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#1 of 50 Old 02-02-2014, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Worries, triumphs, frustrations, interests, projects, uncertainties, activities, day-in-the-life, rants, adventures ... post away!

 

Miranda


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#2 of 50 Old 02-02-2014, 11:19 AM
 
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Just in time.

 

Today is dd1's birthday--she's 9 now!  And she seems to be sliding into a mild moodiness.  Which has me a bit flustered, because I never fully got a handle on her emotional intensity as a child, a toddler, a baby, and infant, a newborn......  Just when I thought I was making strides toward harmony and understanding, too.  Well, at this point I think it's more worry than actual trouble.  One day at a time, huh?

 

We are enjoying a weekend of parties.  Yesterday we had dh's family and some local friends.  DD made a couple of rustic alder boats with help from her dad for our neighbor's boys.  We didn't quite finish our little friend's doll n time, but she's barely three and she didn't notice.  It just needs hair.  DD has been planning and scheduling time for working on the projects and learning about procrastination and deadlines and which ones are truly important.  She also planned the birthday menu and all the guests were very complimentary-- smoked salmon in a salad, and little pita pizzas that people could load up for themselves, in the shape of a face if they wanted.  It was a good party, and I made sure to convey to dd how well her planning worked out.

 

(ETA: today is her "Super Bowl birthday party" at my sister's house.  GO HAWKS!!!!)

 

She is busy now filling out her American Girl journal, from their body book collection.  I checked out the originals from the library, and just in time-- it allowed her to identify that she had just started developing breasts.  This is such a big deal for her.  We stopped by the store to pick out some little "bras" (really just a short cami) that helped with the chaffing and irritation she is experiencing.  She talks about "my BREASTS" which is really sweet to me because my mother, bless her heart, was a certified prude and simpered and pouted when she had to buy me bras in the eighth grade banghead.gif.  Part of that was money, I'm sure.  But where my sisters gave up asking for anything, I endured the pouting (complete with pursed and upturned lips and the silent treatment) and got what I wanted.  I wanted my girls to have no part of that, nor the accompanying body shame.  I don't know that I can completely avoid that--the intense body changes, the unwanted attention from men, the sheer publicity of a girl's development, et al.-- it's all very disorienting by itself without any help from a maladjusted mother!

 

We are heading straight into a busy season (homeschooling is so backwards) filled with Girl Scout cookie booths, new GS badges to earn, chicks to bring home for 4-H, then all the events of springtime, 4-H public presentations to think about (which they LOVE), vegetable gardens to plan for and plant, teeth to be pulled and scheduling many visits to the orthodontist.  It sounds daunting, but so did this weekend and it was all quite pleasant and seamlessly easy.  Again, I think and worry more than I should.  One day at a time, huh?


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#3 of 50 Old 02-02-2014, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The only momentous thing happening here just now is a lovely giggle-fest of a sisterly Sunday. Dd11 and dd15 are having a lovely time together. They've been making bagels and monkey bread and Greek salad, and horsing around with gymnastics moves and yoga poses. 

 

Ds17 is having a chill post-midterm weekend. Oh, except he had a choir performance yesterday and ended up filling in for the drummer (he's never really drummed!) at the last minute. Good confidence boost!

 

Dd15 has had a cold and couldn't sing yesterday, so she had a day at home alone. She baked bagels and muffins. 

 

Dd11 is the unschooler-who-goes-to-school-for-math. She had her first gymnastics meet yesterday which was a big deal for her, as she has only just moved out of the recreational gymnastics program into a program that has focused on more systematic skills development, form, physical training and presentation. Her new program isn't competitive and it's only one session a week, so the meet was non-competitive. She was enthusiastic though a bit apprehensive about the whole experience, and did really well. She had one trivial fall during her beam routine, and got a bit of spotter-assist during a couple of moves on bars, but was very pleased with how she did. (She was doing the "full" bar routine, the only girl at her level to attempt this: she loves bars!) Anyway, the only thing that she was disappointed about was that the adjudication she received was instead a "complimentation," as she put it: the judges just commented on her strengths and gave no feedback for things that needed improving. She understood that many kids don't cope well with constructive criticism and that with young and first-time participants it made sense that they were kind and gentle. But I thought it spoke well of her self-confidence and drive for excellence that she was hungering for more useful suggestions.

