Archive for December, 2011

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/Continued ;)

December 30, 2011

There is and wonderful post over at Sandra Dodd’s inspirational unschooling blog, Just Add Light and Stir (link located under my blogroll), about being careful not to snuff out children’s passions, hobbies, or obsessions as you never know where they could lead. I could not agree more as I have seen first hand how one interest can connect to another, especially this week.

I had so much fun going over 2011’s posts with the girls, looking back and them picking out their favorites. *I* learned SO much about them by doing this.

I am ever so proud of *all* my girls (Big Sis you too!) and what they have learned and accomplished this year. Especially Miss Sky, because she was the one I was most worried about unschooling. She was the reason I had previously stated ” I am going to unschool everything *but* math”. I am so glad I let go of that because she is the one who has thrived the most.

She has been doing research on what new video games she would like to purchase. Now that the girls have their own allowance, Miss Sky is much more understanding of the value of a dollar, something I didn’t need to “teach” her by the way.

This week she completed her second video game, Ice Age 2, all on her own and even though she has almost completed 2 other games, Finding Nemo (which is really, really hard) and Scooby Doo! Night of 100 Frights, she likes having a variety to choose from. She has also purchased a few games that didn’t quite measure up to her standards, so this is why all the research (oh all the decisions she is learning to make for herself).

I am completely amazed at the lengths she went to find the “perfect” game and at the resources she used. First she brought up E-bay and Amazon to get an estimation on about how much money she was looking to spend then she brought up YouTube. At first I thought to look at the trailers but she informed me that “trailers just tease, they don’t really show much of what the game is about. I like seeing *how* the game is played”. So she brings up the walkthrough videos.

After watching a few levels she decides to switch back over to Amazon to read the reviews, the good and bad, then asks to visit our local Gamestop store to see if she can get it used with no shipping charges (seriously, I don’t remember thinking about this stuff at 11).

Well she was in luck, she went in knowing exactly the game she wanted, saw Gamestop had the  deal of buy 2 get 2 free and walked out not only with her game, Pac–Man World 2, much cheaper than on-line but 3 other games she was wanting too.

This is not all though. The 2 Ice age video games not only inspired us to watch the 3 Ice Age movies and read the Ice Age research guide from The Magic Tree House, previously, Miss Sky found the documentary Walking With Prehistoric Beasts on Netflix that we have been watching this week :). Look at all she could have missed out on learning if I had been negative of her interest in video games.

As for me and Little Sis, well I am still organizing our “nest” ,to inspire more learning adventures. I have been wanting to start a puzzle table and being that we no longer have a “schoolroom” I have been wanting to keep a nature table in our living room too.

My grandmother had a card table that*always* had a puzzle going on it. You could never walk by without adding a piece. Actually there are many very sweet memories connected to my grandmother and her puzzles but for the length of this post I will save them for another time.

Anyway finding an old table Papa had made for the girls I thought it was perfect for what I wanted to do (I love when that happens). I decided to try it out and brought out a puzzle we had lying around. I thought I would just start the boarder for them when in no time at all Little Sis asked “can I help you?” she LOVES all kinds of puzzles.(Oh yeah)

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More? Well yes there is :).

So the girls and I were watching another new favorite show, Don’t Forget The Lyrics (music has always played a big role in our family), when Alan Thicke was attempting to do the encore song. I have been stuck in Beatlemania for so long (not complaining mind you) that I had never heard of the song or of the singer. Well over to YouTube we go. I am SO glad we did

because she is awesome!

Well she has another song called Suddenly I See, when Miss Sky says “hey that song is in Thrillville!”.  Have I mentioned I love unschooling?

Life is good friends!

Wishing everyone a happy 2012!

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A Year In Review 2011

December 28, 2011

Wow looking back over the past years posts I can not believe not only all the changes that took place but all that was accomplished. I am so glad I started blogging if just for this reason alone.

Well I decided to sum up the year by listing all *our* favorite resources. This is not*my* list by the way but was accumulated by the girls while looking over past posts.

So here is our 2011 favorites list from Miss Sky’s (10 turned 11) and Little Sis’s (5 turned 6) point of view.

Wow traveling all the way back to January, we were not yet unschooling but things were starting  to turn sour and I found myself becoming lots more “relaxed”. It’s funny looking back and seeing what the girls picked as their favorite projects. I can also see now how much they learned from projects that weren’t affiliated with “school” at all.

Let’s begin with when we made curd’s and whey

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which became cheese and later casein. Oh by the way you should be able to search my blog for these projects and instructions in my blog search located over on the upper right corner above my About page :).

Little Sis LOVED watching The Letter People you tube videos to help with letter sounds. The game Spot It quickly became one of our most favorite games and both girls still enjoy the book Apple Fractions.

Sewing School brought on many sewing projects from the girls over the year.  Now the girls make their own patterns for projects.

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The American Girl Felicity series was another hit with Miss Sky bringing on many independent projects including learning about the presidents.

We accomplished  The Naked Egg science experiment which led to many other egg experiments.

