Archive for February, 2012

Little Comments

February 29, 2012

There is a great discussion going on in a radical unschooling group about someone, who is not  unschooling yet, not seeing what their son is learning by playing a game on-line for hours at a time.

While spending most of today on the couch watching episodes of X-men Evolution with the girls (again)Miss Sky’s comment made me smile.

Miss Sky:” Mom have you noticed that all the cartoon X-men series theme songs have musical scores with no lyrics?”

I had never noticed this.

Learning *always* happens 🙂

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Clone Wars And Passions

February 27, 2012

Where has the time went? It has been noticed that the day has been sticking around a bit longer lately. Will winter end here in Indy without sledding at least one time?

Oh the funny things that happen while following your children’s passions. Once you begin to fully understand unschooling and how everyone is different and has different passions and talents to contribute and how one thing can lead to another you just might end up finding you a passion too.

So over the weekend I found out something about myself that was SO obvious and yet I myself didn’t even know it.

I am a lyricist, okay so I have never actually written a “song”, maybe I shouldn’t be calling  myself one “yet” but I have written tons and tons of poetry and actually won awards for some of them and even had one published(really). I LOVE to write (ahem my blog), I always have. In highschool english comp, next to American history, was my favorite class and both of those teachers were my favorites.

I could write a short story like nothing( it was getting in front of a class to read them that I hated!). One in particular was to write about someone who you looked up to. I chose to write about my grandfather who had passed away a few years before. I called it My Buddy and Me.

I had a really hard time reading it in class but I guess it struck a nerve with others as well because I was not the only one with tears in my eyes. In fact my teacher called me up after class to tell me how good it really was and asked if she could enter it in a contest. “Would I have to read it out loud?” She replied that I would if I won. I asked her if I could think about it (yes I was really that shy).

Well to make a long story short( told you I could write a short story 😉 ), I’ve mentioned how we are a musical household (always have something playing) and yet I have never felt the urge to play an instrument.

While talking with Papa about our favorite singers and musicians out of nowhere it came to me *why* I relate to certain songs or singers, *the lyrics*. I am *always* writing down lyrics that pop out to me from songs. I have a whole notebook dedicated just to that. It’s never been about the beat or musical score or a persons voice or instrument. It’s the words! It has taken me all these years to understand that. I would have been the songwriter not the musician. Man I love unschooling!

Anyways the girls have been following a few passions of their own this week. Let’s start with the renewed interest of Club Penguin.Yes both girls have spent time there and at Animal Jam this week playing, imagining, learning.

There was lots and lots of game playing like more Wizard Jr. Little Sis *loves* this game and is very, very good. This child is a strategic thinker and smoked us in *several* games. It’s funny because we had to keep looking at the age range of the game.

We also played the games Animal Linkology and Monopoly Deal. We played several more games of Life on the Wii and the Family Game Show. We even played a new game we picked up for pennies at Game Stop called Movie Games. This game is getting really bad reviews on Amazon, I think because of the length, but we really liked it. Where else can you get 2 hours of family entertainment for $5. I know it will be pulled out again.

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Fest-Movie-Game-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B001DZDUC6/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1330363725&sr=8-5

Miss Sky wanted to write a review of the New Super Mario game on my blog.She is really passionate about kids being able to play video games because she herself has learned SO much from them. She wants to write about them from her point of view in hopes that parents might change their mind about *not* letting children play. I am 100% behind her. She wrote everything herself *without* my help. I just showed her how to use spell check.

We watched more episodes of Only In America with Larry the Cable Guy (he was at a zoo), X-men and Avengers .

Little Sis “played” more at Disney createand we signed up to receive Gamefly. http://www.gamefly.com/

Being we have 3 gaming systems now it only makes sense for us to rent games instead of buying them and either passing them in a few days or finding out you don’t like them at all. This way we will only buy the games we really like.

Well Miss Sky has been playing some of the arcade games on their website and really likes the game William and Sly 2. http://armorgames.com/play/12754/william-and-sly-2

Last but not least while checking out the free article from Science in the News http://www.sciencea-z.com/scienceweb/newsarchive.do I noticed this month was about cloning mammoths in Russia and thought Miss Sky would like to check it out. Well interested she was. “Don’t scientists know better ?, If mammoths were meant to be here today they would be! I do *not* believe man should interfere with nature, we have done enough as it is.”

