Archive for the ‘Radical Unschooling’ Category

Week In The Life (“I Can See For Miles And Miles”)

September 24, 2013

Happy Autumn and what a beautiful Autumn week it was!

This week I talked with another new homeschooler from Papa’s work who pulled their 8th grader out of school. I never thought I, shy me, would ever become a contact person for homeschooling yet here I am talking with complete strangers about something I am really passionate about.

When talking with new homeschoolers I have learned ,from being one myself, not to try and persuade someone into unschooling. Radical unschooling has worked wonderful for our family but that does not mean it will for everyone. It is best to find out what they want from homeschooling and help point them in that direction; however the conversation always comes to what we do and then the questions.

“How do you homeschool more than one class?”

So I thought I would take a moment and explain how unschooling works for our family here in case there are any new readers.

Unschooling means not school. So for us there is no curriculum, there is no subjects, there is no school at home.

So that means no spelling, math worksheets or workbooks (that is what is used in school and the girls don’t go to school, we are unschoolers ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and reading is not limited to books.

“So how do your children learn these things?”

By living, but new homeschoolers don’t understand that yet because they are still stuck in school. Why if you choose to unschool you *must* deschool.

How my children learn to spell is by them typing on the computer or YouTube on the Wii everyday. They learn to spell by playing video games and reading. They learn to spell by asking “Mom how do you spell…?” ๐Ÿ™‚

They read everyday. They read when playing video games, they read while reading magazines, they read by having subtitles on while watching movies and yes by reading books.

They do mathematics everyday too by playing video games, playing board or card games, cooking, looking up video games or merchandise in general to buy, by getting an allowance and saving or borrowing when going shopping.

I didn’t need to have worksheets explaining place value they learned by earning gems on Animal Jam. Miss Sky learned negative numbers by borrowing from her allowance. Mathematics are everywhere including in art and music. Miss Sky has learned SO much geometry just from her drawings alone.

The girls learn by me following their interests and with me setting up a safe place where that learning can flourish. They learn by living just like humans have done for centuries.

Just this year I needed to cut gluten and dairy out from my diet. I needed to learn a whole new way to cook without gluten. I did not need to go to school to learn this, in fact I don’t think school could have prepared me for this because it had no way of knowing gluten and dairy would be a problem for me in the future. In fact school did not teach me to cook period. I learned by working at a small Mom and Pop store when I moved to Indiana at 18 (Thank You Karen!!).

Carrying an egg around for a week did nothing to prepare me for the journey of parenthood. They couldn’t possibly know I would have a child with learning disabilities.

School leads you to believe it is the only place one can learn. School leads you to believe you need a teacher in order to learn. Our family and *several* others has proven otherwise.

If you live you learn, always learning we are. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of gluten-free ๐Ÿ™‚ I discovered a flourless vegan banana peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe that is delish.

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http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/gluten-free-vegan-banana-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/

I used honey instead of agave. Now I know how to use all those over ripe bananas that I used to bake banana bread with.

I mentioned Autumn and beautiful weather well another walk and visit to the apple orchard was suggested

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as well as backyard fires.

Speaking of games

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(While waiting on dinner)

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(SimAnimals)

and Little Sis has been on a reading kick reading just about anything she can get her hands on.

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More Cosplay designs form Miss Sky

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and just because from Little Sis.

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My Little Pony has made it’s way into our home

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(Love the cutie marks)

and a Roger Rabbit family movie.

Wishing peace for your own journey.

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Week In The Life (“Curiosity Killed The Cat You Know ?” )

September 16, 2013

“I Know.” ๐Ÿ™‚

This weekend our local history museum, Connor Prairie, held a curiosity fair. With perfect temps in the 70s we couldn’t resist.

I will be honest and say most of the attractions the girls either already knew, which as a homeschooling family put a smile on my face, or had seen before with the exception of the egg catapult.

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It was fun trying to see if we could keep a catapulted egg from cracking

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but of course we failed. We had our eggs really secure too I think with different supplies we could have done it. Who knows maybe we will have to try again. ๐Ÿ™‚

I was happy to see a washing machine, though not exactly like my grandmothers but close enough, that I loved helping my grandma do laundry with.

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Friday was wash day and I loved helping my grandmother wash then rinse and hang the laundry out to dry. Even though she had an electric washer and dryer she still did her laundry this way until it became too hard for her.

The original 1823 Connor Homestead (a fur trader and Indiana statesman) which overlooks acres of beautiful prairie, hence it’s name.

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As many times as we have been we always learn something new. This time we learned the reason they didn’t have closets was because every room in the house was taxed including the closets.