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We visited The Historic Artcraft Theater where I learned a thing or two from Mary Poppins. Other favorite outings included a trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum,  Drama class, homeschool skating, the Indianapolis Zoo, Science day at the fair grounds, a trip to Kings Island where dinosaurs were the big hit

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Martinstag, dining at the historic Kopper Kettle restaurant and taking a hike at our favorite park saying  good-by to winter .

*Favorite read alouds which inspired many projects, researches , and conversations. The 101 Dalmatians

Hachiko

The Paper Dragon

Albert

The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes

The Girl With The Silver Eyes

and The Ramona Series.

*Other favorite books the girls were glad to have around for independent research.

Usborne’s Living Long Ago

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Monsterology and the other Ology books.

Basher Astronomy

and even though we didn’t go through the whole series (which Little Sis wants to start reading again) I am really glad to have all The Magic Tree House research guides on hand.

Oh let’s not forget Ranger Rick magazines.

*Favorite “tools” or supplies.

Wikki Stixs

Pattern Blocks

Instant Snow

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Zometool

Bare Books to create stories and comics (you could also bind your own like my tutorial on making main lesson books).

Sketch books

*Favorite new resources by far was the Roku to instant stream Netflix  and the Playstation 2 game console.

*Favorite Dvds, videos, movies or documentaries (most which can be viewed through Netflix or you tube).

The X-men original cartoon series and X-men Evolution (most anything Marvel).

Roseanne

Cyberchase

Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts

The Little Travelers dvds

School House Rock

All the Ice Age movies

Dora the Explorer

Go Diego Go

Don’t Forget the Lyrics

*Favorite Websites

Starfall

Animal Jam

Kidzui (thousands of free children’s games played on their own safe browser.)

Disney Create

Tux Paint

*Favorite board games and video games

Thrillville (vg)

Ice Age 2 (vg)

Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaur (vg)

New Super Mario (vg ds)

Bingo

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Clue

Disney Apples to Apples

Monopoly Deal

Uno

The Tea Party game

Animal Rummy

Sherlock memory game

*Favorite projects

Raising rabbitsSalt dough fossils

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Egg Geodes

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Sea Monkeys (which have gotten pretty big)

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Symmetry projects

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making Boo Boo Bunnies

and making cookies :).

Whew, to see it all out like this makes me realize we had an awesome year! I do not regret any changes we have made this year and I *know* the girls don’t. Honestly *all* of us are the happiest we have ever been.

I can not wait to see what adventures await in 2012.

Oh and PS I do not get paid for listing any of these resources, these truly were picked by my daughters as favorites. Please I would prefer shopping used, local, and using your public library before buying anything from Amazon :).

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Part 1

December 27, 2011

I know it hasn’t exactly been a week but there has been so much goodness happening around these parts not to post. So I’m taking Miss Sky’s advice to “just post to be continued”.

Little Sis has reinvented story time around here. She says “mom want to snuggle?”. This translates into I want to climb in your bed and read you a story then snuggle afterwards :). So Little Sis read me Green Eggs and Ham. I love the positive connections she is making with reading. I love that she *wants* to read me a story. I love that Miss Sky still wants to join in for the snuggling part. I am taking it all in while I can.

We also read Little Sis’s new subscription,High Five together and she worked on her puzzle books.

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We made gingerbread cookies

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and Miss Sky tried to find out which type of shark has spots.

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All she could think of was a whale shark and she was a bit disappointed  in the model if it was, “they make it look so mean, whale sharks look and act nothing like a great white”.

There was lots and lots and lots of new game playing.

Disney Apples to Apples, which was a HUGE hit.

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More of The Tea Party game,Monopoly Deal (another HUGE hit), and the Sherlock memory game.

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Oh and Miss Sky learned to play poker which has been a bigger hit then the actual new Super Mario game itself.

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Then let’s not forget the Fashion designing,

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and hot cocoa with chocolate chip muffins.

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Oh yes goodness indeed!

Wishing everyone a great week!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Letting Go Of Perfection

December 22, 2011

Yay, I can finally write a post where nothing, that I know of at least, went wrong.

This week was all about finding normal, whatever that means. Oh so many things to catch up on. Let’s see there is Christmas baking and Christmas card making and Christmas ornaments to make and ……. Have you ever had so much to do that you didn’t even know where to start? Yeah well that was me this week.

I mean your drinking your morning cup of tea (or coffee) while catching up on your favorite blogs and you see pictures of all the wonderful crafting and decorating taking place then before you know it your head begins to sink down a little bit more while thoughts of everything you didn’t get accomplished starts to fill your head. Talk about a Christmas joy kill. Wait, before I head down this road of self-pity let me change tactics a bit. How about focusing on what we *did* accomplish this week instead.

Okay so I don’t have a post filled with beautiful holiday crafting. What I do have is a post about a family spending lots of time with one another doing things that make each of us very happy. After all isn’t that what the holidays are about?

