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

Monday, August 10, 2015


Our busy "Fall" schedule is approaching fast. Just one more week and my brother will be back in school and we have the days to ourselves again. Although I will Miss him, I can't wait to start spending my days with S just working on projects and reading the days away.

There are a lot of changes this year. My Husband is going on 4 10 hour shifts and will work Wednesday through Saturday. We will still have things to do on Tuesdays, so S will continue to volunteer with me every other Tuesday when we do not have Bible Study and we'll spend the afternoons working together. (No gym this year!) DH will have Tuesdays to himself to study for his computer certs.

S has been waking up at 9 AM lately and Hubby won't be getting off until 6:30. That makes for a long day and more time to do things before we have to get home and cook dinner.

This is what our new schedule will look like:

Sunday and Monday: Weekend. There is no limit to what we will do. But lately we have been enjoying tons of time on the water. In the boat. Learning to wakeboard and tube. And also how to drive jet skis. S has been becoming more acquainted with the water and does not mind jumping right off the side. This Fall and Winter I know we will be bike riding more frequently and hiking.

Tuesday: Still a weekend, somewhat. S and I will head to the Center in the mornings. We will come home, clean up, make dinner, and then head to Heritage Girls.

Wednesday: This will be our swim day, but other than that, no frequent plans.

Thursdays: We will ride bikes at least once a week-Thursday OR Friday early in the morning. Then we will see where the day takes us.

Friday: This will be our library day when we feel like we need more books. If she feels like it, we will volunteer at the food bank. And I expect many of our CHEA activities to be on Fridays. But no definite plans.

Saturday: Home Day

On our home days, we have several projects to work toward completing. Gallery, Board Game, and Movie. Samantha is learning iMovie on the Mac. And still enjoys posting videos on her You Tube. She is hoping to open her gallery soon which will include her board game, videos, and lots of sewing projects/paintings. We will also work on "academic type" things.

Samantha's reading is improving immensely as she nears 7. She really isn't requiring much help from me anymore. We are reading another Kit Mystery together and she is in a Tinkerbell chapter book herself. After Kit, we will probably start on a classic like Stuart Little. S LOVES talking animals and E.B. Webb.

For math, we are still just hanging in there. Reading some of those math novels, Life of Fred, playing computer games when she feels like it. Board games. You know, living life. She reads just about any normal number now up to the thousands. And she can read prices like nothing. And she is starting to add money in her head. She understands addition and subtraction up to any number of columns. So I am not at all worried. We do have some super cool math related songs to burn to CD and start playing in the car when we drive to activities together. DH just has to fix my radio wire.

We always have Science covered. Last Summer we were so into hiking and this Summer she learned all about water and why boats float and how and the way the water reacts to certain forces. And what wildlife and plants are in there. She can name you a ridiculous amount of fresh water fish species. Tomorrow we are having a Science day packed with experiments because she wants to know more about chemical reactions. There is no limit to what she will learn about Science because it is there more than anything. She plays with magnets and asks why the electricity goes out sometimes. Why our bikes are susceptible to being stuck by lightening. She loves watching weather maps and makes her own records of the weather. And she watches potatoes grow. She visits farms and she takes Science classes. A few weeks ago she saw a red moon and the planets that were visible. Then we researched it. She goes on nature walks. Last week she found a snail and her and my brother researched snails together and made him a little home. Then followed him around outside and they studied his body and behaviors. It was neat. And I know she will participate in the Bird-A-Thon again this year. Science, I have no worries about.

History...I worry about teaching. You never know the truth.  Let's just leave it at that. So she learns bits and pieces and we like living books a lot. She wants to start a Thomas Edison biography. Kit talks about the depression. And we like to attend historical places and whatnot. Watch documentaries. Take them for what they are worth. And we study a lot of current events recently.

Bible. We will continue to do our morning reading and she attends the adult service with us at a new church we are going to.

Heritage Girls will teach her some of everything. Some of the badges are Science related, like the camping one and fishing and such. The History ones are fun looking because they focus on things like making a family history. Then there are interest based topics like tennis and computer, videography, etc.

I will also make EVEN MORE time for play this year. I only plan to "work" for 2-3 hours a day. Seeing S come leaps and bounds during her play this Summer has been encouraging. I love to see her play with her American Girl and OG dolls. She comes up with creative projects and does their hair. (She recently learned to braid.) She plays school with them. (I love to see her have them do math problems and explain how it is done.) She also really likes her free art and building ideas. She can make something from anything. And her experiments are off the wall crazy, but they work sometimes.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, we made a big leap Saturday night after a year of prayer. Samantha joined the American Heritage Girls! She is over the moon with excitement! We attended orientation and we got to ask questions and talk to other members. All the women are so nice and not at all like I had pictured. You know, a bunch of snobby, "Christians" who are more focused on the politics of God than actual service. They weren't. And the kids were all just so well behaved. While I filled out paperwork, S went into a room to color and play with some of the older Heritage Girls-whom, might I add, were all very mature and responsible. Afterward, one of the girls came up to me bragging on Samantha and her friend, Emma. Saying they were very polite and she really enjoyed them. That girl had excellent leadership skills. Not because she was saying nice things about my kid, but because when she spoke, she did so clearly and looked me right in the eye. I was impressed. She had been in AHG for 6 years. Whatever they are doing, the girls are learning to apply it. So I ordered S's uniform and "Class B" t-shirts for both of us. And afterward we went to Target to get her navy skorts and white polo. Luckily it was tax free weekend and they were on sale (school uniforms) so we saved $8.00 The 18th is her induction ceremony. She will get her badge for joining and her numbers and uniform. Then every Tuesday after that-with the exception of the 4th Tuesday of the month, she will have meetings. We are allowed to drop her off, so Hubby and I were thinking, since he is off Tuesday we can do a date night once a month while they meet. (The meetings are 2 hours long.) And then sometimes we will *maybe* go on a double date with our friends that also joined Heritage Girls this year. I'll attend the other 1-2 meetings a month. This is of course after she is established and comfortable in there. I like to know exactly what she is learning, but it will be good for her to have some time to do that without me and it will give us something to talk about. There is so many good activities planned for the year. What I love the most is that all the age groups participate together. So they are only segregated for classes. As far as "field trips" go, they will have a race (with boys), mud run (with boys), kick off camp-which is neat. The whole family will get to spend 2 nights on a member's farm. They are having the dads help their daughters earn a fishing badge and several other activities. They will do a TN River Rescue and Cleanup, group hike (with the boys too), parades, Wreaths Across America, Mall Service, Lock In, Feed My Starving Children, Daddy Daughter Dance, Building Burks Blooms, Mother Daughter Camp, and Summer Camp! Whew. It sounds like a lot, but we don't have to do it all. And I love that it involves the Dads too. I will get the calendar in the next few days so that DH knows what days he needs to ask off for for the next year. Good thing he is going to start getting 3 weeks of vacation next year-since he has been there for 5 years. I'm also assuaged because they welcome siblings to everything and involve the boys side (Trail Life) in a lot. So when we do have another baby, toting it around to the activities will be no big deal. :) Everybody there has 10 kids. Slight exaggeration. But close. S is going to love it. She can't wait to do the community service (her main reason for joining) and earn the badges. She REALLY wants that cake decorating badge. I know this will spark some new interests for her and go along great with our unschooling lifestyle.

This year is going to be great.

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