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SweetSilver 03-29-2013 07:14 PM

Spring has arrived with a flourish where I live this year, and that usually revs up the activity for our unschoolers.  So....


What have you and your unschooling kids been doing recently?  What did you do today?  This week?  Has it been active?  Chill?  Has it been wonderful and inspiring?  Or frustrating for everybody?  


Come share your day or your week with us!

owlhowl 03-29-2013 07:40 PM

Playing in the mud, playing in the mud, playing in the mud...

Wow, Spring is messy! We've been spending lots of time outside, exploring the forest, jumping in puddles, playing in the mud.

The full moon this week really affected DS2 (4 years old and so sensitive!), he was such a handful Tues/Wed/Thur so being outside made things easier.

DS1 (almost 6) has decided he is an airbender (Avatar) and has been drawing arrows on his forehead, hands and feet every morning, been practicing meditating while standing on one!

DS3 (2 years old) is in love with lady bugs, so we have been reading lots of stories about lady bugs.

SweetSilver 03-29-2013 07:42 PM

This last week has been warm, but not too warm, and beautiful.  DD2 got her new 16" bike.  It makes me realize just how terribly small her old bike was.  They've been outside all day today (yay!!!!) and at quarter after 7 this evening, with the sun set and the light just starting to dim, they are out there riding bikes and playing frisbee with dh.  They inhaled their dinner, dd2 while watching Electric Company, and ran back out.


Earlier today we put the 6 new chicks in an outdoor mobile greenhouse to spend the afternoon in.  They love the sunshine and the grass.  We kept an eye on our broody hen who has never been broody long enough to hatch chicks, and she has 2 eggs under her.  To her credit, she wasn't quite a hen officially when she went broody last fall.  We made sure she went back to her nest after a few minutes off to eat and drink and poo and run around.  We've hatched surrogate chicks before with different hens (Buff Orpingtons for all you chicken lovers), but never eggs that belonged to the hen.  (These with be an Easter Egger/ Cochin [Pekin] cross if they hatch.)


We did spend some time indoors today, playing, writing stories.  DD2 is reading now, and dd1 is reading on her own more readily.  DD2 plodded through an entire caterpillar book, one slow word at a time.  DD1 has been reading through her horse books (again!) and reading her Girl Scout book on her own.  Math hasn't been much of a focus recently, but writing, spelling, and reading seem to take up much of their time.  We can never have enough paper, Sharpie and Crayola markers and watercolor pencils and 4-color Bic pens.


The girls have been loving their Girl Scout meetings and have made good friends with the other leaders' girls.  I am so relieved!  It's been so hard trying to track down girls their age, and this has been perfect.  It has not been as easy for me, however, as a leader starting a new troop right smack dab in the middle of cookie sales.  We are doing everything backwards, it seems, but all the girls seem to be having a blast.  This age group is easy to please!


I was feeling wary because I had to list the girls' grades for Girl Scouts.  I listed dd2 as 1st grade this year, because in 4-H that seems to fit for what we do and how.  But she has a late October birthday and probably would have started kindy this year if she had been schooled.  I have been relieved to see her with the other girls in the group, noticing she fits alongside the 1st graders far better than the kindy girls.  For the kinds of activities and camps Girl Scouts do, it was more of an issue trying to find the best group for her, developmentally.  But, no more doubts on my part!  


They helped plant herb starts today.  They planted peas with dh the other day.  They pulled out their tools all on their own and started some secret wood-working project, I don't know, they wouldn't tell me.  DH helped them out when he got home this afternoon.  


It is dusky now, at quarter to 8, and the girls are still playing outside without dh and I.  It is lovely to live where we do, being able to ride their bikes freely without concern for traffic.  They have ventured far from the house today to have a picnic they set up for themselves, for the most part (and cleaned up, too!)  Several times I wasn't quite sure where they were.  


