Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quote From John Holt

I have read many of John Holt's book, including How Children Learn and How Children Fail, and I enjoy reading about his theory's on unschooling. I agree with many of his views.

I am currently reading "Homeschooling Out Children, Unschooling Ourselves" by Alison McKee. It is a good book so far, even though I generally don't like the "autobiography-type books.

At the beginning of chapter 2 in the book, there is a quote from John Holt...There was a teacher "so obsessed with the right answer hidden in her mind, that she could not think about what (the student) was really saying and thinking, could not see that his reasoning was logical and correct." --John Holt, How Children Fail 

As many of you know, we are unschooling Samantha, and right now she has chosen to work on the solar system. We have been doing several experiments and projects, talking about the moon and the stars, the sun, and all the planets.  

This is where I am getting with all this...Wednesday, Samantha and I were in the car, and we were talking about shadows. I asked her what caused a shadow. She answered accordingly. Then she noticed there there was a big truck with a BIG shadow. And my small car had a SMALL shadow. I thought I would expand on this, so I asked Samantha, "Who do you think would make a bigger shadow? You or me?" Samantha replied without skipping a beat, "Me!" I just laughed and replied back, "Oh yah, how is that?" "Because I would be standing CLOSER to the sun." 

I never in a million years would have considered her answer correct if I didn't decide to ask her why. But she is correct. If she were standing a lot closer to the sun somehow, she would make a bigger shadow. And now I truly know that she picks up so much, not only from the world around her, but from the little experiments and activities we do. Who knows where she got that from. Did I "accidentally" teach her? Or did she figure it out on her own? We hadn't gotten to that experiment in her "kit" yet. 

Her comment really reinforced my want to unschooling. Although I started doubting it, because at one point we were not working on any current interests, I soon realized that I was the reason. I was not helping to facilitate her interests because I was wrapped up in my own little world with the house and the whole baby thing. But once I helped her find her resources...well, she hasn't stopped going since. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Space Activities Coming Up


We will be working on some more space activities soon.

We will be going over:

More about planets. (Hopefully, we will get around to making a planet mobile.)

More about the phases of the moon. (The Moon Isn't Made of Cheese Afterall-Oreo Activity)

The Life cycle of a star. (Links)

And we will continue to use your telescope.

I am trying to stray away from worksheets and pointless activities, so this is going to be harder to find activities. I want you to learn something you will remember.

Here are some reminders for me:



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Open House For Brother/School Schedules For Brother

I went to my brother's open house at school the other day, and oh my, how hard it is for me to hold back from doing "school at home" with Sam, especially with this age. I just love how the environment looks, the colorful posters with letters and shapes on them. All the cute toys and manipulatives! The little reading areas and small tables for arts and crafts. And the cafeteria! Ah...Back before we decided to homeschool Samantha, I was so excited to volunteer at her school and do the fieldtrips and all. I feel like there are some things she may miss, but there are things that she would miss being in school instead of being homeschooled too, so it goes both ways. I just have to keep reminding myself that just because the classroom feel looks inviting to me, doesn't mean she will like it. She didn't go with me to his open house because I didn't want her asking to go to school. I have to take him to school in the morning though since my Mom just had a baby, and I am not finding a sitter for that, so I hope that goes well. 

Another thought I had yesterday, because he was going to go to school today, but we decided this morning to let him lay out so he could meet his new baby sister. Anyway, last night I took him and Sam out for dinner and ice cream and to the playground. We generally go out on weeknights as a family, Jessie, Sam, and I. We don't think anything about it. We never look at the time. We just do what we want to do. We follow a general schedule daily, but we don't have to watch the clock for the most part. But last night I kept having to look at the time to make sure that I got him home before it got too late. I had to rush to give bathes and put out school clothes and make sure everything was ready so that I could get him in bed and make sure to be able to wake up early in the morning, just to have to wake up in the morning and rush to dress him, feed him, and drive him to school. It's hard. I am really glad we won't be having to follow a school schedule. We are night owls. All of us. We stay up pretty late. Then in the morning I get up, get Jessie's lunch. Get him out the door. Then I have awhile to wake myself up, take a bath and read, clean up a little-piddle. Then finally, around 9, maybe later if she went to bed later than 1 o'clock, I wake her up and we slowly eat breakfast, make the bed, get dressed. We are totally going by about 10:00 generally, but on a normal day, not before that. Most everything we do during the week starts after 10:00 am, storytime, parent meetings, etc. The only thing I do that actually starts at 10 is go to the Women's Center on Thursdays, and I just cut out breakfast with her and MIL feeds her. And most of the time I am running late for that. I couldn't have a job. I would get fired. :)p

