Archive for July, 2013

“Homegrown Knowledge “

July 29, 2013

Okay first I want to say I love the title to this video, Homegrown Knowledge.

Second I love these children! The little girl had me smiling ear to ear. “First grade math isn’t really math, it’s color in all the 5s” Yes! What a smart cookie she is.

I understand *why* school was set up the way it is. 20-(more like)35 children all at different learning stages with one teacher trying to teach a certain concept. I understand being in a brick and mortar building “supplies” are limited to worksheets and textbooks. I understand teachers can’t give their students cash and take them to the store to learn about money. I understand all that (I love when people feel the need to explain this to me as if I didn’t go to school myself or something).

I have never, ever, ever been anti teacher. Actually I am very thankful for those who choose this field and understand why schools need to exist. Not every child has responsible parents.

I am not one of those parents though and since the girls choose not to go to school trying to change the school system is not one of my priorities. Showing that there is more than one way to learn however is.

Being that my children are not confined to a brick and mortar building their “supplies” are pretty much unlimited. The girls don’t need textbooks or worksheets to learn. They learn by doing “real world” things.

They learn to read by them having real reasons to read. They learn to write by them having real reasons to write. They learn mathematics by doing “real” mathematics not some premade equations created on a piece of paper.

*Why* is knowing multiplication helpful? Not memorizing a bunch of multiplication facts to forget later. *Why* is knowing measurements helpful? Not memorizing 12 inches make a foot and 3 feet make a yard to pass a test. *Why* would I need to know percentages?

Once you understand this you begin to realize there is no need to recreate a brick and mortar building at home (unless you have *laws* where you live telling you otherwise). There is no reason to buy a curriculum. Our children live in the “real world”, their world *is* the “curriculum”.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (B.O.R.E.D Spells Bored)

July 28, 2013

Times they are a changing for Little Sis. Her play partner is growing up and playing less. It’s not anything unusual when a child becomes a teen in fact it is actually quite usual. Just for a certain little one it can be, umm how did she put it…… boring.

Whatever will this heroic mom do, tired of the super hero banter already? Okay 🙂

It’s time for me to realize Miss Sky is going to be 13 this year and very capable of diving into her own interests without the help of me so much anymore. She knows where and how to find answers to questions she may have and is not afraid to ask Papa or I (or anyone for that matter) for help when need be. Now this does not mean I no longer share my interests with her or help feed hers, it means I have more time to focus on Little Sis’s.

Unlike Miss Sky’s dislike for “craft time”, Little Sis has always liked it. She has never been “schooled” at home so she doesn’t mind me coming up with “to do” projects, actually she has asked for them. Being such short notice on her part I did my best coming up with a few things using what we had around the house already but I knew it was only a matter of time before she realized my shortcomings (whew, thank goodness for Pinterest).

So for starters I busted out the tangrams.

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(Lauri Tangrams)

We worked puzzles

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and I pulled out the wooden peg dolls.

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She did some drawing on her own

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(I love her Rapunzel and Esmeralda)

and she wanted to practice some stitching.

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She is still a little leery of using a metal needle but her stitching has improved a lot. Not once did she forget which way she was sewing.

There are new drawings from Miss Sky

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and she all of sudden has taken interest in taking things apart to see how they are put together (I see a trip to Goodwill soon).

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The rain brought much cooler temps, high 70s, so there was a request for Beef Stew (using our homemade beef broth)

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and a fire in the backyard.

The girls learned how to play Yahtzee

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with us first playing on teams, Little Sis and myself against Papa and Miss Sky. Really we acted more like partners showing them what they could do while the girls played each other. Miss Sky won by rolling a Yahtzee twice. Then we all played against each other where Little Sis won.

Of course we played some other games too

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with the girls getting really good at the game Wii Music.

Learn Nothing Day you ask? If you didn’t already know we failed. We always fail. Even though the girls are given this one day off every year they really don’t seem very interested in not learning anything and honestly I’m glad. 🙂

Peace for the journey.

A Thank You Note (On Learn Nothing Day And My 4th Year Of Blogging Anniversary)

July 24, 2013

*Warning* If you were planning on celebrating Learn Nothing Day today skip this post because you will fail by learning more about us. 🙂

” How about this, for a birthday party. Write someone (not me, someone else) a little thank you note for something they might not even know you appreciated.” (The person who owns this quote knows who they are and to you I tip my hat in gratitude.)

Today for a certain someone’s birthday a present of thankfulness and gratitude has been asked. As someone who is very thankful for all the positive changes that have happened in our family, since making the decision to be our children’s partner, I knew who I was going to thank.

During Father’s Day weekend while standing in line at the grocery store the cashier asked if we had any big plans. In which I replied “Well we kind of live our life like everyday is Father’s Day, or Mother’s Day, or Kid’s Day for that matter.” In which the cashier paused to look up at us from scanning our items and replied “That’s nice, that’s how we all should live our life.”

