Tag: kids

Unschooling Snapshots: Growing up

This is one of the reasons I have cut back on the work I am doing. Tree house
Our oldest is in a place where she needs her mom more and more often.
Tree house
We are spending a great deal of time talking about where she is, where she has been, and where she wants to go.
Tree house
She is growing up quickly. She knows her struggles and is trying to rectify those areas.
Tree house
She is seeking wisdom, learning to be quiet and wait (a hard lesson for this child who was born talking constantly).
Tree house
She is slowly gaining it and constantly struggling with herself, trying to get where she is going, trying to grow closer to God.
Tree house
It is a two steps forward one step back process and it is time consuming and a joy.
Tree house

Of Light and Soup

We read The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread
a year ago and loved it.  And since that time Rachel has been trying to come up with the perfect soup.

You see I am not a fan of soup.  I don’t enjoy canned and seldom make it from scratch.  Rachel on the other hand has decided that since she can’t eat any canned soup (except for Trader Joes Black Bean and their Split Pea Soup–both of which she loves but aren’t the type of soup she really wants.)  And so, she has been making soup (not from recipe just experimenting) and after much trial and error and many variations she has come up with a soup that all of us love.

Rachel’s Soup

Fresh or frozen veggies (sometimes chopped finer than others but all smaller than for a stir fry about a cup or so veggies total)

  • carrots
  • peppers
  • celery
  • onion

Noodles (egg noodles are best but rice or potatoes are good)

about a tablespoon Bragg’s liquid amino (best soy sauce ever)

dried or fresh, about a teaspoon each but adjust to taste

  • onion powder
  • onion flakes
  • garlic powder
  • chives
  • parsley
  • black pepper

3 cups water

Simmer only until the starch is cooked through.

This is also excellent with drops of bread dough on top, cooked like dumplings,with sandwiches, or whatever you like to eat with soup.

The best part of this is that Rachel developed it on her own, because she wanted to, and it is good soup.

Transmographacation or is it just growing up?

My kids are changing.  It is amazing to see.

At around 2 or 3 I remember recognizing that they were suddenly toddlers.  Their mannerisms suddenly changed, their abilities changed, everything changed.  Even their proportions changed  They went from sweet little baby things to miniature kids.

Issac heading to Grandma's to go hunting.
Issac heading to Grandma’s to go hunting.

At around 5 or 6 and then 7 they suddenly lengthened out and lost some baby fat and I noticed the change.  They were choosing to do things that I thought of as more grown-up.  They were choosing to read a book or watch a movie about volcanoes instead of playing cars.  They were choosing to discuss things and ask how things work instead of just playing.  They suddenly knew things and did things they had never been capable of before.  Issac is now reading to me in the evenings, from books of his choosing.  He now spontaneously does thgns for his sisters–like making their beds for them in stead of just jumping on them.

The girls wading in the pond, in APRIL!
The girls wading in the pond, in APRIL!

At around 9 I noticed a huge change.  There was more thinking and less acting out. There was more individual thought, less reliance on me.  Suddenly Mom wasn’t the highest authority on absolutely everything. More time was spent alone  reading or drawing or thinking.  More questions were being asked about how people think, act, do, about relationships.  Essie now spends a great deal of time reading and was devastated yesterday when we couldn’t fnd the next book in the series she is reading.  Being an introvert she is longing for more time to herself, to think, to dream, to read.  And when we get together she climbs up in my (or her daddy’s) lap to chat or just cuddle.

And now we are 11 (well, at least Rachel is) and things are changing again.  Where once a temper tantrum would have been par for the course (Rach is a bit high strung) she may begin to lose it and then stop and think.  She might walk away or calm herself down.  When she is frustrated she recognizes it and says so instead of flipping her lid.  Walks no longer spawn chats about how sidewalk cracks are formed but instead we talk about people and relationships and what makes a good friend, about hormones and how hard it is to be real friends when your moods change every ten seconds.  I see Rach learning acceptance of who she is as God designed her, acceptance of the health issues she has, acceptance, recognition, and frustration at being the only extrovert in a house full of introverts.  Now she takes over when I need a break, happily making meals for her siblings for fun, finding her niche in this awkward time between being grown up and a little girl.

All three are at new stages and it is a joy to see, to watch, to be with them, and to help them develop into the people God created them to be.   I am so grateful that I am able to spend time with them, know who they are as each enters this new place in life, and at this time I am choosing to spend more time rather than less with them as they ar a joy to know and be with (well, most of the time.;))

Those are some crazy straws

Yesterday my son got his order from Thinkgeek.com (which by the way he ordered 2 days before–how’s that for quick turnaround?)  He had carefully and deliberately spent all his Easter money there and was eager for his items so good on Thinkgeek for making it quick.

One of the items he ordered were some DIY straws: hard plastic straws with rubber connector pieces so you can make all sorts of crazy straws.  This was a good plan since lately he has been using and reusing one particular crazy straw (which has kind of been driving me insane).

These straws are awesome, and definitely worth the money he spent on them. Good job, little man.:)

What I didn’t expect was just how much  learning AND entertainment all three kids would get from such a simple toy.  They spent over 2/3 of the day mixing drinks, figuring out air and liquid flow, syphoning, playing guessing games, and so on.  They now have a very good understanding about how household plumbing works as well as air pressure and water flow.  On the other hand I now have a very good understanding about just HOW sticky ones floor can become and how WET one’s chair can become when one’s children have free access to lots of liquids and crazy straws.