I love this age (6 and 8yo).  I've really been enjoying my family recently.  Spring always brings some new, creative energy that really revs up to a more active unschooling pace, but this year it is something to behold.  I literally feel tears welling up in my eyes thinking about how crappy things were just a month ago.  I am so relieved: spring is here!

SweetSilver 03-29-2013 07:44 PM

Originally Posted by owlhowl View Post

Playing in the mud, playing in the mud, playing in the mud...

Wow, Spring is messy! 


moominmamma 03-29-2013 10:34 PM

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We've still got a fair bit of snow, but we just got back from our first successful holiday in 6 years, and the sun was shining today, so we're happy.


Three years ago we tried to go to California for a week of hiking and climbing with the kids, and middle dd perforated her appendix on the train on the way down, so got rushed to pediatric surgery centre and we spent the rest of the time dealing with that, and also with our rental vehicle getting side-swiped on the interstate while dh and I were trying to spell each other off (other kids "home alone" in a strange house in country that's not ours, an hour from both parents, no phone, no cellphone, nothing... it was a total nightmare ... we laugh about it now). Haven't tried a holiday since then. Planned this one with some trepidation. Ds broke three bones in his foot a week before we left. I guess that was our bad luck, since we got through unscathed otherwise. Activity was hampered a fair bit by his being on crutches and in a cast, but we rolled with it. 


So yeah, we went to Hawai'i. It was low-key. Stayed in a house in a rural neighbourhood. Played in the waves, boogie-boarded, body-surfed, did tons of snorkelling. Tons. Younger dd took to it like a fish, or maybe more like a diving raisin. We steeped ourselves in tropical fruit, volcanic rock, the ocean, as much off-the-beaten-track nature and culture as we could access with crutch-boy, and chilled.


Also we're all mainlining Downton Abbey right now. We watch an episode or two a night as a family. Almost done Season 3. :(


Back home last night. Our hammocks have arrived! We are friends with a guy who is friends with the inventor of Hennessy Hammocks, and so we were able to get three for half price. They're an enclosed camping hammock. We want to start back-country camping again this spring, so this is part of the plan. Dd10 and I set a couple up this afternoon and they're so slick! Brilliantly designed and very comfy. I'm trying to decide if I'm brave enough to try sleeping out in one tonight. It's bound to get well below freezing, and my new three-season sleeping bag is untested. Might wait until it's a little warmer later in spring.


Spent the day baking bread and making quinoa cakes and soup, trying to replenish our food stocks a bit. And doing laundry. The kids are on a bit of a computer-game bender, having not played at all for a couple of weeks. 



owlhowl 03-30-2013 05:45 AM

Those hammocks look so cool!! We can't wait til we can go backpacking with the kids. We have been camping/living in a tent/outside most of this month! With all of the snow melting and then still having below freezing weather it's been a bit if a challenge. Most of this past week we've woken up to a soaking wet floor which is no fun! So glad we currenty have the option to come inside a house for a bit.

moominmamma 03-30-2013 08:09 AM

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Originally Posted by owlhowl View Post

We have been camping/living in a tent/outside most of this month! With all of the snow melting and then still having below freezing weather it's been a bit if a challenge. 


Curious where you've found warm sleeping bags for small people. We're looking for a down bag for my petite 10-year-old and are finding selection pretty much non-existent. There are some fibrefill bags for small people out there, but very few whose ratings are below 30F, and those that are don't seem reliably warm. We'd much prefer down for the warmth and the weight/size for backpacking.



owlhowl 03-30-2013 11:21 AM

We haven't found any either! For now they just have regular bedding. We have a woodstove, it keeps us pretty cozy! I look forward to the day we can just have sleeping bags! I am a huge fan of less stuff.

moominmamma 03-30-2013 11:42 AM

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LOL, I don't suppose the woodstove solution will work for us in the hammocks! Ah well, we'll keep searching.