She is right it is such a rewarding life I live. Since choosing to homeschool my life has changed in ways I never thought possible. The gifts and lessons I have received and learned from this little family of mine I would *never* trade for anything in the world.

If it was not for my daughter I would never have thought about venturing down this path of homeschooling, so to you I say THANK YOU!

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There is a wonderful article about homeschooling in Malaysia I am going to quote from.

http://parenthots.com/features/Do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-homeschool-your-kids.aspx

“Both Chong and Haslinda say parents who want to homeschool their kids need to do more than think outside the box; they have to throw the box away!”

Thank You for not only helping me to think outside the box but for making me throw the damn box away!

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Thank You for challenging my thoughts about parenting and learning. Thank You for showing me that one size does not fit all. Thank You for being a square peg in a round hole world.

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Thank You for making me step outside my comfort zone over and over again. Thank You for helping me see wealth does not come from money and gifts do not come from stores.

Thank You for showing me the true meaning of success. Thank You for helping me discover who I am.

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Thank You for showing me learning can happen outside of books. Thank You for sharing with me your interests and for making me see television and video games are not “evil demons”. Thank You for helping me discover new interests and being able to share some of mine with you.  Thank You for sharing your creativity and for helping me inspire my own.

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Thank You for opening my world to all it’s beauty and connections. Thank You for showing me what real learning looks like. Thank You for wanting to spend time with me. Thank You for giving me a reason to start writing. Thank You for helping me overcome my shyness and push through my fears.

Thank You for making me see you are not me. Thank You for showing me how to be the parent I always wanted and for paving the way for your little sister. Since opening my mind you have helped me see you and Little Sis as individuals making her life so much more enjoyable too.

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Thank You both for the many smiles and helping me discover true happiness. Thank You for helping me find peace. Thank You for helping me find my confidence. Thank You for helping me live a life of no regrets.

Thank You for sharing this journey of life with me, I truly feel like the “richest (wo)man in town”.

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Little Comments

July 22, 2013

It is no surprise to me that Miss Sky has taken much interest in burnings at the stake. I mean after all this is the child at the age of 8 loved learning about all things Pompeii and still remembers when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. And whose mother took upon herself to learn all things about the Titanic, Joan of Arc, Salem witch trials, Ted Bundy, okay I’ve said too much. 😉

As mentioned previously she is immersed in the Victorian time period and the Disney version of Hunchback of Notre Dame. She actually recorded the song Hellfire to her 3DS and has the lyrics memorized.

Miss Sky while playing Scribblenauts Unlimited: “Mom I know what Frollo means when he says “Don’t let this siren cast her spell”. A Siren is from Greek Mythology and was considered evil by luring sailors into the rocks so they would shipwreck.”

Oh so many connections, so little time.

Week In The Life (Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah… Catwomen)

July 21, 2013

I could pretty much sum this week up in one sentence, DC Comics and swimming with a few games and stories sprinkled here and there.

Wow, could this be the shortest post ever? Will this heroic mama be able to bounce back and what about the girls, could this be the end to their summer of learning?

Holy smokes I hope not.

Yeah well unfortunately I don’t know what a short post is, 🙂

so let’s start with Batman. Like in the series from the 60s to Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns to Batman The Animated Series. Which led us on a Catwoman comic hunt (thankfully the girls already had a good start to their collection from my brother-in-law)

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and more paper doll creations.

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There was a trip to the library with Little Sis picking out the movie Tangled and adding a few books of fairy tales to our pile.

Besides our usual Wii Party and Pac-Man Party the girls really got in with the 3DS game Freaky Forms this week. This is another game I needed to buy 2 of. You get to create your own world full of creatures using different kinds of shapes.

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Sometimes it is good to leave the blackboard blank, sometimes what they come up with is better than what I would have.

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Adding a picture of the half moon to our other photos.

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More of Little Sis’s art work

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and the first picks from our garden. For Papa and I green tomatoes cannot grow fast enough.

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Thanks to a big warm front and 90 degree temps I am 1/3 of the way through my book already but alas the rain has come yet again. Well I guess there are some closets that need downsized and carpets that need cleaning and rooms that need dusting and……

oh and Learn Nothing Day on July 24 to prepare for, got to make sure no learning happens on that day. Maybe this year we will try to sleep through it. 🙂

http://sandradodd.com/learnnothingday/

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Sunrise, Sunset)

July 14, 2013

Warning, this post is a long one so I am going to just jump right on in.

Let’s start with Ancient China, the first emperor, and the Terracotta Army with a visit to The Children’s Museum.

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Next up was Ancient Egypt

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and then we skipped ahead to present day.

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There was dinosaurs, dragons,

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and some pretty brave children (who we all could learn a lot from).

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The reason the girls wanted to go

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and even a demonstration on how the movie was filmed. I myself was amazed at how this movie was shot.

Finally ending our visit with a play.

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Next we were off again for a little camping, fishing,

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swimming,

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playing,

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watching the sunset on the beach,

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bubbles, and watching the sunrise over an early morning fire.

