Travels abound…

The wheels are in motion…or they will be next year!

We are in the process of planning our trip across North America.  We had hoped to do it in 2017, but as with all things in life, things arise and re-arranging plans needed.

This will most likely be the last family trip as the kids are getting older and will need to start taking on more responsibilities (i.e jobs).  At least it will be the last chance for a trip such as this.

It will be like doing history and geography on the road. No set time frame, just get up and go.

Some of the places we will be visiting include, but not limited to…

    • Grand Canyon
    • Mount Rushmore
    • Yellowstone Park
    • Hoover Dam
    • Las Vegas
    • Disney Land (california)
    • Hollywood Sign (tourist thing…)
    • Alcatraz
    • New Orleans
    • Tombstone, AZ
    • Clearwater Aquarium (to go see Winter the dolphin – a family favourite)
    • Liberty Bell
    • New York City (Lots to see here)
    • Hopewell Rocks, NB
    • Anne of Green Gables in PEI
    • a giant Lobster sculpture in Shediac  😉
    • Old Quebec City
    • Boldt Castle (Heart Island)
    • The Parthenon (as seen in Percy Jackson movie)
    • Mammoth Cave
    • Creation Museum and Ark
    • Ozark Caverns
    • Grand Teton
    • Banff, AB
    • Yoho National Park
    • Lake Louise
    • Vancouver
    • Space Needle, Seattle (and the Troll Bridge)
    • and so much more….

Between now and the time we depart, we will be researching each of these locations.

If you know of any other places we should put on our list, please comment below.

Happy journeys!

Posted in Field Trips | Leave a comment

Swan Lake 2016

Last year our daughter auditioned and earned a roll in the Ballet Jörgen Canada Company’s performance of the Nutcracker.   This year, they did Swan Lake.


There were 40 local dancers auditioning for roles.  In our daughter’s age category, they only needed 3 dancers (there were 18 auditioning).  The company was so great.  In order to give the most amount of dancers a chance, they split it so that they would take 3 dancers on the Friday show, and 3 more on the Saturday show.

We were so blessed to find out that our little dancer earned one of the three roles.   The roles were 2 for children and 1 for a “scaredy page”.   She was to be the page.swan-lake-oct-14-2016

Unlike the Nutcracker, in which they had rehearsal every Sunday morning for almost 2 months prior to the show, for Swan Lake they had a 2 hr rehearsal immediately following the auditions; a rehearsal the day before, and then the costume fittings and dress rehearsal today – before the first show.

The ballet company were amazing.  The costumes were breathtaking (as usual).
It is an experience to remember.

We look forward to auditions again next year.


Check out their web site for schedule of show performances.


Posted in Music and Art | Leave a comment

FREE Rocks…

People always seem to be looking for FREE things.  Unfortunately, we also learn that some free things lack any quality.

Luckily, today someone shared with me a great resource.  Free Piano Lessons Online.

Having one child going into RCM Gr 8 piano now, we know the expenses involved with lessons, exams, and even performances.  Our other child started piano, but she didn’t really ‘love’ it like the other child, so we stopped the lessons. (And saved the expense).

Now some would say that piano lessons are an investment, and I AGREE – if the child enjoys it.

Now that we have this great resource for free, the younger child can play with it at her own pace, if she wants to, at no expense to us.

I have reviewed the page and I am impressed.  You also have the option to purchase the sheets that can be used with each lesson, but it is not mandatory.   For someone that may be a visual learner, this could be a great way to get some musical discipline.

NOTE: If the page prompts you to ‘sign up’, you will see a little link ‘view as guest’.  Clicking that link will give you full access to all the videos.

Happy Homeschooling !

(This link will also be added to our Helpful Links page of Learning resources)

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And So it begins…

NOTE: The information in this blog is purely my own opinion, thoughts and experiences.
I practice free speech and the freedom to ignore something that I don’t agree with.  I don’t believe in ‘bashing’ or ‘criticizing negatively’. 
I practice my right, on my blog,  to not allow negative comments on my page as it is a collection of my own thoughts and memories for my own friends and family. 

Another school year is upon us.  I enter it with open eyes and open mind.

In preparing for this year, I came to realize a few interesting things.

  1. preparing for high school subjects is actually a LOT easier than elementary subjects
  2. I need to put more FUN stuff into our daily routine, I am too bookish and can be boring
  3. no matter what you post on a blog, which is supposed to reflect your own thoughts, there will always be people out there that want to criticize you
  4. some people seem to think that when they read a blog, the person has been raised within their own cultures/country so what they are saying is commented on as being ‘stupid’ – and they will share a link to it on another blog designated for pointing out ‘stupid’ people, or to be marked as ‘comedic’
    (Do you know where your blog posts are being shared?)

High School

I have pulled together an amazing set of courses for my oldest to do for Grade 9 this year.  Some of them were a little challenging to actually break down into a schedule, but after a few weeks, I got it all done.

Then last weekend, 3 days before we start ‘school’, I start putting together all the curriculum and books on the shelves and realize – I FORGOT to do the schedules for my youngest!  Arghhh.  That’s ok.  I am super mom.  I can cram it all into a night on the computer and get it all done.  Yup.  I can.  (And I did!)


