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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birthday Post

Six years ago today. A little more than 1/4 of my life ago I endured 29 hours of labor with my sweet girl, Samantha. At that time I had no idea what our future would hold. I didn't know that my Husband would end up in the career he has. I didn't know we would be buying a house in just 3 years. That we would still be a family of 3, with an Angel and 4 animals! And I most definitely didn't know we would be homeschooling-or unschooling at that! Wow. What a ride.

Ever since she was born I have wondered things like, "What will she be like when she grows up?" "What will she look like?" "What will she like doing?" I assume that is normal questions for parents to ask. But now we are here. Six is still small, but at the same time big because not only have their personalities developed, but their interests are coming through. They know what it means to be a friend. They know what they want and what they don't like. And the best part is...for the most part they have reached the age of reason! Six, just like every year, will be fun. I'm sure of it.

These past few weeks leading up to it I have seeing rapid changes in S. Lots of reasoning and understanding. Better questions. Last Wednesday as we were studying her Bible, she asked me questions like, "When God made Adam and Eve, back in that day, could they see him? And actually hear him?" "If we don't know where Heaven is, we don't know exactly where God is. Could the Earth be God? Could God be like..nature?"

I am seeing her make connections. "Oh. So Limestone caves of Limestone like this?" (Sounds like a duh, but we were not discussing the caves at the point we came across Limestone on the trail and she connected the two.)

I am seeing her math and reading improving immensely without having to practice regularly! It is like something has clicked and that is all it took. This morning she wanted to count her change when she woke up. She counted to 100 for the first time by herself. (Yes, "delayed," I know, but numbers have never been her strong suite. You can't be good at everything. And I haven't been freaking about it either because I knew one day it would come to her.) She said money has clicked for her. And so have many other things.

I'm seeing her being concerned about friends-moreso than usual. "I drew a picture of Brentley and me because I always draw Grace and me. I don't want to leave him out."

Speaking of friends, she is a very empathetic person, and her love really shows when she is around animals. I am sure that is because all her "siblings" are animals. But she has a magic touch. She is gentle, kind, and caring when it comes to animals. I wouldn't be surprised if she wanted to become a vet. (Nurse has been a career goal for her in the past. Right now it is nurse AND author/illustrator.)

I am hearing her speak up, advocate for what she believes in, and argue it to the end. She can really hold her own in a debate, without being disrespectful. Sometimes it can be a bit much. She tends to like sparking debates over everything, but none the less, a good quality to have.

And I am seeing her more eager to get involved in new projects and interests. She has so much going all the time, so much she chooses to do at home. She is working on a beautiful 3 dimensional (textured) fairy book. She is using a variety of materials. To tell you the truth, she started that one Monday afternoon (a weekend for us) while Jessie and I were napping. I thought she was coloring, but I woke up to an extremely creative layout of pages and a big mess in the bedroom floor. She has some sewing projects. She just finished a cat outfit. She is using scrap material to hand sew a small kitty pillow. And then next we will print a pattern for a dress for her. (She specifically picked gold fabric for the dress she has in mind.) She is working on a series of You Tube videos. Playdough "How Tos." Words cannot express how proud I am of her. Her videos are well prepared. She is very articulate and clear. And best of all she encourages her viewers to be creative and don't just do what she does. We started her channel at the beginning of the month and already she has lots of views, likes, and subscribers. Granted they are mostly family and friends, but I believe that is her target audience. And on top of that she is still immersed in Civil War and cave projects. (Most recently she has become interested in dog training while helping to train our dog, Della.) She is a busy bee. Always wanting to start something new or learn another skill. (NOT anything I ever imagined her being like when she was a baby/toddler. She was very clingy and easily over stimulated. We did our best to let that part of her personality be, and eventually she grew into the friendly, curious, outgoing, little lady she is today.) As weird as it sounds, I attribute her personality change to homeschooling. Her social awareness has really grown leaps and bounds over the last year since we started CHEA and since we really delved into volunteering, going to churches to speak and talking with clients (We tag team it). And her intense interests really started popping up when we completely "let go and let unschooling."