 

Math is going well: she got 100% on her most recent unit test and is nearing the end of the course. She's doing really well with her "365 in 2014 Photography Challenge." She learned a bit about adjusting lighting this week, and is getting slick with the new camera, choosing appropriate settings for particular shots, and although she doesn't always get depth-of-field adjusted to her satisfaction, she's developing a good understanding of what it's all about and why she wants particular effects. She's also got over the stress of feeling like she needs to take a photo every single day, and is cutting herself some slack on days when life gets in the way. She'll post an extra photo from a couple of days earlier if she misses a day. Which is good: it would be tough if the whole thing fell apart into tears at bedtime some night when she forgot. She's enjoying the weekly themes, which are just suggestions to inspire one or more photos over the course of the week. We've had Smoke/steam, Technology and Texture so far, and she's had fun thinking about how to capture those ideas in a photo or two. Her "smoke" photo made me laugh: after taking bunch of lousy chimney shots and not being happy with them, she posted low-light shot of a glowing candle lantern with the caption "The smoke is implied." Well played, my dear, well played.

 

Her album to date is here

 

Not much science or social studies learning going on that I can point to. We'll have a meeting with our umbrella-school teacher supervisor in a month. I don't suppose he'll care, but I do wonder whether it's time to give dd a nudge by revisiting the learning plan she tabled last fall, which included some specific science and history learning goals. 

 

For now, though, I think I'll let her finish the bagels and monkey buns. :)

 

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#4 of 50 Old 02-03-2014, 07:48 AM
 
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We have been reading alot about birds. BIRDS and more birds. I am not sure I can find any more about them. LOL off to you-tube.

 

We have been playing lots of superhero stuff. Fun all the way around. OH! And playing in the snow.

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#5 of 50 Old 02-05-2014, 10:33 AM
 
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We have been dealing with snow, snow, snow! 

 

Lots of inside-the-house-stuck-home days. We have built igloos, made homemade light tables, read books, made 1000 arts and crafts, started our Earth Child book, went sledding, worked on our barn chores in the snow, played and played, and watched loads of Netflix. We also joined a gym with the most ah-mazing pool, so we went swimming which was lovely. Unfortunately the snow has prevented us from going back. 

 

This month we are going to Disney for an entire week, I can't wait. Lots of planning for that + keeping it low key/low spending until we leave. This is such a much needed vacation (you may remember my Dad was really sick..well he passed away and we have been super stressed) 


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#6 of 50 Old 02-05-2014, 10:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommariffic View Post (you may remember my Dad was really sick..well he passed away and we have been super stressed) 

Sorry for your loss :candle

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#7 of 50 Old 02-06-2014, 11:47 PM
 
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Yes, I'm also sorry for your loss mommariffic.  I hope you all get plenty of relaxation time.

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#8 of 50 Old 02-07-2014, 02:14 AM
 
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Hi. Can I join? My dd just turned five and would be starting kindergarten this fall. I also have a three yr old son. Its more official that we are an unschooling family now that parents are starting on registrations and we arent. Since Christmas we have been pretty lazy. Dd is really into puzzles right now and both children are especially interested in helping me cook. Over the next couple days we will be doing valentines for family and friends. Also planned is a trip to the interactive childrens museum later this month. But for the most part its lots of free play and visiting neighbors and family until spring.
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#9 of 50 Old 02-09-2014, 02:18 PM
 
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Today I:

 

*Woke up to 5 inches of snow

 

