Archive for January, 2012

Little Comments

January 31, 2012

Miss Sky has asked ,the last couple of nights, if she could stay up and watch Martha Speaks after Papa and I have gone to bed. I think Miss Sky is wanting to feel a bit more independent and believe it important to accommodate her wishes the best we can.

After getting up for a drink of water Miss Sky:” Oh, I am mortified that you saw me playing.” ( so dramatic is this child of mine ).

Have I mentioned that I love hearing them use words from the show :).

Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler / This Moment

January 30, 2012

Something I have come to understand about radical unschooling is there are different steps one takes to “getting it”.

The first very much-needed step is deschooling (one month for every year in school including being homeschooled and not *just* for the children). This is one step that can not in any way be skipped.

I have already wrote posts about my deschooling “discoveries”. Actually after going back and reading past posts of when we first decided to unschool I can see how much we have not only changed but grew as a family since then. Now I “get it” why it would be silly to separate math from the rest of our day, but first *I* needed to see that math is already included in our everyday living before I could understand that.

Other steps I understand now that are important to take if one is serious about radical unschooling are healing the relationship with your kids(this one was HUGE for me, and not only with my girls but with my husband too). That even though some choices I may have made in the past were made with the best intentions they were not the best for my children. Miss Sky and I had trust issues to work through and many times she “tested” me to make sure I was serious about changing. Oh and speaking about change, another good step is transitioning  into radical unschooling gradually. If you didn’t “allow” television in your home before, letting go of limits all at once could possibly cause a knee-jerk reaction from your children( and yes it may seem that all they want to do everyday is watch television because it was such a big no-no before).

Now to get on with my current “ah ha” discovery. When reading something either from Sandra Dodd’s radical unschooling website or being a member of her Always Learning e-list you more than likely will hear her mention living “moment to moment” or “in the moment”. Sounds simple right? Well coming from a big planner like myself it wasn’t until watching an episode of ,The Style Networks, Clean House that her words hit me smack in the face.

If you are not familiar with the show, a group of people go into a families very cluttered house and help them get rid of stuff they don’t need to make their home livable again. Well it was when the garage sale guy, sorry his name escapes me at the moment, asked one of the homeowners ” is this serving a purpose right now?” that *I* came to understand what living moment to moment means to radical unschooling.

It means to stop buying, in my case, books that the girls *may* want to read in the future.(Remember this picture?)

It means not saying things like “I will not read my children “twaddle” or I will *only* read my children “the classics”. Why? Because your children are not you.

It means being so connected to your children you understand what they might like or don’t like. Like both girls *love* Martha Speaks right now at “this moment” and taking a trip to Barnes and Noble( or the library) to pick up a copy of the books by Susan Meddaugh.

It means picking up some Pinata apples from the store to try because your family *loves* apples.

It means not planning out a whole “school” year a year in advance or purchasing next years supplies because you don’t know what will happen next year.

It means not worrying about college now when your children are not even teenagers yet (Who said you *have* to go to college at 18, My dad and aunt went to college in thier 30s, and 40s. My neighbor is going to college now in her 50s).

It means living each day, hour, minute, second moment to moment present with your family.

How many precious moments I will never get back because I spent SO much time worrying about the next school year or spent SO much time on the computer researching a  “philosophy” when I should have been living with my wonderful family.

Time is so very precious and I don’t want to waste one more minute worrying about something that no one knows the outcome to.

It means it’s time for me to get living now :).

Life is good, wishing everyone a happy Monday!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Snug As A Bug In A Rug

January 25, 2012

I’ve noticed here lately a pattern taking place in our household. Even though some of the same things seem to play a role in our week there is always one that plays a bigger part then all the rest. I like that about us. I like that even though we radical unschool we still have” rhythm”. It may look different then before with television and video games being added to our days but we do have a rhythm that is our own.

Since I find myself blogging less I try to take notes of our days, not because I can’t see all the learning that is taking place but because I know I will forget something by the week’s end :).Well last week it was the television and even though it had a part to play this week too, it was our snuggle time , aka reading time, that really stood out this week. My notes read something like this.

Played Disney Apples to Apples and Slamwich, family snuggled in bed while Little Sis read Green Eggs and Ham.

Made chocolate chip cookies ,watched Madagascar (Miss Sky bought it with her allowance), snuggled in bed and read Little Sis her new High Five magazine.

Miss Sky played Mario 64 DS and Little Sis played Littlest Pet Shop on their DS,

(Very seriously I should say.) and more snuggle time while I read some of Little Sis’s favorites and Little Sis read me Go Dog Go.