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Space Studies

Well, Samantha has a new interest, and that is space. We have been adding a little space stuff to her room here and there and I have shown her some silly move clips about space and played some games about space, got her some books, and the more we do, the more excited she gets, so we decided to buy her a telescope. (Like with the butterfly garden, if she sticks to something at least a month and shows a growing interest, we will spend about $20.00 to $25.00 to get her something big to go with that particular interest. With the butterflies it was the butterfly pavilion and eggs. With this, we got her a kids  telescope.) Now, telescopes are expensive, so I have to say that in this case, Craigslist was my friend. We got it for $15.00. It came with two extra lenses, the tripod, and the telescope itself. We set it all up on Wednesday night and Jessie found the moon for her to look at, and she got to see a star up close. She was extremely excited, but I told Jessie next time we will let her play with it herself so she can use it how she wants and get familiar with it. Afterwards, in her journal, she drew a picture of what she saw. She drew the moon, stars, her telescope, Dad, Mom, and Sam. The description she had me write said, "I saw star and moon and love and a heart and the candle that I blowed out." (Not sure what the love and heart thing was about, but the candle was something from earlier that day.) Here are some pics. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Homeschool Expo 2012

This year I was able to walk into the homeschool expo with a whole new view. I actually understood what was going on and what I was looking for.

I got Samantha some cool stuff too. There were a lot of used book stands there, so I got her Diary of a Worm- Cutest book ever. It is just what it sounds like, a diary of a worm. You learn some facts about it, but the other part is just silly. Sam Loves it though. There are also a few others, Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly. Samantha has been checking them out from the library constantly, so I figured it was time to buy it for her. And then I got her a Magic School Bus book about Space. (We also recently ordered her the entire series of Magic School Bus on DVD for her birthday off Amazon.) Then I got her a magnifying glass because she has been begging for one. And a plant root viewer. (We tried to do a homemade one where we planted a seed in a water bottle, but we got no results, so I am hoping that this will work better.)

I attended two seminars, both based on the Charlotte Mason method, called Learning Through Living Books, which basically explained the best ways to use detailed stories, fiction and non-fiction, to learn about History, Science, etc. instead of using textbooks. The other one was "Quiet Schooling of Nature" which explained in detail how to best use things like journaling and photography and such to help your child learn more about nature.

I also learned a lot today by talking to the HSLDA. I was asking about the legality of unschooling in Georgia. And he informed me what I could and couldn't do. And also told me that I don't have to enroll Sam with the county until she is 7, which means that is less time they will be over us. And I pick her grade when I turn her intent for in, so it isn't like we are holding her back. 

Her telescope also came in today, but unfortunately, they only sent one part of it, so now we are having to wait for them to send the other part. She says she can't wait to see the phases of the moon up close. It makes me so happy to see her get excited about that!

Sorry. Everywhere. Just...Excited.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Unschooling Thoughts

We are finally all moved into the new house, and able to relax. :) Ah...a very nice feeling. And I have realized how many new opportunities this house will give us for unschooling! All the extra space for projects and the area outside for exploration. She has more freedom to express herself without the landlord breathing down our necks. She can even be loud here! Which means we turn up the Dr. Jean CDs a LOT! Now that she is getting older, I have decided to put more learning opportunities in her reach, for her to initiate of course. So I am going to try to figure out a way to link different pages with references and information onto my blog for Samantha to look over if she chooses. 