Next was visits to 1836 Prairietown but our favorite was the new 1863 Civil War Journey.

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It depicted actions of real people based on letters and historic research of an attack by General Morgan and the confederates on the town of Dupont.

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The girls learned a lot and we had a very interesting conversation on how scary it would have been to live during that time. It also helps to have a husband who pretty much knows everything about the Civil War, it is his favorite time period.

No visit is ever complete without animals.

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Miss Sky found a new game at gogirlsgames.com called Block Story she has been playing most of the week

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and of course there is always Minecraft

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and games (but you already knew that I’m sure).

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Oh how I love homeschooling!

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Apples, Apples, Crickets)

September 12, 2013

I don’t know about where you live but here we have an over abundance of crickets. I mean crickets are everywhere! So this week you could find some of us chasing around trying to catch the ones that found their way in our home to release outdoors(some of us think it unlucky to kill a cricket). Others, like myself, have been whacking the heck out of them. Sorry but there is only so much sleep I will lose over an insect.

Anyways, a new chalkboard drawing and poem has been added for September. I think it really speaks of what September means to all of us as plans of apple butter and applesauce has made it’s way onto the to do list.

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Before the extreme heat wave we endured games were being enjoyed outdoors, sometimes just a change of scenery is all that is needed.

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Miss Sky has been busy creating her own cosplay designs

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and Little Sis has been researching gemstones all starting from Miss Sky wanting to know her birthstone.

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Then back indoors it has been with Little Sis and I finally finishing the story Beezus and Ramona and Little Sis reading me Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel, again flying right through.

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The rest of the week has been more laid back by watching My Little Pony, the Ramona and Beezus movie and Disney’s Reluctant Dragon taking us behind the scenes of how all the special effects of Disney’s animated movies are done. Miss Sky loved seeing how the sound effects are made.

I am so ready for the 70s weather temps this weekend is going to bring maybe, just maybe the crickets will not need to search so hard for cooler temps and lives can be spared. ๐Ÿ™‚

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Peaches, Tomatoes, Corn, And Apples Grow)

September 2, 2013

Or more simply put the week of staying cool but that didn’t sound like a very good title. ๐Ÿ™‚

I guess summer wasn’t completely done with us after all. Really I can’t complain we haven’t needed the air conditioner much this year but this weeks humidity had Papa filling the kiddie pool again.

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Inspired play from Life of Pi which was our family movie of the week.

There was cicada shell hunts with Big Sis and Little Sis

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(Picture by Big Sis)

and surprise garage sale presents from Papa too.

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I love Papa surprises(The empty jar is now the new home for our rice and yes more tomato sauce).

New drawings,

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some reading,

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and games, bringing Wizard Junior out of retirement.

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There was a Not Back To School gathering of homeschoolers where we met some very sweet new friends.

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With the apple orchard being so close to our favorite park we decided a hike and apple slushies’ sounded good

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and brought home a few treats.

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Yes ready for Fall we are. ๐Ÿ™‚

Peace for the journey.

Little Comments

August 27, 2013

While leaving a comment on Facebook with Little Sis looking over my shoulder waiting for the computer, Little Sis: ” Mom you spelled know wrong.”

Me looking back over my comment instead of know I had spelled now. It is something I find myself doing all the time. Not only was she able to tell me of my misspelled word but she was able to read my sentence and knew which word I was trying to spell.

A Week In The Life (“Out Of Our Ears” )

August 25, 2013

These past two weeks can pretty much be summed up with two pictures.

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Okay maybe three.

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Yes our tomatoes are really coming in now and I have been able to make several jars of sauce already. Big Sis and Papa stocked our freezer with corn for the winter and we have been enjoying the beautiful weather before this week’s heat wave.

Of course there was some of the same too (in fact so much that we played the same exact games 2 weeks in a row).

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Drawing (like you need to ask)?

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( http://www.dolldivine.com/chibi-maker.php)

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(Disney Create.com)

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(Little Sis)

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(Doodle by Miss Sky while at the park)

Ramona,

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tic-tac-toe made by Papa game,

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and puzzles in the park.

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Oh and no park visit is complete without some of this too.

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Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Gotta Keep Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’)

August 12, 2013

Let’s see if last year was all about Kingdom Hearts, Disney and Fruits Basket then I guess this year will be known for Black Butler and Princess Tutu.