Her interests include anything art-drawing, painting, sewing, weaving, most recently unconventional forms of art like soap carving and video making-working on video editing. She likes movement. Any movement. She enjoys gymnastics, caving, rock climbing, running. (Another something I didn't envision when she was small. She had muscle problems-one after the other. She just wasn't strong. They said she wouldn't begin gaining muscle tone until about 8 years old. And here she is. If it is pretty, we better be outdoors getting physical.)

She is a growing girl, that is for sure. She has really come into her own. She is always so happy...Well, let me rephrase that...She can be a pain, just like any kid or even adult, but 95% of the time, she is happy, friendly, and ALWAYS joking about something. I feel so Blessed to be able to spend my days with such an amazing young woman. And to think, next year I will be writing about all the things that I didn't know were coming. All the interests she will pick up. The friends she will make. The changes in her personality...Happy Birthday to my Sweet 6 Year Old. :) To another year of savoring every moment, from projects to gym class. From camping to trips to the museums. From play dates to lazy days. 365 more days until another year passes. 365 more days to learn. 365 more days to enjoy this age.

Here are some pictures of S leading up to her birthday. I chose pictures of her doing her favorite things, the things that make her the most happy, that really make her come alive. (The smile on her face will tell you that.) She is sewing, rock climbing, showing off her art projects, reading in the hammock-our favorite spot, and making You Tube videos.

Showing Off Her Homemade Fashions

Ezzy's New Cape/Dress

She was like, "MOM! Take it! Take it! I am going to fall!"

Her and Her Besties like to make things out of Loom Bands if you can't tell. 

Hammock Reading

Shopping for Sewing Supplies!

Laughing Because I Couldn't Get the Sewing Machine to Work (Turns out I forgot to put the foot down, and she thought that was hilarious!) 

Making Olaf

Making Anna and Elsa

Making a Bear with a Honey Pot. She said she was "cracking herself up." 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Typical Day of Unschool

I had a dream last night that somebody asked me what a typical day of unschooling is like. (Pretty sure that stemmed from a You Tube video I stumbled across.) I hear a lot from other unschoolers that you can't describe a typical day. And although I have made posts in the past to tell about a certain day, I guess they are right. There really isn't a totally typical day. When I ask my family or friends how their day went, it is "work, school, home" and then whatever happens in the afternoon like activities, hanging out, having someone over. Some people just say "Nothing." My friends who homeschool usually say they "Did school, then the kids did their own projects." But there never really is a typical response for us. (However, most weeks we do tend to work on the same projects. This week it was a lot of painting.)

But if I were to describe our days, it would go something like this: I get up to get my Husband ready for work and do any household chores there are to do. S wakes up when she is not tired anymore, and we start our day. There never is an exact time for this. It is usually between 8 and 9, but nights like this week where we have been up all night because Daddy isn't home, sometimes it is later. Some days are home days. Home days are our favorite days and we always love when we get a bunch of those in one week. On home days I make breakfast. Sometimes we just grab a granola bar or something quick. Since S wakes up sometimes anywhere from 8 to 10, we are already nearing lunch and I see no reason to make a big breakfast. As soon as we finish breakfast, we get started on something. I don't know how it happens. It just does. We just start on something. It is just our natural rhythm. Sometimes I ask, "What do you want to do/learn today?" Some days I suggest something. And some days S just picks something up. One morning recently she woke up early, and being that it was my cleaning day, she had to occupy herself. She immediately went to painting on her easel and made many paintings and pastel drawings before I finished the house. But, like I said, each day is different. Some days we will do an experiment or read lots of books in S's bed. There are days lately that we solely focus on making You Tube videos. Some days are board games. Some days we spend the entire day outside. Some days are unit study projects. Oh, and some days S just plays. And then there are the rainy days where we play lots of computer games-mostly math and maybe bake a pan of brownies. And sometimes on those rainy days, we sleep...a lot. Some days are a mixture of it all.

Every other Tuesday we volunteer at the Pregnancy Center, then go to gymnastics, THEN go to art co-op! That is our busy, busy day! Then some Tuesdays we do not have the Center, and that makes the day much less hectic.

Every other Thursday we go to the library and spend the morning there looking for books. Afterward, we go have lunch with my brother at school and spend the rest of the day volunteering in his classroom.