*Side Note: We have decided to purchase the Magic School Bus series on DVD for Samantha. I am very excited! :p 

Now to do figure out how to link these things...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The more I read and learn about homeschooling, the more I lean toward doing something I said I would NEVER in a million years do. (Which I also said about homeschooling too, by the way.) And that is UNSCHOOLING. I used to think Unschooling was the Devil and it meant that you were failing your children and just being lazy, but that is not true. I have checked out some books at the library and did a little reading online too, and even talked to some unschoolers, and I think unschooling is an amazing idea, at least for the first few years. 

Unschooling is not a specific mold. It is learning through life experiences and using what works and chucking what doesn't. Basically, what we have been doing the last few years! And Samantha has learned so much! This girl could tell you where the Probiscus is on a butterfly. And where most of her bones are! Just through living life, telling me her interests, and allowing me to help facilitate! (Just like we did with her butterfly interest, which has now led to an interest in flowers.) 

We are still doing a lot of activities, just different types while we are staying with my grandparents. She is learning a lot about family togetherness. She gets a lot of time with my grandparents and Aunts and she Loves it. She is learning to tolerate the change. She has been so good! She is having to learn to get creative without a lot of toys. And it has been nice that we don't have a lot of chores and such to do around the house or many bills, except groceries while we are here, which means more family outings, especially to the beach, where she has learned a lot about constructing sand castles, mixing the water and sand, and experimenting with different stuff she finds there. Oh, and of course about swimming! On top of that, although she may or may not remember it, she has seen a lot of the home buying process! Whew. She has learned so much and had such rich experiences in the past few weeks. And here I was thinking it was just time wasted! 

I read one book, Christian Unschooling, actually started it yesterday and I am about to finish it today, and it challenges you to write down all that you do in a day that has some sort of educational value. it really made me feel good once I thought about it. Now obviously our activities are limited without all the art materials and such that I usually have, which are temporarily packed up, but we have managed to stay fairly busy and continue our learning. So, as of 3 o'clock today, we have: 

1. Painted an art t-shirt. Mixed colors and talked about how two colors together makes a different color. (Art)

2. Played Starfall.com She worked on some reading and math games and also completed an "About Me" section, where she thought about how she looked and the things she liked. (Reading and Language Arts and Math)

3. Played in the swimming pool and she initiated an experiment with the toys in there to see which ones float and which ones sink. (Physical Education and Physical Science)

4. Talked about the parts of a flower. Started a flower book with pressed flowers. Started a Plant Experiment-Collected Soil and Planted a Seed in a Plastic Bottle-so we can see the root system (Life Science)

5. Drew pictures of the family. (Art and Social Studies)

5. Read books. Some of the books were flip books for younger children, so I modified them by working on addition and subtraction in the numbers section. (Reading and Math) 

6. Looked up Dr. Jean songs on You Tube (Music and Technology)

7. "Fished" in the bathtub with a homemade rod. (Imaginative Play)

Then, if you want to get technical, we worked on Home Economics when we cooked and did a few household chores, like laundry and making the bed. Pretty much everything we have done has been educational, aside from having my Nana cut her hair, watching the movie Tangled, eating, and now she is napping. :) 

Tonight, I know she will have some free play, maybe draw some more, read a Bible story, talk about that, read some more books, take a bath, and maybe watch an educational show. I would say she is learning a lot through life. And pretty soon she will have her own backyard to make discoveries in, and even a stream on our land! And hopefully, fingers crossed, she will be learning about the pregnancy and fetal development in the next few months! 

UPDATE: And to top the evening off, after noon we treked to the local Battlefield where we took a walk, collected things from nature, observed the deer, and looked at some historic monuments and read stories about the battles that took place there. (Physical Education, Earth Science, Life Science, and History)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Starting Kindergarten Too Early

With the new school year coming up, I have been busy getting in some studying for the next school year, as in 2013. I have another year or so to get all my reading in, pick the final curriculum supplements, and go through and find the gaps in the Kindergarten standards and fill them in, elarn the laws...I have been planning to attend conferences and fairs and have been telling Jessie all about what I have learned and what I have planned. He has been so supportive, more than I expected him to be, and it makes me feel so good that, while he leaves the final decision making up to me, he listens well and gives his input. 

