Archive for December, 2012

Little Comments

December 31, 2012

Being that this is the last Little Comments post of 2012 I thought it was a perfect way to close out the year.

The girls and I have been going over the past year’s posts reviewing our favorite projects¬†as I get ready to wrap up our year “school” wise.

Miss Sky :” Mom I am so glad we started unschooling. I really do love our life. You know before when we did school at home I would just ignore you then nod and pretend to be interested but now I really do love to learn about the world with you.”

Me : ūüôā (proud mama grin)

I completely agree with her because I love our life too.

Wishing peace, joy and love in 2013.

Advertisements

Week In The Life/ Picture This

December 27, 2012

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Though we did not have a white Christmas we had a white day after Christmas with a foot of snow.

I think I might have waited a bit too long to try on winter gear as Miss Sky has grown right out of her snow pants, whoops. You can imagine her disappointment¬†in having this much snow and not being able to go sledding. Oh well as we are supposed to get more snow this weekend I think she can wait until then. ūüôā

I have lots to catch up on so here we go!

Games? Yes lots and a new winter solstice family game but first the old. Several hands of Animal Rummy

DSCF5836

then there was Old Maid, Monopoly Deal, Apples to Apples, and Toss Up. Little Sis played both Putt-Putt Goes To The Zoo and Pep’s Birthday Surprise on the computer. Both girls played Minecraft, Girl Games.com and Miss Sky played at Sploder.com and found another new game to play that doesn’t need to be downloaded. We also played Mario Party 8 as a family on the Wii.

http://www.gamevial.com/screenshots.php?game=flylikeabird3

Now for my review of our new family game Disney Pictionary.

DSCF5851

It was a bit more pricey ,I am thinking because it is Disney, but I am glad to add it to our growing collection of games. Even though I do have cons to mention being that we have played it at least once everyday since Solstice (and sometimes more than once because the girls love it) I think it was well worth the price and I do not have any regrets.

Now the cons, who ever decided to make a family game with plastic suction cup hands 1. either do not have children or 2. don’t have a husband who acts like a kid. Let me just say it was not the girls who couldn’t keep their plastic hands to themselves.

I however have learned being married to Papa for many years now not to get too upset by his inability to act his age but instead decided to join in. So if you do not think you have my patience and are already coming up with ideas how your family might use these hands that have nothing to do with playing the game, I would pass on this one (though you can play without them).

I also was disappointed the game comes with wet boards instead of being dry erase. This makes drawing and fingers more messier¬†but if you don’t mind marker stained fingers (the girls fingers are always marker stained anyway) then don’t let¬†this keep you from getting the game.

We played this game like the rules suggest with teams and we played separately, taking some of the rules from Apples to Apples, with the first person to get 5 cards wins.

Movies? Yes lots of our Christmas favorites but we also watched the Disney movie Brave(which I highly recommend) and we had a movie marathon of all 3 Narnia movies.

Miss Sky “Look¬†how Lucy and Susan’s¬†dresses”, from¬†the movie The¬†Lion Witch and the Wardrobe,”¬†look the same as from the movie Brave. I know the story was written during World War II but I wonder what time period Narnia is supposed to be?”¬† Good question. ūüôā

Lets see reading? Yes!

DSCF5831

Some old favorites as well as a new magazine Miss Sky has already read cover to cover (twice).

DSCF5856

Otaku USA

http://www.otakuusamagazine.com/Main/Home.aspx

Earlier in the week with more of a heavy heart (that neither of the girls know the reason why which I am incredibly thankful for),¬†Little Sis asked “Mom will you snuggle with me?” There¬†was no way I could turn that offer down so what started with a snuggle ended with the whole family in her bed while she read us all her Elephant and Piggie books.

Little Sis even wrote a story too.

DSCF5853

Drawing? Yep and with new color pastels too.

Miss Sky

DSCF5857

DSCF5844

DSCF5852

Little Sis

DSCF5859

DSCF5834

DSCF5833

Last but not least the girls LOVE their 3 DS. They have played with them daily since getting them. The funny thing is they have yet to play any video games with them but instead are too busy making movies and cut scenes, which some are pretty darn good.

DSCF5845

Whew,

Wishing everyone peace for the journey (as well as warmth to those in the path of this winter storm).

