Tag: unschool

Randomly random randomness, really

As most of you know I have been working on a commissioned house portrait–which is now DONE!!!  Woohoo!!!  You can see it, start to finish, here.

Also the new website is coming along much, much faster than I ever would have thunk it (as my step mom says.:))  Yesterday I got all the theme doodles done, today I got them uploaded and though they are not there yet the main site is at least up.  I talked on the phone with a friend–a bouncing things off of sort of friend who had lots great input including take it slow and don’t jump in too fast (she knows me well) and another friend emailed me reminding me to take it slow and wait on God –so I guess God is trying to tell me something, though for me I AM taking it slow. 🙂  While waiting at the pond for the kids to swim I made lists of organizational stuff for the sit–stuff I HATE doing and am never inclined to do–so that was weird–definitely God. 

Also today I sent out an email saying that, yes, I am considering having art classes here in my home so we will see how that works out.

AND we just realized that we ARE going to have another yard sale this weekend, since my stepmom is having one right over the hill and we have stuff for it but a lot of it is too big to drag to their house.  So, another yard sale it is.  Which is fine since we really need to earn a bit more money for our trip in two weeks–for which I REFUSE to plan too far ahead.

I also just received my free sample plus the lip gloss I ordered from Everyday Minerals.  I am SO EXCITED.  I have a lot of issues with preservatives and whatnot in makeup and can only use certain sorts (like some Burt’s Bees but not all).  And Rachel, who is 10 and whom I want to train to use make-up wisely instead of having her sneak stuff later, has serious reactions to dyes and preservatives.  So I have been looking for something that neither of us is allergic to.  I don’t use foundation or anything other than lipstick/gloss, even though my face tends to get red and splotchy but the free sample kit comes with foundation in a powder form so I thought I would try.  (I should mention that I decided to try this stuff at the time when my face ALWAYS breaks out each month.) So, I mixed some of the foundation with my ultra white sunscreen and my husband complimented me each time I put it on saying how good I looked.  He even complemented me when I just used the green powder (which tones down redness).  He didn’t know what was different other than that my “skin looks more even.”  And he likes the lip gloss.  Not only that but my skin is CLEARING UP!!!  It never clears up in the summer and never at this time.  So there is something about this makeup that is helping it.  Plus Rach tested the lip gloss on her arm and didn’t react.  Not ready to check it the rest of the way but good to know that the lip gloss is good. 🙂  So yeah, I suggest you check them out, especially if you have trouble with makeup like I do.

Finally , a little bit of unschool stuff–the kids have spent the last few days practicing brain age trying to get their age down.  They have also spent time drawing with all the cool 20 cent school supplies I picked up at Walmart.  It is very exciting to see them growing in their drawing style (they are taking the art class with the kids online.)  Also they are playing Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing–both help a lot with vocabulary and writing not to mention economics and planning ahead.)  Issac has been reading to me daily while the girls sit and read or listen to The Lord of the Rings on CD.  (16 discs each book.)  Not to mention all the swimming and discussions on physics, friction, bouyancy, oh, and about being a good Christian with a good, non-“legalistic-everybody-does-it-my-way” attitude.  Oh, and did I mention buttons?  I got a couple jars of buttons at the thrift shop and the kkids have been spending oodles of time playing with them, sorting them, and whatever kids do with buttons that does not include putting it up your nose or in your ear.

And that is enough.  There is more but I hate long wordy posts without lots of pictures (this from someone who will read huge novels for hours on end but I am weird like that.)

And I don’ know what is up with the mushrooms.  Ther eare tons at the pond this year and I have become fascinated with taking pictures of them.

Looking Forward

Today we continue to celebrate Home Education Week with Dana of Principled Discovery who asks:

    What are your goals for home education? What do you hope to instill in your children? Are you planning any changes to how you educate your children?


    As I mentioned before our goals for are children are that they grow in wisdom and understanding, learn to love learning and how to learn, that they love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind, and love their neighbor as their self. We want to train them in the way God wants them to go.



    I don’t think we are planning on changing too much about how we train them. We roll with the punches and try to keep things flexible and suited to their and our needs so that is not likely change. I would like to travel more but at this point that is not too likely either. We do want to do more big outdoor projects together .


    I would like them to continue to get better at helping with the housekeeping without a fuss and we are working on that. Other than that I think we are good. 🙂 And whatever else God has for us, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

    The pictures above were all taken today down by the shelter we built last fall. The kids designed a playground around the area including a slide (behind on the tree), a sports area with soccer net, a see saw, a mini sandbox, and a swing (which Rachel made herself for Issac with no help from me–it needs some work and we are going to design a safer one.) I love their perseverance and ingenuity and want to continue to encourage it.  Oh, and I know one of my kids was in a winter coat and the other in shorts–it was 60 out and raining–he took off his jacket and she couldn’t find her raincoat. 🙂

A Day in the Life 3: Unschool vs Traditional School– a Reminder to Self


This past few weeks have been a time of waffling in regards to various areas of our lives. Shamus and I both have been too easily tossed in the winds as far as our decisions have gone, making a decision we feel God pulling us towards only to second guess a day later. I long to work through them here but some of them I can’t because they are too personal or would border on gossip. The school question, however, I am willing to put out there although I know some will not understand and may even judge me because of it. Before I explain let me tell you that in all of these questions of decision we have been waffling internally yet God is keeping us head on–giving us instant reminders as soon as we begin to waffle. Today was just such a day.

