Archive for March, 2012

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Picture Perfect

March 31, 2012

This week the television show Picture Pad had a big influence in our week. Every time I turned around there was a child tucked away somewhere with some type of art supply. I think maybe all our talk about creativity last week must have sparked some of their own.

Little Sis has art work “strewed” all through out our home, which I am not complaining about by the way. We are fixing a wall in our kitchen so we’ll be able to display all her masterpieces in one place. 🙂

She even has some in the virtual world,she really loves spending time at Disney create.Since I have been writing posts about our unschooling “tools” and this weeks post being about reading, I wanted to add a bit more about how unschooling looks in our home.

With there not being a “teacher” or “subjects” being taught in our home, how is Little Sis learning to read and write?

If you have read any of my past Waldorf posts you can see that I used the Letter People to help Little Sis understand the sounds of the alphabet. I bought a CD of all the Letter People’s songs and we watched episodes of the Letter People on YouTube.

Also I started out drawing each Letter Person on the chalkboard for Little Sis to copy in her own letter main lesson books. We made it all the way to the letter G before I realized how unnecessary this was to do. This was also about the time we started unschooling.

Once Little Sis understood the sound each letter made, from the CD and from watching episodes (because she really liked them), she took off reading all on her own. She didn’t need to keep doing “busy” work like worksheets or filling in main lesson book pages (I mean why do things that were designed to keep children occupied in classrooms that have up to 30 kids?).

Just like my post on “math” being everywhere, so are words. Little Sis has opportunities to “read” all the time, without me needing to “teach” her (same goes with writing, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar). Honestly if I *had* to answer how she learned to read and write I would say from playing at Animal Jam.

When she first started playing(at the age of 5) I needed to sit with her while she was interacting with the other kids. She needed help reading what other kids were asking her and needed help answering back. Now she doesn’t need any help interacting with kids, of course though I am *always* nearby if needed.

I guess my point is that sometimes it’s hard to understand how children can learn *without* the need of being taught like we were in school, because that is where *we*(or those who were not unschooled) associate where learning happens, but with words literally being everywhere it’s pretty unavoidable to learn how to read or write or in Little Sis’s case type. 🙂 She even can create  comic books at Disney create adding in her own sentences.

Miss Sky has been very busy playing Minecraft. I am amazed at all she is learning there. She has also been doing searches for other Minecraft games too and found 2 new games she has been really interested in as well, like Cubelands http://us.cubelands.com/and Wizard 101 https://www.wizard101.com/game (that she really, really loves! “Mom are you done with your post yet?”)

When the computer is occupied by one, the other has been playing Sims Kingdom on the DS. Other video games played this week are Sims2 and Dog Island (where Little Sis is reading and playing with very little help all on her own). On the Wii there was more games of Mario Party 8 and Pac-man Party.

Miss Sky also got caught up in some Picture Pad inspiration this week.

(We really need that art wall ) 😉

Games? Why yes of course, let’s see more Wizard Junior, Little Sis “am I ahead, how many points did I get? See  I got 40 .” She answers her own questions don’t you know , Bananagrams, and several hands of Go Fish.

Yes, life is good. Wishing everyone a great weekend!

” Changing the World “

March 30, 2012

” But what is unquestionable is that there are now thousands of children who are learning without formal teaching. They are learning from the world around them, from being with interesting and interested adults doing real work and real play. Instead of being put away with other children to prepare for life, they are joining life-in-progress right at birth, and never leaving “the real world.” ”

Sandra Dodd

http://sandradodd.com/thoughts

Just sitting here “Reading a little” and drinking a cup of tea, need I say more :).

Earth Hour Reminder

March 29, 2012

March 31 8:30

This will be our 4th year participating as a family.

Little Comments

March 28, 2012

Miss Sky has been watching walk through videos of the Sonic video games. She has been getting in with Sonic and The Black Knight.

Miss Sky : “Mom in Sonic and the Black Knight it talks about how King Arthur received his sword from the Lady of the Lake, are the stories of King Arthur real or myth like Norse Mythology?”

And so the rabbit trail begins :).

Little Comments

March 28, 2012

Miss Sky: “You know when I was little, I didn’t understand how hard it was to be an adult. I didn’t know you have to pay for the water we use, I thought it was free! Now that I am getting bigger I see and understand better how the world works. I understand how daddy goes to work to make money to pay bills, and you know what? I am going to enjoy MY childhood as LONG as I can!”