Some days we have CHEA events-play dates, Nature Club, field trips. Some days we go on our own fieldtrips to the farm or to a Civil War museum. Some days my Dad comes in town and we spend the day with him or maybe go see other family members. Some days we babysit. Some days we go to the park and read. Some days we spend trying to find our dog, Della, who has escaped again! Some days we have to spend doing LOTS of errands, Bleh! Thankfully those days are rare. Some days we pick up and go to the local used book store because we  have decided that we want to own some of the books we have checked out.

Today was a fun day. I did some research online and found an odor eliminator that people with dogs swear by. The problem? They only sell it at Home Depot. I didn't want to get ready, leave the house and drive 8 miles just for cleaner. Maybe that makes me lazy, but errands like that really break up the day and makes it become unproductive. BUT I COULDN'T STAND THE DOG SMELL ANY LONGER! So I thought, "What else can we do while we are down there?" BINGO! The Battle Field, the local Civil War Park. I woke S up and told her I had a great idea! We should go to the park and paint pictures of the monuments. She agreed, so we did. We spent the day down at the tower. We walked up it once. Then S decided she wanted to go get her art supplies and paint on top of the tower. So back down we went and then back up again. While she was up there, she painted a beautiful scene based off of what she saw. There was a sky, mountains, bales of hay, and grass. She talked about the hawks that were circling the area and we recorded their cries to one another. We observed their behavior and saw what looked to be the leader of the flock. We took pictures off the tower and met some tourists who were there to perform in the reenactment this weekend. S was able to talk to them for a bit about reenacting, the History of the Trail of Tears, and the geography of the North. As they left, she finished up her drawing, and back down we went. We hung up our hammock. (Always makes for a good afternoon.) And we read books, drew pictures of the tower, looked at the sky, talked, and made a fairy house together. She wrote a note to the fairy and we will check back Sunday while we are there to see if her fairy "wrote her back." We basically lounged around and talked about some of the other monuments and weird things about nature, like the curves in the trees and the different leaves and colors. Samantha noticed a squirrel climbing up a tree. We talked about where it must be going. And as the sun began to fade, we packed our bags and left. If you had asked me last night what I had planned for today, I would have said, "Not sure. Maybe stay home and work on some projects." But this morning it all changed on a whim, and that is okay, because there is no typical day for us. I am happy for that, because if we hadn't let the day lead us, we would not have experienced everything that we did today, No matter what method of homeschooling we use as S grows older, I hope that we are able to maintain that element of flexibility so that we never miss an opportunity for a wonderful day.
Painting on Top of the Tower

Making a Fairy House

Writing a Sweet Fairy Note

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What It Is Like to Have an Artist in the House

Having an artist in the house is different than having an athlete or having an academic minded child-Math Wizz, History Buff, or even a Mad Scientist! It is different than having a child who is talented at writing stories or a child with ANY other concentration. (Although art covers an array of talents.) I am sure it would be nice to experience one of those...History Buff or writer would be REALLY neat. But God gave me an Artist! :)

There are many things that I can tell you about having an artist. One of those things is that when you walk into my house, you can tell that an artist lives there. Here is how:

*The house is ALWAYS covered in drawings, paintings, clay creations, homemade pop up pictures, and can't forget the half done sewing projects still on the machine...We'd hate to lose our place.

*S has a table in the kitchen just for her to paint on and work on what she likes. Unfortunately, however, she has no room to work because it is covered in too many projects: playdough for videos, sewing box with stuff for her dress, papers for her latest Fairy Book creation...And beside it stands a small easel to hold her sketchbook in place while she paints. Today she painted a caterpillar and chose pastels to make a butterfly.

*Despite the fact that she has her own table, the house is also covered in How To books on drawing or DVDs about crocheting. And there is almost always some sort of How To You Tube video running.

*The counters? Covered in paintings that are drying.

*I find notebooks, sketchbooks, and loose paper EVERYWHERE.

*It is not uncommon to find streamer taped to the bedroom wall, coffee filter ribbons on the doors, or homemade bows on a doll's head.

*You may see our female kitty sporting that day's latest fashion. Courtesy of S.

*Speaking of cats, I am always finding little kitty paw prints made of paint on the floor. "Samantha, please make sure the cats stay out of your paint."

