Saturday, September 27, 2014


I've previously told people that our family homeschools with an "unschool" philosophy.  I learned today that different families do different things.  I actually tell the children that all the time.  Apparently some people who "unschool" their children let them do whatever they want and have unlimited access to media.  That's not us.  And now I need to re-think how I describe our homeschooling.  Sheesh, some of the people's situations seemed more like "unparenting" than "unschooling" to me. 

Our unschooling looks like children having a flexible pace of learning things that I feel are appropriate for them to learn.  Mostly that looks like them learning really fast, in short bursts, and free play the rest of the time.  They only have access to media that I feel is appropriate.  PBS kids, ABCya, and the DVDs we bought.  And limited time consuming media. 

I write math problems for the kids and go through it with them.  I tell them math stories.  I'm sure things could be more educational, but I feel like that's necessary. 

lP wrote the alphabet at her 4 year old check-up.  She doesn't need to be taught her letters. 

I feel like media presents a real problem to the idea of letting kids be self-led.  Because media entertains way more than it teaches, it numbs the brain.  If I were willing to let the children run free in the woods, I would love them to just be self-entertained exploring nature.  Nature, not the internet...

Thursday, September 25, 2014


 M caught this lizard "Lizzy" and had a good time terrorizing it before I finally told her to let it go.
 We had a nice time visiting Grandma's.  It's funny how they will play with toys at her house that they never play with at home.
 4 kids on a dinosaur.  Yeah.
 We visited the wax museum.  It was very cool.
We went to the lady Gator volleyball game.  It was a surprisingly nice visit.  The 3 olders were able to sit and watch.  And we were on the front row, so the fence kept lB corralled.  We made it through warm-ups and 2 rounds.  Not bad for our traveling circus.

M sometimes says it's not fair that G gets to go on field trips.  So now I say "Isn't this a nice field trip?" Every time we are at some place nice.

We plan for the children to attend high school.  A homeschooling family I know has their children take a few virtual school classes in middle school to get them ready.  I think that's a good idea.  Growing up with the legacy of smart siblings in the system and a mom willing to insist that I be placed in the same track was nice.  Homeschooling is becoming more normal, especially in our county.  I just realized yesterday that since I do want them to go to HS, I need to learn what they'll need to make sure they can be in appropriate (aka high level) classes.  P moved from TX going into HS and they put him in general classes until he took the SAT and was plopped into AP English.  He's a lot more grounded, maybe because of that.  He does have a little bit of an elitist snob streak...  But he's not hung up on his intelligence as his only identity. 

G goes to school as a part time student and this year that worked out to be 2.5 hours.  At first I was worried that we wouldn't be able to pick him up on group days.  And P's work schedule means he also wouldn't be able to get him.  So we were trying to figure out what to do.   Then we realized he could just go to group with us.  I'm thrilled about this.  Now G gets to go with us to our hippie group and take walks in the woods.  He gets to collect leafs into his fancy wool pouch and do leaf rubbings into his "Leaf Collection Book".  He participates in our circle, singing and dancing.  He stomps in puddles with the other rowdy boys.  In general he gets to experience this lovely nature day with us every week.  I'm really happy it worked out this year. 

M had a piano lesson scheduled for yesterday and after some nagging and finally some "SLOWLY!" yelling, she hunkered down and practiced for almost an hour.  Real practicing.  It was amazing.  It inspired me to finally get my head around the piece I'm working on; "The Happy Farmer".  Then lP thew up and we had to re-schedule for Friday.  I hope she makes some amazing progress in the next 2 days so she can see what can happen when you prepare before the day of...

lP is 4.  We do verbal math sometimes in the car and today she insisted on having a turn.  It's a series of word problems.  "Tom has 5 apples and gives 2 to John.  How many apples does Tom have?  3  Then 3 friends came with 1 apple each.  How many apples did they have all together? 6"  That's the sort of problems I ask M and G, harder for G.  lP wanted her turn and I was trying to ask questions that added 1 up to 4.  She had such a beautiful expression each time she held up her fingers with the answer.  Math is so fun!

I've been realizing, over and over the last 10 years, how much I am doing exactly what I would like to be doing with my life.  If I could do anything, it would be to spend time with my children.  And I get to every day!  Sometimes I spend too much time hiding in the office...  But the very thing that I like to do, that I value most, is right outside the kitchen gate, calling my name, or screaming MOM!  Lucky me.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quick trip before dinner

 Is it any wonder that not many kids in this town go to college?  Goodness!  We decided to go to the beach Wednesday, on Wednesday.  Then we decided after we got home from piano and the store, to go before dinner instead of after.
 bB's footprints in the sand are so cute!
 lP's complete independence in the water, with her floaty suit, is awesome.
Watching M grow up and catch waves.  It's beautiful!