There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays

December 20, 2012

Because family warmth and drawing near produce fun and waiting until after Christmas to post didn’t feel right either.

DSCF5849

Instant snow

DSCF5838

Puzzles

DSCF5850

Christmas tree cookies

DSCF5840

Ice cream cone Christmas trees

DSCF5842

Red, white and green homemade Christmas play-doh (with peppermint oil)

Happy holidays and a very Merry Christmas!

DSCF5855

Peace and Love Unto You And A Merry Christmas Too

December 17, 2012

Today as I sit down to write last weeks unschooling wrap-up my heart is just not into it. There is so much I want to say and yet I feel the need to be silent.

Right now I am being drawn to the warmness and love of my family as we celebrate what the holidays really mean to us.

I am wishing you all the same…

and peace for the journey.

 

 

Little Comments

December 13, 2012

Because I am¬†not a perfect parent. ūüôā

Miss Sky accidentally dropped her 3DS. She had left it on the couch on top of a blanket and when she sat down and pulled up the blanket if fell to the floor. She quickly turned it on to make sure it still worked.

Miss Sky: “Whew, looks like it’s okay.”

Me: “Well try taking a picture and using the video camera too.”

While she was getting ready to take a picture I started to lecture her how careful she needed to be and leaving it on the couch wasn’t being very responsible. While going on and on (I am pretty good about that)

Miss Sky:” Mom my heart is already racing a thousand miles a¬†minute, I understand how fragile these are. It was an honest mistake and what I don’t need from you right now is hovering over me all panicky giving me a lecture. I need space and I need calm.”

There was a time when this kind of comment would have pissed me off. I would have seen it as her “talking back to me”. I am still in the process of learning how to make better choices in the heat of the moment that bring me closer to the parent I want to be. However what has changed is me getting pissy. I am much, much better at listening to what the girls say and trying my best to meet those needs, which they have gotten much, much better at expressing.

Miss Sky was right she knew the consequence of dropping her 3DS. She has broken things before. No more words were needed from me and I gave her the space she needed.

Miss Sky:” Everything is in working order thank goodness and thanks mom for backing off. I knew it would be my fault if it broke, I was already worried enough.”

She didn’t need for me to “teach her a lesson”. She learned it all on her own. ¬†I have also noticed she has been much more responsible where she leaves it now without me needing to¬†constantly remind her.

A Week In The Life/ Making Christmas

December 11, 2012

Busy busy little elves we are. I need to get this weeks photos up before the next round. Christmas is very quickly approaching.

So let’s start with the Christmas countdown shall we? “Days 1, 2, & 3 I paint, cut, and paste.”¬†excerpt is from the Counting To Christmas book by Nancy Tafuri.

DSCF5821

DSCF5822

We started out using a template for an example but then the girls started to come up with their own ideas which were much better. I think our Christmas cards turned out really cute. ūüôā

“Days 6, 7, & 8 I pour mix and decorate.” We¬†kicked off¬†our Christmas baking of favorite goodies starting with the girls favorite gingerbread cookies, the recipe can be found in the back of the book mentioned above.

Getting a little pinspiration (wink) the girls found an idea to make waterless snow globes. They were a big hit and turned out cute.

DSCF5820

DSCF5828

Here are the instructions.

http://zomoc.com/inspired-snow-globes-tutorial.html#.UBpXdbAuNRJ.pinterest

Games? Yes we played the Wii Party board game and Bingo. We also played The Family Game Show from Family Game Night.

Movies? We watched more of our favorite Christmas movies as well as the original movie Tron. It was interesting to hear Tron did not win any awards for the special effects because it was considered cheating to use a computer. The story made a bit more sense to me after seeing the original and it was fun to see how much graphics have changed over 30 years.

Drawing? Yep, both girls have been working hard and Miss Sky’s story is evolving quite nicely.

DSCF5819

Little Sis is constantly amazing me with her drawings.

DSCF5817

(They picked out new pins to try, neither like to use pencils first)

DSCF5816

DSCF5818

Last but not least the girls got their 3ds. They patiently waited collecting their birthday money. Being that each of them cost $200 (they were saving to get the XL) they needed to wait for  Christmas too.

We were not going to make them wait for Christmas though to open them so when I got the Gamestop add in my e-mail how this week they doubled points (for members which can be turned into coupons, which then pays for the yearly membership that saves you 10% on games) and included the game Mario Kart 7 I knew now was the time to get them.

