Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Brave Art of Motherhood

I'm back!  It has been so long since I felt motivated or had the time to blog. But today I can't help but shout to the world and share about this amazing book I am reading!!

I have been following Rachel Marie Martin over at Finding Joy for a while.  I just love her uplifting wisdom and the stories she shares. When I was asked if I would be a part of the book launch team I was delighted and honoured.  I received a copy of the unpublished book to read and review.  So here is my honest review of the book.

To say that this book is life changing is an understatement. We all have the choice to read a book and just put it on the shelf without having been changed as a person, or to read a book, actually think about what is written and do something about it. THIS book can totally change the way you think about yourself and your life. I am so grateful to Rachel for sharing her story, so that I could find the courage to change mine.

In the first part of the book Rachel shares about her struggles and encourages you to see your own life and dreams in a new light. The second part of the book talks about the excuses we all have for not making changes. Then there is some real practical steps that we can all make to move forward, one step at a time. 

Throughout the book Rachel shares her personal life, stories, inspiration and give us HOPE. 
I can not wait to share this book with others. Although the title says it is about motherhood, I have actually applied much of what she writes about with my boys at home and other women I know. I hope you too will be brave, jump in and discover how awesome it is to be the real you!

So are you interested yet?  What to learn more?  You can get a copy of the first chapter over HERE 

Be sure to look and follow Rachel Marie Martin wherever you can:
Facebook, Instagram, good reads, amazon.... You'll be blessed by her inspiring messages.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Interview with my son about reading

Today I am sharing an interview I did with my oldest son TJ.  He was telling us all about his thoughts on reading, so I asked he would mind sharing that with you all.

So TJ the other night you were talking about reading with Daddy and I was just wondering, what did you used to think about reading?

I personally love reading because I can read at a lot of different places and times. I can read in the car and at bed time.  A couple of days ago I even read to myself in the doctor’s office.  When I first was being taught to read I thought there was probably not much point to this, I thought they are only trying to teach me.  But now I really like it, because I can read in most places and most times.  It is fun! And I also love reading to my two younger brothers.

Like I said when I first stared reading I thought people had to read because they need to read and understand things.  It was just something grown-up did. But now I understand why, because I’m actually reading quite a few books and it is really fun. I can figure things out by myself without having to ask an adult all the time.

What I’d like to know is how do you feel you learned to read?

Well I actually sort of taught myself.  With Mommy and Daddy’s help they kind of taught me the words and I remembered them.  Over time I’ve become a better reader. It actually wasn’t that hard.  Also I find I’ve been reading quite quickly.  I remember a few years ago I was reading books that only had one sentence per page, and now I’m reading books that have chapters in them.  So I find that it isn’t that hard once you learn to read.

What advice do you have for parents that might have a kid that hasn’t quite learned to read, or gets frustrated when they are trying to read.  What would you tell parents?

Well you see if they are having problems, or don’t like to read, or they feel like they are being pushed hard, I started off with these really easy books called “Biscuit” books, that only have one or two sentences per page.  I tried to read them and Mommy and Daddy showed me the words (told him what they said or helped him sound out the words) and I kind of caught on and have been memorizing the word and what they mean.  Like one time I was reading a book that had the word ALL in it.  I said “Mommy what is this word?” And she told me.  So the next time I saw that word I said, “Hey doesn’t that spell ALL?”, because I remembered what I had learned.  So that is kind of my way of looking at things.

How to help start encouraging reading is in a small way, like not too dramatic. I saw a word and memorized it! I started small and now I’m reading books with chapters in them. Actually a few different books and now that I know the words it is really fun.  They are also books about things that I am interested in.

So basically TJ you’re telling us to relax, let a kids start reading when they are interested, and just help them along and they will catch up.  We don’t need to worry but know that they will catch on in their own time?

Yes I agree totally to that.

What advice would you have for a kid, maybe your brother or one of your friends, who wants to start reading? What would be your encouragement or suggestions for them?

