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

Saturday, June 18, 2016

AHG Summer Camp Photos

These are completely out of order and some of them there are doubles of, but I am tired and Blogger is giving me such a hard time about uploading photos since I got my new phone. So here it is. We look messy and worn out, but that's the reality of it. Oh, and ignore the crazy outfits some girls have on. We had theme days. But most people did not participate, as it was too hot to dress up in pajamas or you know...anything that is not a tanktop and shorts!

AHG Summer Camp 2016

Wow. Can I just say that AHG-our specific troop- never ceases to amaze me?! Seriously. We have been tirelessly planning for Summer Camp which requires SO MUCH work. Sure, it is separated between volunteers, but it is insane to me to think of how much stuff we have to bring and how everybody has to remember their part and their stuff so that it runs smoothly! I had the pleasure of teaming up with a lady that I thought I would clash with since we are both go-geters, but we split our work up and we were actually able to accomplish a lot! We lead the Pen and Paper Arts badge for the Tenderhearts and Explorers. We had a few kinks but this is first year for both of us, so we are still learning. I personally had a blast, and although it was a lot of work, I would not have wanted to miss it. Even if it did mean time at home alone to prop by feet up. I arrived around 8-8:30 every morning, set up my badge area, helped out where needed, and then once all the girls were there, I was on my way to help with sports. Then back to prep for badge, then I taught badge until lunch, sat with Sam to inhale my food and ask how her day was going, and then returned to my station. Afterward, I taught badge again or on certain days I served time in sibling care, and after that we cleaned, cleaned, cleaned! We left between 4-4:30 each day. My feet ached a little the first few days, but I mustard the energy to cook dinner and even go kayaking with the family one night. By time my head hit the pillow, I was done. Although, overworking my muscles walking back and forth all over campus each day caused me to consistently wake up with Charley Horses! By Friday, I looked at my Husband and said, "Pizza for dinner tonight." My feet were so swelled and my body was burnt because it was field day and I was stationed right in the sun. I was so glad we got to relax at home today. It was MUCH needed. Much. Needed. After I go to sleep tonight, I think I will have recovered. But I'll say one thing, Miss Sara is going to be a tough little cookie. She kicked and kicked all day long while I walked from one side of camp to the other. While I sweat and while I lifted tables and boxes and all sorts of things. (I've run this by several doctors. They all say the miscarriage thing is a myth and they generally tell you not to lift because your center of gravity is off and you could strain your back.) Now, as for Sam...I saved her for last because she will take longer. The first two days of camp she enjoyed, but not as much as she imagined. She complained about being rushed from one activity to the next and said a few of the girls weren't listening, which made it harder for her to listen. But by Wednesday, most of the leaders had gotten a grasp on the timing, and although, there was a lot of rushing from one activity to the next, they seemed to have enough time at each station. Every day started the same. They began with a flag ceremony and some worship music. Then they headed off to sports. The first two days were volleyball. They learned some of the requirements for a volley ball pin. And the second two days were jump rope for the jump rope pin. Friday was a water/field day, so they didn't do sports. Instead, they did a service hike. They found an area and cleaned up all the trash. They collected a BUNCH of stuff that had blown away. (Luckily, the wind provided an occasional break from the blistering heat this week.) After sports, they came over to work on their Mission Minded badge. Throughout the week they had a guest speakers come and talk about Mission efforts around the world. They learned about Widow's Harvest and Good Samaritan, which are both local. And they also listed to speakers talk about Peru and South Sudan. Friday they forgot the microphone and Sam said she couldn't hear the speaker. I was helping in the other side of camp, so I'm not sure what he talked about. The speaker for South Sudan brought photos and gave many details that made Sam hurt for them. These speakers opened up for us to have conversations at home about her thoughts on what God has for her life and how she always thinks about her purpose. After the speaker, they did badge stations. She worked on the badges, two were before lunch each day. And one was after. She worked on Toys and Games-her favorite. They made dolls and real kites and talked about the history of toys and played lots of classic games. Native American was another. Her second favorite. She came home the first day talking about Pocahontas and how she was a real person and also telling us everything she learned about Sacagawea. Surprisingly, pen and paper arts was her least favorite thing, but it makes sense because half the stuff she had done at home already-like paper mache. Other stuff, was too simple, like stamping with food. After lunch and the third badge, they went over to have more devotion time. During that time, they studied their Bibles, talked about serving and Mother Teresa-who really sparked her interest so I checked out a biography from the library. And on Friday, they filled Blessing bags to carry in the car and give to people who are homeless. It was just a giant ziplock bag with things like toothbrush, tooth paste, comb, band aids, snacks, etc. Very nice idea. On Friday, instead of doing the badge work, they had 3 stations to rotate between. A giant 50' slip n slide, dunk tank and snow cones, and water balloon games. Each day at check out, she was WORN out. In the morning, she begged me to make camp start just an hour later, but once she got there, she had fun. I'm happy. She made new friends. (This was a multitroop event hosted by us.) She had new experiences. Lots of new experiences. And she learned a tremendous about about God and Mission work. Our troop Shepard has done an unbelievable job this year centering ALL their activities around God. She keeps the girls encouraged and she is always praying with them. She is a positive role model, and I love her for that. Our troop leader, I don't know how she does it all. She went home after each day and she made a list of things we told her the parents needed to know and she sent an email update each afternoon to all the parents. She went to the store for anybody who had forgotten anything. And she even showed up at 7:45 each morning, which wouldn't be QUITE as impressive if she didn't live out in the middle of nowhere! About an hour away. I can't imagine Sam's troop running any differently. And yet, one day, it will. I only hope that it will still be just as amazing as it has been this year. With wholesome women of God who strive to do their best all the time. Women who aren't catty. Women who have their eyes on what is important, raising our girls to know God and serve others and love each other as much as they possibly can. Neither of us can wait for next year. She is already registered and paid for. Before I know it, Sara will probably be a part of AHG too and we will get to start this journey over with a Pathfinder and a PIPA. The first step and the last step. It will be bittersweet. But I know in my heart, if the group continues to go the way it is, it is worth every ounce of energy I put into it. Driving her there-27 miles one way. Attending leader meetings on our weeks off. Serving a whole week of the year out in the hot sun. Staying up all night during Forts and Floats. And getting up early on some Saturday mornings to get her to service projects. Every bit of energy. It will be worth it.

