Nov 21

Adventures, creativity and confidence!


We’ve been building dams, cable cars, walls and pulleys to explore Engineering in PBL. I loved how well the students worked together, problem-solved and connected to the real world. We lifted a 5lb weight, single cinder block, double cinder block, post pounder… and Levi!

In Reading and Math we looked at Parts of Speech, playing “slap jack” with a focus on nous, verbs, adjectives and verbs. We looked for nouns and verbs in our Math Gnomes stories. The kids LOVE our tongue twisters and have been turning them into pretty entertaining raps. We played “I Spy” to focus on short vowels and spelling, and Letter Construction for those difficult reversed letters.

on Tuesday Alix finished up the beautiful story drama “The Whisper”. Everyone made their very own books, with beautiful covers. What writers we have!

In the afternoon Project’s Club continued to build their clubhouse.


On Friday, in Adventure Club, we went made cinnamon buns before adventuring to Merridale Cidery, sampling the delicious apple juice, hunting down fairy houses, looking at the geology of glacier middens and so much more. This is a beautiful walk to talk in the rain or sun, with so many informational signs to teach you about to local biology. Thank you Merridale!



November 4

Happy November!


This week the students presented their amazing work and innovations during our PBL Dragon Den themed Presentation of Learning. I was very impressed with their clear speaking voices and excellent descriptions of their “products,” especially their enthusiasm about why “they love their product and so will you.” I was especially amazed at their understanding of the scientific method, and their recall of the steps needed for a successful experiment. We spent a lot of time in our Maker Unit working on forming “good” scientific questions, really getting beyond “because it’s cool” and understanding the “why” behind it. Well done!

We also designed labels, measured the product bags and jumped onto the computer to make professional labels in Word. Students learned how to created a text box with dimensions to match the bags, create unique fonts, change the colour of fonts, add images and cut printed pages to fit their bags. Very impressive work!

Our next PBL unit is: Engineering!

In Reading Groups we worked on close reading skills and spelling.

Math Groups worked on micro-skills, such as checking your work, carrying over, regrouping and 2/3-digit work. We played several games to help us with these skills, including “For Sale” and “Pumpkin Patch”.

In Math gnomes we looked at Measurement. There are three workbooks available, with everything from distance and mass to volume and mass. We will explore these concepts throughout the year 🙂


Theatre students worked on their beautiful, hand-stitched books after reading The Whisper, as story all about the power of imagination. The Whisper page

In Project’s Club, students designed their playhouse and began laying the foundation. Plans include a climbing wall, monkey bars, a few swings and possibly even a jail?!

The kids worked on measuring the boards, cutting them and attaching them with handing nails and joists. Great skills!

On Friday in Nature Adventures, students enjoyed their free play activities, exploring the magnet games created in the Maker Unit, as well as dressing up and exploring our Fish Cycle Activities.



October 21


This week we learned all about electrical circuits in PBL. Students designed the cover of their Operation Game, with sloths, kittens, giraffes and robots. Next we covered the inside with tinfoil, attached a battery, LED light, wire and tweezers and had a game!

We also looked at different types of robots and electricity activities and games. Feel free to take any resources home to play with.

In Reading, we worked on spelling, skimming for information and scanning for unknown words.

In Math we counted up the money from Market, practicing regrouping, coin identification and decimal values (ths). Group B started work on measurement, looking at mm, cm, inch, feet, meter and km. Group A looked at how operations are related to each other, as well as skip counting.


In a new story drama, students had to solve the Solstice-Shenanigan Mystery through teamwork and planning. Their were lots of great questions being asked, and awesome teamwork! Well done!

In Project’s Club, students advanced from 2-D toys to 3-D wooden toys, with moving arms and legs, tails and heads, and even wings! Next they will plan a structure to build.


