About Renee

Renee is a creative homemaker and homeschooling mama of three. She loves to write, take pretty photos, and be in nature with her family. Her mission is to nourish, encourage, and teach; build relationship and create beauty. FIMBY is where she tells that story. Drawing from her years of experience and training, Renee also offers individual and personalized Homeschool Coaching.

Small space homeschooling

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

This past winter our family lived in a two bedroom, 750 square foot cabin in a rural river valley. Today, I am writing this post from a two bedroom Montréal city apartment where we are living for the month.

We are a North American homeschooling family of five (three kids, not littles either) and we currently live in small spaces. On purpose.

We do this, live in small spaces, so we can work and learn together at home, have grand adventures and follow our dreams.

For all the eight years we’ve been officially homeschooling we’ve never had a dedicated school room. We’ve had kitchen tables, craft tables, a couch, bookshelves and the living room floor. This is where we “do school”.

Whatever your reasons are for living in small spaces – maybe it’s a choice, maybe you feel you have no choice – there are ways to make it work.
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Transition from Interest-Led Elementary to Middle School Years (2012 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Ages of my children: (almost) 13, 11, and 9
Educational Philosophies I pull from: Leadership Education, Literature-Based, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling

Our family has gone through a lot of change in the past year. We moved to a different country and have lived in three different provinces or states in the past twelve months.

My husband now works at home and our nearly thirteen-year-old daughter is going through her own monumental life change, moving from childhood to young adulthood.

These life transitions naturally affected our homeschool routines and the resources we use.

A couple of significant homeschool changes worth mentioning:

  1. We are English speakers now living in a francophone province. There is very limited English public library service where we live so we access more online resources than ever before.
  2. My husband takes a much more active part in our homeschool since moving. Specifically in the areas of his interests – computer programming, science and technology in general.

I’ve broken down our homeschool curriculum by subject, though in application we don’t live our days studying “subjects” so much as investigating, exploring and diving into our interests.
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When to Stay The Course

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

The beginning of this New Year dawned bright. We had taken a break for moving and Christmas and now it was back to business.

By mid February, like every other homeschool family I know, we were getting kind an antsy.

We were tired of our routine and so we took a much needed week-long break. We used this time to rest our brains (mine especially!), watch online documentaries and get ready for my son’s birthday. Gastroenteritis paid an unwelcome visit and our one week break become two weeks.

March arrived, we were feeling healthy again and we got back to work.

But I didn’t feel the same rah-rah enthusiasm I did in January.

Where we live March is still very much winter. There are hints of spring, longer and warmer days, but snow still covers the ground. And not just a skiff, we’re talking feet and feet of snow. Then there’s the fact that we live in a 750 sq foot cabin. March cabin fever is literally cabin fever.

Like Jamie, I was tempted the beginning of this month to throw in the towel. Not the whole towel of course. Public school is not an option for us but I could just let the kids watch a bunch of documentaries and craft all day. Right?

Oh wait. I do that. Those are what I call our barebones school days. However, at this stage in our homeschool journey there are only so many barebones days I feel comfortable having during non-break sessions.

Let me explain.
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All You Need is Love

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

Lately, I’ve found myself at another homeschooling crossroads.

After finding a good groove for the elementary years I have a daughter transitioning to young adulthood. Change – ack! I also have a son with unique (and different from his older sister) learning needs and younger daughter whose needs I don’t want to neglect while focusing on her older brother and sister.

The homeschooling journey isn’t necessarily easy, is it?

We doubt, we worry, we wonder…

Am I doing this right? Am I messing up my kids? Are we learning enough? What should we be learning? How do I find the right curriculum?

Lately, I’ve been learning to trust in one answer to all those questions.

Love.

Really.

If it sounds too Kumbaya-ish, stick with me for a little bit here. Let’s talk beyond lessons and schedules. Curriculum and resources.

These tools, useful as they are, are not the foundation. They’re just the pieces (necessary I might add) laid on top of the foundation.

The foundation is love and it needs to be the root of everything I do.
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Renee’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 9, 10 & 12-year-old)

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

The months of November and December were a planned homeschool break for us due to moving, celebrating birthdays and Christmas. We returned to our “in session” homeschool lessons and practice the Monday after New Year’s.

On that day I recorded an actual homeschool day in the life.

The first day back to a routine is not the most representative of our “typical” homeschool day. I keep our academic schedule light when we first get going and also I’m usually full of energy in the beginning of a new school term.

As my enthusiasm waxes and wanes and as we follow our individual interests our days take on unexpected twists and turns.

If I was writing this in two weeks or next month my day might look like a morning at the library followed by an afternoon immersed in books.

Or an exhausting morning of errands followed by an afternoon of documentaries and a hot bath (the first for the kids, the second for myself).

There is no typical homeschool day for our family.
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