Friday, June 3, 2016

"Summer School" Update

I panicked a little last week. Okay. A lot. I lost it because I was going through my calendar, big mistake, adding every little thing we have to do this Summer, right down to "school," playing tennis on Wednesday mornings, and going to the pool on Fridays. Aa usual, I have my brother this Summer. So I'm thinking, "How on Earth am I going to get time with my precious Only before Baby Sara comes this Fall. Ahh... Then my mind starts racing and all these scenarios play though about how busy we will be and how I will just be "doing school" to check it off my list and Summer is supposed to be relaxed and S is going to hate me forever. I'M THE WORST MOM...EVER!!!! Fast forward to this week. Okay. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be. Most weeks I only have my brother 3 days. But this week I had him the whole week. And it went...smooth. And I realized that our new "school time" is so flexible and so fun that it IS part of our Summer relaxation. I spend the last two weeks before we started finishing up all the projects I would usually do during the Summer while my brother distracts S. Mwahaha. You know, like the bi-annual house scrub down. Minus the moving of the furniture. Because, I'm too pregnant to do that. That would be bad, right? *shift eyes* Serious though, I also got the rooms all situated. S wants to share a room with other S, because "all her other friends get to do it!" Okay. So they have a sleep room and a play room and it looks amazing! And we have somewhere to do our puzzles all spread out on the floor. Except not on my round belly. Wah. Off track here. So I got all that nesting stuff out of the way. And we have just spend the days playing games and reading. And they challenge each other on the math games and they bounce off each others questions for the reading. (even though my brother jumped in the Paddle to the Sea book half way through and I totally made it optional for him to join, just like with S, he wanted to and he is loving it!) And they are all, "So the iron ore turned him red?" and "I know what the stream leads into!" And I'm like, "Look how much this adds to our days!" We just kind start when we feel like it. Usually when they are bored of playing. And then we go on until...we don't even realize the time anymore! Next thing we know, 3 hours of making change and adding up money has gone by! And they don't even care they missed their time on the Wii U. And that is where we are. S is catching on at an incredible rate and I am thanking God that I stood back and let her play all those months instead of pushing her to learn her math. Because in the end, I'd rather spend one good day learning it and practicing it, than a whole month trying to explain it 50 billion different ways and wanting to rip my hair out in 30 million different directions. So this week she learned, and I mean truly learned how to carry the one in addition, borrow in subtraction, add up change, and make change for a dollar. And really, I cant ask for more. Can I? And she applies them in real life situations. And she enjoys it. And I'm like, "I took a risk (by today's standards-letting her play) and I can finally breath again!" We will definitely delay academics for Miss Sara too. Unless she shows signs of wanting more. We will get there when we get there I supposed. But now I feel better. And not like the worst Mom is the world. And I know we have time to learn in a informal/formal-ish way. And at the same time, they spend the mornings playing while I do my housework. And then on the days we aren't home, we are out doing Summer stuff. Going to the lake. Camping. Hiking. Parks. Pool. Slushies. Six Flags. Boat. Mini Vacations. You know, outdoor stuff. Good balance. I couldn't ask for more. Right Start has really worked for us. Math is so much fun on explained on a board we can all write on, using an abacus, and practicing on games. As for the CM curriculum, we have focused more on the reading, but this Fall, will make a habit of our weekly studies for nature and art. However, the reading is packed with learning opportunities. Until then, Summer is for learning/catching up on the basics as her birthday nears and the typical school year is for what we do best-playing, picking topics to study, going to events, taking classes, ask that stuff that tends to keep us busy. And this year, learning our new family member. Hooray!