Friday, June 20, 2014


Learning to read is a big, hairy deal whether you are home educating or not. My oldest could read novels before he was six. Like C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia novels. My second son was reading when he left kindergarten, but didn't love to read until around grade 2, and by grade 3 he was a prolific reader.

My first journey with teaching a child to read, all by myself, was with my 3rd son. And I didn't have to do much at all. By 4, he was very ready to learn. I modeled phonetics as we went about our days, we played games with rhyming words, when I thought of it... And before I knew it, he was reading. Little books within a couple months of his 4th birthday and very quickly moving into picture books, nature books and novels. All three boys love to read. They share novel recommendations, pass around the graphic novels and comics and enjoy non-fiction as well.

Then came child number 4. My only girl. At 4, she wasn't showing many signs of reading readiness. Closer to 5, we started on some formal phonics lessons. She could repeat the lessons, but could not sound out words. She just couldn't quite get the sounds to blend into words. So we waited. We read. I worried a bit, deep inside my heart. I knew kids had their own timetables, but I worried that I didn't really know how to teach a kid to read. After all, the boys either learned mostly on their own, or had help at school too.

Bit, by slow bit, the reading started to come. For 3 years, I wrote in her progress report that we were working on reading. Finally, this spring, the end of grade 3, my daughter is a reader. It has all come together. Every night, she is racing through novels by the waning daylight, leaking in through her window. In the last month she has read 3 novels. Little ones, but still!

You would think that by child 4, the thrill would fade. I can tell you that it doesn't. I am beyond the moon excited. My girl is a reader! And she loves it! Her book-loving parents are so stoked to have raised 4 book lovers so far. And our 5 year old son is well on his way to becoming a reader too. He is making his way through the Bob books and is so pleased with himself. He is a bit impatient for it to be easy, but he is learning.

To me, reading is so key to home education. Once your children can read and understand, they can learn anything.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014

D Day

The anniversary of D-day is coming up on June 6, and talk of it has been reaching my ears in all sorts of places. A topic of particular interest to me would be discussing how to teach my students about Canadian's involvement in world conflicts.
While driving kids around this afternoon, I heard two teachers, Mason Black and Blake Seward, discussing this topic on CBC radio. The innovative way that they approach History and Computer Science, has me super keen!
Here is the show:

you can learn more about their project here:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

More Canada

Looking forward to Canada's 150th anniversary, in 2017, the government has put together this incredible resource. Check it out!

There are so many resources available online when you are studying Canadian History! You can also find lots of Geography games and information on our government too.


The Virtual Museum of Canada:

National Historic Sites:

Speaking of which, did you know that in Alberta you can buy a family pass to all the historic sites in the province, including the Provincial Museum in Edmonton, for around $75? Check it out:

Historic Canada:

If you have access to the Canada: A People's History dvd's, there are free teacher resources available here:

From the Government of Canada:

There are also a lot of free resources available from Veteran's Affairs for teaching about Canada's roles in different wars.

All About Explorers:


Free E-book about Canadian Parliment:


Note: all of these sites have games and quizzes for most of the world, including Canada.

Have fun exploring our Country!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Canadian History

For the past two years, we have been part of the Classical Conversations community in our city. We have had a love/hate relationship with it. We love the friends we have made, we love the structure it adds to our homeschool. We do not love getting up early and getting us all ready to go each week. We are used to our homebody life! I also love what they are learning there, it has been awesome.
This year it is Cycle 3: American History. Being a Canadian community, we are doing a slightly adjusted curriculum, Canadian History being our core.

I am in the middle of gathering resources for Canadian History and I am hoping to put together some Canadian History book bundles to share with friends.

I have also found some amazing free Canadian History resources on the web.

A comic book app with an animated comic from Renegade Arts and Entertainment, about the War of 1812: The Loxeleys and the War of 1812 (
scroll down to the Educational Resources section and the NFB interactive iPad app adaptation. We love this app!

Another War of 1812 comic is downloadable on this page: for a series about the War of 1812. I haven't read this one yet and can't speak to it's appropriateness.

Canada's History for Kid's website:

There are tons of teaching and parent resources on this website, you just need to do some digging:)


Provinces and Territories
Capitals Song

Jamie Soles has a number of Canadian History songs on his channel, we will be using these as our history songs this year in CC.

16 minute Canada song show

Canadian History

Signs for the provinces

Hope these get you started, I will be adding more lists throughout the summer!