But now he is pushing for Samantha to start Kindergarten THIS YEAR! He wanted her to start in August. I told him the same thing I told the lady at the co-op. SHE'LL STILL BE 3! To me, that is just insane and ridiculous and it's pushing them. I think starting her at 4, almost 5 is just fine. She does so much learning without "school." But he says that if I don't start her in Kindergarten then I am holding her back because she wants to start Kindergarten and she is ready for it. I am looking at the long term. Yah, she may be ready or Kindergarten, but will she be ready for 1st grade right when she is turning 5. 

We are considering compromising. I said we would start on the Kindergarten curriculum, beginning in September, after she turns four, since there seems to be such a change in maturity once they hit 4 years old, working much in the same way we have been. (We have covered over half the Kindergarten curriculum and didn't even know it, mostly Reading and Science, a little math-through activities like games and our nature collection, outside exploration, butterfly garden, and general question/answer sessions and reading/research.) Anyway, I told him we would keep doing it the way we are, but make sure that we are covering the necessary requirements for the grade. I told him that the max. amount of instruction would be 1 to 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, and then we would go from there. But the more I think about it, the more I don't like that either. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to burn her out, but I don't want to put a general label and/or age on education either. 

Sorry for the rambling, I am just trying to sort out all my thoughts here. This is something I really need to pray about. And give some real thought before I just jump in. Any advice or insight would help. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Lessons

The first week in March we got back into our themed lessons. Because of Dr. Seuss's birthday, we did a Dr. Seuss theme. We were going to go to a celebration at the mall, but Jessie had to take my car to work that day. :(

Wednesday: We read a ton of Dr. Seuss books.

Thursday: I printed off some fish bowls with a number on each one, and we took Goldfish crackers and counted them out, according to the number on the bowl. (Samantha is not fond of math, so I really want to try to start playing more number games to make it fun. We have recently begun playing games, and one of them is a number game called 1, 2, 3 Duck. Very simple, but she is more willing to count that way.)

Friday:We did a Horton Hears a Who coloring sheet. We were going to make Cat In The Hat hats, but we have been so busy...it just didn't happen.

Saturday: I made a special breakfast for us- Green Eggs and Ham. We also watched both versions of Horton Hears a Who and discussed, on a very simple level, how they were different and alike.

The next week was Recycling and keeping the Earth healthy, one of the first topics we did last year when we began lessons.

Wednesday: We read "The Great Trash Bash."

Thursday: We picked up litter outside and made a little area for our recycling. (I intend to expand upon this, but it is a start.)

Friday: We made binoculars out of old toilet paper rolls-recycling by using "trash." We just painted them and then rubber banded them together after they dried.

The last two weeks were Spring topics. I really wanted to make Spring a two week theme just because there are so many fun things to do with Spring.

Wednesday: We read the cutest book called "Diary of a Worm." It is about a worm and his life. It has some silly journal entries, but it teaches a lot about worms and what they do.

Thursday: We played outside and explored. We took everything in and we talked about the plants and insects. Samantha even started a nature collection. It started out with basic stuff, like rocks, shells, leaves-even one that a caterpillar ate off of, but it has already grown and has some neat stuff in it! Jessie brought her home a turtle shell from his hunting trip. And the lady who leads storytime gave her a maple tree branch with "helicopters" on it, because we told her about her collection. She has her own drawer-for now. I want to buy some pretty shelves for the kitchen or living room as her collection grows. She seems to be really interested in it.

Friday: We made contact paper flowers and butterflies. I gave Samantha a piece of contact paper and we ripped up and cut (fine motor practice) several colors of construction paper. Then She covered the contact paper with the different pieces. (I also did one. She Loves when I do the project too.) Then I put another layer of contact paper on and cut out a flower shape for her and a butterfly for me. We taped them to the window, and it looks really neat when the sun shines through them.