She is such a smart child, all our girls are!

If only I could go back and tell myself that same advice :).

Discoveries Of A Radical Unschooler/ Let’s Hear It For The Dads!

March 27, 2012

Something that I was not expecting to happen along on this journey ,into radical unschooling ,was that the relationship I had with my husband would get better too. Yes, I understood how healing the relationship with my children would greatly help unschooling to flourish in our home but our marriage too? That was an unexpected bonus.

Last Thursday was my husbands birthday, so he was home with us a couple more days than usual. Sometimes I think we take for granted the role dad plays in homeschooling. I know I sure do!

In my last post I talked about me, mine, my “success” in homeschooling our girls as a career but failed to mention that without the continued support of my husband there is NO way I could do what I do.

First of all I could not homeschool the girls if it wasn’t for all the overtime he puts in at his job and let’s not forget all the *crap* he has to put up with *at* his job or all the *socialized* “difficult” people always riding his ass ( I don’t care where you work, there always seems to be *one* of those types).

Then there are all those “extra” ideas we have come up with to earn money for supplies, yeah couldn’t have done ANY of those without his help.

But *most* of all, that he has ALWAYS unconditionally stood beside me no matter WHAT my decisions have been.

When I mentioned the idea of homeschooling, he had complete confidence in me (more than my own). When I explained Waldorf education, he didn’t hesitate to support me 100% (even after talk of getting rid of our television and he LOVES Nascar folks). When Waldorf education blew up in my face, he never once said “see I knew this wouldn’t work or see I told you so”, nope he tells me to stop beating myself up over it, “it happened, we learned from it now let’s move on”.

Now I explain this thing called radical unschooling. Do I get any “Now babe remember what happened with Waldorf” or ” Are you sure this is going to work” ? Nope not from my husband. He is “reading a little, trying a little , waiting a while and watching ” right along with me (I love this man so!).

With unschooling there is no teacher. There is no me drawing a picture on the board or me planning out lessons and picking out spelling words. It is us ,as a family ,living and learning *together*. Unschooling is not “child-led”, where you wait for your child to show an interest in something. It is us, as a family, sharing and living “our” interests *together*.

Example, Papa right now is really into the history of baseball. We have been watching all kinds of baseball documentaries, movies, and doing internet searches around here lately. Me or the girls have no interest in this topic at all, not now anyway, but when unschooling you share and learn to enjoy each others interests too (even if the only thing keeping you connected is seeing the love the other person is showing for that interest).

“Strewing” in our home isn’t just for the girls. Now I look for things that *every* member of our family might enjoy while out and about, like books on baseball. The girls even surprised me once too.(It’s kind of contagious 🙂 )

So now that there is no “teacher” in our home, I am no longer the only one running our ship (even though I never was). I may be the one posting about our days but I most certainly could *not* unschool without the help of my husband.

When I am busy with dishes,

my husband is there. When I am busy “listening” to a story and dinner needs to get started, he is there to start it.

When someone is feeling left out and needs some extra attention,he is there. When I am busy sharing in a child’s interest and we are running low on milk, he is there to pick some up.

When one child shows an interest in something I know nothing about,he is there.

He is *always* there, he *always* has been and it’s about damn time I thanked him for it!

Babe, thank you for being you! You are *better* than what I have ever wished forand we love you!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/Survival of the Fittest

March 25, 2012

The creativity theme definitely played it’s part though out our week, but then again I guess you could say that it always does. That’s what happens when you follow your children’s interests. That is  one major point of unschooling, and that is why one must have an open mind while unschooling too. You never know which of your children’s interests will connect to another one.

Without wanting to go off on a tangent ,because I am pretty good about doing that, I do want to say that we (as a society) are SO darn academically focused. Of course my opinion is because school has made us this way but by being *so* focused on school equaling “success” we fail to see other careers as being successful too.

Example, my cousin(hi if your reading 🙂 ) has a doctoral degree and is a vice principle of one of the best schools in Missouri. She works very hard at what she does and I know she very good at her job. Lots of people see her as *very* successful(and they should)! My sister didn’t go to college and get tons of student loans to pay off. Instead she went to beauty school, something she is *very* talented at, and now has her own business. Me, well I home educate my children, something that I do not make *any* money from, I don’t have any fancy degrees but I LOVE what I do. WHO is to say is more successful of the three of us? If we judge “success” from who has the most money or who has the most degrees, it would be my cousin. But what if success was judged by happiness (I am not saying my cousin is any less happier then myself by the way)?