*To encourage drawing and writing, we have always left a marker board in just about every room. Each one is covered in a different creation...Again, Courtesy of S.

*I always have to keep a good supply of artist's pencils and pens on hand, spread throughout the house or in my purse or the special Mason Jar on her artist's table. And still I always hear, "Mom, where is the 2B pencil? I like it best!"

*Oh, and let us not forget the porch, which most recently was decorated with a Fairy House and her supplies-a homemade bed, sewn pillows, an egg carton full of sticks??

So that is my house...As you can see, and maybe some can relate, having an artist in the house is like having a toddler's paintings and Play Dough creations spread throughout, only on a much larger scale.

Aside from learning to cope in a house with a child who is a multitasker and doesn't mind messes so much, I also did some research in an attempt to understand her. (I was very artsy when I was younger, but certain event around the age of 8 really discouraged me and I never really hopped back on that train, Also, for some reason my OCD overtook a lot of my personality, so I exhibited very few artistic behaviors, aside from my overwhelming feelings.) Here are some of the characteristics I found that apply to my child:

*Artists require more sleep. (I always wondered why S seemed to need more sleep than other kids. It occasionally worried me and made it hard for me to allow her to follow her own sleep schedules, but now I know why! Artists have sensitive senses and take in a lot more detail than we do, which requires more rest to recover.)

*Artists have extreme opposite personalities. They love to be active. (S Loves running, rock climbing, caving, etc.) But they also love quiet and still...Sometimes they are completely introverted. Other times they are super extroverted. (This is S to a T! I never could explain her personality because of this.)

*They have a range of moods. They feel deeply. Things bother them. They are sensitive. They hurt easy when people hurt them or when others are hurting. They are angry when others are angry.

*Not only do most artists love nature, they need it. They receive their energy from being outside in their natural surroundings.

*Artists are commonly labeled as "rebels." (They are really hitting the nail on the head here.)

*Sometimes they will be working on several projects and ideas at once. And then there are periods of nothing. Creativity comes in spurts. (I am pretty sure that S's art table demonstrates this concept well.)

The last thing I want to say is the most important. It is one of the most vital lessons I have learned as a Mom to my S. Having a young artist means having a special little person who has an unique outlook on everything. They can change the way you and others look at things. They can change the world. They value freedom and love. And won't take injustice. And that makes them passionate about their world. Having an artist means having a special piece of something unique and beautiful. We have to take care of it and handle it in a way that we do not remove their creative qualities so that they will NOT conform to this world. This can be a challenge in itself. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing, and perfect will.'

Here are some pictures I have of S doing her Art thing. And some of her creations that I have been able to snap pictures of. Side Note: Over time I have stopped "assigning" prefabricated art projects and just let S take over. I think that it has been good for her because art is her passion. (Maybe not all children would take over like she has.) But she comes up with the best projects that I have never even thought of, like her Fairy Houses and the pictures of her Homemade Stockings below. (She didn't think it was fair that her grandparents didn't have stockings for Christmas.) She has made numerous books and different creations from the recycling bins. Let her free in the art closet and she can make anything you ask her to! I LOVE having an artist and watching her mind at work. Such a Beautiful thing.


Paper Doll Making


Play Dough Creations for You Tube Videos

This is the "Garden Flag" that S made to hang on our front porch since we do not have one. 

S's First Fairy House that is now on the porch. She also made welcome signs, a mailbox, and stepping stones. 

Her interpretation of Starry Night

S's Homemade Stockings for Her Grandparents Last Year 

S's Play Dough Statue of Liberty

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I remember pretty clearly being four. And even being five. I remember my thoughts, my emotions. I remember snapshots of what was going on around me.

I remember when I was in gymnastics at 4 years old. I thought I was so big. So old. I didn't realize just how young I was. We were doing floor stretches and they asked us to do the splits. I couldn't, so I "cheated." I sat down on the floor and did a strattle. Looking back, I'm sure the teachers knew I wasn't really doing the splits. But inside I was scared that if I couldn't do them, I might get in trouble.

That's silly. Why would I ever think that I would get in trouble for not knowing something...at 4 years old?