Saturday: We played an activity game called "Spring Movement." We would pretend to be different insects. I would describe what they did. She would act it out and then tell me what the insect was. We went through the development stages of a butterfly and she had to identify that. And then we were worms. Etc.

Wednesday: We read "Spring Is Here." I found it on a recommended reading list for preschoolers and reserved it at the library for Samantha, but I wouldn't recommend it. It didn't hold her attention and it was way to simple for preschool age. We also read an amazing book called "My Spring Robin." I Love Spring books, and I would definitely recommend that one.

Thursday: We took a trip to the local garden store and asked them about how to make a shaded butterfly garden. We got a few plants to start off with. Some simple flowers to attract butterflies. And then in the center we planted an herb for the caterpillar eggs and for them to eat. We bought a hanging pot since there are already some hooks up and that way the pots don't get knocked off the porch. We also got some stuff to decorate the pot with. We will gradually add more as summer goes by, but that was just a start. And we are considering a little dish with sand and water and rocks in it for the butterflies to sun bathe, but I gotta see if there is a spot on the porch where the sun hits directly first.

Friday: We made an egg carton ladybug and caterpillar-didn't get pics though. (We were going to paint a bird house, but then I remembered it would have to go on the back porch, and birds eat butterflies...)

Saturday: We took a trip to the local produce stand while we were grocery shopping. It was awesome! They have such great deals. Everything is organic. And they even had farm fresh eggs, (double yolk). Jessie fell in Love. He Loves farm fresh eggs. It was only $3.00 for 15 eggs-technically 30! And they were all natural!

Lessons with Sam have been very exciting. It is so easy to see the product of what she is learning now. And it isn't just the basics. It is things like life cycles and moon phases, more advanced stuff. She is making connections like crazy! She learned her basic 3 dimensional shapes, and now she points them out everywhere. We walk around the grocery store and she points out the oranges and says, "That is a sphere." She noticed the support posts were cylinders and even realized that her pack of Reece's  were a rectangular prism. She sees a lot of similarities in things that we don't see, until she points them out. These are menial things, like the style of the signs at one park look like the signs at another park, and we are like, "Oh yah, I guess so."

She can also do more as far as activities go, which makes it easier for her to do unstructured learning, like the games I mentioned earlier. I picked them up from a consignment sale for a few dollars. She really enjoys playing them and she is working on reading, counting, listening, teamwork, and all sorts of areas of development.

I am looking forward to taking tons of trips this spring with her! Next week we are probably going to take her to the River Gardens to see the butterfly pavilion. And the activities I have planned...Especially our butterfly garden...it is going to be so much fun! (I know we do a lot of butterfly stuff, but whatever she is interested in, I am all there!) It is so exciting to watch her grow!

One last thing, as I complete this post, that I have been adding to all month, today I went to a yardsale and found a Math U See curriculum, which is what I wanted to use for Sam. It is the first and second steps, and it was only the teacher and student manuals, so no DVD or manipulatives, but I bought it anyway-only a dollar-because I wanted to get a feel for the curriculum before I purchased it next year. It is so amazing! I read through several lessons. It was explained clearly and thoroughly. Everything is so hands on, and requires little written work, with the option of more if you want it. It is not only meant to teach how, but WHY things work a certain way, and it does a great job of explaining that too. I LOVE IT! I can't wait to order the whole set next year!

I read this right before we started her nature collection. 

Just a fun activity-We painted a rock. 

The Start of Her Collection 

Nature Drawer: Her binoculars are at the top to the right. She arranged it how she wanted it. 

Flying "Helicopters" at Story Time


She also sales jars of jelly, honey, and a lot more!
The fruits are turning brown because I took the picture like a week after we bought them, and we leave them out of the refrigerator. 

Flower Pot-Caterpillar

The butterfly didn't turn out as well. 

Cute Garden Tools I Bought Her From Target Last Year-She can actually use them this year!

Left: Impatients Right: Fennel

Root System: She thought that was neat. 

