Sunday, 6 July 2014

Big Changes-Again!

As I've gotten older and wiser in my years one of the things I've learned is that things never stay the same.  This is especially true when you have children.

Just when I thought I had our near future neatly planed out and packaged up for the next few years life went and threw us a curve ball.  Not a bad curve ball by any means it just curved the other way.

 We as a family have decided to take L out of her Montessori elementary and start to homeschool her in the fall.  This also means that I am no longer able to continue on with my work as a Montessori assistant.  There were many, many factors that led us to this decision and although we will be sad to leave the school we are also both really looking forward to getting back to working and learning together as we did before she entered school when she was three.

We have already started work on several projects and as you can probably guess I've started a new blog to track and document or progress.  There are so many amazing homeschoolers that blog and share their ideas and experiences and they have played a great part in our decision to homeschool. 
 So if you are interested in the new adventures of L and I then please go ahead and check them out at You want to learn about What??

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Potty Learning

There are many different opinions and techniques out there for getting your child potty trained.  I have two children and the approaches I used for each child couldn't be more different!

When L was born we lived in England.  I'd always believed before I had children that I would use cloth diapers mainly for environmental reasons.  When I first got to England and saw their appalling lack of recycling and care for the environment (sorry Brits but for someone coming from Vancouver Island that is how I felt) I decided that I would take the easy way out and go with disposables like everyone else.
I happily changed L's diapers until at 19 months I figured she was ready to start on the potty.  After much research I decided on the "cold turkey" approach.  This involved buying big girl panties, a potty and a potty book.  On the "potty" day we first read the book and then had a discussion about how she was a big girl and that she could now use the toilet like Mommy and Daddy.  There were no rewards or bribes, just a general understanding that this is what grown up people do.

L took to it pretty quick and after a week we pretty much had it down.  After a few months and the novelty had worn off we had a bit of a regression but in general it was pretty straight forward.

You can read about our experiences here.

Fast forward several years and we now have child number 2.  Since L I had done a lot of research on Montessori A to I and realised that cloth diapers were not only good for the environment but also aided potty learning as the child can feel when they are wet.
We were already living in Canada when LJ was born so I took the plunge I'd always promised I'd do and we cloth diapered.

When I started looking after Sweetpea LJ was 10 months.  She was already being put on the potty so I decided to try LJ.  He went on after meals and before and after naps.  He very quickly caught on to what he was supposed to do and we caught most of his poos.  Read about our adventures here.

I think the main reason we all stuck with this is because of the cloth diapers.  Yup it's way easier to clean poo out of a potty than a cloth diaper!
We continued on with this no pressure method of potty learning until LJ turned two and then I made the switch the underwear.  We've had some accidents but seriously a month later and he is telling us when he has to go and I'd say we are officially potty trained during the day.  Yay!

So the question is was either method better or easier?  I'd say nope.  Each one worked for our family at the time.  I think there is way too much hype and pressure about potty training just like there is for child rearing in general.
My advice would be to take whatever approach works for you and your child and to remember that it is a natural, organic process that will happen when the child is ready.

African Canvases

 We made some art for the kids bedrooms over the weekend.  I've wanted to do more resist paintings for some time now and we finally got around to it.

L painted a previously used canvas black.  While she was doing that I looked through Google images for some giraffe and elephant silhouettes.  I copied them into a word document and scaled them to the appropriate sizes.  We then cut them out and traced them onto some black contact paper.  Once we'd cut them out a final time we arranged them on the canvases.

L and LJ got to work painting over the whole canvas.  L decided to make an African sunset and I just gave LJ colours that matched his bedroom.

All painted and waiting for them to dry before peeling off the contact paper.

Here are the finished products.  I did a bit of touching up around the edges and then we hung them on their walls.  I love this way of painting.  So easy yet so effective!

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