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Oh and one last Papa project for “our” (his and my) ever growing collection of music.

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Just another boring week in the life of homeschoolers. 🙂

Peace for the journey.

“Learning must be meaningful”

July 8, 2013

Okay if you already read Sandra Dodd’s Just Add Light And Stir Posts then I am sorry for the repeats but I just can’t help myself, so much wonderful information.

Today’s quote linked to a page written by Pam Sorooshian, whose 3 radical unschooled children are now grown.

You can find more of her writing, as well as one of her daughters, at the Always Learning Yahoo group, Sandra Dodd’s website (Sandradodd.com), or her blog Learning Happens (seriously I could fill a whole page with Pam’s credentials).

http://learninghappens.wordpress.com/

Everything that I try to write here when asked about radical unschooling revolves around this quote by Pam.

“Learning must be meaningful. When a person doesn’t see the point, when they don’t know how the information relates or is useful in “the real world,” then the learning is superficial and temporary – not “real” learning.”

You can read more of Pam’s Principles Of Unschooling here.

http://sandradodd.com/pam/principles

I have witnessed “real learning” through my children, myself, and my husband. This is why I know radical unschooling works. This is why I myself am so confident. I wasn’t always, I too had fears that I needed to overcome but I needed to face those fears for us to get where we are now.

Peace for the journey.

A Week In The Life (Cookin’ Mama & Woodworking Papa)

July 7, 2013

It has been a very productive week around these parts. The weather this summer has been very mild as we’ve really only used the air conditioner 1 week. However it has rained, rained, and rained some more (again not complaining at all compared to last year) making summer plans of camping and picnics in the park with a hike here and there difficult ( not to mention the mosquitoes are terrible) . So working around the house we have been (okay I promise no more Yoda talk in this post at least).

I think I will begin this post with Independence Day (or week 🙂 ).

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Last year fireworks were canceled here in our state due to the drought. This year I think everyone made up for lost time. So that meant we didn’t even need to leave our yard. This picture was taken from our front step.

There was new games from both girls.

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(Papa’s Hot Doggeria at GirlGames.com from Little Sis)

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(WolfQuest from Miss Sky)

Drawings? Always.

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If you have been reading here a while you already know the girls love to make paper dolls and creations, they always have. Actually I am going to say homemade paper dolls have been the girls most favorite toys to play with, when Waldorf and still as Radical Unschoolers (and we are very lucky that all the paper they use is recycled from Papa’s work.)

“Mom I would love to be able to make toys for a living.” I seriously think they could and who knows maybe they will.

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(Miss Sky)

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(Little Sis)

More games while the rain was on break

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and it was a great week to finish our book Nicholas St. North.

Our opinion? Well we are waiting for the next book in the series to arrive. Both girls really enjoyed this book and it did not disappoint in explaining how Pitch became the Nightmare King and we even learn about Santa’s past. It is a quick read without too many details (I don’t know if it is my age or what but I am finding that where I once enjoyed reading 1000 page books now I like when the author can get right to the point.) and the literature is rich not speaking down to children and yet not overly complicated if the girls wanted to reread it on their own (and the illustrations are icing on the cake) .

The short version, we liked it. 🙂

What about cooking, you know like my title says? Yes I’ve taken advantage of the mild temps with a little baking this summer. Since I am the only one going gluten-free instead of trying to replace all foods I ate that contained gluten with gluten-free products, I’ve tried finding new recipes that naturally didn’t ever contain gluten in the first place.

We have always loved the sweet glazed nuts recipe in the cookbook Feeding The Whole Family and I don’t really know why I ever stopped having them available for snacking, well they have been added back on the menu as well as more granola.

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We are very blessed that several people Papa works with have organic gardens or farms. As we get our eggs and most of our produce from them. This week it was zucchini and cabbage (and bacon from our hog farmer).

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I made zucchini hash browns for breakfast that was delicious

http://healthylivinghowto.com/1/post/2012/08/hug-a-farmer.html

and fried cabbage as a side with dinner (yum!),

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/fried-cabbage-with-bacon-onion-and-garlic/detail.aspx

and just because gluten-free peanut butter brownies.

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/06/10/skinny-peanut-butter-swirl-brownies/

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“Can I help mom, can I.”

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Little Sis has taken great interest in cooking with me, she reminds me so much of Big Sis. Another favorite gluten-free recipe enjoyed by all is flourless peanut butter cookies.

http://www.marthastewart.com/318109/flourless-peanut-chocolate-cookies

I am also pretty blessed to have a husband who loves to build because Pinterest sure has him busy. 🙂

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The girls were needing a place for all this new manga they are bringing in and I knew the perfect spot to set up bookshelves, behind their door. You know that space behind the bedroom door that never can be used for anything? Yeah there.

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Then there is that space behind the front door and the fact that the girls never seem able to reach the coat hook, yeah he took care of that too, thanks Papa! (he made the shoe rack as well.)

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Maybe the rain *is* good for more than just getting things wet. 🙂

Peace for the journey.