weliveintheforest 03-31-2013 12:13 AM

Hi! I'm on Vancouver Island and it's been beautiful. My kids have been riding their bikes around on the street in front of my house and in the empty lot across the street.  DD (7) just learned to ride and I didn't expect to be so excited about! I love watching her.  My son is ready to learn too but we have to pick up another pedal bike for him, hopefully soon!  We live near a good walking trail so we've been walking a bit more with this good weather, and watching lots of Rugrats on Netflix.  I got Little House on the Prairie from the library but Rugrats is so much more enticing :)  


Miranda, maybe if you can't find a warmer bag, a silk or merino liner would help.  Hawaii sounds lovely! 

ambersrose 04-03-2013 06:32 AM

Lately we have been caring for 8 new chicks, reorganizing the backyard, starting seeds for the garden, playing with friends outside in the warmer weather, learning what ever we can about Japan and my oldest and I started the Rosetta Stone Spanish program.  Happy Spring!

rumi 04-08-2013 04:51 AM

Sweet Silver, I truly appreciate your consistency in keeping this thread.  I think of this thread often though I don't always manage to translate that into posting something.  I don't know why it is so hard ... I love the idea of just posting whatever but in fact I can't shake myself out of the habit of only posting when we do something noteworthy.  Anyway here we go - we borrowed a circuits kit from the library and played around with that.  Now all my life or at least the past 5 years I have been saying how one does not need to have a specific level of education in order to homeschool etc etc etc but when we were working on circuits I felt quite inadequate.  Almost like I would have to remodel my brain to think along these lines.  I am generally apt with science and love math so maybe it is just that I am not used to having to think so hard to get even a basic sense of understanding.  Fortunately dd was willing to tinker around even if we couldn't figure out the thing she had wanted to try first.  And we still have the kit so maybe we will try again - this means I have to wrap my brain around this stuff.   


We also folded and sorted our clothes in light of the changing weather.   It is becoming abundantly clear to me that having too many clothes is overwhelming to dd.  But she gets attached to things and doesn't like the idea of getting rid of something  - not so much because she wants to have a lot of stuff but she feels it would be a slight on the item.  Like we are discarding it because it is too old, or unwanted.  (But we are).  So I have to be careful and either get rid of things in a way that she won't notice, which sometimes seems sneaky to me, or just keep it out of sight for a really long time and then when we are sorting stuff she would not mind passing it along.  


Which is all to say that I have to get better at limiting the stuff that comes into the house.  


We also did some pruning, thanks to my mom and her garden .... though I love the idea of being outside, and esp of gardening I rarely take the initiative when it comes to gardening.   dd loves interesting work ... which means it can't be the same old work all the time.  gardening is good for offering variety of work.    I read a post from someone like ambersose and just sigh.   SO much backyard stuff.  Wow.   


Going to get inspired by some of the other posts in this thread and do some more creative baking and cooking!  Miranda can you please share your recipies - you mentioned quinoa cakes and soup?

SweetSilver 04-08-2013 07:29 AM

Originally Posted by rumi View Post


We also folded and sorted our clothes in light of the changing weather.   It is becoming abundantly clear to me that having too many clothes is overwhelming to dd.  But she gets attached to things and doesn't like the idea of getting rid of something  - not so much because she wants to have a lot of stuff but she feels it would be a slight on the item.  Like we are discarding it because it is too old, or unwanted.  (But we are).  So I have to be careful and either get rid of things in a way that she won't notice, which sometimes seems sneaky to me, or just keep it out of sight for a really long time and then when we are sorting stuff she would not mind passing it along.  


Which is all to say that I have to get better at limiting the stuff that comes into the house.  


I was that child.  I was afraid of hurting the feelings of anything.  I was entirely the opposite of my daughter-- I had way too much misdirected empathy.  Thankfully I cleared out of that habit before I became "that lady" instead of "that child".  Though I'm still a bit sentimental at times.  When my dad died and we cleared out my parents' house, I was the one that took all the "worthless" stuff.