The Finished Product

March PAT Meeting-Bowling and Subtracting

PAT Group Meeting: Music Class

Fun Activity: Butterfly Mobile

Tuesday, March 27, 2012




Saturday, March 24, 2012

Turning Over Some Ideas

It's late...Sam and her friend just fell asleep. I started planning some of her lessons for April, and I got to thinking a little about how I want to homeschool. One thing led to another and I have found a plethora of information on lapbooking. I have been using unit studies since I started "schooling" Sam. She seems to really enjoy them, especially now that she has some say. And after a lot of reading, I had decided that I also wanted Sam's curriculum to be project based, but I wasn't sure how. Well, I figured it out. We are going to do lapbooking. I know I mentioned it briefly before, but then forgot about it. But I have begun looking more into it, and it seems like such a neat and creative way to organize all you have learned! There are hard copy lapbooks you can do, which include anything from colored pictures to small informational bookets stapled to the board. Or, a lot of older kids are now using digital lapbooking which involves movie making, digital sound recordings, and music. It just seems to me that it would be easier to remember what you learned when it is hands on and visual, and easy to refer to. 


I know I have not posted March's lessons yet. I have decided to post monthly now, to save time. I am working on my post little by little, and will probably post it by the beginning of April. Lots of exciting lessons are coming up. Spring is the most fun for activities. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This is actually a post from last Friday, but I am just getting around to posting it on here. 

Okay, so Sam and I had a fantastic day today! We got up early in the morning and went to McDonalds for breakfast. (We have not been to the McDonalds since before the other one was torn down in the tornado, so I thought it would be a nice treat. Then we toured the co-op. Came home to rest and let me pay bills online since Jessie got paid today. Left. Did a few errands-getting groceries, some stuff for the house, bank, etc. CiCi's. And then the playground. (The playground was a blast. Usually, when we go to the playground, I let Jessie play with her and I watch. Or if Brennon is there, I sit and read while they play. But today it was just me and her, so we actually played together, and it was awesome!) Came home and both put on some fake nails. (Found her someStrawberry Shortcake ones and me the french manicure ones for pretty cheap. Jessie has been wanting me to try so we tried them.) Now nap for her and I am blogging.

Anyway, about the co-op...We arrived at 9:30 this morning. Mindy (the director) took us into her office and let me ask some questions, general questions about homeschooling and then questions about the co-op. I learned some things that soothed my fears about standardized testing, that I do not have to turn in her test scores and they can not force her to go to public school if she doesn't do well enough-say, I don't teach her the same stuff that is on the test. I also learned a little bit about HSLDA-the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. She explained the co-op, told me about pricing,  and gave me some papers to go over. We visited the preschool classroom and the Kindergarten/1st Grade classroom. We sat in for a lesson on each one. Preschool was going over the letter S and K/1st was going over insects. I learned a lot. So did Sam. And lucky for her, they went over her (presently) favorite thing, butterflies! She warmed up after a bit and she sat in her own chair and said she wanted to do the lesson too. So she did! She wrote her own name at the top of her paper, and she even-with some assistance from me-labeled the parts on the insects. I talked to Mindy afterward and explained to her that Samantha was bored in the PreK classroom. She said she figured as much and that she thought Samantha should start the Kindergarten class in August since she is reading and writing already. I was honestly worried that Samantha's maturity level was not high enough since she will still be 3 in August, but she said she thought Samantha was extremely mature for her age, the way that she sat through the meeting without interrupting or getting down and walking around. And the way she sat in the classrooms for the lessons. She said I would also be surprised at how much children mature right when they turn 4. She was completely convinced Samantha would thrive in the Kindergarten classroom. So we went over a list of things she needed to be able to do before starting Kindergarten. She could do all those, plus some on the 1st grade list. I told her I wanted to talk to Jessie first and maybe wait until closer to time to decide. There are a lot of things I do like about the co-op: 1. They expect parents to be involved 2 out of the 4 Fridays a month. That is very important to me, that I feel welcome to being involved. 2. It would be so much easier to have the assistance of the co-op helping to teach her, in a small, close knit environment. 3. They do all sorts of cool activities, like science and social studies fair. They have yearbooks and such too. 4. It would be a place for me to meet with other homeschooling Moms. In fact, to be honest, I like everything about it, EXCEPT that they chose the curriculum. And I know that obviously they can't do individual curriculum for each child, but I just don't know. What if she doesn't like doing a set curriculum? What if it isn't her style? I know they said at a young age, they are able to adjust things to their level, and they do not grade until they are older. And it would give her experience with written and book work, not solely hands on. I guess we could always try it and take her out if she doesn't like it...hmm...I guess I will look into the Y and make a decision between the two. I have awhile. 