After looking back over the last 5 years, I have realized that my oldest and I have the same personalities, so books was the best way to go.  BUT – my youngest is a dancer.  She doesn’t like to sit still.  I had to scrap the curriculum plan I used with the oldest.  There was no way I was going to be able to get her to read all of the books my oldest read; and I wasn’t going to be able to read them too her either.  Reading aloud is hard to do when you do for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I also realized that we didn’t do nearly enough FUN stuff.  So this year is going to be different.  LOTS of art, LOTS of science experiments, LOTS of outdoor stuff.

Blog Posts

I was doing a search on google to pull up my blog site quickly to share with someone, and found one of my posts listed on several other blog pages.  ONE post !  It got a lot of people hot under the collar I guess, as it came up on the first page in a search.  This post was about Math.  I was talking about how things were taught in our Canadian schools when  was a child (over 30 years ago).   ALL of the pages were from Europe and the UK, and they all thought I was a complete idiot. They were commenting on how math is not taught the way I was explaining it.

I just laughed.  I really did. Out loud.  My husband thought I was nuts.

A small part of me wanted to ask them a few questions – 1.  where did they live?  2.  how old were they? (because some methods have changed over the past 30 years – I admit that) 3. don’t they know how to read?  I did say we were in Canada and that the schools were teaching it a certain way…

But I didn’t post anything.  I didn’t see any point to it.   If someone wants to spend their time bad mouthing someone on the other side of the world, behind their backs, then so be it.  Nothing I can say will change their ways.

It did open my eyes though to this wonderful world of blogging.   I knew that the internet was pretty crazy, being an IT tech in the army, and creating web pages for the government. Always had to be careful with what we posted so we didn’t offend anyone.  But a BLOG?!  Come on.  Blogs are people opinions.  Sure some people will post facts and link to other references, but even I ALWAYS look up something myself before taking a blog verbatim.

Brings the topic back as to “What are the schools teaching these people?”  – oh yeah, they teach them What to think, not How to think.  (In My Own Opinion)…LOL

So I have made a promise to myself.   To do as my old sergeant told me in the army and to cover my butt.  I will start my blogs with:

NOTE: The information in this blog is purely my own opinion, thoughts and experiences.
I practice free speech and the freedom to ignore something that I don’t agree with.  I don’t believe in ‘bashing’ or ‘criticizing negatively’. 
I practice my right, on my blog,  to not allow negative comments on my page as it is a collection of my own thoughts and memories for my own friends and family.  


Posted in Homeschool Thoughts, Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

4 years in the making…

Four years ago we converted our entire front yard into a garden for our botany course.   We had originally planned for it to be a butterfly garden, however after pricing out the specific plants, and taking into consideration the very large bird population in our neighbourhood, it became just a regular garden.

The first year was all flowers.  The second year we added some vegetables.  Last year was more vegetables than flowers. This year we have gone back to flowers, this time in different levels of raised beds.

This is what the garden looked like originally.


This is what it looks like now.
Garden-June 2016

We have a Lilac tree – that just decided finally to start growing this year (you can see the difference in the tree between the before and after pictures above – in the top right corner of the garden)

We had a strange plant growing in this area, and after taking pictures and posting on our local Garden place facebook page – we found out these are Sweet Williams.  Didn’t even plant them (to our knowledge).
Also in the back corner is a Black-eyed Susan plant, and in the front are two Lily plants.  All of which were transplanted from near the deck.  

This is a new plant – a Japanese Karria – there were lots of beautiful yellow flowers on it when it was planted – but we got hit with a freak 5 minute hail storm and they all got destroyed.  Hoping it will blossom again next year. 

This is rhubarb.  It wasn’t supposed to go into the front garden, but it needed a home before it died.  So it will reside here until we transplant it to our back vegetable/fruit gardens. 

This is our transplanted strawberry plants.   We moved half of the plants from the back yard last year and they have flourished so well in the front.  The cage is to keep the pesky squirrels and our daughters little fingers away from all the sweet berries.   Today was our third day harvesting, and we were able to make a small jar of jam from them.  Mmmmm.

This little bed is home to Marigolds in the middle, and around the edges was supposed to be another flower, but unfortunately none of the seeds germinated or grew. 

This was a 1 foot high raspberry plant with only 1 stock 2 summers ago.  Last year it was about 3 feet high and 2 feet wide.  This year it has exploded.  The stems are growing up ALL over the place in this corner, so I had to do some transplanting of my flowers before they got choked out.   Looking forward to a sweet harvest this year ! 

These are Moon Flowers.   For some reason they ALL grew up out of the ground with holes in the leaves.  Even before they uncurled, I could see what looked like “chewed” holes.  I am hoping that they still grow. 





This bed is made up of Sunflowers in the back, Marigolds in the middle, and a mix seed pack along the front edge.   What you see here are the sunflowers growing from the seeds that we harvested from our plants last year.  What you do not see is all the holes behind them, where the squirrels dug up all the NEW sunflower seeds we purchased this year.  (I wasn’t sure if our harvested seeds would grow.)   As of today there is now a plastic fencing draped over this area because the squirrels keep digging and eating these poor little plants.