Fillyjonk 04-11-2013 04:26 PM

rumi, just to say too that my son was very like this at a younger age. Its something we talked about and worked on. Now he's much better at letting stuff go-he really doesnt get that attached anymore. He also himself takes responsibility for not getting himself attached to stuff or collecting stuff. We still have issues with stuff like boxes. 

moominmamma 04-11-2013 05:08 PM

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Originally Posted by rumi View Post

Miranda can you please share your recipies - you mentioned quinoa cakes and soup?


Forgot to respond to this. I think the soup I made that day was loosely modelled on this one: Thai Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass. I used yellow curry paste instead of the lemongrass and some of the spices, dried chilies instead of fresh, shallots instead of some of the garlic and onion, left out the kaffir leaves, used some leftover pesto rather than fresh basil, etc. etc. But it was good anyway!


I love the quinoa cakes, and so do my kids. They freeze nicely and are fine cold in lunches. Here is the recipe. Again, we substitute freely, using various alternatives as sauces or dips, hemp hearts or sesame seeds instead of pine nuts, grated carrot or frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach, rice flour instead of wheat flour. But the basic recipe is lovely too.



Indian summer 04-21-2013 01:06 PM

So many things going on here. Dd10 is on an academic kick. She's been working her way through sequential spelling, Rosetta stone French, art and journaling. Dd6 is also on a spelling kick and started sequential spelling too. She's also spending a lot of time training the dog and doing karaoke. Both girls are also on a dance kick.

Ds12 along with dh and I have been working on weight loss. Ds lost 7.5 lbs so far (in six days), I lost 7 and dh is down 14. I would like to lose another 20-30lbs, same for ds and dh has more to lose, maybe 50 or so. We are also (the whole family) going gluten free, which has actually been less of an ordeal than I thought it would be. We are fortunate that a GF store recently opened in our area, so that's a huge help.

Ds is also spending a lot of time working on computer stuff, mine craft servers, learning from you tubers and networking with local friends. And he's still enjoying his Pokemon gaming night and various gaming stuff.

I started a business, or should I say another business, as dh and I already have one. The kids and dh are getting involved, the older two anyway, and it's become a real family project. We are attending seminars together and it's been quite enjoyable to have a common family interest. It's nice to see most of us passionate or at least interested about the same thing.

We also added a new pet to our family this week. Just a one year old kitty, so,pretty low maintenance. She's fun though. Our other cat is a bit non-social, so this is interesting. Not as intense as our golden doodle who follows us everywhere, but it's nice. I think she'll be a good fit. We got her on a trial basis with the understanding that she couldn't cause the other pets stress or vice versa and we decided today to keep her, because it's going well. Dog training is an ongoing thing also and we are signing up for an obedience class very soon.

And, last fall, be bought a cottage near the confederation bridge, so I've been shopping for small decor items to personalize the place and we will be opening it up for the season very soon, maybe next week, if we have time, so that's been a fun, sort of, distraction.

We've also done some seed starting for the garden. We are all heirloom this year, with the goal of seed saving in the fall so I'm really looking forward to seeing how this all turns out.

Then there knitting projects, and golfing, and social stuff, outdoor play as the weather is getting nicer, basketball, yard work, books, short road trips for fun and family visits, organized group activities... This is the busiest we've ever been, but so far, so good.

moominmamma 04-21-2013 02:01 PM

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An update now that we've been home for a while.


We're raising mushrooms. Ordered shiitake mushroom spawn plugs, and have been rooting around in the forest for suitable birch logs to drill holes and fill with spawn. Hopefully sometime over the next couple of years we'll start getting crops of shiitakes. 


Dd has dived into the math program she's using with renewed passion and interest. Thinks functions are very cool.


(As an aside, spurred by rumi's thread about math ... We did a lot of playing around with alge-tiles and hands-on equations pawns when she was younger, and that has made the linear algebra unit in the math program super intuitive for her. Can't recommend Hands-on Equations highly enough. We used it playfully in a discovery-oriented way when she was at approximately a 3rd to 4th grade level of math mastery. She enjoyed it and it's paying huge dividends in her understanding. We ended up seguéing into alge-tiles as manipulatives after a while, which we made ourselves out of old picture-framing mat-board -- because they were more versatile when it came to factoring -- but when she was younger the pawns that came with the Hands-On Equations kit made it all feel like a board game with "moves" rather than a math game with "rules." The rules got intuited from the moves in moments of delightful epiphany.)