*And no, I am not getting a kickback from Thinkgeek.com.:)

Let’s Go to the Pond

there’s really no place better, let’s go to the pond…. (If you don’t know the song then before you read the article you have got to visit here. We sing this song EVERY time we go to the pond–at least I do–the kids groan along and repeatedly request that I stop singing.)

Issac walking around the pond.

On Thursday I realized that my son’s only pair of still intact jeans had a giant hole in the knee, were slightly too tight and definitely too short. (“I can button them if I hold in my tummy like this, Mom.”) So Buddy and I headed to Kmart (the closest non-thrift shop that might possibly have his size–7 Slim) so he could try on some pants and I could figure out what size he really is wearing. Turns out they had them on sale AND in his size. Which was good–because my boy is picky and all the other pants they had were about 3 inches too big in the waist.

Girls in the woods.

Upon returning home from shopping for pants (he was less than thrilled that I not only made him go along but TRY THEM ON), we discovered that my dad had borrowed the girls. I should explain that earlier in the day the girls had decided to build a tree house in the rather tall tree out back. When I realized that they had used 1 inch nails to nail an old piece of pressed wood from hubby’s old desk to the tree–sticking out like a shelf, and that they believed that this shelf would actually hold one of them, 8 feet up, I told them to call Pappap before they did anything else. They did and he said he would come look later. Not only did he do that but he whisked them off to the pond to look for a better tree for tree house building, volunteering my brother as a helper for building.


Issac and I immediately turned around and followed them to the pond where we found them taking a walk in the woods while they waited for Uncle James to get home.

Skipping stones

While waiting the kids relearned skipping stones.

Skipping stones
James leaving the big yellow bus.

And when Uncle James got there they attacked him–at my dad’s prompting.
How would you like to be attacked by this mob immediately after school.
My poor, poor baby brother. 🙂

To be continued…


Winter Unschooling

I am finally at a pause in all the busy-ness and wanted to share some unschooling type photos with you. We finally got some warm weather which meant, of course, the end of ice skating this year. So on the day it was still cold enough but warming quickly my dad picked us up for some more ice skating (because our car has issues with cold weather).

We were met with this:
About 20 turkeys were roosting in the trees and came down as we pulled in.
A cool thing we learned this year. It is better to put ice skates on in the warm garage but the garage is at the top of the hill and the ice at the bottom which means that there is only one way to get down that makes any sense.

We had had some snow but since we knew it was going to melt didn’t bother to clear the ice–which made ice skating kind of different than usual.

It was gorgeous and rather warm.
Once the ice got too soft to skate on it was time for tobogganing.
With Pappap.
And Mom, onto the ice.
ice toboggan
And some bird watching.
wood pecker
Then warming up in the garage and playing with a 1 ton pulley and pretending to drive the tractor (which lead to a discussion of all the simple machines in use and how a snow blower works.)
Oh, and some squirrel watching.

And today most of the snow and ice are gone.  It was 50 yesterday and today it was 40.  And of course last night I found MY ice skates (I have been borrowing my mom’s which are slightly too big.)

A week in the life

It has been a while since I have shared the learning going on around here so here you go. 🙂

Obviously with Thanksgiving we talked about the Pilgrims.Three Young Pilgrimsis our favorite read on the subject and we intended to read that.  And we would have if we had been able to find it.  Instead we read a poem from an old patriotic American book I have  called An American treasury and then we discussed what we knew about that time and the Pilgrims. Last month I read several books that opened my eyes to what was going on in Great Britain and Europe around the time of the Pilgrims . Someone had given me a copy of Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain’s Smallest Man which in a round about way gave me a much better glimpse at what was going on politically than I had ever had or understood (good for teens if they are interested but not good for younger kids–it is a biography and a bit much at times.)  Because he lived around the time of the Pilgrims and was in court for much of the time his story gives a good picture of the politics going on in Great Britain and in Holland. I was able to enthusiastically explain WHY the Pilgrims left much better than the traditional “they wanted freedom of religion.”  The kids already had a decent understanding because they have watched movies and read about William Bradford so this was an interesting, and long, conversation.

I Love Egg

Rachel spent some time making hard boiled eggs one morning and in a moment of inspiration decided she not only needed to watch I Love Egg but that she would make her eggs look like the eggs in the animation.
Strawberry Egg

Yesterday we went to the pond to see an injured swan my dad has been feeding in the hopes that he will get better and be able to finish his flight top the ocean. We talked about what sort of swan he was and why he was staying here while the rest of the birds made their way south (the kids think he has an injured leg).

The kids then spent over an hour (brr, it was COLD) trying to break the ice with shale they collected, which led to discussions of sedimentary rocks and why the bubbles were forming under the ice and moving towards the outside, and how thick ice gets. They also tried breaking the ice with sticks.

Lots more stuff going on around here, like decorating for Christmas and family visits and some sort of illness that is jutst bad enough to make the kids whiney but not bad enough for them all to be stuck in bed.

New Painting

For those who don’t check my art blog often I thought I would mention here as well that I have a new finished painting and this one is for sale, though hubby is considering keeping in the family.

Those of you who have been reading a while may recognize it from the photo a friend of mine took a few years ago of the girls.

On another note, there are some decisions going on in our family right now that we could use prayers for wisdom and peace.  Not going into it right now but please be praying.