If I had some advice I would say that mommy and daddy were teaching me words so the next time I saw the word in the book I remembered that I had just seen that word.  So over time I got practicing words they taught me. I just started memorizing the words and now I can read! It’s really not that hard to read once you know some of the words then you can start to read books.

My next question is the way you learned to read, naturally on your own and just asking for help when you need it, have you taken this and used it to learn other subjects like math, or writing or other topics you are interested in?

Well I’ve actually taken the very same way that I learned to read into my writing.  I’ve been memorizing words, not as many as with my reading since the words are already written out, but I know lots of words.  They aren’t long words, but I could fill a whole page of a notebook with all the words I know how to write. I found that it was quite the same as with reading (he asks us how to write a word when he needs help).

Any final thoughts?

Well like I said before, I like that I can read now in many different places.  It’s fun on long car rides when I’ve played all my games and stuff.  Also I enjoy reading different stuff, I’ve read fiction, non-fiction, I’m also good at reading my bible.  I’m excited that I figured out how to read!

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mom leads the way

Today my heart is full and my smile is big.  I love my boys and my husband (it is his birthday today too!!).  My family is so wonderful!


This week I have reflected a bit about my role.  I'm not going to get too deep and thoughtful here, but one thing I wanted to write about today was how much I lead the way.  For example I know that my young boys always want to be around me (always, even in the bathroom).  So I can't expect them to want to spend hours outside if I'm not out there too. They aren't going to do a lot of art if I am not right in there with them or starting the activity first.

Of course they do on occasion, and for short times initiate their own activities.  But if there is something I'd like to introduce, or feel is lacking, then I need to take that initiative.

This week I noticed that we haven't been in the forest very much.  I used to love playing and building first with the kids.  So I took my notebook and headed across the laneway into the forest.  Of course they all followed! I didn't say much or tell them what to do.  I just sat on a log and observed, wrote and smiled.  This is what I wrote:

Into the Forest by Meaghan Jackson

Come into the forest, come and play.
Connecting with nature in a natural way.
Nothing is forced, there are no expectations.
Just come as you are and see where it leads.

Climbing up trees, looking at flowers,
enjoying the silence, for hours and hours.

We don't need gadgets or gizmos of toys;
Just go outside and let nature lead the way.

Share your thoughts with me... How are you leading the way?

Also follow our journey on FACEBOOK

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

UPDATE for Read What You've Got

How is everyone doing with their reading challenge??

I haven't posted for a while and I wanted to let you know how we are doing.  For a while there we were making great progress.  My boys loved to grab a big pile of books to read through.  Then we got into some larger novels and that slowed us down a bit.  The books were fabulous though.

Then we visited the library... well we've been reading all sorts of new books and the boys now love our poerty tea time!  But we haven't been reading as much from home.  Of course the trip to Value Village brought a whole bag of new books into the house too.  So I'm having to make more space for that.

I also decided to move the books to another room so that we'd be more inclined to read them.  Needless to say with the boys "helping" our nice way of tracking the books we've read got all messed up.

  • So basically we are definitely reading more
  • We did read about one third of our books since we started.
  • My boys are both now reading them selves a lot more
  • We've learned a lot and become interested in new genres
  • I'd say a big success!!
  • We'll keep plugging away and cheering you all on too.

Happy reading everyone!

Monday, 3 April 2017

A language rich unschooling home

Okay I'll just come right out and say it.  Language Arts (reading, writing and all that) was not my best or favourite subject in school. In fact I was/am a terrible speller.  I was a struggling reader and never wrote anything worth reading.  I never could pull deep meaning from a novel and honestly didn't see the point.  So now I homeschool my boys and I want them to love literature.  But how?

Reading buddies

Our family is an unschooling family.  This means that my boys learn about what they are interested in.  We do not follow any curriculum (although we have used curricula and workbooks to help us when we wanted). Learning flows naturally around here and we do not separate life from 'school'.  We are learning and living all the time.

My two older boys learned to read rather naturally.  We have lots of books in the house, read to them all the time, visit the library and I even try to read my own books in front of them. So they have figured it out along the way and asked for help when they wanted to push themselves further.