She did a neat science fair project that she took down to the school for their low-key-anything-goes science fair blitz on Thursday. She had collected some different types of volcanic rock when we were in Hawaii and had found explanations about rate of cooling and agitation during cooling as being factors in the formation of two predominant Hawaiian types. And she had found a suggestion that making fudge with and without agitation would demonstrate (in a palatable way) differences in crystal size. So she made two batches of fudge, one with stirring and one without, and ran her experiment at the school by having kids taste tiny samples of both fudges and voting on which was grittier. This was of course incredibly popular amongst the 60 or 80 schoolkids who meandered by. She had to access her social skills to be friendly but to enforce clear boundaries on the fudge-tasting -- even with the teenagers. She did really well, used her sense of humour and managed to keep kids from 5 to 18 in line!


She's begun volunteering at the nursing home about 3-4 hours per week. She helps out with serving drinks during afternoon tea, does jigsaw puzzles with various residents, walks or pushes them back and forth from the activity room, hangs out and chats with them in the dining room. She's still a little uncomfortable with the non-verbal and confused residents. Forgetful and vague she's fine with, but she's not quite in her comfort zone yet with the less capable ones. I'm sure it will come with time. She's going to start bringing her violin and playing for them. 


She had a huge day of volunteering when her older siblings' choral ensemble came through town to do two concerts on their tour of the area and had to be hosted for dinner. She easily did an adults'-worth of food prep, serving and clean up, as well as helping set up and take down the risers and portable staging at the concert hall and dozens of other small jobs through the day. 


She's got a job doing housekeeping at the apartment at the hospital annex. It houses locum doctors for about 6 weeks a year, often in short stints of 3-5 days at a time. Dh administers the operations of the apartment, and needed someone to do periodic cleaning between one locum and the next. Dd is an amazing and obsessive house-keeper who regularly reins in the mess and dirt the rest of us have created at home, so she was keen to use her experience to take on the apartment. It'll be a half day of work maybe ten times throughout the year, plus an occasional quick pass just to keep the dust down. She did her first full cleaning a week ago and was quite pleased with it. But she was even more pleased when she realized (how could we have neglected to mention this?) that it was a paying job. 


We're performing in a regional Suzuki concert later today. That's nothing notable, but one of the pieces we're doing is a composition that my 14 local students have created collaboratively. I arranged a main theme which repeats, and the kids brainstormed thematic and musical ideas for all the different sections that separate repetitions of the main theme. We have sections representing bald eagles soaring, hikers climbing mountain peaks, snow and glaciers, and songbirds. Dd came up with a lovely soaring eagle theme and it has been fun orchestrating and rehearsing all the various elements into a synthesized suite. 


This coming Thursday we're off to Ontario and Quebec for a week and a bit. (I'd been on a plane twice in the previous 10 years ... and now we're taking two return flights in just over a month: it feels so decadent!) We'll be visiting family, participating in a Suzuki gala anniversary weekend, seeing where eldest dd has been living and moving her to her new apartment, and then flying back with her after her "jury" (final graded violin performance). I'm super excited, and so is youngest dd. The middle kids are finishing up the out-of-province part of their choir tour during that time, and then return to five days of electives at school (wilderness canoeing & camping, and small-motor repair respectively), so they won't be coming. They're excited about not having me around. Their dad is on call most of the time I'm gone, so he won't be able to provide much supervision, and I suppose they are keen to be more or less unparented for a while. I get it. It'll be nice for them.



Qalliope 04-22-2013 09:14 AM

I'm trying to start a business, and I keep running into one brick wall after another, so between frustration and constant work, my kids activities and interests are one giant blur. I know my 4 yr old has been copying letters and rhyming words and making up songs and drawing for hours at a time. DS just finished reading The Hobbit this morning, and he's making a creeper head out of a cardboard box right now.  Next week we head to the ARGH! conference followed by a few relaxing days in Myrtle Beach.

