Archive for July, 2012

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Anime(ation)

July 27, 2012

So for those of you that did not know there was a holiday among unschoolers, that was celebrated Tuesday created by Sandra Dodd, called Learn Nothing Day. This would be our first year at attempting to celebrate (last years came at the brink of when we first started unschooling and we were not able to join in). Unfortunately I am sorry to say we failed miserably at trying our hardest not to learn a thing.

As soon as the girls woke up one child started playing on the computer (reading, typing, and spelling involved) while another decided she needed to cut out her mini books from her last few My Big Backyard magazines and then went on to read me *all* of the ones she has (cutting, small motor skills, putting pages in order and reading too). Darn our luck.I mean you would think that by only getting 1 day off a year the girls would have jumped at the opportunity to learn nothing for once, oh well I guess there is always next year. Maybe we will be more prepared for it then. ūüôā

Other than our failure to celebrate Learn Nothing Day this week was all about Anime. Wouldn’t you believe that Miss Sky has got me hooked on yet another cartoon series, seriously I think I have watched more cartoon series this past year then ever before. This time it is the series Fruits Basket.

It reminds me so much of an animated¬†soap opera but for the life of me I just can’t stop watching and if watching the show wasn’t enough thanks to this show the girls wanted to know more about Japanese culture as well as what their zodiac signs were.

Which brings me back to the one child doing research on the computer when she was suppose to be learning nothing. I think a visit to a local Japanese steak house is in order very, very soon.

I mentioned previously how this new interest was brought on by the video game Kingdom Hearts which the girls have been busy playing all week¬†so they could start Kingdom Hearts 2 right away when it arrived(which they did). Thanks to this video game the girls have also been busy drawing as well. I have been finding their works of art all over the house.A¬†drawing of Little Sis’s favorite character she has taped to her bedroom wall.

I have another surprise arriving soon as I found a used set of the Kingdom Hearts Manga on Ebay that they had pinned on their Pinterest boards.

I can’t wait to see their faces.

Miss Sky spent time at Disney Create creating new anime characters as well.If this wasnt enough anime for 1 week we also received our first Hayao¬†Miyazaki¬†movie from Netflix this week called Howl’s Moving Castle. This movie receives 2 thumbs up from all of us, I really recommend it. We have the movie Ponyo to watch next and I for one can’t wait.

Okay anime aside there was plenty of Minecraft, we watched new episodes of Martha Speaks, we played more Wii Party, and the girls played Nitendogs on their DS (where they *learned* how to record their voices on a record and laughed up a storm while turning the speed up and down changing the way their voice sounded).

Miss Sky found yet another game to play on-line that she really likes called Begone. You could find her and Papa together strategizing her next moves. You could find Papa playing this game on his own too.

Oh yes and there was a new Nintendo Power magazine that Miss Sky was very excited to read of the new Kingdom Hearts game being released.

I guess it’s not the girls fault that they couldn’t¬†help themselves from learning this week.

What can I say, life is good! ūüôā




“How To Screw Up Unschooling”

July 23, 2012

Oh wonderful tea time. ūüôā

Time for me to do a “little reading”. If there is anyone curious of what “little reading” means, I thought I¬†might¬†explain. There is a phrase coined by Sandra Dodd , whose page I also happen to be quoting from today, that she likes to tell all unschoolers new or not. “Read a little, try a little, wait awhile, watch.”

When first discovering radical unschooling, or anything new for that matter, it can be pretty easy to get caught up reading *everything* that has ever been written on the topic all at once. If you are busy, busy reading you are not allowing the information to sink in. You are not allowing your thoughts to question your current parenting “methods”.

You may not realize¬†how many things we do¬†without ever thinking as to why we might do them, example who invented breakfast food? I understand what the word means but who made it a rule that pancakes¬†can only be for breakfast? Why couldn’t I eat a steak and potato? We no longer have foods with “breakfast” labels in our home we eat *food* when we are hungry.

The same goes with our sayings. A big one for us growing up was “eat your crusts that is where all the vitamins are”. Wow so while the bread is baking all the vitamins begin to move towards the top? Maybe they do but I know the one telling us that was not the one who discovered it, they where just spitting out phrases they had picked up from somewhere else. Oh and I guess China must have grown stronger because I finished all of my plate too. ūüôā

Anyways, if you read without questioning your reasoning you could very well miss seeing how and why uschooling works. Or think you do understand it all and do too much all at once then complain later how unschooling doesn’t work. Which brings me back to my quotes.

The page I am linking to contains lots and lots of ways you can screw up unschooling, I have been guilty of more of these than I would like to admit but here are just a few that made me smack my head a few times. However this post is not to bring on more guilt trips but to empower *you* with the knowledge that you *can* change the relationship with your family for the  better.

“Place no value on their opinions because they are only kids after all!”

“Set your default response to “no.” ”

“When asked the reason you said “no”, respond with “because I said so”. ”

“Punish first, ask questions later.”