Also, a few reflections...You know, I was extremely shocked today when I was sitting the classes observing and I completely forget that I was sitting in a small church room with a class full of homeschooled children. Everybody always says that homeschoolers can't socialize well and whatnot, but these kids were 1. Extremely social. Just normal kids! They talked to each other, answered questions, and I never once thought of them any different. and 2. These kids were geniuses! They were starting a unit about insects and they knew answers to questions I had no idea the answer to! And these were Kindergarten and 1st graders! 

I know this is getting kind of-well, really long, but I am just too excited about all this! Homeschooling. Finding activities and outings for us. Looking at curriculums. Reading books about homeschooling. And as Samantha gets older, she gets more interested too! Speaking of Samantha....

I am going to brag on Samantha. I don't get to do that much, because I don't want to be "one of those parents" who thinks their kid is the greatest kid on the face of the planet and that nobody else's kid can live up to that standard. So, don't get me wrong. That is not what I am trying to do. I know everyone's kid is special. 

I just wanted to say how proud I am of Samantha. For behaving so well-usually. And using her manners-most of the time. Everybody always compliments her on how she says, "May I please..." to just about everything, even if she is asking me. And when we go to a friend's house or something, and she eats, she will always take her plate to the kitchen. She asks to touch or play with things before she just goes and does it. She's just-growing up, into a very mature little girl. (Not to say she can't be silly, because trust me, silly is her middle name. But she knows the time and place to be silly and what the limits are.) 

On top of that, she is just so into learning! Anything educational-she is all there! Like today, when she was all over doing classwork. She Loves hands-on activities AND written work-although, I try to stray away from written work, unless we are practicing hand writing, which she has pretty much gotten down. She can trace any letter, number, or shape. And she can free write almost any letter. She hasn't practiced numbers or shapes much. 

I think those would be the two things I am so proud of. Sitting across from her today, talking about the stages of the butterfly and what she liked about each class. And listening to her tell jokes and talk about how much she loved pizza, etc. ect. almost made me cry. Happy cry. But cry. 

My Studious Girl
Sam wrote her name, but messed up on the I and didn't erase it. 

Labeling Insects

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February Weeks

Well, we were supposed to do a Fairy Tale topic, but we didn't. Been busy lately, keeping them running with story time and play dates and  looking around for co-ops and homeschool activities. I went to look at February's planned topics, and for some reason, THERE WAS NONE! Apparently I skipped the whole month of February when I wrote out the year's topics. So, I decided I would attempt the "unschooling method" (where you let them take the lead) for the month. It isn't like they will get behind. They are 3. They don't even have to "do school" and they will still learn. 

But to my surprise, Samantha noticed we weren't having lessons, and she looked straight at me and said, "I want to learn about butterflies. Can we do lessons on that?" So we have. They are more informal. I took away the calendar. I decided they are just too young. And we just do our lessons anywhere and everywhere. We checked out books from the library on butterflies. We have watched some videos about butterflies transforming. Listened to songs about caterpillars. And I am wanting to go find some of those rubber butterflies and caterpillars for her to play with. Do some butterfly art-lots of good ideas out there. And maybe go outside this Spring and make a butterfly feeder or look for some butterflies, if she is still interested at that point. 

I really want to start listening to her. She shows even more interest when she chooses the topic and when we learn and where, weather it is outside, in the car, or in the living room. One night, before bed, we were laying down, and she just kept asking question after question about butterflies. She learned a lot, and she remembers it too! And I am learning also, because I am looking up stuff to answer her questions! 