SweetSilver 04-25-2013 05:46 PM

Today was so different than yesterday.  Yesterday, the girls simply could not agree on anything, and there were tears and screams and some pretty mean things said.  But the day ended well.


Today was so much better, though I wasn't sure it would be that way at first.  But the sunshine and the bike riding lifted everyone's moods.  There was some intense school-y type activity midday.  DD2 discovered that she could spell the creatures in our beloved Oceanarium book by tracing her alphabet puzzle letters onto sticky notes and sticking them to the window.  DD1 was busy with her horse list, copying from her horse book (it was a day for trusty old favorites!) and then working in her Girl Scout handbook with a money activity.


We made a worm bin from the worms the girls brought home from Girl Scouts last night.  We have a worm bin, but it isn't their worm bin.


Lots of bike riding in between everything.  They have a couple new gravel ramps to zoom down and over and give mama heart palpitations.  DD1 wisely wore long pants.  Yesterday she had a major wipe out when her bike caught just a bit too much air and somehow she came down funny and the bike slid out from underneath her.  She swore she wouldn't get back on, but she did, though a bit more subdued.  DD2 wore shorts, because of course she has never had a wipe out.  Okay...... I tried telling her that her sister hadn't wiped out until she did, but that logic was lost on her.  It was odd to see their girl scout friend (6 months older than dd2) riding her training wheeler up to the Grange hall.  I felt just a wee bit smug, but kept it to myself.  I am really pleased with the how well these girls ride their bikes--probably better than I was at any age.


I was pleased when the girls decided they liked "The Story of 1" that was recommended to me.  They have asked for it several times since.  It is the first of, well, anything that doesn't involve animals or volcanoes!  A history video!  Imagine that!  (History of Ice Age animals and dinosaurs do not count here--we've had loads of those-- but human history?  Nada!  Unless you count people dying or fleeing from volcanoes.....)  We've also been smitten by the River Monsters series from Animal Planet.  DD1 wants me to check if there is a season 3.  Well, I'll get that eventually.  We have enough on our hands with 2 seasons as it is.  Totally fascinating stuff... it covers a lot of local culture in every corner of the world, which is a new experience for the girls.  Of course, those people are mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) dying from fish attacks, or eaten by them after they die.  I think I see a gruesome pattern emerging!


DD2 was trying carve notches in a bone a few minutes ago, and trying to see if they are hollow chicken bones or some other creature.  :)  Discussed the difference between "smart" and "clever".  DD1 came in shouting (gleefully for a change) that EVERYTHING IS LINKED!!  Atoms?  NO!!  THEBEARSARELINKEDTOBEESWHICHARELINKEDTOFLOWERSWHICHARELINKEDTOTHEEARTHANDEVERYTHINGISLINKEDBYTHEAIRAND... sounds like me on an acid trip as a twentysomething.  So glad she is having her discoveries at a young age and without the psychedelics.  Trippy.....


Our pullets are keeping us busy... and girl scouts... and bikes... lots of spelling... lots of fighting... trying to get the house clean, but the weather won't cooperate (too damn nice) and neither will the girls... 


Anyway, time to get back to dinner.

SweetSilver 04-26-2013 08:22 AM

Forgot to relate my frustrating story about the project "fail":


The girls asked to write with feathers properly, so while at the craft store we pick up a couple of turkey feathers and some ink.  I soaked the quills, and next day looked up instructions for cutting the tip.  As I was reading and figuring out the instructions (the first set was very wordy) they were constantly complaining that I was taking to long. I got up and pulled out my old pocket knife and it needed sharpening ("It's sharp enough!!  Waaah!")  Started to figure out how to apply the instructions.  Too many descriptions, not enough pictures.  I gave up on those instructions to find another set.  Screeches of protest "What are you doooooiiiing????"  Second set was even more useless.  Still too many words, and not enough pictures, and worse than the first.  I switched to a third set and finally hit the jackpot.  Nice diagrams instead of photos, clearly illustrating each step with a very brief description supporting each.  To calm the protests, I pointed out why I like the instructions.  Now that we were getting to the cutting, they calmed down.  Except the knife wasn't sharp enough.  "Why isn't it working??  Do it!"  (This from dd2 who was the main complainer about sharpening the knife.)  "What'll we do, what'll we do??"  


