Our Homeschool Day

I thought I would write about what our daily homeschooling rhythm looks like right now. We haven’t really had a first day of school as I try to keep our learning going each day. At my children’s ages there is not a lot of sit down “school time”. We are aiming at a middle ground between unschooling, having short lessons for reading and leaving invitations out for new learning opportunities.

Writing his pokemon story

My goal is to incorporate reading, writing, math, science, art, and geography into the themes that the kids are currently interested in learning about. This may be in the form of outings, planned projects, books, or baskets of related activities simply left out in the play room. Right now it is space. Over the past two weeks we have worked on shapes, light, measurements, visited the science centre, went to a live talk in an omni-theatre on planets, created an outer space model, reading lots of books and a theatre show of “The Way back Home” by Oliver Jeffers. Ewan also loves Pokemon, so reading and math are worked into each game. He has also decided to write a Pokemon book!

IMG_0372Isla is also enjoying learning about space. But she also very much enjoys art, dance and singing. She spends a lot of her days drawing, painting and cutting with dancing and singing in between projects. Reading is her other love and she will sit for hours to listen to stories or poems.

The ‘structured’ activities that are done daily are a short reading lesson for Ewan from the program ‘All About Reading’ that lasts about 10 minutes. Reading poetry at breakfast and lunch (Toes in my Nose by Shiree Fitch is their favourite – they have actually memorized every poem in the book and still insist that we read it each day!). Reading a chapter from a chapter book – we have just finished Little House in Big Woods (Laura Ingalls) and we now play little house every day at the pool (another daily activity). Our current novel is Farmer Boy. Ewan also reads a IMG_0363chapter with Alan at bedtime and they are currently reading Harry Potter. Lots of reading!! We also work in piano once or twice a week and we incorporate speaking French over lunch time. Many of these structured activities I am trying to pair with a meal time so that they just become part of our daily routines.

On an average day we begin with screen time (sky landers video game or a tv show) on their iPads from 6am-7am because I cannot get up before 7am while Everly still wakes during the night. From 7-8am we FaceTime family and friends. We then have breakfast between 8-9 (sometimes later). This is when we will have morning time learning – read the poetry, chat about some of our themed learning, work on memorizing an important fact (our new address, telephone number, months etc), talk about our day and end with Ewans reading lesson. Kids then clear their dishes and we read a chapter from their chapter book. We then get swim suits on and head to the pool from roughly 10-11am. When we get back we have our baths and showers for the day and then I prepare lunch. Over lunch we speak some french and read more poems or sometimes another chapter.

Making rainbows as part of our science kit.

After lunch, I will either put Everly down for her nap or we head out for an activity and Everly sleeps in the baby wrap. On the afternoons that we stay home, I try to have an activity for us to do. It could be a science experiment (we are loving the Magic Schoolbus Monthy subscription – they send a themed kit with everything needed for 7 experiments), art, writing, or whichever activity they feel like playing – lego and magformers are often taken out. Usually I will begin dinner around 4:30. If the kids are starting to lose it with each other at that point I usually put on a Sparkle Story – wonderful imaginative, listening stories that last about 20 minutes. Alan is usually home after that and can keep them busy. We aim for 7:30 bedtimes, so it is usually brushing teeth and pjs after dinner with a board game or a story.


Alan has been taking off Wednesdays and we are using that day as our field trip day to explore the city. We try to choose trips where two adults are needed or full day events. So far we have went to the zoo, the bird park and a theatre show. Alan is away this week so we had a pyjama day today – sometimes those are good too!

Ewan screaming down the hallway at the mention of any number of activities 😦

Above is a general outline of our days – I personally like to have a plan. But I am really trying to go with the flow as well. For example, this morning right after breakfast the kids really got into lego and had the entire living room floor covered with projects. I used the time to catch up on chores and laundry and we went swimming in the afternoon instead. There are also many, many, MANY meltdowns. Ewan has really been struggling with being homesick and not wanting to do anything. Once he is engaged he is loving each activity – but it has been a battle with each and every transition – even to go to the pool. Which is why I am trying to keep some activities linked to our basic daily routine (3 meals a day).

Dumping crayons is also a favourite activity!