Little JJ trying to read and pointing to words

I figured writing was going slower because my boys didn't really choose to write often.  But I've starting to look at things differently now...

If you've never heard of Brave Writer I strongly suggest that you take a peak.  (No affiliate links or anything. I'm just sharing something that worked well for us out recently).  I have not bought anything yet but have read over the free lesson plans available.  I have also listened to many podcasts and read a lot of the Bravewriter Lifestyle blog posts.

TJ 'super hero' concentrating on drawing

Suddenly I felt as though a weight had been lifted.  I was now well equipped with fun activities and strategies I could do for myself and with the kids.  We could love reading and writing and poetry together!  It also fit perfectly with our unschooling lifestyle.

Whenever I get a great idea of an activity or topic I think my boys might be interested in I simply offer it.  They may join in or not, but it can't hurt to introduce/offer.  I often will talk to the boys too about why I feel a particular activity might benefit them too.

So we started with Poetry Tea Time.  We've done this a few times randomly.  I'm hoping to make it a weekly event now.  Last week I made a big pot of hot chocolate and served it in fancy tea cups with cookies.  I borrowed a variety of poetry books from the library (since we have maybe one book) and let the boys choose what I'd read.  They honestly wouldn't let me stop!  I read through two full poetry books.  On Pie Day (March 14) we read Math Curse and Science Verse.  Oh and on the first day of spring I casually asked the boys what their favourite things about spring were.  Later during tea time I surprised them with a poem I write using what they had said. It's always fun to set up a fancy tea and read together.

MJ enjoying hot chocolate and poetry

In looking at all Brave Writer has to offer I felt so relieved knowing that I was already doing the right thing!  My boys are in the jot it down stage.  I often act as a scribe for them when they have a story bursting to come out.  Now I try to remember to intentionally ask them more often if they'd like me to write anything down. During our last poetry tea time, MJ asked me to write down a poem he had thought of.

TJ enjoying poetry tea time

We already read a lot of books with different variety.  I am thrilled that they enjoy it.  I love the interesting conversations we have as books and movies bring up new things to discuss.

Another idea I got from Brave Writer was Free Writes.  My boys are a little young to be able to come up with much, but it still was a cool experience for us all.  MJ drew a picture and told us about it.  TJ practiced writing the alphabet, while I write anything that came to mind.  I look forward to doing that more along with perhaps some copy work.  Even if the boys aren't into it, I'd like to do these things for myself!

MJ playing with letter tiles

Finally I wanted to share with you our new love for art too.  Okay so it isn't exactly literature based, but any who we just started doing it recently too.  I only chose Friday for fine arts Friday because the alliteration worked nicely.  I asked the boys first if they'd be interested in intentionally doing art and learning about artists like they'd done once at a museum.  TJ really liked it and MJ sort of went along.  We have done a few artists now. We also did nature drawings in our notebooks too after visiting the garden centre to welcome in spring.

Seeing how all these elements are coming together, in a natural way is fantastic.  My boys are suddenly interested and curious again.  We are doing more math games and science too.  I know the change came from me intentionally offering things to the boys rather that always waiting for them to ask me.  I am released from the stress of trying to fit everything in to our week.  We are not on a schedule.  The boys asked me to write all these activities

into the calendar just so we'd not forget, but if we are involved in something else, then we just go with that instead.

I feel right now that we are in a good place with our homeschooling.  That brings me peace.

I hope you'll join us on FB to see more of what we are up to!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Young Writers

So today I wanted to talk about writing just a little.  My boys are so creative and have wonderful imaginations.  At this stage in their lives their physical writing ability (spelling, grammar, penmanship) does not match what they want to get onto the paper.  So I often act as a scribe.  The boys tell me what to write and then carefully check over my work to make sure they are satisfied.  It is a wonderful experience for us both.

TJ has written two stories recently that he wanted to share with everyone.  He was a little nervous because his younger brother didn't have anything nice to say about the stories. Brothers don't always get along as you might know. I suggested that perhaps a different audience would appreciate his writing.