Well I figured it out.  In not too long, I had my first hand cut feather quill and quickly the second.  Got paper, asked them to wear aprons ("I DON'T NEED AN APRON!")  I got paper to protect the table ("I DON'T NEED PAPER!")  Oh, honey, this one isn't optional...


They start in, resist the blotter toilet paper until it became clear they needed it, then howls and shrieks from dd1 because "You did this wrong!  This is stupid, I'm not doing this."







4evermom 04-26-2013 10:37 AM

Lol, wouldn't it be nice if we could get ready to parent or facilitate projects without any kids around...

SweetSilver 04-26-2013 12:25 PM

It would be nice, but I often need a bit of a kick in the pants to get moving on things!


Anyway, doing my part to keep the face of Unschooling real, blemishes and all!  (Yeah, right... I do it to vent my frustrations onto other people, but if folks get something out of it, I'm happy.  My intentions, however, are not so lofty!)

moominmamma 04-30-2013 04:32 AM

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Forgot to relate my frustrating story about the project "fail"....

"You did this wrong!  This is stupid, I'm not doing this."

Ah... unschooled learning lessons!

1. Many projects take time and planning.

2. Things don't always work out the first time.

3. People who are pestered and unappreciated when they're doing their best tend to get upset.

Sounds like a very successful learning experience for your girls. smile.gif


rumi 05-01-2013 05:16 AM

Miranda, you mentioned hands-on equations.   (and thanks for the recipes, btw)


I looked it up and found this:


Can you tell me if I need to buy the manual?  Can I just buy the very first item on that page and get started? 



Okay so what have we been doing - a little gardening though around here spring hasn't quite decided whether it is ready to come or not - keeps coming and going and our neighbour already lost all the plants he planted a couple of weeks ago when the temperature went to freezing overnight. 


dd needs a new bike but we haven't gotten it yet.  She could still ride her 16 inch one but she feels that it is too small.  I have never bought a new bike (hardly ever get anything new) and three times we have checked goodwill there is nothing there.  have to search more widely now.  


There is a "lapbook" that dd has been doing for 2+ years - every now and then she picks it up and works on it for a few days - this usually means reading and talking about it, as she is absolutely fascinated by the subject (an astronaut).  Very little actually makes it in to the lapbook as such, though she scours the internet for info and photos. It would be wonderful to have a lapbook to show the reviewer but anyway, I understand that this is how it is going to go.   We did go and buy some construction paper yesterday, as she had wanted to use black backgrounds for some of the pictures and passages that she saved to print out.  While at the store we saw some pretty posterboard and I casually mentioned that it might be fun to use that for a lapbook some time. 

SweetSilver 05-01-2013 07:53 AM

Originally Posted by rumi View Post

 I have never bought a new bike (hardly ever get anything new) and three times we have checked goodwill there is nothing there.  have to search more widely now.  


Bikes are hard to find at the Goodwill because people know the exact day and time the new bikes will be put out and they are there to snatch up the fixable ones.  They resell these, often on craigslist.  We found a nice Raleigh from a family posting there.

moominmamma 05-02-2013 05:24 PM

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Hans-on equations... we only bought the Learning System or whatever it's called, no instructional DVD or manual. There were some videos online that I watched that gave me a sense of the style of the program. That was all I needed.

Bikes... we've got some deals on PinkBike and Kijiji ... They're big in Canada, a bit like Craigslist but the former devoted just to bikes. I got a $3500 full-suspension all-mountain bike in immaculate condition for less than 30% retail price. Dd's aluminum frame hardtail cost us a hundred bucks (used) last year and we sold it for the same price this year.