For us, my family, success IS happiness. My step daughter wants to home educate her children too, that *is* what she wants to do with her life. She gets grief from her boyfriend’s,who is finishing his degree in art therapy, side of the family that homeshooling is *not* a successful career choice. Why not? To me being happy is a GREAT career choice! :).

My husband and I have came up with several creative ways to make money so that I could stay home with our children. I use to babysit, we’ve delivered newspapers, sold our tree houses and stables, I even sell on Ebay, all to pay for our unschooling supplies. Finding ways to make money is not a hard thing to do, but finding happiness sure can be!

I guess I did want to go on a tangent after all ;).

Our week,  yes let’s move on shall we?

This week was still all about Minecraft, Miss Sky playing at Minecraft, Miss Sky watching YouTube videos of Minecraft, and Miss Sky learning how to fly and make it rain in Minecraft :). All week she has been playing on the lava survival server. She is loving it!

This has left Little Sis with a little more alone time so Papa and I have filled in with more storytime and game playing.Games of Battleship, checkers, Wizard Junior, Nacho Loco, Memory, Connect 4, and Jenga.On the Wii more Mario Party 8, Clue,  Life and a family collaboration of the new Super Mario Brothers. We are on world 5. Then for the second part of the week both girls found new interest in playing Sims2 on the Playstation2.

Little Sis and I took to the bedroom with books in hand, and her new High 5 magazine, for some serious storytime :). Which brought on the story of Babar, which led to us watching the movie this week as a family, which led us to watching the cartoon series before bed, which led us to *many* conversations about elephant hunting.

When the computer was free there was playing at Animal Jam and Moshi Monsters.

As you could see from my post on creativity the green play-doh was a big hit. Little Sis and I played cafe making all kinds of bagels, pancakes, and cookies.

Last but not least this week there has been renewed interest in the Ology books

and a reminder that I left flower arranging off of the creative outlet “tools list”.Oh yes, life is good!

“Creativity ~like human life itself ~ Begins in Darkness”

March 21, 2012

I like this quote by Julia Cameron for many reasons.

Creativity is something I’ve struggled with understanding for a long time. I use to think myself as not being very creative but I have since come to the conclusion that I would not be homeschooling my girls if I wasn’t.

I, like almost everything I have learned on my journey into radical unschooling, learned the hard way that copying what a teacher does is *not* creativity, nor does it help to get a child to be more creative. I have also learned that doing “assembly line” crafts does not help you to become more creative either.

Miss Sky has never liked to do “crafts”.  Something I don’t think I have ever shared on my blog is just like math there were many struggles getting Miss Sky to draw in her “main lesson book” or to paint with watercolors. She has *always* wanted to do her own thing. I am going to be completely honest here and say this is something I regret.

I understand that every family is entitled to do what works best for them but in my opinion as someone who has been there and done it, Waldorf education does *not* allow for a child to be themselves (or a parent for that matter). Not every child *wants* to paint only using watercolors, or draw *only* with beeswax crayons. Not every child *wants* to knit or crochet.

My girls favorite art tools are black sharpies and markers.I have also come to the conclusion that creativity does not stop with art and what does it mean to be “artistic” anyway?

This actually has been the topic of conversation in our home this past week. So this weeks “tools” list will be compiled from *many* family members. 🙂

There is a quote from Sandra Dodd’s blog Just Add Light and Stir  that she posted quite awhile back that has really stuck with me. It was a picture her daughter took between two trees that only showed part of a roof top. The quote was something like when we put limits on our children, we limit them from over half the world. I never made the connection before then that while educating with “Waldorf”  what I was actually doing was limiting my children’s creativity. There is SO much more to being creative then wool and beeswax.

Woodworking, fashion designer, architecture, home interior design, landscaping, hair stylist, make-up artist, movie director, tatoo artist, set designer, photographer, musician, chef, script writers, animator, video game creator, poetry, fiction, fiber artist, pottery, jewelry making, board game creators, glass maker, blog writer, teachers, choreographer, dancer, actor, dog groomers, and our soon to be son-in-law who is finishing up his degree in art therapy.

As you can see this list could go on forever and I am sure my list will be missing something 🙂 , but finally after writing *all* this here is our favorite creative “tools”.