DSCF5823

I want to say that there are parents whose children might want a Nintendo 3DS even though they might have a DS already and some of those parents may think their children do not need another gaming device because of this reason (I was one of those parents). First off I can understand not being able to afford them, *believe me* and went back and forth between these and an iPad touch screen or another laptop but these are what the girls wanted and I have learned the hard way to get them what they want. There is a reason why and I trust their reasons.

Second the Nintendo 3DS is like having a mini laptop. It has internet access and more like a video camera (hello I wanted to get them a small digital camera) as well as a camera.

DSCF5829

(Little Sis taking a picture of me taking a picture of her ūüôā )

Not to even mention the graphics and having a larger screen.

DSCF5826

They have even already watched Netflix on them. I am SO glad I went this route it has freed up the computer a lot more¬†but most important they love them and are happy, happy children. “Mom am I dreaming?”

DSCF5830

(Little Sis copying a picture from the internet.)

They have learned so much from them already and Miss Sky has already started making movies and learned how to change her voice higher or lower. They also learned how to use the special effects.

Well I was told this morning Netflix added the second season of the cartoon Avengers and they are patiently waiting so all that is left for me to say is

Peace for the journey.

A Week In The Life Of Unschoolers/ Craft Craftin’ Away

December 4, 2012

Winter is a time for hibernation, it is the season (at least here for us) to light a fire in the wood burning stove and hunker down for a while. I had a few crafting ideas, unrelated to the holidays, up my sleeve planned to help pass the days but if you have been reading here you already know my plans are always made to be broken. ūüôā

They haven’t been forgotten though just pushed to the back burner. Oh and I have learned from the past what kind of crafts the girls like to do (there needs to be a purpose, in other words not doing “crafts” just to later throw them away) and being they revolve around Kingdom Hearts they are actually looking forward to them. This¬†week however the girls, especially for a certain little one because “I was bored and thought why not do a craft.”, came up with their own ideas. You know they are getting pretty good at that.

So I am just giving you heads up in advance there are lots of photos this week. However I think I will begin with movies first.

This week we watched some as a family, some minus a family member or two. I found myself following my own rabbit trails it  began a few weeks ago when I discovered Michael Wood and the documentary Myths and Legends. Miss Sky watched quite a lot of it with me and we had a few discussions of our own.

One of the episodes was about finding Shangri-La. Well I am a HUGE fan of Frank Capra’s movies and when I found out he made the movie Lost Horizon I just had to see it. Miss Sky wanted to watch it with me being she has been very curious of Asian myths and traditions (all from a video game mind you)too. Like most of Capra’s movies you either like them or don’t and I have yet to find one I don’t like and this one was no different. SO many wonderful messages in his movies. ūüôā

All us girls kicked back and watched A Cat in Paris. I have been waiting for Netflix to carry this movie since I heard about it. Not because of the story line so much but I knew Miss Sky would love the animation, and I was right. The movie is a work of art in itself and the girls really liked the story too.

http://catinparis.com/

Last movie we watched together as a family was the newer release of Tron. This is another movie that Miss Sky was interested in seeing due to the video game Kingdom Hearts. “I heard the graphics are amazing.” She loved it and asked for the original to be added to our ever-growing Netflix list. (Now the girls are discovering movies they want to see and adding them.)

Games? Miss Sky played around a bit at Sploder.com, Minecraft for both girls, Wii Party as a family as we played the games Time Bomb and Hide ‘n’ Hunt this time, and more 007 where mama and papa are¬†learning our own little strategies and came out on top for once. Miss Sky¬†also played her 007 on Wi-Fi on-line with other kids.

Kingdom Hearts? Oh you know it, that is what inspired most of the crafts this week. To start Miss Sky has been experimenting with color pastels a bit.

DSCF5813

She has created a new board on Pinterest to collect pieces of art work she likes to use as reference. She mostly is into backgrounds right now especially Asian. Then she decided to make her own fans.

DSCF5814

(more of her drawings from the week.)

DSCF5807

Little Sis got in the action too¬†” My monster pet¬†is lonely and needs a friend.”

DSCF5808

and had a little Kingdom Heart inspiration of her own.