Watched more episodes of Martha Speaks which led us to Barnes and Noble to pick up the Martha Speaks 20th anniversary Story Time Collection by Susan Meddaugh, which led to more snuggles :).

Watched Word World( which was one of Little Sis’s favorite shows that Netflix stopped instant streaming then recently added it back again) and Ruby Gloom, played Sherlock, Go Fish, and a new card game Nacho Loco

( It is a cross between Uno and Dominos ).

Worked on puzzle, received new Ranger Rick magazines

which led to, yep you guessed it.

Life sure is good, wishing everyone a great week!

Little Comments

January 22, 2012

While playing the game Disney Apples to Apples it was Miss Sky’s turn to be judge and the word was bad. One of the cards played was dinosaurs.

Miss Sky: “Well I don’t think dinosaurs were *bad*. Lions are not bad because they need protein to survive,well  some dinosaurs also needed protein to live. To me you need to know what bad means before you can be it.”

She is a tough judge.

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Curious Speaking Smurfs

January 21, 2012

Here in Indy winter has finally awoke! With the temperatures dropping sprinkled in with a snowy ice mixture, we fired up the wood burning stove and  snuggled up together on the couch this week.

The girls found plenty of new shows to watch on the Roku and a few dvds (thanks to Netflix) that created much chatter starting with Curious George,the movies.

Little Sis has loved Curious George stories since we saw a play performed at our Children’s Museum. George actually has always reminded me of Miss Sky with her curiosity fully intact where ever we go. I myself actually really liked the movie Curious George (and the music of Jack Johnson) since seeing it at theaters with Miss Sky and it was one movie I got while “Waldorf”.

Anyway Little Sis instantly fell in love with it too and so we also watched Curious George 2. There is a mixed review of the second movie. Miss Sky still holds the first movie as her favorite where Little Sis thinks the second one was “cute”. We also checked out the PBS television show a bit and Little Sis has been playing the game at PBSkids.com.

Miss Sky found Martha Speaks and we watched all the episodes they had available on Netflix and both girls spent plenty of time playing Martha on-line as well. I myself think it’s funny how they choose to watch “educational” shows 🙂 . I actually really like Martha Speaks myself and enjoyed  the homage to the Benny Hill show as he is one of my favorite comedians.

Well you know with my daughters love for animals this show triggered lots of creative play this week.I love all their little creations especially the hamburgerand her dogs remind me of Santa’s Little Helper from The Simpsons :).The best part though, for me, has been listening to both girls use the words from the show through out the week in their play. I love when Little Sis says “that’s eerie”.

We finished all of the Walking with Prehistoric Beasts episodes and the one about evolution and the missing link led to many interesting conversations with Miss Sky. We also found a few other documentaries that we checked out but Miss Sky is very picky about her documentaries and knows exactly what she wants. She is not to fond of the National Geographic ones because she doesn’t like “the non stop interruptions of interviews” (I think BBC has spoiled her).

Well you know with movie watching there is going to be snacks so we made rice crispy treats and Muddy Buddies this week and yes there was more Disney Apples to Apples and Monopoly Deal and Madagascar 2 video game play (it has musical chairs and hot potato mini games).

Last but not least we watched The Smurf movie as a family. The girls give this movie 2 thumbs up (they are so glad Smurfette wasn’t “dumb”) and actually don’t want me to send it back yet. We LOVE the smurfs here. It was my favorite cartoon growing up and I would watch it every Saturday morning before my soccer game. So once the dvds of the cartoon came out I started collecting them. It was interesting to learn they originated as a comic book first in Belgium. Miss Sky loves the graphic novels too.

Well I think that wraps up another great week. I think our days are beginning to shift more inward as winter hibernation starts to set in.

Life is good, wishing everyone a great weekend!

Bee Yourself!

January 18, 2012

Wise words of Genie from the Disney movie Aladdin.

I have been thinking about this post for some time now but wasn’t exactly sure how to go about writing it. Then I was reading a post from the blog Defying Gravity (thanks Ingrid 🙂 ).

Here lately I have been getting some new hits to my blog, funny thing about that though is they are searches about Waldorf education. See, I have been struggling with whether I was going to delete them from my blog or not.

I realized something about myself when first starting the journey into radical unschooling, I didn’t like the parent I had become. To be as completely honest as I can, actually I am very embarrassed about my Waldorf posts ( It’s so funny how things happen because Papa and I were just talking about this very subject over the weekend). Then I thought but *what if* someone finds my blog through Waldorf and reads about why we moved away from it. Well *why* did we move away from it.