My husband loves to build, I love to write and bake, Big Sis loves coming up with meals using new ingredients, Miss Sky loves video games and creating new storylines (she has even created her own superhero) and making her own patterns, Little Sis loves art period.

Things we like to keep on hand.

pocket knife, bars of ivory soap,

real tools, nails, screws, scrap pieces of wood, Woodburning tool, workbench,

blank books (you can bind your own),

all different kinds of art supplies like block crayons, Do-a-Dots, markers, oil pastels, color pencils, paints (watercolor and acrylic), sketch pads, poster board, chalkboard, different kinds of pastel chalk, clipboards, fabric markers

Ed Emberley drawing books ,wooden peg people, clothes pins, wooden spoons to make puppets, scraps of material, felt, sewing kit,

burlap and plastic rug needle,

Play-Doh, clay, Wikki Sticks, mud, pipe cleaners, pom poms,

sheets, blankets, chairs, cushions, different size boxes,

“Barbie” style type head,

http://www.amazon.com/Mattel-V0835-Barbie-Blonde-Styling/dp/B0042ESFMK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332353519&sr=8-1

dress up clothes (I get ours at Goodwill), make-up, face paint, fashion design kits, Kool-aid dyed playsilks,

musical instruments, digital camera, (Picture taken by Miss Sky), digital camcorder,

cheap flour, salt, food coloring, plastic bowls, cookie cutters, wooden spoons,

different kinds of building blocks made from tree branches, Legos, lincoln logs, ect..

*Our favorite websites*

Disney Create,

Tux Paint,

Animal Jam,

Pixie Hollow,

Minecraft,

The Mii channel on the Wii,

Sploder, http://www.sploder.com/

Dress up games http://www.dressupgirl.net/dressup/155/Make-up-games.html

Whew I am sure there is something I am forgetting so I may need to update my list :).

You can read more about unschooling and creativity over at the blog Ordinary Live Magic.

http://www.ordinarylifemagic.com/2012/03/unschooling-tools-for-creativity.html

“Eat Whatever You Want”

March 20, 2012

I actually saw this video years ago but it was shared in a Radical Unschoolers group recently. Since I just wrote a post on limits, I thought it would tie in nicely.

As radical unschoolers we have no limits on food. The girls are free to choose what sounds best to them even if it’s eating cookies for breakfast. Actually now that the girls know that nothing is in limited supply they eat pretty good. I now need to buy salad mix to keep on hand just as much as the cookies or candy.

I myself have been doing my own little study with food. I too eat whatever I want and am learning to listen to my own body’s needs now finally at my age. I, myself have noticed when I eat something like pancakes or cereal for breakfast I am actually hungry sooner and end up eating more through out a day then when I eat an egg sandwich made with 2 thin slices of ham and 1 piece of cheese. Again this is me listening to *my* body’s needs. This is what Miss Sky asks for breakfast too, even with having Pop Tarts and variety packs of cereal as a choice.

The girls are learning to listen to their body’s needs now as children (just as they are learning to make choices about video games, television, and the computer) and I am confident they will not have the same issues with food that I do.

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Something Green

March 16, 2012

Welcome Spring!!

I have to say this week was spent more externally then most. The weather has been in the 80s, yesterday the girls even broke out our sprinkler. So this week looks more like sheets hung out to dry, windows open, spring cleaning and Papa and Little Sis playing catch(this girl has an arm I tell ya) kind of week.

But you know there were other things too.  😉

There was more Minecraft, Minecraft, Mama looking into purchasing Minecraft and more playing Minecraft.

There was journal writing,

already sending back the Wii video game Sonic Unleashed, Miss Sky “the storyline is great but I’m just not getting into actually playing the game.”,

receiving Wii Mario Party 8 in the mail which has been played by at least 1 family member every evening this week (especially a 6-year-old who *loves* it !). I don’t even think we played Wizard Junior this week.

We watched Over the Hedge as a family where Miss Sky was happy to see man portrayed as “the bad guy” for a change.

New Ranger Rick and My Big Backyard magazines,“Mom what is so “ugly” about a cygnet? They are SO cute!”

and more Elephant and Piggie :).

Oh yes and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day surprise waiting to be played with this morning, because I love these kiddos of mine.You can find the recipe here. http://www.rockabyebutterfly.com/2011/03/st-patricks-and-rainbow-activities.html

I did mention lots of outdoor time right?

Yeah life is good!

Wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend!