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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Tarifa

The nicest beach we saw in southern Spain!

The sand was so clean and soft and my boys loved playing in the waves.

Watching the wind surfers was so nice and relaxing.

And there is a cool sand dune nearby to see.

A really chill place and a great vibe!

I think it is known as the windy capitol of Europe… hence all the wind power generators!

As a family we voted that this was our favourite spot in Andalucía Spain.

~Lisa


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Gibraltar

We took a day trip to Gibraltar and it was amazing.

One of our highlights of our trip to Spain. ( although Gibraltar is not in Spain)

We went on a boat ride to see wild and free dolphins. Most amazing experience! It was so amazing there were so many of them and they all looked so happy. They surrounded the boat and followed us out to open sea. Apparently they love doing this , it is fun and it is a lazy way for them to get around as they catch the current of the boat. It was a very choppy day so hard to get good pictures but I was so emotional seeing so many of them … and so many babies with their moms… the males apparently stay out in open waters more. We tried looking for whales but we were not that lucky that day. Maybe next time!

We drove all the way to the tip of Gibraltar and had an outstanding view!

So strange how this cloud is almost always looming over the rock … a local told me that it is a good thing as it keeps the toxic crap from the refineries in Algeciras away.

Also kids got a kick out of the fact that we drove across a airport runway to drive into Gibraltar.

If you are in southern Spain I highly recommend a day trip here! Kids will love it!

 

~Lisa


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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 🙂
~Lisa


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Spelling

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 ?

~Lisa


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Math

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 🙂

~Lisa

(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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Art

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 …

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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!

~Lisa


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8 year old finished processing santa

So a few hours went by after blowing the lid on the whole santa thing … and my 8 year old is in front of me and brings up santa. I look at him unsure about what to say as I wasn’t sure if he wanted me to tell him again as he perhaps wasn’t sure he understood what I had said earlier or he wanted to pretend he does exist and go with that. I asked him “do you want the truth or do you want me to tell you something you want to hear?”

And he hesitated and his first answer was “both”, Which made me sad for a second but then he quickly said “I want the truth.”

So I still felt a little down as I felt like I killed it for him but then I remembered a letter I had saved several years ago that was written  by another blogger and I went to get it and used parts of it to help explain.

He asked me for clarity; if I am santa….

I said “no. I am not Santa. There is no ONE Santa.”

“I am the person who fills your stocking and I wrap your gift under the tree with dad’s help.”

“I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning and sit under the tree with their faces lit with Christmas lights.”

“This won’t make you Santa, though either.”

“Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.”

“It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.”

“Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.”

“With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.”

“So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.” *

What really made him light up was when I told him he was santa too !

and it was in that moment that all the doubts and questions of ‘should I have said all of this’ disappeared  🙂

My 8 year old is so excited about the spirit of santa and thrilled that he knows about the magic… so perhaps I haven’t messed up after all 🙂

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~Lisa

*the letter I used can be found at this site; http://www.cozi.com/live-simply/truth-about-santa and I believe the original author is Martha Brockenbrough

update: a week has gone by since I told him and he seems more excited and happier then ever


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florence… gelato

What better treat to enjoy while walking around Florence then a gelato!

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I highly recommend a stop at ‘Edoardo gelato biologico’ (not only is it organic ice cream… but it has VEGAN options too!!!) it is near il duomo.

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and this concludes my Florence posts 🙂

if you missed the others find them here:

FlorencePiazzale MichelangeloPiazza della SignoriaIl Duomo

If you go I would love to hear what you liked and disliked about Florence :)

~Lisa


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Florence…il duomo

Please see my post on Florence here 🙂 and my 1st and 2nd top places to visit

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Lastly, you can’t go to Florence and not visit the famous “Il Duomo di Firenze” (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) … my kids were blown away with the size of it and the ceiling inside is incredible. The ceiling was painted between 1572 and 1579 by Giorgio Vasari and Frederico Zuccari. I could have stared at it for hours, the detail is magnificent!

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I tried to capture different angles of it … but it is so big … difficult to do !

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~Lisa


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Florence…Piazza della Signoria

Please see my first post about Florence here 🙂  and my 1st favourite place to see here 🙂

My 2nd favourite is…

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Piazza della Signoria and Piazzale degli Uffizi and the area around it

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It is amazing… full of incredible sculptures / statues that my kids thought were incredible.

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my oldest was so excited as he recognized so many of the names on the sculptures.

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~Lisa