*Had about 30 minutes before the girls started waking up to feed the critters and myself

 

*Kept my patience, or tried, when dd9 woke up and started "throwing her grumps around"

 

*Posted some pictures onto FB from yesterday's tour of our local oak prairie habitat, one of the rarest ecosystems in North America.  We set up a tour for our Brownie troop with a biologist, but just the girls and I were able to go.  I wasn't going to miss it because I spent so much time finding someone to set something like this up.  It was freezing cold with a stiff wind, but we had a blast and it only took a couple hours to get feeling back in my tush.  You see my youngest with my coat because somehow her coat never made it our the door.  I was warm.  -ish.  mostly.  So much for "Be Prepared", eh?

 

      

 

We saw many birds including 3 bald eagles, found pheasant feathers in a bluebird nesting box, followed vole tunnels burrowed into the moss and lichens covering the prairie, found the remains of a bald eagle's teal duck dinner, wandered down to the river's edge to spy a heron and some live teals.

 

I also posted this picture from last night's barefoot run around the house in the new snow that started falling in the afternoon:

 

 

 

*Tried to keep some patience when she started crying and yelling that dd7 shouldn't go outside before her

 

*Completely lost it when she stepped outside and started screaming "I hate you!" at her sister

 

*Made coffee

 

*Got ready for a walk in the snow that the girls were both grumbling about

 

*Went for a short walk with dd9 fussing about not going and dd7 screaming to "wait for me!"  because she kept stopping to explore when clearly dh wasn't going on an explore 

 

*Turned back from said walk in defeat when it was obvious both girls were whining more than walking.  This was in a beautiful, snowed-filled forest on our beautiful forested hill, with every branch traced with snow and little tracks and big tracks criss-crossing.  Sometimes I hate Western Washington snow because to enjoy it you really must get out in it early, before you are ready to be out anywhere.

 

*Set up girls with videos and hot chocolate.  Clearly the emotions are running high today and we need a "down day".  We have our regular troubles, but this is crazy.  It's a snow day fer-cryinoutloud.  Whispered in dd9's ear, "Even when we fight and get angry at each other, I love you and you sister more than any other kids in the whole world.  It doesn't matter how well behaved they are, I love you girls best of all."  Saw a little smirk of a smile, but I know this day is not over.

 

*Put in Girl Scout cookie order on ebudde.

 

*Made us "lunch", more lunchy-snacks than a real meal.

 

*Updated their 4-H binders for this year.  Today's business meeting is cancelled due to snow.

 

*Got my taxes ready for the CPA.

 

*DH went out and made a snow fort for the girls, complete with a window of ice from a frozen-over trough.  That was fun for a while, but they ended in tears and a physical tussle.  Again.  Sheesh.  Back on the couch we go.

 

*Geared up and went for my own walk.  Aaaahhhhhh........ lovely.

 

*Heading out to start some beans and then fold laundry.  Girls are trying to play a game indoors.  We will see how well this goes.  10 good minutes and counting.

 

Edited: made a light dinner, half watched the second playing of Avatar, sat on the couch to read House of Hades, the fourth installment of the Heroes of Olympus series.  Kind of rushing through it because I now have A Clash of Kings sitting in the wings.  Girls did play well for the rest of the evening.  Everybody, including dh, was still a bit tense from the morning.  Girls dropped off to sleep and I stayed up until all hours (10:30!!) to read some more.


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#10 of 50 Old 02-10-2014, 02:46 PM
 
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I love your pics Sweetsilver! And I have to say I love your posts about sibling conflict in a thank-goodness-I'm-not-alone way. We can usually count on our girls getting along for "special" stuff like snowdays if no other time, but they lasted all of 10 mins today before the crying (dd5) and whining/stomping (dd12) ensued. And this was after they each had one on one time with a parent all morning. Off to fake some patience and try again...I want to sled too! wink1.gif
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#11 of 50 Old 02-10-2014, 08:06 PM
 
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And I have to say I love your posts about sibling conflict in a thank-goodness-I'm-not-alone way. 

