Pimp My Patio Day 5 from Suzy Homeschooler (1) (more…)

Pimp My Patio, Day Four

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…)

Pimp My Patio, Day Three

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.
Pimp My Patio Day 3 from Suzy Homeschooler (1) (more…)

Pimp My Patio, Day One

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.

Pimp My Patio Day 1 from Suzy Homeschooler (1) (more…)

Screen Free Week 2013

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…)