You know those moments, those little things you do that you think are no big deal but could possibly be a turning point in your life? Well, I do. I recently picked up a local magazine called "Taste Buds" while on a date with Hubby. It had a chicken on the cover and I thought, "How cute! I love my chickens!" Knowing that I might recycle it without reading, I picked it up anyway, and in just a matter of days it turned our homeschool upside down. It contained a list of local farms to buy from and volunteer at. We must have researched and contacted 100 different farms in the next 2 days. We learned so much-just over the phone, about permaculture, how to buy a cow, what constitutes a truly organic grass fed meat, questions to ask, etc. etc. It wasn't long before we decided we needed to visit a few farms, so we did. Last Thursday we visited 2 farms, a local restaurant at a farm, and a farmer's market. Sam had a BLAST! She gathered eggs, fed some baby lambs, pet some goats and llamas, identified different types of chickens, toured a ranch, stood in the same field close to steer, listened to discussions about meat, fertilizing land, USDA processing facilities vs non USDA, ate grass fed beef, bought locally, and tried raw milk, which in turn lead us to look up the benefits and "risks of," which lead us to make "the switch!" Whew! What a day it was, and that was half of it!
Sam was so intruiged! The next step is volunteering. We found a farm we will be visiting come Spring that follows the principles of permaculture. Interesting method if you have time to research, very natural. Nice people. Said, "Come on out whenever!" It is 30 miles one way, so right now Sam will volunteer once a month. She will learn about plant placement, companion planting, care of plants and also animals, weather, and SO MUCH MORE! And then here at home we will work on building our "back yard farm" of chicken and goats, and continue to buy 90% of our food locally! What an experience just because of one small, local health magazine. THIS is what unschool is ALL ABOUT! Digging in to your community and all the education and relationships it has to offer.
We have been working on many things. Her Geography project is almost finished. Math. Slow going. Who wants to memorize facts? Reading has really taken off. For the first time since Fall when I stopped trying to force her to read, I heard her say, "Mommy, I love reading! Reading is FUN!"
The garden is slow going because the crazy weather lately. Gym is going great for her! They are working on some more advanced skills. She is mastering caring for dogs. And Legos-our newest focus. :) Day in and day out the last few weeks she has really been focusing on building her own stuff, following directions to build stuff in the booklets. Problem solving, correcting herself, symmetry, etc. So. Much. Learning!!!
Anyway, that is my update for her journal.
Also, some pics from her Valentine party I never posted! (The party itself went okay. She says she had fun, but it was crowded at the rink-almost 100 CHEA families showed up. And she was over tired from a having her friend, Kailah, spend the night. Kailah is also in CHEA....She skated with friends and ate snacks, handed out her Valentines and got a box full from the others. She passed out on the way home. CHEA gatherings always wear her out.)
PS I finally found the courage to chuck the lesson plan book! Life does not always fall directly under the categories of "Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies." There is gym, art, building, real life applications, Bible, combinations of everything. And the value of our learning cannot be described in little one liners. We will build a portfolio and I will keep pictures and descriptions of some of our on going projects, but anyone who knows my child knows she is learning all the time, plus she stays active and involved. No need to "fake it" or "force it." :)