I could go on and on but stopped keeping track of her comments after so long. This conversation alone took most of a day. Well this also led us to  watching the trailer to Jurassic Park, the girls don’t think they are ready to see the movie yet, which led to more conversation which led back to Miss Sky “I can’t believe someone would actually *want* to do that. Bringing an animal back into a world they are not meant to be in seems SO cruel to me”.

I love this family of mine, I do! Life is good.

My Preview By Miss Sky.

February 23, 2012

Hi it’s me I’m here to talk about my preview of the New Super Mario Bros. Sorry how it’s  fuzzy and how it turns black and normal. Anyways I think this game is cool!

But if you don’t like story level pass it type games then don’t’ get it! It is on the Wii so you do have to do physical movements to fly. You also have to have the nunchuk for it. I like it because we as a family can play.  You can have 1 to 4 players on it and you can do a free for all and a coin battle. It is hard with more than one player because sometimes they don’t’ want to wait up and you die 😦 .  Now those of you that don’t believe in video games you dont’ know what you’re missing. I think that video games play an important part if you want to have family time and violent games can really relive stress:). So that’s all I have today thanks for reading .

Til next time :).

Little Comments/ Parenting

February 23, 2012

While at United Art and Education Miss Sky decided she wanted to purchase an eagle for her animal collection.(pictured above)

The eagle ,she thought, was priced $8.99. While figuring out how much money she has this week we discovered the eagle really cost $15.99.

Miss Sky:” What! That isn’t what the tag said. If I knew it was that much I never would have bought it.”

She didn’t have enough allowance to cover her purchase. I wasn’t with her when she picked the eagle out and relied on the price she said was true. Neither of us checked the receipt until yesterday(oops).

Miss Sky: ” Are you going to make me pay for it?” She was really upset that the eagle cost that much.

We agreed long ago that if a purchase was over the amount of allowance they had they could choose to take out a loan from future allowances and pay 5% interest on any money borrowed.

Being honest here the first thought that came to my mind was yes you *are* going to pay for it, but since we started radical unschooling I have learned to pause and breathe before making decisions in the heat of the moment. I am learning to think before I speak and am trying to find the better choice to keep our home peaceful.

Parenting is *hard* especially when you haven’t been given the best examples to choose from. It is *not* an easy choice to go against how you were raised. I *choose* to work really hard to keep our home peaceful. I *know* the reward is priceless.

I realized I didn’t *need* to make Miss Sky pay for a mistake that was not all her fault. I am just as much at fault because I didn’t check to see how much the eagle rang up. I also could have checked the receipt days ago but didn’t.

We *both* learned something from this without the need of Miss Sky being shamed for making a mistake.

I did not make Miss Sky pay the full price. She paid what she thought was the original price of the eagle, $8.99 (plus tax) and I paid the rest. We talked about the importance of being more mindful when making purchases. She learned the importance of double checking price tags all on her own without me needing to “teach her a lesson”.

Little Comments

February 22, 2012

While playing the game of Life on the Wii after Little Sis bought a $500,000 home:” As long as it makes my family happy then I am happy.”

I know exactly what she means :).

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/Wii, Wii Monsieur

February 22, 2012

It is no secret that Miss Sky loves video games. I will be honest and say at first when we started unschooling I was a bit nervous of this. I mean it’s one thing to “allow” children to watch television whenever they want, which is already frowned upon in homeschooling (for some reason), but video games too? I’ll be voted worst parent of the year for sure. 😉

Here is the thing though, once I actually sat down with Miss Sky and played one myself, besides having played SNES in my 20s, I found out video games can be really (really) challenging. Seriously I can not believe all the skills one needs just to play them. That alone sold me but wait there is learning too?!

I have previously written about how video games have inspired many learning adventures outside of playing them for Miss Sky, but what about all the learning that takes place in the actual game itself. Again it took me sitting down with Miss Sky and playing them for myself to be able to see how great video games really are in helping one learn so much that now I am *completely* confident in my decision.