This week has been much better – he has been more positive and enthusiastic and he is beginning to sleep better at night too. So hopefully we will continue in a positive direction. And if it isn’t Ewan then it is often Isla or Everly upset! We are still juggling with activities and finding ways to get everyone involved. Everly has recently found a love of colouring and not just eating crayons (although she did enjoy snacking on an orange crayon today).

Making birds to hang after our visit to the bird park
He loves the idea of writing books.
Helping out with chores
The girls will often sit at the table together and draw or have a tea party.

All in all, we are having a lot of fun being together and learning together. There are moments where I want to tear out my hair, but there are also many moments where I can honestly say that there is nothing else that I would rather be doing than living and learning each day with my children. Sorry you still have to go to work Alan 😉

Our First Two Weeks

West Coast Park – this is one of 5 playgrounds which are all side by side!

The past two weeks we have been busy trying to orient ourselves and get to know the west coast of the city a little bit. I have become comfortable taking the bus to the local plaza which has a grocery store and it is where Isla is taking ballet and Ewan IMG_0007Taekwondo. We are also comfortable taking the bus to the local library as well as the science centre. This past week we have taken the MRT (subway) to a downtown appointment and it seems to be a really good way to travel further distances. The kids also now have bicycles so that we can get to the local park more easily. Our days and weeks are starting to move more smoothly and we feel like we have more freedom and choice in how we spend our days. And needing fruit and other basics from the store isn’t so terrifying!

We have also brought the kids on a few day trips to help with being homesick. It is really nice that the local park is so amazing, so that we really do not have to go far if a quieter day is needed.

Some of the adventures that we have taken are going to the Gardens by the Bay, which has an amazing view of the city from the tops of the super trees and then a great splash pad. The zoo was also a great experience. We now have a membership so that we can continue visiting the animals and using yet another amazing splash pad.

Super Trees at Gardens by the Bay
Splash Pad at Gardens by the Bay – water is all timed to a disney sound track – lots of fun!
The Zoo – we surprised the kids with a breakfast with the Orangutans!
We spent the afternoon at the splash pad in the Zoo.

We have also had the opportunity to meet several families with children of similar ages. The kids have loved running around wild with them and it has been really nice chatting with other moms about their experiences here in Singapore.

Swan Lake in the Botanic Gardens
It is so very hot!

We are all adjusting very well. The first week was difficult for the kids and their behaviour was beyond challenging. But they are now sleeping better and they are getting more used to the heat and the long travels on the bus. We are also taking full advantage of the swimming pools. We are swimming between 1-2 hours a day!

Over the next week, my goal is to begin trying some local food and to begin our homeschool daily and weekly routines to try and find our new normal.

Have a wonderful long weekend in Canada and enjoy the last burst of summer! (I am so envious of the impending Fall weather – I am dreaming about wearing jeans and cozy sweaters.)

Welome to Singapore!

We have arrived!

We left Ottawa last Monday at 5am to begin our journey to Singapore. This journey would take 30 hours! With three young children….

Our first flight was 5 hours from Ottawa to Vancouver. We were all very excited at this point. This flight ended up being the most stressful of the three. For the first IMG_3117two hours Everly kind of lost her mind because she couldn’t just walk around – so we walked up and down the aisle about 50 times. My stress levels were skyrocketing just imagining the next 28 hours! Then she finally went for her nap and slept the rest of the flight as did I. Ewan and Isla were  very excited to watch as many movies or play as many iPad games as they wanted over the next 30 hours (normally they get about 30 minutes a day when Everly is going down for her nap – so this was a BIG deal).

We then had a 3 hour layover in Vancouver where we had a good breakfast and let the kids run as far as their little legs could go! The second flight was 15 hours fromIMG_3119 Vancouver to Hong Kong – this flight would take us over night. Everly fell asleep just before we got on the plane (I had been hoping to keep her up until we took off but it didn’t happen). She then slept in my arms for the next 11 hours without so much as stirring. She has
never slept 11 hours straight in her life. It
was incredible. I watched a movie, ate several meals and slept. I also lost all feeling in my legs. She then woke up for two IMG_3141hours where she ate and then we walked. Shockingly, she fell asleep for the last hour again! Ewan, Isla and Alan managed about 8 hours sleep and watched plenty of movies beforehand.