Children have a lot of pressure put on them at such a young age. The sooner they learn ____, the better. They will get that "head" start. I have been known to push S in the past. Sometimes even now I get competitive! (I am more than sure that is what stressed S out at her Gymnastics Placements the other day.) Having lots of friends with kids the same age, it seems like there is always something to keep up with. Is she reading as fast as this other kid? Does she have enough hobbies and interests like that kid? Are her "social interactions" up to par? Of course those come out in my actions sometimes. "Let's practice reading aloud. I just want to see where you are." "We haven't done much with the Civil War this week. We need to!"

And to think, with my educational philosophy, I still struggle with these all the time. Imagine having to not only fight the urge to force learning, but to silently suffer when we see that our kids are "behind" because they can't recite the alphabet in Spanish or don't have their math facts memorized. They just aren't ready. Nevermind the fact they know all about the Spanish Armada or Medieval History. Or the fact they can build a castle with double reinforcement and a sweet motw out od blocks in a matter of minutes. But as a dear...NEW friend put it, "What are those children missing out on when they don't get choice and they don't get play?"

We sat and talked about this for 2 hours after we met on a CHEA playdate. I hardly mention we are "unschoolers"because the stigmas attached to it. I more or less refer to us as relaxed homeschoolers because the terms can be somewhat used interchangeably without the nasty connotations around the latter.

Anywho, I mentioned to her we were pretty relaxed and she commented they were too. She proceeded to explain they don't even use curriculum. Finally! The first CHEA families I have met that home schools similar to us. We began talking about books on play. (We love the same authors.) And all the importance of setting up forts or playing pretend ping pong. We discussed how all this play leads up to instant understanding of concepts that would otherwise take hours to teach. Oh, play. How I loathe that we need a constant reminder that you are actually HEALTHY and PRODUCTIVE and a great foundation for a success for life. But we will get to that later.

We enjoyed each other's company for awhile and then had to part ways. (She has a 5 year old girl and a 7 year old boy that Samantha will get to play with this Thursday. All the things they will learn... :)

I stress it all the time that play is important. Pure. Play. Not play that adults take and twist. I would almost go as far as to say that the best play is organic play. Play made up of outside materials. Play that children have to completely make up themselves. But in today's society toys are inevitable. We personally try to stray away from lots of characters so there is no basis for where to start. (Yes, TV is one of those inevitables too.) Instead we try to provide pretend play (kitchen, tea set, dress up), art play, (free for all on paper, pencils, markers, play dough, etc.) and building materials (blocks, Lego's, K'Nex), and not to forget the classics (dinosaurs, safari animals, dolls).

I hear this a lot. "Kids need to be stressed while they are young so they know what it is like when they get older. And they will succeed." (Words from my own Husband's mouth. However, he tends to like to challenge me to make sure I am firm in my ground, so he is always devil's advocate. Many others have made this comment to me too, and meant it.)

That's a lot of what we get attacked for. People tell me that she does not have enough stress. (At age 5?!) That she shouldn't be allowed to play so much and she needs to know what it is like to have a due date for something or to be forced to finish what she started, even if she didn't start it by choice. (Not that I am teaching her to be a quitter here, but if I give her some sort of out, that chance in the beginning, I believe she would be more apt to try things. I know as an adult, I sometimes stop in mid project or don't attend a group anymore. I may pick it back up later, but I have gotten what I need for now. Anyway...)

It really baffles me that people aren't just nagging me about unschooling as she gets older, but that they are talking about the here and now of it! At 5, almost 6 years old. To have a successful life, she needs to have a stressful life...at 5? I refuse. Free time allows her play. And I know most people think we are nuts for opting out of 2 days a week for gymnastics this year. Or deciding not to join AHG. What's one more activity? Right? Why not join co-op? Gym class with CHEA would be fun. Are you too lazy to take your child places? Are you too cheap to pay for it? She is missing out on valuable opportunities! Wait. Hold on right there. She isn't missing out. She is gaining so much. Time. Time to play. Play will lead to passions, which she will practice through more play. Which will one day, maybe, lead to formal instruction, if she chooses. (However, she recently opted against formal art classes.) And as for that "much needed" element of stress....

Play for kids provides "stress" without undue stress. My daughter is stressed that she can't get the K'Nex to go together. She is stressed that she can't figure out the puzzle. She is stressed when she can't figure out what to draw or paint. This is much more age appropriate stress than, "What if I get in trouble for not being able to do the splits?" "What if I can't pass this test?" "What if....I am not good enough....and never will be?"