Nature Adventures took us down to Goldstream. The fish weren’t there spawning yet, probably due to the extremely low waterline, which was a really good conversation in an a of itself. We talked about the work people are doing to physically bring fish to their spawning grounds due to low rainfall and flow. We made really beautiful art with tinfoil and watercolour paper/ink, adding salt for a scientific art effect (try it at home with watercolour paper and ink, sprinkle on sea salt for effect). Oh, and we made the most delicious scones ever!



October 5

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!



PBL: This week we wrapped up our Early Man unit with an amazing Presentation of Learning, complete with cave art, story-telling around the “fire” and looming. I was so impressed with the kids recollection of Malsow’s Hierarchy and how we worked through each stage to creativity!

On Thursday we started our Maker Unit. Each week, the kids will have a chance to sell their items at the Cobble Hill Farmer’s Market! Some of the exciting topics they’ve chosen are: beading, robots, wood crafts,  and mask making…

We set up a mock Dragon’s Den where I tried to sell my Math Gnomes, with constructive feedback. These kids know about investment, interest and percentage of investment!!!

Math: We worked on Fractions in Sr Group and Place Value and adding in Jr. Group today before jumping into our workbooks. Lots of hands-on application of our concepts!



Theatre: Alix started our new story drama: “My Beautiful Birds,” exploring the concepts of hope and belonging, while talking about Syria, Refugees and displacement. Heavy topics with a really empathic approach! This was an especially important idea to explore so close to Thanksgiving!

Project’s Club: Matteus and Alix worked with the kids on their first carpentry project: mini robots. Some students even ventured out on their own, making animals.


French: Dans la Rue is where we traveled today, looking out for “les camions” “les autos” est “aux feux.”



Cooking: Well, we “made” Millionaire Shortbread, but it was definitely with mixed reviews.  We might have to try this one again… one day.


Math Gnomes: While we returned to the math gnomes adventures through the Friendly Forest, we explored skip counting and adding and subtracting (Group A). In Group B, students finished reading (Group B) about Mr. Lucky and his work with Probability, connecting his ideas with the fractions work from last day.


We started our Nature Adventures with art work for “Up Above and Down Below” which is a really cute book showing the world above ground and below in various contexts. We painted medallions (Thank you, Tannis Humeny for creating them!) and created our own projects, from board games and drawings to card games and wood creations. 

In the afternoon, we bundled up and went trekking up by Chemainus, hunting all sorts of mushrooms!



Sept 30

This week we look our PBL unit to the next level, with science experiments! We watched clips of “Ice Age Deathtrap” (Nova) and stopped to perform a few experiments:

  1. What exactly is one cubic meter of soil?
  2. How do geological timelines work when looking at soil levels
  3. What is a mastodon?
  4. How did the mastodon die in such great numbers?!


The answers:

In the afternoon Reading and Math we worked on poetry and place value/multiplication

Tuesday: In Theatre we finished up our story dram: “What to do with e problem” by looking at perspective. I loved the kids alternative telling of Jack and the Beanstalk and Hansel and Gretel. Poor parents, they just had kids who went to live with the rich neighbour!

In Project’s Club  we finished our poncho sewing projects and almost finished our sweatshirts!


Sept 25

Autumn is here!

Monday: While exploring the taming of Man’s Best Friend in PBL, students realized that making masks of their most revered animal really was a form of prestige. We made incredible masks and looked at cultures around the world and the times of prestige masks they created!

In Reading, we worked on our intro to poetry. It was rather… dark.. but very sophisticated imagery!

In Math we started our workbook and station activities, using place value to explore regrouping and multiples. We played some new games: Addition War, Guess Who (numbers), and Foam Fractions challenge

Tuesday: In Theatre, we started a new story drama: What to do with a Problem (Kobi Yamada) by looking at story cards (faces) of people who were worried. We tried to imagine what they might be worried about, and even thought of rating them most worried to least worried. It was a really interesting exercise in perspective, as well. After that we thought about our own worries and how that looks from the outside, and how it feels on the inside. We read the story What to Do with a Problem and realized that sometimes problems really do turn into huge worries. Then we looked at Mindfulness images (faces) and thought about how they might work for the people in the pictures. More to come next week!!