So here they are.  I'm so proud and can't wait to hear more of what my boys have to write.
PLEASE feel free to make some comments or suggestions below.

Ninjas to the Rescue

One day the Air Pirates and the Nexo Knights were both making plans to attack each other, though neither group knew this. The Nexo Knights finished their plan first because it was so simple. They made it simple so that the Pirates would still be planning while the Knights attacked.

The Knights attacked from all directions and at very high speed. The Air Pirates took a while to figure out what was going on. They were under attack by the Nexo Knights!

The Nexo Knights had a high advantage over the pirates because they started to attack first. But soon the Air Pirates were winning. So far the Nexo Knights weren't being beaten too hard, but the Air Pirates were still winning. The Pirates' plan was to force the Knights off the battlement of their plane onto the wing. It was just like walking the plank, only they called it walking the wing. The Nexo Knights soon figured this out and tried to do the same to the Pirates, but the Pirates already knew their plan and were ready.

The Nexo Knights needed help but no one else knew about their battle. They needed help quickly. Fortunately the Ninjas of Ninjago were flying overhead on their dragons. They swooped down. Some of them swooped down and jumped off their dragons to take care of the injured Knights. They took those Knights back home to take care of them. Others stayed on their dragons to knock the Air Pirates off their fighting planks.

The Ninja were at the rescue site. Most of the Nexo Knights survived. Only one died but most made it. The Ninja went home and the Knights took over their plane and flew home too.

And that is how the Nexo Knights and Ninja Became friends.

The End

The Competition

One day the Nexo Knights and the Ninjas wanted to have a competition. Jay suggested they have a competition to see who was the most powerful. So they decided that at different times they would separately attack an evil fortress. They would determine the winner by who defeated more bad guys in less time.

Since it was Jays idea, the Ninjas attacked first. A few weeks later the Nexo Knights attacked a different evil fortress. During both of their battles the groups needed help from the others to help them win. In the end they all leanred that the secret is team work.

The End

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Joy and Delight

Do you ever catch yourself in a moment and quickly think to yourself  "this moment in time is important.  Remember it."?

Maybe it was because I was more aware, or looking for those opportunities.  Perhaps God just knew I really needed to see glimpses of Him today.  I was blessed to share in some delightful moments with my boys today.

Early this morning we heard the recycling truck pulling into our lane way.  Little JJ gave me a look of surprise when he heard the noise.  He pointed to the window and I carried him over to see.  His whole face lit up as he pointed to the front yard, '"Tractor", he squeaks.  "Yes my darling you see the recycling truck," I reply.  JJ cranes his neck to watch the big truck pass up the laneway and back again.  He waves good bye and we go about our morning.  In my heart I swell with joy because I just got to share in my son's first time pointing out and calling to a truck. While many other children his age are being bustled off to daycare, I am so blessed to be allowed the true gift of being home with my children.

At breakfast time there are some left over treats from an event the night before.  JJ grabs a powdered donut off the counter and takes a bit.  His eyes light up, his little tongue sticks out. "Ohh!" he says jus before cramming the rest of it into his mouth. I realize that I have never shared in or savoured the moment when someone tastes a new food for the first time.  Of course I've fed my boys new foods as babies and such over the years, but today my mind took a video of that moment and it brought me joy.

This afternoon we were all in the yard playing.  MJ stands on the edge of a big puddle on the driveway.  He dips his toe in and I watch as the drops make beautiful circle patterns in the sunlight.  He dips his toe in again, and suddenly dashes off across the puddle, leaping in pure joy.  He is a child, playing out side just as he should be.  Thank you God for allowing me to be here in this moment.

No need to pull out the iphone for photos.  These delightful joy-filled moments are now forever in my heart in my memories.

No matter what your circumstances are, or what is going on in your life.  Please try to be present and aware, allowing these small little moments to surprise you.  Finding joy in the every day may just fill you and refresh you enough to keep going.