Little Sis (and Miss Sky, okay myself included too) love Princess Tutu. The anime itself is SO entertaining but then add in all it’s mini connections and all I can say is here we go again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fairytales, Ballet, Degas, Germany, Classical music, Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake…..

yes I will stop at Swan Lake for now. This has been by far Miss Sky’s most favorite ballet ever. Nutcracker? “Pretty cool, great music but Swan lake was his best for sure.” I knew it wouldn’t take much for Little Sis to be drawn in too. See even though these girls are as different as night and day they are still related. They still have Mama and Papa’s genetic makeup and what can I say we are HUGE nerds.

Okay one may prefer Ramona over Junie B Jones and one needs to have her space clutter free and one, without naming any names, does not like Lord Of The Rings (I know!) but when it comes to the Arts our family’s tastes are pretty broad so there is bound to be some similarities.

I’ve mentioned our taste in movies and music here before how in our home Mozart could follow Green Day. Billie Holiday could follow Janis Joplin and Hank Williams Sr. could follow Lady Gaga. That’s just how we roll and why I think unschooling suits *our* family perfectly. My point? Oh yeah all this to say Princess Tutu has played a really big influence in these past weeks.

Starting with Little Sis’s first real sewing project

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a Princess Kraehe doll.

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Oh and some painting

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and drawing too.

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So I guess I need to add pattern making, sewing, and painting to the connection list above as well.

More puzzles

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and lavender play dough.

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Miss Sky has been creating her own stories around the Black Swan (so also add creative writing and illustration ideas),

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Minecraft, Minecraft, Minecraft,

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(A prison in one of Miss Sky’s worlds)

and drawings.

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(These are doodles that I find everywhere)

Our resources from the week

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where Little Sis and I are halfway through Beezus and Ramona.

I myself have been busy with summers bounty

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(the potatoes are from one of Papa’s friends gardens, tomatoes are ours)

making the first batch of tomato sauce

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which will probably be used in homemade sloppy joes by the end of the week. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes lots of goodness this week, our eldest has finally come home! I know it will take some time for us all to find our new groove after her being away on her own for several years but I know we will find it. We are after all family and that’s how we roll too.

Peace for the journey.

More Little Comments

August 6, 2013

All I can say right now is OMGoodness!!

I feel like I am being dragged into to someone’s crazy nightmare. As someone who doesn’t read the news (or tries really hard not to) or tries not to seek out drama (life brings plenty of that without needing to go looking for it) I figured it was only a matter of time before it would come my way (*way* sooner than what I was wanting really).

It’s all rather sad actually and my heart is feeling very sorry for all the homeschooling pioneers who have worked really hard to make homeschooling legal.

Big Sis (aka 23 years old) while taking a test for a part time job at Family Video:” I can’t believe some of the questions, I mean algebra?”

Yes for a part time cashier job!

“Why do I need to know algebra?” To get a job!

I love radical unschooling! I am the mother of a child who would fail school. How do I know this, because I am her mother. My job, as a parent (homeschooler or not), is to make sure my children can survive in THIS world (not some imaginary world that does not exist)! It is not the school’s job to make sure they will survive but MINE. Schools are set up to educate children, if you choose not to send your children to school it then becomes *our* (parents) job to educate them. Sounds like a no brainer right? Well unfortunately for some it is not.

As someone who has been surrounded by very irresponsible parents (2 members of my husband’s family alone don’t even have their children, the state took them away) I have *never* agreed that “just anyone” could homeschool.

Radical unschooling has been a life saver, truly, for my daughter. Before when we schooled at home she fought me every step of the way. It’s who she is. Do I wish she could learn more like how the school system is set up? I will not lie and will say yes sometimes I do. It has not been an easy journey and I have shed many tears for an imaginary daughter I never had. We don’t get to pick our children though.

So we tried Waldorf in the beginning it worked great. She tends to be on the “later” side of learning. Without being too negative about everything that I think is wrong with Waldorf education I will just say cutting out “screens” was a huge mistake in how she learned. Cutting out “twaddle” did NOT help my daughter learn to read. She has learned by me following HER way. This is why I love radical unschooling SO much. It helped ME find HER way. Not Charlotte Mason’s or Montessori’s, or Steiner’s but MY daughter’s way.

However this still leaves ME responsible for her education. Just because we are radical unschoolers does not give us an excuse to not be a part of our current society and in our current society my children need to know algebra! The difference is changing your point of view of *how* one can learn these things, not them never learning them. The girls still need to follow our state’s common core standards to get a diploma. There are several ways for them to get a diploma one is getting their GED but they still need to pass the test!