We then had 3 hours in Hong Kong – and what a view! A gorgeous island with mountains all around. We were all pretty tired and cranky and the airport food left much to be desired. The last flight was 4 hours to Singapore. On this flight we did not want IMG_3149the kids to sleep as we would arrive  in Singapore at midnight and we were hoping they would sleep a few hours that night to help with the transition of Singapore being 12 hours ahead of Ottawa. Ewan and Isla did stay awake but were really starting to lose it by the end of the flight. Everly on the other hand slept IMG_3127another three hours!! I knew this would be trouble but I also needed to sleep as exhaustion was setting in.

We finally made it to Singapore – the heat hit us like a brick wall – it is SO hot!! Even at midnight! We were very fortunate that two of Alans’ coworkers met us at the airport with a van for all of our luggage. They took us to our condo, they had filled it with groceries and made the beds and showed us around. This was so helpful and so very appreciated. The Ewan and Isla had fallen asleep on the way to the condo and we were able to put them directly into their beds. It was not surprising that Everly was wide awake! So we stayed up that night and unpacked all 11 suitcases (not possible to only have 8, so we used our maximum allowance of 11). I really wanted the condo to feel ‘homey’ and have the kids recognize their belongings when they woke up.

The kids were very excited when they woke up at 7am and then Everly and I went to sleep until 2pm. Over the past five days we have been working on getting over jet lag and sleeping at the right times. Ewan is still struggling a little (getting up at 4am and going to bed at 5:30pm) but the rest of us are doing well.

It really is a lovely condo. Much more spacious than I had been imagining and more than enough room for us. It was also very clean and the whole complex is beautiful. I will give you all a little tour –

Dining and living area with entrance out onto patio (we are on the ground floor).
Our kitchen (split into two rooms – pantry, fridge oven and prep sink in one room and then stove top, dish washing sink and washer/dryer in other room)
The kids bedroom – with a wall closet on the wall when you walk into the room. The kids also have their special toys (toys Everly cannot have) behind their beds.
Our bedroom with a dresser and wall closet and a bathroom attached.
The office / play room / ‘school room’ – I also have an ikea kids table and chair set being delivered tomorrow for the room.
A view of the balcony from the outside – there is a pond directly in front with turtles and all sorts of fish!
The walkway to the park and recreational pool.
The park in our complex.
The giant rec pool!
The 50m lap pool – this is just across from out balcony. From what we have seen, I am the only one using it!

Singapore seems like a really lovely place. We are both excited and a little intimidated about learning the transit system so that we can start taking advantage of all of the experiences Singapore has to offer. The goal for this week is to get a bus pass and attend an art class, ballet class, soccer school and find the library. Wish us luck!

Following new interests

As the countdown is now at 8 days until we leave, I have found a new interest to IMG_2758distract myself from packing. I have begun to learn about incorporating essential oils into our daily lives. I have always been interested in natural products to improve my families health and wellness and I now have the time to learn more about the many benefits and uses of these oils. They actually have so many uses from making your own cleaning products, massage oils, changing the household mood by diffusing the oils as well as boosting our immune systems.

I really like idea of using the oils in our daily routines to help the flow of our days. Specifically, I would like to start working the oils into our afternoon and night time routines. In the afternoons, the kids and I often have our down time while Everly takes her nap. I have started using the lavender oil in the diffuser to help create a calmer and more relaxed feel while we read books or the kids find quiet activities. I am hopeful that this intentional act will help give myself and the kids some quiet time to make it through the rest of the day.

At bedtime, I have started massaging the kids feet with a ‘peace and calm’ blendFullSizeRender 3 mixed with coconut oil that should help relax them into a good sleep. Our nights are not the most restful right now and we definitely need some help in this area. Ewan has trouble slowing down his mind to fall asleep and Isla struggles to stay asleep and Everly is just up all the time! The kids have really enjoyed taking their turns and getting some extra touching from mom at the end of the day while dad is reading the story books.FullSizeRender 2


I am excited to continue to test out new oils and blends to help energize my own moods in the morning and to help myself slow down in the evenings. I think using the oils will help everyone with the stress of the upcoming move. It will also be a good way to boost our immune systems and to help fight off colds and flu when symptoms first appear. And it will be nice creating one household cleaner that can do it all!