These are Gladiolus flowers.  I dug them up last fall to store them away for winter BUT I forgot them outside.  They survived the winter and started to grow again, so I transplanted them here. 

These are our Wild Garlics that we brought home last year – 1 little bulb – and it exploded into this growth this year.   Now to learn how to harvest the garlic. 

The newest edition to the garden – Rio is all the label said. They are so pretty. 

And that is where we are at with the front garden now.  My husband sort of begged me not to plant corn again this year, so in exchange he built me some great boxes in the back yard where we are now growing Tomatoes, Catnip, mixed Lettuce, Green Peppers (the squirrels already ate the first few growths!), zucchini, Cucumber, Potatoes, and Peas.

Let the growing continue !

Happy Gardening.

Posted in Gardens | Leave a comment

More High School Info…

We are about to wind down this year of school and all that is on my mind is preparing for high school for my oldest.

Spending the last 2 years attending conferences, reading blogs and getting together with other mom’s who have gone through the high school years has really helped.   It has allowed me to collect all the data into a full page so that other people can take advantage of the information too.


Of course it is never complete !!  I just found another sheet of information to add to the page.  This information comes from a good friend of mine that has put one child through college, and has a second near the end of the high school years.

If you are about to head into those high school years, best of luck to you and your student.

New Info added to the page:

  • Ontario Curriculum guidelines  – Use the codes from the guideline for your transcripts
    (if you are outside of Ontario – you can find your provinces guidelines on the Ministry of Education web site)
  • when creating course titles on a transcript, put the title of the book used, as it is sometimes recognized.
  • keep track of all volunteer hours
  • copy all certificates and diplomas for transcript portfolio
  • University application is due by November
  • College application is due by February




Posted in High School, Homeschool Thoughts, Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Actual ‘school’ time…

I came across a mom’s blog from 2015 where she breaks down the actual time used in the school system for “Learning”. (Link provided here for full details). Her analysis is based on a school system in the UK, where she states they have 190 days (after holidays and such) of school. Here in Canada we have 180 days of school. So in comparison, where they have an average of 100 min a day of learning, the analysis works out to Canadian students spending approximately 105 min a day learning. She further breaks it down to compare homeschoolers schooling 365 days of the year, for an average of 55 minutes a day of learning.

For most homeschoolers in our area, we do follow the September to June calendar for school, but we do not stick to the 180 days as most of us do not even know when the P.D.Days are scheduled in the school system. (Unless we have a lot of kids in our neighbourhoods, and then we see them running around outside).

An average homeschooler probably has about 196 days of ‘school’ a year.

     365 days in a year
–   104 weekend days
–     50 week days from 10 weeks in summer (if you take summer off)
–        5  days during march break  (or any week vacation)
–      10  days during christmas holidays (if taken)
196 days for school

Every homeschool situation is different and uses different learning styles and tools. All I can relate on is what we use and do. In our personal situation, my husband uses his time to drive a school bus for a private school so we tend to follow his schedule (a.k.a the school calendar – 180 days).

The average school student covers 4-5 subjects in one day, and not every day. The subjects are spread out through out the week.  In High School, students only study 4 classes a semester.

For our kids, they spend at least 15 minutes a day in any given subject. Our subjects include penmanship (hand writing), bible studies, math, literature, grammar, french and Latin.  Just those subjects alone put us at 105 minutes a day! We have already matched the average Canadian student. Now add into it the time spent on history, geography, and science – at least 90 minutes a week; and then add into that piano lessons, dance classes and other classes.   On average our youngest spends at least 2 hours a day doing ‘school’ work.  Our oldest spends an average of up to 4 hours a day (starting high school level courses next year).  These are minutes with their actual noses in books, or pens in hand.

There is a big difference in comparison to what I went through in school.  Don’t get me wrong – I loved school. Well, I realize now it was the love of learning that I desired. However looking back, especially in high school, I was bored.  For most classes, I had to sit in a class for 70 minutes while the teacher taught the lesson, and in most cases we didn’t get to do any work during the class, we had to complete homework at home. I learned more doing the homework than from the teacher. So on top of spending all those hours in a class room during the day, I had at least a few hours at home too! (Now I see why some students skip classes and still got high marks).

For homeschool high schoolers, they study at their own pace and can usually get a course done quicker than it is provided in the school system. Here in Ontario, the standard requirement for High School courses is 120 hours each course.  This is based on the time spent in a class room. If a teen utilizes distance learning courses, they can complete the same courses in a fraction of the time. Some distance learning gives the student the full 12 months to complete a course.  There is a lot of flexibility.

After taking a look at these numbers, it should set any homeschool parent at ease.  If we miss a few days, you can relax knowing that it won’t set the kids back.  The time they do spend in their studies is actual learning time, and if done in an environment that encourages of love of learning, your children will retain so much more.

To read the full article go here:

Posted in Homeschool Thoughts | Leave a comment