As radical unschoolers I question arbitrary rules. I ask why? Why does one need to eat 3 times a day? Why can’t I trust my child to make her own choices? Why can’t I have a good relationship with my children without being their “boss”? If any of my answers are because that’s how the world works then those are REAL reasons not arbitrary. Do I agree with all of them? NO, can I change them? No, I can show other ways to learn and write all I want but if someone comes along and passes a law where I live that all homeschoolers need to be tested then I *must* follow those laws.

There are some wonderful examples scattered through out the web of homeschoolers whatever their method and there are some really, really (really) bad ones too. As someone whose life and child’s life has been changed because of homeschooling and radical unschooling I would hate to see it fail because some couldn’t get their act together.

Remember we can have a lot of impact on a person’s choice to homeschool positive or negative (whether we want it or not). I am not perfect and my children are not perfect ( that’s life) but let’s at least strive for positive.

Wishing peace for the journey (and I hope I never feel the need to write a post like this again).

Week In The Life (Roma, roma, ma, Ramona ooh la la and A Few Thoughts)

August 4, 2013

Our roma and grape tomatoes are ย coming in and salads have been a plenty around here.

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This week I have been doing a lot of thinking (too much actually) about some “things” going around in the unschooling on-line “community”. I am not a drama seeker and try to stay as clear as possible from negativity. So my original intent was to say nothing and in a way that is what I’m going to do (if you have no idea what I am talking about count yourself blessed and turn your attention back to your kiddies :)). However there is a bit too much swirling taking place in my brain not to address a few things.

One, this is my blog. What I write here is for me. It is, as my dad calls it, my homeschooling journal. It helps me to stay focused and on track of what the girls are learning. It helps out of state family see what we have been up to and what the girls interests are since they are not in school or close by. It also serves as proof *we* are indeed homeschooling for if ever I need it.

I have always wrote open and honestly about our homeschooling journey without digging too deep into our families privacy. Being this blog is for me I respect the other family members choice not to share any and everything. I choose not to bring negativity here because it makes me happy to read back over posts. I don’t want to remember the tears BUT I have shared some of those here too and those posts are not hard to find if that is what you need.

I could have chosen to keep my blog from the public but I have learned SO much from others sharing their homeschooling journey I wanted to do the same. I have met some really nice people and have made friends thanks to my blog too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now for the point, please don’t ever take what I say here as golden truth. I am NOT an expert but learning the same as most of you. I share what products or games that have worked for us because they *really* did work for us not because I am trying to make money (I have never received anything not even free coins for mentioning Animal Jam, Minecraft or Disney). In fact I have chosen to take pictures of our products instead of sharing links because I realized I am giving people free advertisements. I would much prefer *you* the reader to choose where you might want to purchase something if at all.

Please if you read something here that has worked for our family and you don’t understand it DON”T DO IT until you do. This is why I try to always post links or videos to where I learned it from. I question my thinking as to why I do or did what I’ve done and gradually make a change. Like why didn’t I like television? Or why can’t the girls read picture books? Why can’t they make their own choices?

Know *your* homeschooling laws and follow them not mine. I am truly blessed to live in a state where I don’t need to test or have to check in with the school system but if I did or ever do I know unschooling enough to explain it and have the proof to back it.

One last thing not all radical unschoolers are overweight!! I am back to the above photo now. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been seeing a lot of negative bull shit, sorry folks but really, about radical unschooling. Just because there are some terrible, terrible examples of radical unschooling does not mean all of us are that way. This would be like me saying ALL schools are bad, or ALL teachers are bad, or ALL religious people are bad because of a few bad seeds. Come on people just because a person might have gotten their feelings hurt and wants to tell the world does not mean it is *always* truth. Think for yourself! See for yourself!

My children choose to eat salad or fruit, they like it. My children can also choose to eat cookies and cakes and do. My children prefer a home cooked meal over *any* restaurant but once in a while they choose to eat out. The “proof” is in having a *choice* but don’t just take my word on it, gradually try it for yourself if you want and if you don’t, don’t.

Still with me? It does feel good to finally get all that out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Working around the house we sill are. Our wood pile is overflowing and now we are working on next years stash.

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The girls have been helping out too.

Minecraft from both girls

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as well as Club Penguin (both girls love the Star Wars addition).

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Which brings me to this weeks games

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(Disney Pictionary)

and a family watching of my favorite Laurel and Hardy movie Sons Of The Desert.

There was haircuts, given by me, and Little Sis requested rereading one of her favorite chapter books Beezus and Ramona (so guess how she wanted her hair?)

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and if you didn’t already know, lots of drawing.

Wishing everyone 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,ย tired of the super hero banter already? Okay ๐Ÿ™‚

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 anyoneย for that matter)ย 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 meย coming up with “to do”ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Peace for the journey.