“When your kid asks for anything, always say: “maybe later”, “in a little while”, “next time”, “I’m busy.””

“Don’t let them watch TV.”

“Don’t show any interest in their interests.” *adding mine* or only show interest in the things *you* like¬†of their interests.

“Don’t allow a mess, or always make kids clean up”

You can read the rest of the post here.

Happy Monday!


A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ I’m Sorry

July 17, 2012

Or in other words the week I really messed things up.

I am a planner. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be prepared but having the need to always plan things out does have its downfalls. For one just because I am good at planning doesn’t always mean I’m good at seeing those plans through. See I also tend to procrastinate a bit as well.

Papa is production, thanks to his job. He doesn’t procrastinate, in fact he usually is lighting the fire¬†under my butt to¬†get me going. We really are good for each other but sometimes oil and water just don’t mix.

Each of our 3 girls range in having a bit of both our personalities but Big Sis (so far) is the most like her Papa and I learned a thing or two from her as well as more about myself last week. So as the lights begin to dim and the stage is set let our story unfold.

Last week Papa was on vacation and if that wasn’t good enough Big Sis was flying in from San Francisco for a visit too. We all couldn’t have been more excited but there I was over thinking (I am really, really bad at this and¬†it is something I am working hard on changing)and planning out our week. The only problem was I was planning¬†everything out around me and what I wanted to do. I saw it as a week of us all being home together as a family and a good time to plan an excursion. I uh didn’t think to take into consideration what the ones who would be home for the week wanted to do, which of course was nothing.

Papa works hard 12 hour days (more times than not)¬†in this heat we are ever so blessed to be having this year(his place of business has no air conditioning). Big Sis works hard too in a huge city with no car that she needs to use public transportation to get her there everyday. Me well I’m home most of the week and with this heat wave we have been stuck indoors more than I like to be for summer (have I mentioned it’s hot). I hope you all can see where I am going with this. Yes a bit¬†of yucky entered our home, I will add only temporarily but it was enough to make all those great and perfect memories I had all planned out in my mind fizzle fast.

“Did you think I would come home for a week and everything would be perfect?” Big Sis really has a great perspective of life at her age and tends to be very honest¬†about her opinions at times. ūüôā ¬†Thing is I *did* think in my mind everything would be perfect. “Well life is not perfect.” Damn when did she grow up?

She is right, life is not perfect. You’d think I would have learned that by now. The good news is, yes there is good that comes¬†out of¬†our yucky, I learned from my mistakes. I’ve learned to back track to find out what went wrong so that it will not happen again. Unfortunately what I found wasn’t what I wanted to see. It was me and my over thinking that started the whole thing. Seriously I wish I could stop thinking so damn much sometimes. Oh how I wish I could just ride the waves and go with the flow. To stop worrying about this or that and just live!

I learned that since I am the one who needs to get out more that I can do that even if it’s just going for a walk. This was another *huge* aha moment for me. I realized when first starting this journey¬†into radical unschooling that I was a control freak. I guess there still was a little control chip left on my shoulder that needed polishing.

Things were not all lost though. There still was lots and lots of game playing. Big Sis joined us for a little Wii Party and gave us some new competition. We played all our usual games of Frog Juice, Rummikub, Mario Party 8, Disney Apples to Apples, Monopoly Deal, Toss Up, Uno, and Little Sis discovered a new favorite game(to her) Sorry.

Little Sis also found a new Putt Putt¬†game on Ebay she wanted. “Mom how do you spell birthday?” Pep’s birthday surprise and has been playing it all week.

She also played Putt Putt saves the Zoo again and “Mom what’s a cheese puff?.

My 6-year-old daughter has never had a cheese puff so off to the store we went in search of cheese puffs to have us a taste test. I personally love Cheetos crunchy, why Little Sis has never had one because they are just too tempting to have around the house, but Little Sis prefered the taste of the air puffed ones, which is good news for me. ūüôā

Little Sis ¬†also showed Papa how to pin on Pinterest, something she has gotten very good at. I noticed from some of her pins a trip to United Art and Education was in order. She was ready for some “big girl” coloring books and they have a nice selection of Dover ones (she has already colored half of this book).

I also took advantage of the “Back to school” sales to stock up on some new supplies.

Speaking of Pinterest, while at the store Little Sis asked if we could get a fresh pineapple to try. I was reminded of seeing something about planting the top of the pineapple to see it grow on Pinterest and thought why not.

We decided fresh pineapple needed to play more of a part in our diets (it is so good).

Kingdom Hearts is still all the rage around these parts and Miss Sky has finally defeated the big boss Maleficent even after she becomes the dragon. I already have Kingdom Hearts 2 on its way here. It has also inspired lots and lots more drawings.

I love Little Sis’s Donald.

And our family movie of the week was Avatar. Papa and I had already seen it but Miss Sky wanted to see it for the special effects.