In the afternoon Project’s Club we worked on our Naturescape, with a new river and beach layout, as well as some jumping logs. We also worked on sewing ponchos and sweatshirts.


In french we jumped in to a costume box and had lots of laughs thinking about Robert in his ostrich pantalons. The students looked up clothing terms and drew some pretty funny cartoons for the script.

In art we worked on Mandalas, using found objects.


Math Gnomes took us on a new adventure. Group A started by meeting the gnomes, Plus, Minus, Multiply and Divide. We also stuck some foam numbers into our books to Stamp Out* number reversals. Group B met Mr. Lucky and explored probability at his Inn. We also made fraction circles using geometry!


In Nature Adventures, we hiked the side of Cobble Hill Mountain in search of trees and mysterious leaf shapes. It was a beautiful day for a hike, even when it was a bit sprinkling. After out adventure, the students chose from station activities: My Tree story, Busy Beaver story telling, wood crafts, leaf matching and memory games.

Sept 16

Welcome to a new “unschool” year at Zoma Creative!

We have started the year with so many adventures and creative projects, new friends, and even a new “cozy room” next to the classroom. Students are busy designing our Naturescape, which is going to be just one more incredible addition to our creative space!

Here’s what we’ve already been up to this year:

Monday/Thursday (am): Students continued our Early Humans PBL unit with bows and arrows this week, and animal balloons. We have some true hunters on our hands! We also looked at fire safety, and the tools that set mankind on a path of creativity.

Our favourite activity was looking at stone tools and thinking about how complicated they really were to make. Pretty impressive for the first stone tools!

Last week we looked at the diaspora of humans throughout the world, and how cultures began to form around the places they settled. We looked at incredible artifacts and started to recreate our own, including various habitat structures and clothing.


Monday (pm): We chose our first books for silent reading and played Naughty Monkey to get our literacy brains activated. In math, we will have various stations set up to explore, at our own pace, some of the basic numeracy skills.

Tuesday: In Spotlight Theatre, we jumped right into our first story drama, which explored “generosity” and “negotiation.” We first looked at Japanese Fable “the Old Man and the Statues.” Students put on a variety of hats and got into the character of that hat. Next we tried to put the scrambled story back in order, and finally, we acted our parts of the story and tried to imagine how the characters would have reacted to terrible news. We were all surprised to discover that the Old Woman was very kind, knowing that good acts were rewarded, which they were!

We also explored win-win, win-lose and lose-lose through a variety of skits, including Marble Madness, Tug-o-war, Human-Tug-o-war/ Donkey Dilemma and Police Dilemma. Our conclusion: win-win is possible with a little give from both sides.

Wednesday: We have explored two French themes already: In the Classroom (Dans la Salle De Classe) and In the Jungle (Dans la Jungle), with some amazing illustriousness for our french cartoons.

In Art Class we worked on the colour wheel, our first canvas work, as well as designing our own aprons.

In Cooking last week, we made a surprisingly delicious Watermelon Salad with bocconcini, mint, basil and almonds. This week we used potatoes and squash from the garden to make a layered “Bay Potatoes” dish (but used rosemary instead of bay leaves), which smelled and tasted amazing!

On Thursday (pm) we built our new Math Gnomes and read Chapter One of the new adventure. The four gnomes met two new character: the Fraction Twins. We learned the languages for the gnomes, as well as the surprising places they show up in our own lives!

We learned a new reading skill: Follow My Cue, where students highlight 5-10 difficult words in the reading before we begin. Students then write the word on cue cards and pass them to me. As we read the text, I read the cue card words aloud. It was great to see how much we already knew, and how many new words we learned in just one reading!

On Friday, this week, we headed out on our first Nature Adventure, to Mill Bay Nature Park. We loved running through all the trails, checking out the rock art and fairy houses. We explored the tide and even brought home some rocks to paint ourselves.

