Travelling with young children – tomorrow!

We leave for our 5 day holiday tomorrow. The bags are packed and carry-on luggage is stocked with snacks and activities to keep the children happily occupied on the plane.

I had a look back at my previous selection of travel activity ideas and packed several, added those the older children made for the twins, plus two new activities below.

This is our magnetic play set. I stuck a bunch of small pictures cut from old activity books onto adhesive magnet backing (found in the photo section at department stores for making photo fridge magnets or salvaged from the back of junk mail fridge magnets and glued on.) The underside of the tray has the entire collection and when the children have chosen what they want to play with they take them off and flip the tray over to play on the back.

They will also be great once we get home to use for keeping my toddlers interested while I homeschool the older children and could double as a highchair or mat activity.

Our second “new” activity is zip-lock bags with a pile of cereal to thread onto wool and make necklaces with, which of course will be eaten 5 minutes later. I threaded the wool with large, blunt, tapestry needles to make it easier to poke through the cereal, knowing that many of the holes were closed over. They could just eat those ones straight away I guess!

I think we are all set for a smooth flight with 5 happy little munchkins. Now I can’t wait to see the look of horror on the face of those we will be sitting next to! Hopefully by the end of the trip they will be pleasantly surprised.

Birthdays and travelling with toddlers

Our wonderful twins turned two today. It’s amazing to look back at their birth photos and remember how it all began.

Our three eldest chose to make gifts rather than visit the Mummy and Daddy shop and as we are travelling via plane to Melbourne this week we thought activities to keep the toddlers occupied while travelling were a good idea. They will also be good to add to the homeschooling activities for when school starts again as there will be no morning nap to keep these little ones occupied while I school the older children anymore.

Our 6 year old used coloured contact paper to cover a small box to make this Montessori style practical life activity. A bunch of straws to post through the hole at the top and a small window on the side to shake them back out again did the trick. It was a hit immediately and I had to hide it away to ensure that the novelty hadn’t worn off before we even got to the plane as our youngest lady seemed determined to repeat the activity over and over!

Our 8 year old designed this one completely on his own without any input from me at all. He covered strips of cereal box on both sides to make them look attractive and pulled out a plastic money-box to post them in. Another Montessori style practical life activity for the plane trip.

This was the four year old’s creation. Strips of contact around a baking powder tin, several length of ribbon tied together and a cross shape cut into the lid to pull it through. Again, it was a great hit with the ribbon being pulled out and stuffed back in (by a grown-up) at least 5 times in a row. This one is more a baby activity but will keep their interest for a while. For many more ideas for keeping children happy and content during a plane or car trip, check out this post on travelling with young children. We will be making up our snack bags and pulling out the water painting, drawing and other ideas again and hopefully this trip will go as smoothly as the last one did.

Circle Time Planning

Circle time is next on the planning agenda. I’ve missed starting the day off together each morning and am looking forward to beginning our day with circle time again once we start our homeschooling programme.

We’ve used a lot of wonderful resources already. Here is our list of materials we have already worked through, plus the ones we will continue on with or start fresh this year. I have been very happy with those we have used so far and expect the new ones to be just as good as they are all based on the highest recommendations of homeschooling friends with similar philosophies to mine.

Click on these titles to see my reviews from previous posts and where to get them.

Our resources for 2011:
  • Building On The Rock Series by Joel Beeke (These 5 books of short stories contain a very strong gospel and biblical message. Stories of great faith, conversions, answers to prayer and miraculous happenings will help you to explain the great truths of the Christian faith, challenge you and your children in their own Christian walk and inspire you to serve God with renewed vigour.)

  • Go To The Ant Check-list (Another great chart to work through with children and then put on display as a reference. In the publisher’s words: “Use the Go To The Ant Chart to help your children examine themselves and replace laziness with habits of godly diligence.”
  • The Answers Book For Kids Volume 1 to 4 by Ken Ham (Answering tricky questions about God and this world in a way that children can understand, yet without oversimplification.)

Copywork and narration ideas for the new school year.

The school year start is fast approaching and I am aiming to be extremely organised as we will be interrupted soon into it by the arrival of baby number 6. Everything needs to be sitting there, prepped and ready to go, so today’s thought processes revolve around Charlotte Mason style copywork and dictation for the oldest.

Depending on the age of the child, this year’s copywork and dictation will be a selection from the following:

At least one of my children is excited by brand new fresh workbooks and the opportunity to fill them with beautiful work. I remember the feeling of being given a brand new pad in Primary School and ruling up those fresh unblemished pages. Surely everyone gets at least a glimmer of excitement out of new school books? Stationary shops? Organisational systems?? Hmmm, perhaps that’s just me!

The new year organisation and tidy-up continues…

Christmas has come and gone and left behind lots of new toys and belongings to store and old ones to be sorted out and passed on. The spring clean and cupboard empty continues throughout the house. (My husband thinks I’m nesting – I think I’m just getting the house under control again before school starts up and a new baby makes these projects all but impossible!)

The previous year’s projects, papers, drawings, paintings and crafts need to be sorted, chucked or saved. Some of the methods we use to keep precious projects under control are outlined below.

Desks/Ledges: Each child has a designated ledge, windowsill, shelf or desk for displaying models, junk modelling and any other bulky items they have built. When the area is full, they have to decide for themselves what comes down. No mean Mummy throwing out things they love, they make all the culling choices for themselves.

Digital photographs: To make the transition to the bin easier, we photograph the models with the digital camera and print them out to be added to their scrapbooking albums or personal homeschool diary writing books so they have a permanent record.

Pinboards: The children’s rooms have pinboards for displaying their artwork and other projects. When they are full and they want to add a new item something must go into the bin or move to their workboxes. A limit of one item per child is displayed on the fridge at any one time otherwise the forest of paperwork on there gets quickly out of control.

Workboxes: Each person in the family has an A3 box with lid that we long ago covered and decorated with coloured contact. Throughout the year, all paperwork that is not on display (other than homeschool work) is placed here if the children want to keep it. Even Mummy and Daddy have a workbox for all the pictures, paintings, crafts and cards given to us. We show they are valued by keeping them in our special place and try to remember to date them as they go in. As the children’s boxes get filled, they empty them out and only put the most precious items back in again, throwing out the rest. After some time has passed it is easier for them to be more objective about what is and isn’t precious. EVERYTHING is precious when they have just finished it!