You know even when life gets yucky sometimes it’s still pretty darn good!

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ It’s Hot, Hot, Hot

July 4, 2012

This post could have easily been titled “just keep swimming” as well. ūüôā

Man has it been hot! We have been breaking all kinds of weather records here in the Hoosier state. Add this with no rain in months and you might as well say the 4th of July has been canceled. Fireworks have been banned, even sparklers. I, having read about the wild fires in Colorado, completely understand why the ban is necessary but not having fireworks on the 4th of July kind of defeats the holiday you know. Even our small town firework display has been canceled. Oh well what can you do really, it has been a tough summer for many people. Besides the girls don’t seem to mind they could be found swimming in their little kiddie pool all week long.

Which brings me to my point. With the temperatures reaching triple digits the girls have been spending a lot more time indoors then usual, which is kind of funny (in an ironic sort of way) because our winter was so mild (didn’t sled one time last year) we spent more time outdoors then normal. However being indoors for one certain little has been a bit challenging.

Little Sis needs to move. The Wii has been great in the fact it is wireless and Little Sis can bounce around while she plays. Both girls after being at the computer awhile or watching a movie like to head outdoors¬†to run around but when it’s 104 outside running around doesn’t sound very entertaining. So I needed to come up with an alternative for the girls to be able to run around indoors.

Something inexpensive that I could do right away was pick up a bag of balloons while at the store. Little Sis came up with several games to play with the balloons but our favorite I think has to be trying to keep several balloons up in the air without any touching the floor. Something else I did was gather items I already had from our old “circle time” days like beanbags, hula hoops and Papa even made the girls a balance beam from a 4 by 4. Next it was dragging out our old Greg and Steve CDs. Our favorite, even though they have come out with some new ones since then, is The Kids In Action Cd with the Bop Until You Drop song.

These seemed to do the trick at least while I think up some more ideas. ūüôā I am still looking for a mini trampoline and trying to find my exercise ball and maybe pick up another one. How fun to it would be to watch television or play video games while bouncing on the ball.

In other news we made a trip to Goodwill in search of some new ideas and couldn’t believe our luck at finding one of Papa’s favorite board games, Risk¬†brand new never opened for $2. I also found more dominoes to add to our collection.

Miss Sky found her something that she has wanted for a long time(a fur real pet)

and has been pretending to be in animal rescue.

I also changed out our “strewing” table adding a new fantasy puzzle after Little Sis and I finished one the other night. Before I changed the table it was home to several of our nature items we’ve accumulated on our hikes and magazines. It was time to change things up a bit.

There was more readings of The Tangerine Bear and of course our usual game playing of Frog Juice, Spot It, and Wii Party with Little Sis really getting in with Wii Bingo. Then there was more Super Mario Brothers as a family where we finally made it to world 7.

There was more playing at,¬† Little Sis playing Putt Putt Saves the Zoo, Animal Jam was all the rage this week with their Summer Carnival and the new game Dress Your Best.“Mom what does epic mean?”

Miss Sky found a new game she has been playing all week called Friends Hang and we have really been getting in with the anime show Fruits Basket. I also have been reading one of her manga books Psycho Busters and surprisingly really getting in with this form of art and writing.

Besides the heat and not being able to set off fireworks it really is a good life!

Happy 4th of July!

“How physical are your kids? “

July 3, 2012

Yes it is tea time for me once more. Time to myself where I enjoy “reading a little”.¬† Today’s reading¬†comes from Sandra Dodd’s musicroom page (big surprise I’m sure ;)). It also ties in really well with this weeks Week In The Life post.

“My first question is what the parents are doing for sport, dance and physical activity. Is it seen within the family as something schoolkids do, rather than part of the regular world?

Some families hike or ski or snowboard, ride horses, sail, garden, build things… Not all exercise and physical activity are school-style team sports. If the principle is knowing more about their strength and their bodies and having opportunities to use them. Do you have a tree swing or do you take your children to a public playground? Do they have access to shovels and a place (and maybe a real reason) to dig? Do you gather, cut or carry firewood? I don’t recommend making them do that, but if the parents do that the children might want to help.

If the parents do none of those things, why should the children? If the parents used to but don’t anymore, perhaps they could find ways to add more physical activity back into their lives?”

Our family loves to hike and be outdoors. Miss Sky is sporting a lovely new tan. I *never* needed to limit the television(or video games) from my girls for this love to flourish. It had already been planted from Papa and my love of the outdoors.

Now if we could only break this triple digit heat wave.

Little Comments

July 2, 2012

This week I have been organizing and cleaning our new game room getting rid of all the books and “school” things that are just collecting dust. I also made a spot on the bookshelf for Little Sis’s “bear stories”. While inspecting,

Little Sis: “Mom, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is not a bear story. It is a story about a family *looking* for a bear, not a story *about* a bear.”

Man my kids are tough critics.