“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
As 2020 wraps up I was gathering our “9 Best”. The yearly Instagram tradition of posting the 9 most successful posts of the year. Except that this year didn’t have a lot of bests. Or at least not at first glance or from a social media filter view.
It had a lot of heartache beginning with a tragedy that rocked both our small town and our own little family deeply in February. And it seems that it’s chosen to end as it begun with another tragedy that hit our extended chosen family this past week, on Solstice.
And so, that’s what could be the focus. Bookend deaths to round out an awful year. Or, we could look for those little, impossible to see things, the things not seen by the eye.
When schools didn’t reopen after Spring Break, Quentin and I found ourselves at home together. As the days warmed we spent the time “Following the Child” and they were some of the best moments we’ve ever spent together. We gathered for the daily Zoom check in and then had the rest of the time to become completely submersed in interests.
We finally got a chance to renovate his Montessori home learning space. We used the excuse of me being laid off not as a massive source of anxiety but instead as the perfect jumping off point. Finally his space resembled and fit all the Second Plane of Development needs he had. He choose the yellow walls (Frozen Banana) and helped pick out all the new furniture.
Anthony turned 20 and moved out. Pictured is their last day as brothers under one roof. We spent it reading in our own backyard with endless cups of tea. Although it was a big adjustment for everyone, it opened up a new chapter in our lives, one that has little brother sleepover movie nights.
And, we spent some of our absolute best moments everyday, in our garden
With nowhere to go and nothing to do, we woke up each morning, at breakfast, and went outside. We let the sun warm our bodies, and our hands sink into the cool earth. We often didn’t say much as we picked and chopped each new fruit or vegetable coming in that day. We observed how even a few days makes a big difference for small seeds and ripening strawberries.
And, when “flattening the COVID cure” was working, living on a small island definitely has its advantages, which we fully took. I took Quentin on his first ever long distance bike ride to a favourite and deserted freshwater swimming hole. Our bike ride was my highlight of the entire year. We went along at his pace that included a bike portage when the trail we were riding on was blocked unexpectedly.
It’s amazing what we as adults don’t give kids enough credit for. Quentin carried his new bike down a dry river bed navigating boulders and slippery logs to reach the lower trail and our destination. It was a lot of work, or it must have been. Looking back all we can remember is laughing at some ridiculous jokes and talking about what we would do when we reached the pool. He used his camera to take some amazing shots of the minnows swimming.
Then, all of a sudden it was September, and school came calling for both of us. We were ready (yes I purposely edit out his school crest on his sweater). Back to his Lower Elementary classroom he loves so much and back to his Mastery Year in that classroom. It was important to him and so we went.
And then Solstice arrived and we’re back to the beginning of this story. We hugged each other a little tighter and sat on the edge of Quentin’s bed watching him sleep a little longer. Beyond grateful for what we have, what could so easily be taken away in an instant.
This year has been a good one. Not because of the work contracts and collaborations. We’ve been lucky with those this year and we have a big surprise to share in the new year, but that’s not it. It’s not because of all the likes and follows, but we were very grateful for those too. Its something our Essential 9 may fail to capture. The good simply because we have each other. It’s been good because each morning, bedroom doors open, and footsteps and voices are heard, and we know that that very easily, could not be the case.
School ended yesterday for us and I’ve been searching for some simple nature based materials and activities to use this summer as so many of the places we love are still closed here.
It’s often hard to find good quality inexpensive Montessori compatible materials. So I was thrilled when I discovered this huge Montessori printables bundle on sale!!
It has exactly what I was looking for and so much more and it will last us long after summer goes.
Over 2000 pages of top quality digital resources including guides, an e-book, e-courses and so many printables!! There’s tons of Practical Life, Language, Math and Nature Studies resources for children aged 3-6 and 6-9 although many of these printables could also be used for interested toddlers or older children.
The best part is that the bundle is on sale until tomorrow June 14th for 95% off it’s retail price!!
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful and wild part of the world. One of our absolute favourite things to do is to throw some snacks and art supplies and books in a pack and head out exploring some of these wild spaces.
We’ve been crushing on “The Lost Book of Adventure” for awhile, and so when Quatrokids contacted us on Instagram and offered to send us a copy we were absolutely thrilled!
It’s illustrations are beautiful and the call to adventure at the beginning of the book is just what a certain newly minted 7 year old boy needed to become immediately drawn in.
We love that the book is broken into different sections of adventure with lots of antidotes, and information to spark a child’s imagination to try it themselves.
Quentin had so many questions but ultimately this book has led to big adventure planning.
It has also brought back some very fond memories of our own adventures to the coasts, beautiful forests in our area and other places we have travelled.
This is a long weekend in Canada. It is officially the start of Canada’s camping season.
What better way for us to kick off this upcoming amazing summer of adventure (for us both here at home and very far away stay tuned) then to sit up in bed with the flashlight and this book planning.
This would make an excellent addition to any adventurous child’s bookshelf and is ideally suited towards children ages 6+. It can be found for purchase here!
Quentin and I are finally off on holidays together. I had wanted to find a little nature project he might enjoy.
We are lucky enough to have the Pacific on our doorstep, but we also have a few fresh water spots around. I found this fantastic nature study and wanted to try it with Quentin. August is about pond exploration.
An inexpensive net, a clear plastic container for observation and a notepad for recording and you’re set. It’s easy for a young child to scoop the water, and examine their finds.
Montessori always advocates for reality based experiences before abstract ones. Being able to go and actually see the ecosystem of the pond helped solidify concepts for him.
He compares his findings to the reference book.
It was a lovely way to spend a morning and as we carefully put the contents of the tub back, he made plans to return.
While there were many parties and community activities to mark the day, we spent the holiday together as a family quietly in our own small town.
A quiet breakfast of cereal, fruit and a glass of milk. Sometimes he’s very talkative at dinner, but at breakfast he’s always quiet. Contemplating his day perhaps.
Yay! He’s not wearing a diaper! He actually made it the whole day in underwear including staying dry through two naps and out for a picnic lunch in the park overlooking the ocean.
When he got up from his afternoon nap, Anthony had this waiting for him.
He loved it.
Our big country is only 146 years old. A tiny blip compared to others. We are thankful to be together and live in such a peaceful, beautiful part of the world. Reading Children of the World has given Anthony new insight into just how lucky we are.