I could answer this real easy by saying because it was not ME. All those past posts were not the real me. They were me trying to be someone I’m not. The sad thing is it didn’t stop with just *me* I brought my family along for the ride. Little by little* I* began to reshape them too and made everyone miserable in the process (can we say control freak).

That’s the thing about computers we can hide behind a screen and pretend to be whoever we want. We can type up posts and edit out any ugly parts. We can paint our family to be picture perfect but why?

Well things were not picture perfect in our household. There were tears, and fights, and arguments (oh and the kids had their share too). Not one person in our family was happy. Oh man did we need a change. That’s when I wrote this post https://dkjsv05.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/finding-happy-again/ and started to get real about our journey and started to get real about who we are.

I LOVE screens! I have always loved movies. How many of my childhood memories revolve around them. I remember going to the drive in with my parents to see Star Wars. I remember my dad taking me to the dollar shows to see The Karate Kid and Star Trek (how sad I was when Spock died). I remember when The Cosby Show came out and my dad and I would watch it together during the week because that was the one day I saw him during the week after my parents divorce.

I remember watching Saturday Night Live together with my “new” family. We would sit in a line on the floor ,like a train, and give the family member in front of us a backrub then after five minutes someone would yell “switch” and we would all turn to face the other way(this way the people on the end could get their backrub too). Why on earth would I want to take these opportunities away from my children! I mean my emotional “baggage” did not come from television.

Man I LOVE music! I was the heavy metal chic in school. My childhood best friend could write a post about my obsession with GNR( there was just something about a guy with long black curly hair and a top hat, okay that didn’t wear a shirt). I told myself I would NEVER censor my children’s music. Instead I became exactly the parent I promised myself I wouldn’t be. Why?

I like kicking back with my family in the evenings watching That 70’s show, or The Simpson’s with a glass of wine(or 2).

I use to cuss* a lot* (I try to be more careful now but hey sh*t happens), Big Sis could tell you the first time she heard me drop the *F* bomb. I remember the first time she said her first cuss word too ;). We all laughed( a lot, they are just words after all).

I am NOT a crafty person! Actually I would much rather spend my time kicked back with the family watching a movie or playing a game then do crafts. Crafting feels so fake to me. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great to  learn *how* to do something useful and if it makes* you* happy then by all means craft away. These are uncertain times. We never know what’s around the bin but when I actually *need* to know how to knit I’m sure I can find someone to show me.

I use to bend over backwards making sure our family ate only homemade, nutritious food (I actually LOVE to cook) but I also love doing things with my family( like deciding last-minute to go for a hike at our favorite national park that’s an hour and a half drive away) and not worry about the poison my kids might be eating by grabbing take out.

No matter how hard we try we will never truly be able to live like Laura Ingalls (unless you live on a deserted island)because they didn’t have any of the conveniences of our time like telephones, or 911 ,or grocery stores, or hospitals or anesthesia, or cars.

Okay if you followed me this far give yourself a pat on the back (that sure is a lot of reading!). Let’s fast forward this  shall we. Has our family found happy today? You betcha we have! *We* have never been happier. Why? Because this *is* who we are.

You can choose to read here or not. You can choose to be cynical and point out my faults as a parent or you can pull up a chair and join me on this journey called life and we can celebrate our imperfections together :).

Here is to being happy!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/Computer Time

January 16, 2012

Well we had to say farewell to our old computer, yes it bit the dust. So this week has been all about “playing” with the new laptop :).

I have to say I am no “tekkie” but boy do I love all the new house space owning a laptop has created. I know how crazy this must sound to those of you who have been laptop owners for years but how awesome  the tech world has become! I mean portable computers.

Anyway I am not the only one who’s been loving this new laptop, nope the girls couldn’t wait to try it out.

I already posted about Miss Sky’s comic book but since then she’s also created animated animals (that really move) and even a short movie at Disney create (Still trying to figure a way to share a link to her work). Little Sis has been just as busy over at Disney create but has been spending most of her time over at PBSkids.com. They even have games using the webcam, how cool is that!

She has also been playing Jumpstart Kindergarten (She really likes this game).

She is ready to move on to Jumpstart first grade so I thought she might like to join Jumpstart on-line but she doesn’t like it,  she says it’s to “schooly”. So I guess I need to get her the first grade. 🙂

Miss Sky finally defeated Captain Hook from Kingdom Hearts. We have been stuck on this level forever I tell ya. Now we are getting into the finale stages of the game with some major” big boss” battles ahead of us.