SweetSilver 05-14-2013 08:39 AM

We finally made that birdhouse the girls have been bugging me about!  I did research on size preferences, materials, brainstormed who could help with the project, set it aside, and finally, last night, dd2 decided we were going to make the birdfeeder!  


So, here it is!




biglaugh.gifThat's right-- it is nothing like the birdhouse that I had researched and planned (and put off building).  DD2 saw this empty orange juice carton, told me how we need to cut it and did most of the cutting, directed where the string should go, collected the hay to stuff inside, told dh where to hang it.  


I had to resist saying things like "but birds like very specific size boxes" and held my tongue until I answered her question "Will someone nest here?"  So I said, "There's only one way to find out!"


I have an ulterior motive for posting this.  This project has sit on the back burner for nearly 2 years while I waited for the best time, the expertise, the materials, and she completed her birdhouse in a 5-minute brainstorm and 1/2 hour busy time.  And it has the added bonus of being an experiment: who would like such a house?  We placed it in the trees outside our living room window for ideal viewing.


I know this lesson.  I've given it many times before, but sometimes I need to be reminded of it:  kids don't necessarily have the grand, complex plans adults envision for their ideas.  Sometimes--in fact most of the time-- it is something simple like this!

rumi 05-16-2013 08:25 AM

Fantastic story at every level, Sweet Silver.


We still haven't gotten the bike.  Looking for something more like $25.   meanwhile dd is riding the old one, we can ride it for a while longer. 


A funny thing happened recently  - dd and I went outside to plan a surprise party, taking along our notepad and paper.  We happened to sit in the grass across the street from a school.  A friend of mine whose daughter goes to that school saw us and stopped by.  I could only imagine what she saw - a homeschooling mom-and-child, sitting in the grass, notebook in hand.   It is like, picture-perfect homeschooling. I don't think we've done that before or since.  


other than that I am trying to declutter.  It is very hard!

SweetSilver 05-16-2013 08:34 AM


Originally Posted by rumi View Post


I could only imagine what she saw - a homeschooling mom-and-child, sitting in the grass, notebook in hand.   It is like, picture-perfect homeschooling. I don't think we've done that before or since.  


Like all the advertisements!  Mom, lovingly cradling their happy child whilst reading a textbook, pencil at the ready.  (No "Mom!  What are you doing?!  Go away!!!")

moominmamma 05-16-2013 09:10 AM

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Originally Posted by rumi View Post

 a homeschooling mom-and-child, sitting in the grass, notebook in hand.   It is like, picture-perfect homeschooling. I don't think we've done that before or since.  


Ha! We had one of those surreal "Mom and Child Homeschooling" photo-op moments yesterday too. We recently bought a new (to us, but actually very old) minivan, and dd loves the way the seats all swivel in the back with a sunroof above. She asked if we could have a tea party in the van before her violin class, so I loaded up a thermos and some cheese scones and we went and parked in the lovely treed laneway at the music studio. Usually we arrive early to turn the heat on at the studio, and just hang out, chatting or being bored. But the tea and scones in the van were a great idea and put her in a great mood. Then she found her math workbook in the back, where it had been languishing since we'd come back from a trip to the city to drop her sister off at the airport, so after finishing scones, she pulled it out and started working in it. Worked really hard, too.


Then, totally coincidentally, both of the other [homeschooling] families who are part of the violin class arrived 15-20 minutes early. All year we've done nothing beforehand and they've arrived on time. This one week dd is doing a MathPower 8 workbook before and they both show up early? One family is out-and-out unschoolers, the other relaxed eclectic. They probably now wonder if we've been fibbing about our loose, unschooling approach. 


SweetSilver, the story about the birdhouse deserves to be written up as a featured article on some sort of curated unschooling website. Truly, there's so much wisdom to be gleaned from the story... and from how you told it. Brilliant!



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