If my child needs to have these thoughts in order to be successful in society's view, maybe that's not what I want from her. Maybe I want to teach her to be happy and not so burdened with everyday life. Although a long lost concept for some, happiness is a form of success. It may not come with a college degree-or it might. It may not come with a lot of money-maybe it will. But it comes with good health, a REAL smile, and a following for a passion that provides a feeling that nothing else can.

I truly believe playing will benefit MY child far more than any class, any textbook, or any paint by the numbers project could ever do. So for all the haters, let the playing proceed!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Gymnastics Placements and Sewing

What a week it has been. Only a few days since my last post and so much has gone on.

I learned a valuable lesson on Wednesday, one I am learning all the time. Darling Husband wanted us to meet him at the park while he was on lunch. "Gee. He must think we have nothing to do but be at his beckoning call." Yah. I can be a real stick in the butt sometimes. But we were reading books and neither of us wanted to stop. Plus, I hate when our schedule is interrupted with pointless travel time. Then I realized we had the hammocks in the trunk and books are portable too. So we backed up and spent an hour rocking between the trees with Daddy. Samantha ran through a field-I never see so much joy in her face as when she gets to run around wherever she wants. After he left we read in the hammock and took a half hour nap together.

The park was so empty. Just the sound of birds in the trees. Nobody was in sight. It was so peaceful. Just rocking with S, watching her sleep. I never want to lose a chance for another one of these moments. I am always learning to be thankful for her. Always being reminded that nothing else matters-not money, not math facts, not the mess in the house, although I still like a clean house-nothing is as important as relationship.

We packed up around 2:45. I could hear a storm rolling in. We sat and listened silently for awhile, until it got closer. Then we went to the store to spend her birthday money. Out of $50, she spent $52 on sewing supplies. Yes, I typed that right. Little Miss went over. She picked her fabrics, watched them measure them out, helped scan her items and assisted *a little* in adding up the price. (And I mean a little, because at that point she was tired and getting goofy.) She picked out other things she needed, a box to hold all her stuff, a large box of buttons, and some ribbon. She was beaming with pride and excitement at the fact that she had her very own collection of sewing items to choose from and do what she wanted to do with whenever she wanted to do it.

We spent all of the morning and a little afternoon yesterday working on a cat outfit. It was mean to be a dress, but we were working without a pattern-the printer is broken-so give us a break. It did turn out though more of a cape, and while it is not the most perfect piece of clothing, S was proud that she made something "big" from start to finish for the 3rd time. She is always designing, always thinking of what goes with what, always pushing the limit on fashion. S is NOT all about what matches to other people, but what she thinks looks good. Sometimes I think, "Oh Lord, this child has no sense of style." But really what she has is "S Style." I see her going far with her art. She is a very creative person, but more on that another day. Her birthday is coming up soon and I know I will be sobbing and writing about how much she has changed.

After we finished sewing we began doing this thing where we rush around because we are running late. Gymnastic placements were at 2 o'clock and S was extremely nervous. (I was on edge too.) But She. Did. GREAT! She did things I have never seen her do before. She did almost everything on the list. The only thing she couldn't do was the splits. (Of course they did not test them on the really advanced stuff, which S cannot do anyway, so I assume she will be placed in intermediate.)

It was such a stressful day for her. So much activity at the gym. She was so nervous about placements and new teachers. (She does not like change.) It is hard being 5. It all began to get to her and she started to act out last night. Going nuts and being kind of mean-at one point she sat under the entryway table sobbing, so I ran her a warm bath with lavender and she read a book. I ran a towel through the dryer when she was almost done so it would be nice and warm. And then I helped her out-gave her her robe and slippers, read her a book, and rubbed her down with coconut oil and lavender lotion I made for Hubby. (She enjoys being pampered some nights and I enjoy doing it for her.) She was out like a light as soon as I left the room. What a tough day. She woke up this morning on her own at 9:30. (This waking up whenever she wants thing is working.She even goes to bed at 9:30! SO unusual for her.) She is happy and ready to get going with another day of homeschool. No reading this morning. She wants to play on her iPod. Probably some more sewing today and then a playdate with CHEA. They are playing "sword fight" with pool noodles!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Ah. Just getting back into this Fall schedule. (Only 3 weeks left until Fall! Makes me a bit sad to see Summer go, but I will welcome the new season.)