All the fears I previously had, like the girls never wanting to spend time with us, or always having their face glued to a screen couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, just like television, video games have brought our family even closer.(I forgot to mention that both girls took their DS on our day trip and know what they didn’t even play them. We were too busy jamming with the Beatles 🙂 ).

Well we knew it was only a matter of time before Miss Sky asked for a more updated gaming system, she originally wanted a Wii in the first place but then changed her mind when she saw she could get a used Playstation 2 and 10 games for the same amount of money. It’s not that she is disappointed in her decision or the game system itself, she likes the Playstation 2’s game selection, or that she is unhappy about her Nintendo DS, actually she *loves* it, she is disappointed because we all can’t play together as a family.( Imagine a child being unhappy because she can’t spend *enough* time with us, well it’s true.)

Sure we could take turns playing mini games or fighting games but Miss Sky wanted more of a selection and she wanted all of us to play at the same time so this week she was busy on the computer researching which new game system she wanted.

Besides all the wonderful advice from the people at our local Gamestop ,(seriously they were *great* in explaining why it would be better financially in the long run ,for *us*, to *not* go with the Wii) Miss Sky also watched all the videos on Amazon before she made up her mind. Yep she knew exactly what *she* wanted and know what, she made a very wise choice. Wii love it! (sorry couldn’t resist.)

So yes the majority of our week has been playing the Family Game Night Fun Pack.

http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-Family-Game-Night-Nintendo-Wii/dp/B00559XGG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329927383&sr=8-1

Our family loves playing card games, as you all well know, so this game was right up our ally. It includes the board game Life, Clue, Twister, Mouse Trap, Yahtzee Hands Down, Connect 4, Operation, Jenga, Pictureka, and Bop it. You can play the original of these games or a remix version. We have played the classic game of Life numerous times already as a family (all 4 at the same time), the girls love it! They have even created their own children.This is not even the best part though, you can also play a family game show where every family member competes against each other to see who the winner will be (even though we have always helped each other out while playing any game when help is needed).

While Miss Sky was doing all her research this week, Little Sis has been keeping herself occupied with new subscription magazine issues. She loves the little stories that come in the Big Backyard magazine and she loves reading them to us so this week Papa helped her play catch up,and I read her the new issue of High 5.She played more at Animal Jam, earning gems for a penguin, and Jumpstart 1st grade.

We have played more of the card game Wizard Junior, watched more X-men and Avenger episodes and watched the movie Open Season as a family.

We  are *all* really excited with our new purchase and Miss Sky has been doing more family game research and has already added many new games to our wishlist.

Life really is good!

Little Comments

February 20, 2012

Miss Sky while watching X-men Evolution: “Mom does a rogue mean something bad? I heard Kovu”, from the movie The Lion King 2, “call himself one.”

Me looking it up on the laptop: ” Yes it means a tramp or very mischievous person.”

Miss Sky: ” How terrible to be named that, I feel sorry for Rogue.” Talking about the character from X-men.

Little Comments

February 18, 2012

Miss Sky: ” I just realized that Poe”, from the television cartoon series Ruby Gloom, “*is* the raven from the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, how cool is that! I love finding connections from television, movies and stories.”

She also enjoyed a Halloween episode of That 70s Show that showcased Hitchcock movies. She knew all but one, North by Northwest from our (Papa and I) love of Hitchcock.

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers Continued/ Buying Local

February 16, 2012

There is more to Indiana then having lots of small towns. We also have lots of local resources too, yes we do have more than corn :).

There are a few places that our family has come to rely on as homeschoolers. I guess you could say that I can easily order all these things on-line but then I would miss out on all the fun of getting to know people.

Being that unschooling is not always ” child- led” ,sometimes the parents lead , it is up to Papa and I to make sure the girls interests are being met. In other words our job is to make sure we keep our home life more exciting than if the girls were attending school.

It also means we need to be more attentive, why are the girls bickering?, are we in a rut?, are the girls *really* bored?, do we need to shake things up a bit? Maybe we need some new inspiration. This is when a visit to those “places” becomes important.

