Sweet Bella Vita

a dash of motherhood… a sprinkle of homeschooling… and a pinch of photography ( with a side of compassion )

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physical education & health

This is probably one of my favourite “subjects”…
although we don’t practice it as a subject but a way of life.
During the summer, we join a summer pool where they do diving,  swim team and water polo. They play tons of games in and out of the pool with their friends and the awesome lifeguards.
During the “school year” they take aikido. My oldest is now a proud new orange belt 🙂 While my second just got his first yellow stripe 🙂 and my third is having fun learning at the moment.
They like taking gymnastics on and off. As well as Ballet classes.
We love to tour the parks. There is this great website in montreal area for parks, find it here. We try to look at the map and find a new park to go discover every couple weeks.
My oldest  son’s  favourite pass time is biking .
So as soon as the weather is semi warm, we hit the road with our bikes 🙂 or they are learning to skateboard.
As for health I feel this topic is very important.
We eat all organic foods and we talk a lot about GMO’s and pesticides.
Lately we have been focusing a lot on sexual education. My kids are fascinated with how babies grow and are born and the changes the human body goes through.
In my next post I will share an awesome list of books on this topic 🙂

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How do I teach my kids to spell ?

Honestly, I haven’t really put much effort or thought into this … I have let this kind of happen on it’s own.

I had started trying to do spelling drills with my oldest a few years back ; where I would ask my oldest to spell out a word on our chalk board , but this only worked out for a few days as he quickly said he disliked it .

I have a great board with letters on it and they sometimes like to play with them and make words.

I have found the best way is just through play. We borrow games from the library that help to teach to spelling;  like boggle and scrabble. And they sound out words with the letters and sometimes they get them wrong but most of the time they get them right.

Another advantage of homeschooling today as opposed to decades ago is technology. There are many apps that can help. My son likes playing one called word scramble; where he has to find all the words with the letters in the circle.

I also feel that many apps even if not spelling related directly help to show spelling indirectly.

I feel that spelling is easier just learnt through life rather then as a subject itself; also my feeling is not to push a child to learn to spell. I vividly recall being forced to learn to spell and the anxiety it gave me.  I think each child learns different things at a different pace and personally I see how my boys are very different here. My 9 year old loves writing and spelling; whereas my 11 year old not so much yet. But he is starting to show interest and is getting there slowly , whereas he is an amazing reader and reads faster and better then I do, so I am really not concerned  🙂

Do you have any neat spelling games or tricks ?

Go see my fellow Canadian homeschooler blogger team to see what they say about Spelling here ?


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One of the most asked questions I get about homeschooling is “What do you use for math”?

Well to start off with … I try to make learning to count fun and we don’t use a book, but objects. Anything from toys, to food, even when are about and about we use the world around us. I try to do this also with learning to add and subtract.

Then we chose to go with the Math Mammoth program and I bought the complete set and my oldest has completed all of it and it went very well.  My oldest literally flew through it, averaging 2 grades a year.

So I can tell you that math mammoth is  a great program that really worked well for us and I really like the way Maria designed it; UP to grade 7. Then I found my son  struggled as she stopped giving the explanation at that point … I have wished many times that she would extend her program to cover all of high school.

As her grades 1-6 are really well designed and she gives a great explanation on each topic; the few times my son needed a little extra help we googled a few sites and videos to get a better grasp of the concept.

Now that he has finished all math mammoth levels, he has started Teaching Textbooks  (pre algebra), So far he loves it and finds it very fun and interactive (as we bought the CD version of the program ) but he has also said that he is finding it somewhat boring as it is covering a lot of stuff he has already done. But I am certain it will soon start to get more interesting as he will start to cover new topics. I think becuase Math Mammoth covered pre algebra a little, he is excited to move on to more challenging material.

What do you use for math?

Go see my fellow Canadian homeschooler blogger team to see what they say about Math here 🙂


(please note I was not paid or asked to review any of these items. This is my own personal review after purchasing the items)

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conference chat ~ living organically

If I were asked to give a conference chat; my topic would be living organically.
How does this tie into homeschooling  you may ask ,
well I like that my kids are learning to eat healthy foods and take care of themselves and the environment.
I think the number one thing we can show our children is how to live as naturallysimply and organically as possible!
By that, I mean everything from cleaning products to the food we eat … from the clothes we wear to the products we use on our bodies and even the chemicals in and outside our homes.
Every purchase we make has an impact … and every dollar we spend leaves a message.
What kind of  message do you want to leave?
What kind of message do you want your kids to take on from your actions?
I want to support our local organic farmers.
I want to support natural healthy sustainable products.
I want people growing and making these items to be healthy and not have to worry about their own health just to make some money and I want them to be fairly compensated for their work 🙂
I want natural clothing that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals.
I love that…
  • my kids can tell you all about GMOs and organic food.
  • that they know how to read the labels.
  • that my kids are learning about protecting the environment and that if they spill something they reach for vinegar to pick up the mess.
  • that my kids tell me about stuff that isn’t healthy and what is healthy.
  • that they know what the fair trade label means.
  • we sell or recycle stuff we don’t use or need; to live as simply as we can.
So thanks for joining me on this virtual conference….
I hope I have inspired you to question everything  and show your kids to do the same to live as naturally as you can 🙂

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I have 2 kids that love to create art, and I mostly just supply material and let them do whatever they want. I do sometimes initiate a project; but I like it more when they come up with their own creative stuff.