Last week we spent a few days at home. Covered a lot on the Civil War and a little on caves. Still struggling with getting over that 2 o'clock hump. Both of us get tired. We have done a lot of work by then and it seems that mid day slump kicks in. I'm trying power naps for us. I force myself up after 15 minutes. Wake S up after 30. Some days we have activities that start at that time so we are too busy to feel tired, which is nice.

I've started feeling like I am just skimming the top on some subjects. "This is the war that began this year. Some say it was over slavery. Some say it was state rights. It was bloody. Here are some books. Look at the uniforms, ranks, and horses. The End." But there is so much more. What was life like? What events lead up to the war? How did people feel during that time? History was written by the winners. How do you think they twisted it? Ah. Yes. So much more to it. I need to be learning beforehand, not just WITH S. So I was up until 1 AM researching the war myself, reading articles, watching videos, and questioning which parts were true and which were twisted. Eh. So hard to know. We weren't there. So I had to make peace with it and tell myself to read both sides and take each with a grain of salt. I learned a lot last night/this morning. Made a list of meaningful activities and resources, reserved some good books. Gotva lot done.

Some days I am extremely motivated when I think we aren't doing enough. But I hear that is common for homeschooling families, weather you are using School In a Box, unit studies, eclectic....etc. Man, It's hard being a Mom these days. ;)

Any who, I found a lot about the Civil War. A little about caves. I did not know there were sand caves!!!! I found some new field trips. Barnsley Gardens is one-an old part of the Underground Railroad. (Something I never though to cover!) And I definitely can't wait for the reenactment this weekend! I hear it is wonderful-with lots of actors acting out the lifestyle of the day, a tour of the museum, and then the reenactment itself! Dad will be accompanying us on this one. S is very excited. While doing research, I even checked out some "work" for myself-Uncle Tom's Cabin. Always heard of it. Never read it, but seeing as it was an apparent catalyst of the war, it might be something interesting. Maybe I can funnel some of it down to S. Then again, maybe not.

We will bake some Civil War era foods and I know S will want to look at some art and fashion. As far as caves go, we have a decent list of experiments, but not much else, a few reference books. May ask S if she wants to write another paper.

Gymnastic placements are this week. Art co-op started today. Was VERY disorganuzed, so next week we agreed to be more prepared. The girls did finish their barefoot sandals however-very stylish. Next week will start crocheting. (Sam and I both will learn from this one.) Speaking of crochet, S received lots of money for her birthday that she says she wants to buy fabric with. Lots of fabric, so that will lead to something I'm sure. It is nice only planning for one day of gym this year. Leaves us an extra day at home. Even a good day for field trips that Daddy won't be joining us on. Um. Other than that, that is about it. Our year really just started but it is definitely going. Getting through some new obstacles, but that's every year.

Tomorrow is a new day at home. Who knows what we will do? Probably hardtack since we have milk for once...

Side Note: This blog is used as my journal to keep for S. Nothing more. Nothing less. Anything extra is a bonus. I post things how I see them. I try not to hold back. It is only for people to view if they want to see through my eyes. It is not meant to offend anyone, although I am sure it has and it will in the future. We all have our opinions, things we feel strongly about, and although I used to be insanely obsessed with the complete opposite of unschooling-school in a box, I gave it a try. This is how we live now and I don't prefer it any other way. It is by far not for everybody. I have had to work the last 3 years to gain the amount of patience and understanding I have now. (And I suppose it would take even longer if I had multiple children.) It is HARD, way harder than it appears to be. (It appears to be extremely easy!) Like I told SIL, sometimes we silently suffer because all the pressure put on parents about milestones and such. Some days it is really inconvinient. (Less so recently as it has become a long term lifestyle.) But, as it is, this blig and my SIL help me through. Both help me when talking myself down and even ranting-quite a bit lately, as it seems somebody always has something to say. But that is the good thing about Blogging-and texting SIL. You can say what you want I suppose-without your hand cramping. lol