Front

DSCF5812

Back
DSCF5810

and some new characters

DSCF5806

DSCF5809

and more decorations.

DSCF5781

Last but not least the girls have been playing around more with the WebCam making movies, I really need to get them a small digital video camera.

DSCF5796

There has been a bit of reading going on around here too

DSCF5797

and¬†our countdown to Christmas has begun by busting out the Advent table and readings of our favorite Christmas stories. It never seems to fail that each year Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer (the original Golden Book story) is always the first story we read. I think¬†now it’s¬†tradition.

Wishing everyone peace for the journey.

“Make Choices”

December 3, 2012

Yes it is tea time once again for this mama. Tea time is time I have set aside for myself to do “a little reading”. I want to mention that tea time for me is *not* “me time”.¬† As a unschooling parent I never know when I may get time to myself. See¬†usually I am helping someone find glue or spelling out a word or¬†helping work¬†a puzzle or playing a game, okay you get the point. So when a time comes that everyone is off doing their own thing (it does happen the older they get ūüôā ) I decide to make myself a nice cup of herbal tea and catch up on my reading.

I know most of these links can be found pretty easily and may even be repeating to some readers but I like to share pages or videos that I come across that really help guide me to be a more mindful parent or helped me gain confidence toward unschooling.

Todays reading comes yet again from Sandra Dodd. Yes there are many other wonderful writers who I have also¬†learned SO much from but I figure those who are truly curious and want to learn more about radical unschooling will find them by following the¬†Sandra Dodd trails, I did. ūüôā

The reason I started researching radical unschooling in the first place was because even though we had been homeschooling for a while and even though when we first started out everything was great, as the girls started to get older things started to change. Miss Sky became more vocal about her likes and dislikes and Little Sis just didn’t fit the bill for Waldorf education at all. If I had stayed on that path against both of the girls wills I would probably be knee-deep in preteen rebellion and Little Sis would just *now* be learning her ABCs. Yes I am SO glad to have found radical unschooling, it was hard enough for me to write that let alone think of everything the girls would not have learned.

It is one thing if a child truly is not ready to learn to read yet, Miss Sky was a later learner that is why Waldorf  education was perfect for her in the beginning. However to hold someone back on purpose in my opinion is a real disservice to the child. It does not allow them to be who they were born to be. There is no whip cracking here, no one forcing someone to learn their ABCs or how to add (even though you can not force anyone to learn anything anyway). Everyone in this household learns because they *choose* to.

As the girls started to change so did I. Instead of being the girls partner in life, like I always wanted to be from the very beginning before they were even born,¬† I became their adversary. The older they got the more I had to control, so I had thought. The more I had to control the more they wanted to rebel and the more they wanted to rebel the more I yelled and punished. It really is an¬†awful cycle. I didn’t like the b**ch (it really is true) I had become. That is when I read something that changed everything.

“If you eliminate “have to” from your thoughts, it’s like driving a nice standard
transmission rather than riding in the back of a crowded bus. If you see
everything as a conscious choice, suddenly you are where you have chosen to be
(or else you have a clear path to moving toward where you would rather be).”

I realized I *chose* to be a b**ch. No one made me but me. I also realized I could choose not to be one anymore. In order for this to work every time I got ready to yell I made a choice that took me closer to the parent I wanted to become. Instead of yelling I walked into the bedroom and took a deep breath. While in there I thought about what it was I was SO upset about. Spilled milk? Was it an accident? I will say it was *always* over something stupid. Even if it was a broken window, the window was broken and I  still needed to replace it whether I yell or not. Yelling does not solve the problem.

Once I had a clear picture of what I really was upset over, like not having the money to replace a window, instead of yelling I became honest. Once I became honest the girls let their guard down and wanted to help come up with a solution. The more choices I made toward being the girls partner the closer I came to being the parent I always wanted.

It has been almost 2 years now since I have yelled at my kids. It saddens me to even think that I did at one time. Becoming a more mindful parent is a choice. It is your choice whether or not you want to change.

The above quote came from here.

http://sandradodd.com/philosophy

Once I changed my “have to” to choose to my¬†path became a lot clearer. The girls have been given the gift of choice now. They realize now that everything they do is their choice. This is why unschoolers have a much better experience in school or college, they are not there against their will but instead because they choose to be.

http://sandradodd.com/haveto

Peace for the journey.