My 8 year old loves to make his own comic books … and he makes pop up art, kind of like 3D.

This was a really easy and neat paper bag creation …


I also love taking them to art workshops where they work on a project. 

This was our most recent one …

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Also check out my fellow Canadian homeschool bloggers and their posts on Art here!


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We are back this year with the monthly Canadian homeschool blog post … to kick start the year let’s talk about organization!


One of my favourite things to do! 

I love the feeling of purging and getting everything cleaned up; as it is so rewarding. 

My husband thinks I am a little crazy with my system but I like my system as it works really well for me … I basically make a huge disaster by dumping everything out and then have no choice but to go through it all.

but there is order to my chaos

I have 4 categories 

  • throw / recycle 
  • give away 
  • sell 
  • and keep 

the keep gets organized on the shelf in my homeschool room.


My kids sometimes have a hard time selling stuff but what encourages them is getting the money from the sale. 

There is  a great app that you can use locally called varagesale … and it is awesome because you can sell small things like baby pjs on it or all those toys that start to pile up … and it quickly adds up … I have sold probably over 300 items so far on it.

I encourage you to declutter your homes and rooms … it is so much less to tidy up and you really don’t need all that stuff; trust me !

Another neat thing I love to do is switch things up. I move the furniture around … and even switch rooms … it always feels so refreshing when I do that !

These are a few before and after photos of when I redid a room and switched it around … I moved my homeschool to another room and made my family room a simple quite calming reading room 🙂 I also purged a lot of the stuff on the shelves when I did this.




a few other tips …

  • get a new shelf or storage system that can hold all your stuff neatly.
  • don’t impulse buy … ask yourself if you really need that item
  • give the room a fresh coat of non toxic paint 
  • but again… the best thing to do is get rid of the stuff you don’t use!

So get to it!

and if you want post a before and after picture on instagram with the hashtag #homeschoolOrganization to showoff all your hard work please do 🙂


Also check out my fellow Canadian homeschool bloggers and their posts on Organization here!

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Hands On Learning

For me “hands on learning” is getting out in the world and seeing and doing… basically the essence of homeschooling in my opinion.

From museums to stores to nature … you name it … it is all hands on 🙂

I remember growing up and going to school and thinking “while I sit in this classroom … life is happening out there”


This past week we hit the mountain for a hike / bike ride


We are fostering some kittens for a rescue group until they get adopted so my kids have been learning and observing the kittens all week … as cats are very different from dogs.


We checked out a museum we hadn’t been to in a couple of years.

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The boys participated in an Apple workshop all about publishing an ebook.



Among the regular stops like the library, Aikido class,  grocery store and other places just to name a few things we have done 🙂

Please go check out my fellow Canadian bloggers and their posts on “hands on learning” here


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dear parent starting your adventure in homeschooling

Dear parent starting your adventure in homeschooling,

So you have decided to homeschool … first off I want to say it will be awesome and  totally worth it!!!


Yes; go ahead research the heck out of it. Look at every different method and all the different curriculums and then go with your own style … which will most likely be a blend of a few.

Don’t worry about the bad moments or days … they will come and go… and quite frankly bad moments happen to everyone regardless if you homeschool your kids or they go to school. 

Focus on the amazing moments… and you will have many amazing moments!


Don’t worry about keeping up with any grades or school curriculum… each child is an individual with their own learning style and their own pace, part of the joy of homeschooling is going at the pace of the child. And remember your child is not a grade … but a little person learning new things every day.


Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t compare your child to any other child. 

Don’t worry about what people tell you. You may be one of the lucky ones and live in a community full of supportive, understanding and  open minded people to homeschooling or you may live in a community where you might be the only homeschooler. Don’t let THAT stop you;  you might inspire others to homeschool.

And you may come across negative comments from people … brush them off and move on.


My suggestion is get online and read inspiring blogs of other homeschooling families. Connect with others even if it is online only for the moment. Start your own support group if there are none nearby or if there is one go hang out and meet some homeschooled kids and parents… I guarantee you will be totally impressed.

I went to a homeschooling event with my baby; yes you read correctly, about a decade ago I walked into a homeschool ‘show and tell’ carrying a baby (my first born) and I got some very welcoming comments. I was very curious what it would be like to homeschool and that was a great way to meet both the parents and the kids. I was hooked right away and I haven’t looked back nor regretted my decision one bit, but for those of you who are very hesitant,  just remember you can always change your mind … the school will not go anywhere … so give it a try 🙂


and very important: homeschooling isn’t bout the destination but the journey itself!

And one more thing; this homeschooling journey is not only about your kids but also a journey you are taking with them and you will learn so much about your kids and from your kids and in general on this experience. 

so have fun! 


p.s. want to read a few more “dear parent homeschooling” letters… check out the rest of the Canadian blogging teams posts here 

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5 days of Canadian field trips… day 4

We have been having a crappy summer … lots of rain and very cool with a few exceptions

A creative and indoor outing is to a ceramic art studio


They are all over the place now … I think it is a new trend


If you have kids that like painting or being creative this is a great afternoon outing especially on a rainy day 🙂



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5 days of Canadian field trips… day 3


Next on our stop is the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum

If  your child (or even yourself) have any interest in planes … this is the place for you!