I know that feeling well, so I'm glad to oblige.  I guess it's my way of dealing with the stress.  Putting it down to share usually gets me to look at it in a survival-humor kind of way, and it sort of sticks that way in my head.  Great therapy.


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#12 of 50 Old 02-11-2014, 12:38 PM
 
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It has been cold here cold.gif lots of snow! We managed to get out tobogganing last week though:)

Our friend, same age as my 7 yr old son, has visited for the past coupled of days. His dad and brother are on a road trip to California (must be nice!) and he's coming over when my friend has to work. So it has been Minecraft afternoons with three playing at once on the Xbox, they are creating away:)

The girls (9 and 3 yrs old) started gymnastics again in Jan after winter break, we are finally used to the 9:30am start time again..haha.

My 9 yr dd started a computer science class in Jan. A mother we know quite well from our homeschool group runs this class and it has turned out to be wonderful, my dd enjoys it so much. They do hands activities involving math and learn to program with Scratch. There are only three girls and they really get on well together. One girl comes home with us until her dad can pick her up, so they get some free time to just hang out.

The birthday years have begun! We never did too many birthdays until the last year and this year dd9 has been to two. She likes to be dropped off now, within the last year she has really stepped out of her shell and likes more time with her friends. She also helps out so much with her little sister a lot around the house, her little sister always wants to play with her, so I think she appreciates some time without her.

We have a Valentine's party this Friday with our homeschool group, ice skating and potluck. Making a mailbox and cards this week for a card exchange.

We have been watching a lot of Olympics this week:)
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#13 of 50 Old 02-16-2014, 06:57 AM
 
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Oh February! 

 

We have had snow storm after snow storm after snow storm. 

Currently have over a foot (maybe 17 inches?) of snow not going anywhere soon piled up around the house. So we've been hermits during our storms. Lots of arts and crafts (we made "awards" for each other from our Earth Child craft book, winter dioramas, monsters out of play-doh, paintings and drawings and more..) I'm loving our home time - we did go roller skating with a homeschool group which was so much fun, and we have been back to horseback riding (brr) and in a week we leave for vacation! 


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#14 of 50 Old 02-16-2014, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're bemoaning the lack of fresh snow here because the skiing hasn't been great for the past three weeks. 

 

AppleMark I guess we shouldn't be complaining too much, though, since we still have a lot more than 17 inches. 

 

Fiona has had a busy week. The school district is doing standardized testing, and because we're part of a school-district-supported homeschooling program, she's encouraged to participate. The Foundation Skills Assessment tests are only done twice during a student's schooling, once in 4th grade and once in 7th, so she did them last year in 4th and actually quite enjoyed the little taste of what testing is like and what kids are learning in school. Because she was grade-skipped into 7th this year, she was asked to do them again. She was much less enthusiastic, but in the end decided to go ahead largely because the two writing modules (short response and story-writing) would relatively painlessly generate writing samples that would make our supervising teacher happy. And she knew she'd enjoy the math and find it easy. So she had four testing sessions this past week. Plus a math class. 

 

She had her usual Tuesday dance classes -- boy is she excelling in ballet after only four classes! -- and on Thursday she had a full day of snowboarding with the school ski program, followed by a drive to the city and then 2.5 hours of gymnastics training. And then starting Friday afternoon and running all weekend she's been busy with a Babysitting Certification course. She finished up the final exam this morning and now has her official card. She's done some mother's-helper type babysitting in the past, and is keen to transition into more responsibility. She's definitely got the skills in spades, even though she's very young. I'd trust her to handle stuff better than most 12-to-14-year-olds. But she recognizes that she's "too young" by superficial measures, and that she needs to work into it gradually. I'm sure she'll be extremely in demand by the time she's 13 or so.