Did you know butterflies have an all liquid diet? And that caterpillars only eat plants. And did you ever wonder what eats a butterfly? All kinds of animals! Ants, snakes, birds, lizards, and MONKIES! And in some countries, humans eat them as a delicacy! 

I never knew I could learn so much myself! And these are things that I truly believe will stick with me. And I hope they stick with Sam. 

As far as the co-op hunt goes, I am touring one on Friday. And I will be talking to the YMCA in my area to get more information about their homeschool activities. I think I like their idea better because it is all physically active stuff, no academics. I can take charge of those at home. That way there is no mixing of learning styles or curriculums. But she can't start there until she is 5. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Week 39: Nursery Rhymes

Last week's topic was nursery rhymes. We did a lot of fun activities with this one. We all really enjoyed it.

Tuesday: (We moved Bible lessons to Tuesdays, that way we don't start a topic, and then have the Bible lesson in between activities.) This week-we started over with Creation. We went outside and talked about all the things that God made. We came back inside and read the story of Creation. 

Wednesday: We were supposed to go to Story Time, but it was storming really bad, so we didn't get to. Since I did not have Brennon Wednesday because my Mom was off work, Samantha and I laid around all day. We sat in bed and read books for hours. It was so much fun. I was glad to get some one-on-one time with her. We went to the library after the storm passed. Samantha loaded up on books. She was so excited. For her lesson, we read a Nursery Rhyme book called, "Lucy Cousins Book of Nursery Rhymes." And listened to the "Nursery Rhyme Rap" by Dr. Jean. 

Thursday: We did the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" rhyme. I wrote three words and drew a picture to go with each word on an index card. The three words were "Spider," "Rain," and "Sun." As we said the rhyme, each person held up their word as it came up. We did the rhyme fast, slow, forwards, and backwards. We swapped out words. They had a good time. 

Friday: Friday was our art activity. We colored Humpty Dumpty eggs, and then dropped them on the floor. (I thought they would LOVE the activity, but they were really hesitant. They ended up really enjoying it, but at first they were like..."Eh...I don't want to get dirty." lol. 

Saturday: We did our cooking activity. Muffins for "Do You Know The Muffin Man?" 

I talked to one of the ladies at the co-op here in Catoosa county. I am waiting to hear back from her about sitting in one day soon to see how it works. She said if we like it, she will schedule us an interview and sign her up for the co-op-to start the preschool in August! I cannot believe my baby is that old already-old enough for school! WHAT?! I don't really want to put her in preschool to learn, because I don't think she NEEDS it, but more for getting around more kids in a structured environment, and it is only a few hours a week, so it is more like a giant weekly play date. I hope to hear more about it soon! 

He was like, "Uh...are you sure about this?"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Links and Getting Ready

New Sites I Have Found: 


http://www.letshomeschool.com/ This site has all kinds of cool articles about fieldtrips, socialization, homeschool groups, even curriculum!

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/trips/FieldTrips.htm This site is A to Z fieldtrips for every state!

http://www.mothergooseclub.com/rhymes.php (A Reference for me really. I need it for next week's lessons. But it has all kinds of nursery rhymes by category.)

Medicine is working. New year has begun. And I am ready to jump back into Samantha's education. I have been questioning weather or not I am tiring Samantha out on education and not letting her learn through play or if I am just helping further her interest in learning. After reading article after article and thinking about all we have done in the last year alone, I have decided that we will continue doing what we are doing because I truly believe that we are making memories and just having fun. She is learning so much about the world around her and enjoying herself at the same time. I never force her to do activities and she gets excited about the calendar we go over and the books we look at. Nothing is too formal. 

Samantha starts back "school" next Tuesday. That will give me time to get her lesson plans started for the year. Today I have just been looking at articles about preschool homeschool benefits and such. We are defiitely not starting anything formal until Kindergarten though. Tomorrow I will probably go over her topics for her unit studies some more and see if I need to add or subtract anything. For the most part we will keep last year's topics and do more complex activities now that she is older. I am also continuing to do more reading about homeschool how-to's, tips and advice, and different topics like socialization. Hopefully this will give us a better start and this year will be better.