In the afternoon, during Exploration Centers, students chose from:

  • Store
  • Wood work and
  • Microscope slides

We ended up combining wood work with the store as students created their own toys to sell!


May 20

We’ve had a whirlwind last two weeks, with our incredible Maker Faire Fundraiser, followed by an out and about action-packed week.

(May 14-18), PBL Students prepared for the Maker Faire by setting up a See it, Try it, Buy it table for their friends (Monday). We looked at the set up of each station, as well as the materials and the gift bags and gave constructive feedback. On Thursday our parents came to try out our Creation Stations, practicing for the big event! We problem solved set up, as well as double checking our materials. We practiced working with customers, and helping people to create our incredible ideas: jewelry, slime, Bloxel characters, wooden puzzles, cardboard creations, yarn kitties, fairy houses and décor, clay creations, and t-shirt transfers!

On Saturday we had our event (photos below), which was really successful in the end. Visitors were so impressed with the kids ability to explain their workshop and the process it took to make the Maker Faire! We are so excited to do this event again in the Fall!

On Wednesday, May 9th we spent the day making signs for the Maker Faire. We also looked at the layout and planned out the cardboard maze! We also made some tissue paper flowers for our moms!

On Friday we set up the cardboard maze! It was really incredible to see it come together and to see the great teamwork. It was a major project and people has SO much fun trying it out on Saturday! We saved the good cardboard for the next maze, and used the scraps for a new garden foundation!

Here are the highlights from the BIG EVENT: Zoma Creative Mini Maker Faire 2018


On Monday we went to Cobble Hill Mountain and shared our highlights and lowlights from the event. It sounds like everyone felt really successful. Most of the kids sold their kits, and they were really proud of that. Others felt really successful at sharing their creativity. There weren’t any lowlights, really!

We also brainstormed about the final PBL Unit: Oceans. It turns out the kids know more about Oceans that I did coming out of my college degree! We are going to have a great time going to the experts and many ocean locals this unit!

At Zoma, we painted fish on Thursday PBL, as well as drawing title pages for the Oceans Unit.

On Tuesday, Theatre students worked on their major scenes, trying to get off script. We are making great progress and looking forward to getting costumes and sets together for our outdoor performance in June.

In the afternoon we finished putting the wheels on the GO Karts and even got a few test runs in. Due to the varying sizes of the wheels we had to figure out how to raise the back up on a few, and how to extend the steering on others. Next week we will test them out on Cobble Hill Mountain!

On Wednesday Nancy helped the kids to create tie-dye shirts. What incredible creations! Some of the kids were so excited they wore them the rest of the week!

In French we “went” to a birthday party and figured out how to sing “Bonne Fete.” IN the afternoon we looked at fruit, how to find in-season produce, and made fruit creations and kabobs. Personal favourites: The Sword and the Kiwi Stone and Fruitman.

In Reading and Math we worked on Division with Math Gnomes. King Equals made an appearance in the story, so of course we spent a good chunk of time making him for our awesome gnome kits. We wrote Thank Yous to all of our incredible sponsors of the Maker Faire: Volume One, Two Hoots, Dinter Nursery, Valley Health & Fitness, Butterfly Gardens, Flying Squirrel, Flush Bath Essentials, That’s My Jam, Sitka Music School, and all the incredible parents of Zoma Creative!

We also counted up the tickets from each table to look at which events were the most successful and thinking about why (popularity, hands-on, display…)

On Friday we finished up a BUSY week with a trip to The Garden Path and Heron Bay. Thank you so much to Guy Harriot for having us and being so incredibly kind. We loved your garden and can’t wait to feast on the bounty from the plant starts when they come.

We had such an incredible time at the beach. We saw everything you could imagine: starfish, mussels, gooeyducks, clams, an eel, minnows, sea cucumber, and some very, very, very odd things:


Phew! Another action-packed adventure for the Homeschool kids at Zoma Creative!