First let us begin by pulling The Delilah show up on the computer, the girls and I love to listen to her during Christmas, and bringing on the game playing. We played games of Toss Up, The Tea Party game, Animal Rummy, and Slamwich. Papa and I had a Blink tournament where I am now the reigning champ (thunderous applause playing in the background).

There were awesome Chinese almond cookies, these are way to dangerous to keep around for my sake.

Miss Sky found a couple of documentaries on Netflix we checked out. One being Dragon’s World Fantasy Made Real, and we are still watching episodes of the History Channels television show MonsterQuest.

There was a question and answer session with Little Sis

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and pattern block play.

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Both girls played at Animal Jam this week decorating their dens for Christmas. This weeks video game of choice was Ice age 2 and we have been enjoying more episodes of Ruby Gloom together

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which carried on into their play.

And of course there are family traditions that Christmas  just wouldn’t be the same without :).

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Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers

December 17, 2011

What another crazy week! Electricity and Plumbing are fixed (Yes!).

Then out of nowhere, everything’s just peachy, I thought I pulled a muscle in my back. Only I didn’t pull a muscle I had a gallbladder attack that almost ended with me in the emergency room. Oh no please not days before Christmas! The same thing happened to Papa last year but his ended with surgery. I however am hoping to avoid the hospital. So it’s been lots and lots of rest and being taken care of by the best nurses in the world ;). Today I am feeling much ,much better, actually able to eat (thank goodness for Chinese take out and egg drop soup, man how things change when mama is sick).

Anyway even with all the interruptions the past 2 weeks our days went on without a hitch. Only the Christmas crafts and baking  had to be put on hold. I think having our “nest” set up for the girls to safely explore really helped a lot. This way nobody “has to be in charge” for learning to happen it just kind of unfolds.

Miss Sky has found a new book of interest that has been by her side all week. It’s called Basher Science Astronomy, Out Of This World.

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Oh and that My body book got a workout this week too ;).

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We had plans to make a few of these characters as felties um but mama had to back out :(.

We also enjoyed Ingrid’s beautiful photographs of the lunar eclipse from her blog Defying Gravity.

Little Sis has been busy reading Frog and Toad to me and doing a little writing.

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There’s been viewings of Planet Earth and BBC’s documentary Life. We played the video game Thrillville together, Little Sis passed the video game Disney Princess” Enchanted Journey all by herself. She also has been playing more with Tux Paint.

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Let’s see, oh yes there were yummy butterscotch no bake cookies and an awesome 3 hour family conversation over “just” the trailer of The Movie The Help.

I can’t wait tell we actually watch the movie.

The Christmas stories have finally been in circulation starting with The Little House Christmas Treasury. I was excited that Miss Sky requested to read this. I thought her pioneer days long gone. Then there were Little Sis’s favorites, some from my childhood.

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We watched favorite Christmas movies It’s A Wonderful Life, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, The Night Before Christmas, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, and A Year without Santa Clause as a family.

Papa and the girls played the board game Clue and helped Little Sis find some hidden pictures(I love her Mary and Joseph picture on the 10th)

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and Miss Sky did some video game research on Ebay looking for new games and the best prices.

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I’m sure I missed a couple of  things being I was in bed a few days but that’s all of what I remember anyway :).

Happy Holidays!

Little Comments

December 15, 2011

Miss Sky while we were playing the video game Thrillville:” Sometimes you might need to lower your ticket prices, sometimes you might need make a ride free in order to make your customers happy. The more happy you make your customers the more they will come back or tell others about your park and that means more money for you.”

Me listening to the advice of my 11 year-old daughter :).

“How to Be a Good Unschooler”

December 13, 2011

Quote taken from Pam Sorooshian’s article named above.

“5. It doesn’t matter when something is learned. It is perfectly all right for a person to learn all about dinosaurs when they are 40 years old, they don’t have to learn it when they are nine. It is perfectly all right to learn to do long division at 16 years old, they do not have to learn that at nine, either. It does not get more difficult to learn most things later; it gets easier.”

Little Comments

December 12, 2011

While re-watching season 2 episode 23 of the 1993 X-men series,Beauty and The Beast, Miss Sky: ” You know, things could have been a lot easier if we were all born blind.”

I love watching cartoons with my girls :).

Little Comments

December 12, 2011

While at the grocery store, Little Sis: Mom can we get more salad and pears?”

Me:” Absolutely” while adding some to our cart.

Lately we have been making cookies weekly. The girls can have cookies whenever they want, even for breakfast. For the last 2 weeks Miss Sky has ate an apple everyday and both girls have asked for salad with dinner. They can have these whenever they want too :).

Little Comments

December 9, 2011

While reading a DK Science Encyclopedia Miss Sky: “Mom look at the color of these flames different minerals make, we should try this sometime.”

This conversation happened while getting ready for bed. Since we no longer have set hours for “school” sometimes it is hard to capture *all* the learning that takes place around here.

It might seem from reading over my posts that my girls never read books anymore. This is not true, it’s just reading in our house no longer takes place at a certain time . It’s whenever *they* choose to.

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So I thought I’d share a picture of the girls bedside table, just in case any of you were worried :).