Places like Barnes and Noble ( I love that you can order a book on-line then pick it up in the store), Game Stop( the “experts” in video gaming) , the Library(Our small local library knows we homeschool and are always recommending new books), parks, The Game Preserve (I love that they can recommend new board games just for your family based on you previous buys, not to mention the *huge* selection they have), Hobby Lobby, United Art and Education (we never leave empty-handed), Half Price Books, and Goodwill. Now all Papa and I  need to do is figure out which place it is we need to visit.

Well besides a day trip this week our family felt the need for some “new” board games was in order, not just new as in brand new but well lets just say we needed to do a little dusting :).

There was some of the same game playing too like Disney Apples to Apples, Monopoly Deal, and Nacho Loco, we really like these games. Then we played some Bingo, Memory and there was a request to play the spelling game Bump but even after all this we headed out to The Game Preserve and United Art and Education for some new finds. We were not disappointed.

I have previously mentioned how completely different my girls are when it comes to game play but also feel the need to mention that because of certain attention spans our family prefers card games best.

So first up is the science game Animal Linkology.

http://www.amazon.com/Linkology-Animals-Science-Card-Game/dp/B0035EQDRM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329408907&sr=8-1

This game was actually a big hit with both girls. We have already played it several times and I suspect you can probably figure out who the champ was. Then I picked up the game LCR.

http://www.amazon.com/LCR-Family-Game-colors-vary/dp/B000YMXAAQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1329409219&sr=1-3

I purchased this basic game for its potential. Not only to help Little Sis with learning her right from left but this game can also be played with money and candy :).

The big winner of the night though had to be the card game Wizard Jr.

http://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Junior-Card-Game/dp/1572815590/ref=pd_sim_t_6

The instructions seem to make this game much harder than it actually is but once we got the hang of it (after the first round) this game was quickly added to our list of favorites. (Thanks Game Preserve, did I mention any game you buy there can be returned if you’re not happy after playing it).

*Update* Since posting we have played this game at least everyday, sometimes more than once. Once you get the hang of it, which will only take like 5 minutes, the concept seems so simple but because you have to get your bids exactly correct in order to score points there is plenty of strategy as well.

There has been more going on though this week then just day trips, Valentines day celebrating, and game playing . The girls did stop long enough to have a tea party.Oh and Little Sis finally got Jumpstart first grade, should have purchased it in the first place because she *loves* it. I also want to mention she has finished *all* the levels including the hard of the block puzzle maze game in her Jumpstart DS game. I guess it wasn’t such a waste after all.

Now off to get ready for our play-date. I think Papa and I are doing a pretty good job of keeping things interesting around here.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Small Towns

February 16, 2012

I definitely can relate to Mr. John Mellencamp when it comes to his love for small towns. Being born and raised in Kansas City Missouri I have to say I * love* Indiana. For such a small state it has so much to offer, but for me it’s the small towns that make our state so special. After all we happen to live in one ourselves.

I noticed a bit more bickering going on amongst the girls this week. Yep I think the winter blues has began to set in. I shouldn’t be surprised really, I guess we got a little spoiled by all the beautiful weather we’ve had so far this winter. Oh it was time to shake things up with a day trip :).

The great thing about where we live is that we can head out in any direction and be out of our state in a little over 2 hours. This makes for many day trip options. So out the laptop came and the city of Columbus Indiana was chosen as our destination.

The city of Columbus is not only the home of Nascar driver Tony Stewart, it is also known for its modern architecture and art. There is so much to see and do but being that it *is* winter we decided to stick with the indoors. First up was a trip to Kid Commons ( to use their bathroom. I should also mention Miss Sky’s excitement over seeing that they had Madagascar hissing cockroaches too, oh all those connecting pieces)  ;).Next up was Japanand we headed to work up an appetite.

We took a family portrait, played with some bubbles,then grabbed a bite to eat at the historic Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor.After indulging in burgers and ice cream we headed to the playground in The Commons to burn off some energy.(Both girls made it to the top, several times).And yes we did happen to run across some of that art the city of Columbus is known for.(it’s name is Chaos. )

Yeah I’ll probably be buried in a small town too, but I’m not complaining. 🙂