Let’s see I have been helping Little Sis play Bratz, The Movie, video game. I thought she might like it since she passed her Disney Princess game but it’s still just a bit hard for her. The girls have also been playing the video game Dog Island which basically has no talking but all reading. This is great for Miss Sky, she loves it, but stinks for Little Sis who can’t quite read all they are asking her to do. So Miss Sky and I have been giving her a hand.

Something I thought I would save for a “discovery of a radical unschooler ” post is my journey to becoming less cynical (seriously, it has changed my whole point of view) . Meanwhile though we have been watching movies that I once deemed “unworthy” lately as a family. One being Barnyard, I mean bulls don’t have utters, anyway we all learned not to judge a movie by its trailer. Of course we will not be adding this movie to our list of all time favorites but it did have a good message attached and I have been learning not to be so darn serious all the time( life is just too short).

Then we had the usual Apples to Apples, Monopoly Deal, and Slamwich game play. Homemade chocolate chip cookies and the girls set up their own movie theater.Oh yeah and our puzzle is coming right along(will share picture when completed). It is actually the first thing the girls do when they wake up and we have started book 3 of the American Girl series, Kristen’s Surprise.

Life is good, wishing everyone a great week!

Little Comments

January 14, 2012

After watching the movie Barnyard as a family, Miss Sky:” Why do they always make wolves or coyotes out to be “the bad guy”? I mean why not man, they eat chicken too. Why do you think farmers work SO hard to keep their animals safe from predators? Not because they are “just” pets but because it’s their livelihood. Well wolves and coyotes need to eat to survive and they have their part to play in this world too.”

Papa talking to me “She’s going to grow up to be an animals rights activist isn’t she? :).”

The Benefits Of Children And Video Games

January 12, 2012

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201201/the-many-benefits-kids-playing-video-games

My favorite quotes from the article.

“Children are suffering today not from too much computer play or too much screen time. They are suffering from too much adult control over their lives and not enough freedom (see essay on rise of depression and anxiety).”

”  Why is it any better to limit TV or computer time than to limit book-reading time?  Why do we worry about a kid’s spending maybe 4 or 5 hours a day at a computer screen, doing what he wants to do, but don’t worry about the same kid sitting at school for 6 hours a day and then doing  homework for another couple of hours–doing what others are forcing him to do?”

” At school and in other adult-dominated contexts they may be treated as idiots who need constant direction, but in the game they are in charge and can solve difficult problems and exhibit extraordinary skills.”

Why is it that we value books over screens?

Yesterday Miss Sky created a 10 page comic book at Disney create.com all on her own because she wanted to.  What if I had said “Okay your screen time is up” right in the middle of her creative thinking?

How many books may not have ever been written if someone had said “Okay (fill in your favorite authors name) your pencil or typewriter time is up”?

Just some more thoughts to ponder :).

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Mammoths And Mastodons

January 10, 2012

Ever since Miss Sky’s interest in the Ice Age she has been wanting to visit our State Museum. Our state museum is divided into time periods starting millions of years ago journeying through present time.

For the first time Miss Sky took interest in the rock and fossil exhibits and I think it is from watching the Walking with….. documentaries. She was able to make the connections to what Pangea was and the role of the ice age. From watching the Discovery channels Prehistoric America she learned the difference between a Mastodon and Mammoth and was very excited to learn that many mastodon bones had been discovered in Indiana.

You could literally see her eyes light up while she was explaining everything she knew about this time period. I myself can’t wait to see what other connections the girls will discover from future visits.

Well besides our museum visit, as usual, there’s been lots of game playing going on like Disney Apples to Apples, Monopoly Deal, Uno, The Tea Party Game, and you know lots of video games too. We played the Madagascar mini games as a family, I can’t wait to play real shuffleboard, and Miss Sky played Madagascar 2 and Dog Island on the Playstation 2. Little Sis *loves* her new DS game Littlest Pet Shop and is very determined to complete it :).

We watched Madagascar 2 as a family, I finished reading aloud Meet Kristen and started Kristin Learns a Lesson. (By the way thanks dad for the “schoolhouse” books the girls have been using them to play pioneer school. :))

Next up we journeyed to our favorite park for a “winter” hike but besides the leaves falling from the trees, a little ice was the only evidence we could find.We even spotted Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.

Not wanting to miss out on any of the beautiful weather we’ve been having we played awhile at the playgroundthen headed for home.

Life is good, wishing everyone a great week!