If you are interested in incorporating these oils into your own daily life or simply to get more ideas on how to use them, join me on my page.

Now to get back to packing – maybe there is an oil for that?!

Our Next Adventure

In three weeks, my family and I will begin a new adventure. We are moving to Singapore for the next 10 months! After the sale of A Gym Tale, this work opportunity for Alan presented itself and for the first time ever, there really didn’t seem like anything was holding us back. So we decided to go for it!

We are very excited for this experience. It will not only offer us a full year of summer (32degrees and sunny every single day!), but the learning opportunities are endless – a new culture, living by the ocean, and being exposed to new languages, foods and customs. Singapore is also rated the 2nd safest city in the world and one of the top 10 destinations for families. The city is home to a zoo, many large parks, nature reserves, bird sanctuaries, beaches, science centre, museums, and Universal Studios. Not to mention libraries all over the city. Homeschooling in this city will be incredible with the amenities available to us!

This experience will also test our ability to live with much less and in a fraction of the space we do now. Our ground floor apartment has two bedrooms, living / dining room, kitchen and a patio. We are very fortunate that the complex also has a lap pool, recreation pool, gym and two parks. We will each bring one suitcase with summer clothes and any other items that will fit. I am actually very excited for this year of living with less. I am imagining now how easy it will be to clean and keep toys tidy!!!

With the departure date quickly approaching my to do list is growing each day as we prepare. I am so looking forward to blogging about our adventure overseas!

Cottage Life

Once A Gym Tale was sold and my last day of work was decided upon, Alan and I booked a cottage so that we could take two weeks to really let go of time pressures and our to do lists. For the past two weeks we have enjoyed complete freedom from schedules. We have spent so much time outdoors on the beautiful days and reading books and watching movies on the rainy days. No pressure to do everything. Simply doing what we choose each day. Some days have been busy running, kayaking, playing games, fishing, camp fires and anything else we could squeeze in before dark. Other days, we have just played in the water and cuddled on the couch. It really has been such a wonderful start to a new chapter in our lives as well as a new pace of life. We have all had a chance to unwind and to lose track of the days. For us, the perfect start to summer.


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Today is my retirement day. It is very bittersweet. I am happy with the decision that Alan and I made to sell A Gym Tale and to start a new chapter in our lives. But it was so hard saying goodbye to the families that I have come to know over the past 10 years. Families that I have seen grow and that I have had the pleasure to get to know through play classes and Nursery School. It was also so hard to say good bye to the staff members that have grown to be great friends who truly care for my children. I will miss seeing them each week and chatting about anything and everything.

But the possibilities that may open for myself and my family are well worth making the change.

Now that I have transitioned out of A Gym Tale the goal is no longer to find the time for things, but to now take my time. Taking time to live fully. Taking time to notice the little moments. Taking time to learn new skills and to give my children time to learn at their own pace. Taking time to focus on health.

This is a time to refocus. To live with less distractions which take time away from my loves and the things that are truly important.

For myself, I would like to focus on eating more whole foods, getting enough sleep and exercising – especially running, I miss running. As well as taking time to be creative –  I love to create – whether it is through sewing, scrapbooks, photography, gardening or writing.

For my marriage – taking more time for just the two of us – even if that is just an evening at home that doesn’t involve both of us working at the kitchen table until midnight. Maybe even a few date nights!

For my children, my goal is to never tell them to hurry again. I would love for them to have the time that they need to eat, get dressed or focus on doing up their own buttons. I want my children to have the time they need to finish activities at their own pace, not on my schedule. If they want to dig in the sand for hours on end, then it would be nice to give them those quiet days.

For friends and family, I am hoping for more spontaneous visits and longer visits. Not only visits or playdates that need to be scheduled a month in advance and that we must rush away because of work.

We are excited that we have made the decision to homeschool Ewan next year. I think it would do all of us a lot of good to slow life down for a little while. I love teaching and I am so excited to teach my own children and allow them the freedom to follow their interests and learn at their own pace. My goal is for my children to love to learn and to never stop asking questions and being curious about life around them.

I have so many hopes and wishes for myself and my family and I am so thankful to have the time to pursue these dreams.

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