As I have mentioned before, we have a classroom in the basement set up in the traditional classroom style. It is especially good for Rachel to know it is there–it is a reminder that we are responsible for her education and that we take it seriously–even if most of her learning does not occur there. In fact, we haven’t used it in a few months–other than as an art studio where they set up shop with oils and acrylics while I worked on an oil painting.

So, if they haven’t done their workbooks in a few weeks what are they doing with themselves all day? How can they possibly be learning if they aren’t taught? Shamus and I had this very discussion this morning because he occasionally likes them to bring him a workbook page so he can see what they are learning. He is very open to the new style of teaching I have taken on but is nervous because he hasn’t seen any evidence. I suggested he ask them what they are learning or listen to their conversations to see if they are learning anything new. He agreed and went in to have a chat with them. (Because I am under PA tutor law instead of traditional homeschool law I am considered their primary educator–it is because I have a teacher’s certification and 5 years of college that I can do this but it also means that Shamus is not considered their “teacher”. He recognizes this and holds me accountable instead of taking over teaching–though he will likely teach them programming and higher math as they show interest.)


So what did he find out and what have they been doing?

They spent all of yesterday decorating their room for Christmas. I put up an artificial tree in their room with lights and Christmas balls and handed them reams of construction paper, glue, tape, and scissors. They spent hours cutting and pasting making tons of paper chains and other decorations and taping them around their room. While two were doing that the other one was playing Fate–a D&D type computer game with NO plot. If you have never played D&D and are a Christian you are probably nervous. Don’t be. Most of the game consists of trying to catch different types of fish, fighting evil creatures, and leveling up so you can get better stuff. You have to earn and save money, make wise spending decisions, choose different armor and other items based on percentage bonuses (yes, all three are reading what they need to do and understand percentages and how different percentages of different bonuses affect different functions of their character. Believe me this is tricky stuff that I can barely wrap my brain around–harder than figuring out percent off sales when shopping by a long run because you have to take in multiple affects.) They also had to keep track of how long each child had been on the game to decide who’s turn it was next and Rachel spent a long time helping Issac figure out the basic reading and how percentages work–this had him going around the house reading plenty of other things.


They also wrote me a grocery list of the items they felt we needed based on what each child liked to eat. They looked in each of the cupboards for things that were missing or that we only had one of and helped me plan the list by making their own. They had to look up spellings or sound out those they were unsure of. And if they wanted it it had to be on the list. (I am talking my big monthly shopping list here–not even a once a week list.)


We have also been reading about 4 chapters or so of the Elyon books per day–me reading aloud as they old laundry (we were a bit behind on the laundry and this has gotten us caught up.) Issac has also been helping me figure out the colors for a new painting and how they go on the paper. This goes far beyond “what color is this” and into “what color do I need to add to get this to the exact right shade of red.” Also, Rachel taught herself how to make pie crust by messing the first one up and then making the second one right because she didn’t follow the instructions the first time–she made a pie for herself and one for her brother and sister (small ones.) She also took on rice making and several other recipes because I was busy on a project I need to finish up.

Add to that them listening to old radio shows and my old records, playing board games (we played Where in the USA is Carman Sandiego yesterday which degraded into “how fast can you find the state”–I was amazed to see how many Issac knew.) They also watched “Mythbusters” online last night–Rachel just listened and we discussed their ideas of what would and should work and how they tested their theories. There have been many more goings on–including the girls playing Fate while Issac and I went shopping.


Issac and I had a huge discussion about God’s love for us and whether He loves us even when He allows bad things to happen–for a 6 year old he has a better grasp of this than many Christians. He also helped me keep track of the grocery budget, decide how many of each item we needed to last us a month, and loaded and unloaded the cart. When we returned home the girls put away what we had and helped decide what items we just weren’t eating and those will go to the food cupboard. Putting a month’s worth of groceries away is a big deal (especially for a family of 5) and requires much ingenuity of stacking and storing. :)) We are now off to visit our final grocery store and my grandmother, dropping things off at the food cupboard and picking up some work for myself.


Writing it all down is a wonderful reminder of how much they are learning and growing and living. (And don’t worry about the video game–they will be sick of it in a few days and have some other project they are working on–they always do. I write this up to them having the freedom to play for long periods of time without someone complaining about it–when you are free to do something as long as you like you get thoroughly sick of it. Believe me, I know. :))

Finally–you may be wondering how God reminded me that the kids are growing and learning a lot? After our discussion this morning I went out. When I got home I suddenly had a slew of unschooling sites in my feed reader with posts about the benefits, including one that linked back to my previous “unschooling” post.

Oh yeah, I forgot.


*The photos are all from this year–I haven’t had time to take pictures this week but these all reflect things the kids have done this week. 🙂