See you Tuesday!

May 4

This week we prepared for the Maker Faire by creating “kits” that our friends could try for themselves. This involved a lot of problem-solving, team work, and- of course- creativity! We have such an incredible assortment of talent. Each student/team will host a “Creation Station” on May 12th, where they teach people how to make jewelry, build video games, make Mind Bender games, build fairy houses and decor, create their own slime… We will do a trial run on Thursday with parents, to see how it will all be laid out and presented on Saturday.

In Reading we worked on Penpal letters, letter construction, and spelling. Students have been taking turns reading aloud during Math Gnomes, learning new words, like Shepherd, which I realized is literally “sheep herder” shortened… I always wondered about that weird spelling!

In Math we continued with Math Assessments and worked on regrouping to add and subtract, as well as multiplication tricks. On Thursday we continued with Math Gnomes, looking at grouping to multiply and divide, as well as learning key summary skills.

On Tuesday we did a run through of the whole play (on script) to see how long the play should take. Students worked with partners on individual scenes, which is what we will do for the new few weeks, until lines are down. We talked about stage directions and set building, which we will start to design soon.

In the afternoon we worked on Go Karts, working on painting the body, drilling in the steering disk, as well as drilling holes for wheels. We will have a rally soon, once they are tested and painted with lightening strikes! I was really impressed with team work, as well the way each team was planning the next stages of the project.

On Wednesday we had an extended Art class, creating self portraits, and learning to trace work to practice new skills.

In the afternoon we cooked Rice Crispy Squares. Yum!

No Class Friday…


MAKER FAIRE 11-2 next weekend! May 12th Cobble Hill Youth Hall and Stu Armor Hall.


April 21

On Monday PBL students jumped into their Maker Faire planning and exploration last week, choosing topics and exploration centres for the event. Today we started a felt plushies project. At first we learned how to scale up the pattern (1cm=1 inch) on grid paper. We call this style of scaling up “Pirate’s Cove” because the kids have played that “coordinates” game with me and love it. Be sure to ask your kid(s) about how to transfer/scale up a pattern onto their own grid paper.

In the afternoon we started exploring probability in Math with our Arcade math unit. We played Fraction Bingo (spinner), heads or tales (experimental probability) and talked about other types of “chance” games and activities. Students will design their own game for others to play.

In Reading/Writing, Our Penpal project is coming along. We worked on writing our return address, introducing ourselves and starting the letter writing process.

On Tuesday we rehearsed Act II of our comedic Tempest play. We learned about stage directions, stage whispers and asides, and monologues. Next week we complete Act III and then we can get into the fun stuff: costumes, sets and script-free readings!

In the afternoon we headed over to our Zoma workshop to start on the Go Karts. I was really impressed with the team work! We measured the model Go Kart, measured out the pieces for each kart and started to drill them together. Lots of great new skills!

On Wednesday students created mixed media art with canvas drawings and moss. The results were really cool! Nancy divided them into categories: people and animals.

We went on a “pique-nique” in French class, reviewing  action words, as we learning new food words.

In the afternoon we embarked on a very cheesy taste test, with everything from brie and blue cheese to classic cheddar. The cooking challenge was to make a Three Cheese Grilled Cheese, with some pretty stringy results!

On Thursday, PBL students explored and created their specific topics. We have some great stations going! Working with Bloxel to create a video game, creating a giant cardboard maze and mindbender games, a chemistry laboratory,  a physics lab, an art station, cardboard project station, DIY dollhouse furniture and more!

In the afternoon the kids received their new Math Gnomes booklets so that we could practice active reading, problem solving word problems and multiplication strategies. We started a mini assessment booklet as well. Please feel free to check them out to see where your kid(s) are at in Math.

On Friday we headed to the pool for swimming fun, followed by a trip to Dinters to explore Native Plant species. We went to Zoma to look at the invasive English Ivy and got really into pulling it to reclaim our native plant garden space!