 

Her photography portfolio for the 2014 photo-a-day challenge is growing. It's worth a click ... some very nice photos, and a real variety of views, subjects and techniques.

 

Just so everyone knows that it's not all sunshine and roses and precocious overachievement here, recent interests include the "3 a.m. jokes" subreddit (groan!), lots of Olympics on TV, no interest in science or history, and marathon sessions with her siblings of watching "Fringe," a TV drama which I don't think has much merit.

 

Tomorrow I'm off to tour an alternative high school in the city (pop. 10,000, so probably what most of you would think of as a small town, but big for us) with my 15-year-old. If it looks good she'll be living in an apartment there during the week next year. Since ds17 will be at college next year, that will really change the flow of our homeschooling, opening up many new possibilities and changing the flavour of our home life a lot. 

 

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#15 of 50 Old 02-16-2014, 12:53 PM
 
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They grow so fast, moominmamma! The kiddos passed out valentines to our apt neighbors. We have been big on working on writing letters, sounding out words and dd making her first attempts at reading. We did a big grocery shop yesterday and stopped at the bookstore on our way out of the city.
the childrens area has a train table where usually their interest lwys. But this time they were really looking at lots of books, sitting for us to read them aloud, and interacting with them whike also not being too rough. Library here we come! We are pretty wiped today, as we were gone literally all day shopping and visiting with friends so I think a low key day is in order.
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#16 of 50 Old 02-17-2014, 05:00 PM
 
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Oh February! 

 

We have had snow storm after snow storm after snow storm. 

Currently have over a foot (maybe 17 inches?) of snow not going anywhere soon piled up around the house. So we've been hermits during our storms. Lots of arts and crafts (we made "awards" for each other from our Earth Child craft book, winter dioramas, monsters out of play-doh, paintings and drawings and more..) I'm loving our home time - we did go roller skating with a homeschool group which was so much fun, and we have been back to horseback riding (brr) and in a week we leave for vacation! 


we are under the same snow in NJ. Oh! the snow and more to come

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#17 of 50 Old 02-17-2014, 05:45 PM
 
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And we are getting the rain we should have received in November.  Our little valley road was impassable to any vehicle but a tall pickup, so we ended up homebound instead of driving to gym.  I'll post picks tomorrow, if we get the rain we should be getting tonight.  Tomorrow we'll be missing an orthodontist appointment.  No, there is no other way out unless you walk over the hill and meet a ride on the other side, which my neighbor did today.


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#18 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 08:22 AM
 
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Hi! I'd love to join in. I have a 5 1/2 year old son and a 1 year old son. I've known since before my first was born that I wanted to homeschool and "found" the unschooling concept when he was very young. It rang true for me and we embrace a whole life learning lifestyle. I am not dogmatic and just do what feels right for my family. I started a group a year ago to find some support in my community as the only official group was very curriculum focused. We are probably the most unschooly but we enjoy spending time with others along the spectrum and the group is great for getting my older guy out and playing with kids. We also are lucky to have two sets of retired grandparents and aunts and uncles living very nearby. My husband works from home and has a great job but we are on a 3 year plan to have him making his living fully from a wood workshop that we are currently building. I spend time with the kids and just try to keep the house running but do scrape together a little time to do birth work (mainly teaching childbirth education) in my community. 

 

This month we are just kind of limping along. I keep trying to get inspired but honestly it isn't working. We were sick most of January with respiratory flu and head colds and just this past weekend got hit by a stomach bug. I love the winter but this year I've felt really housebound because of the extreme cold and having a real little one again. I try not to wish time away but I am really feeling the call of spring this year. We spend a lot of time listening to books on cd (hard to read with my little guy pulling at the books), rolling balls around, making food, and, even though I'm conflicted about it, watching a fair amount. My son loves Dinosaur Train, Curious George, building shows, and any and all nature documentaries. Could be worse! :-)

 

Anyway, I plan to check in and see what others are up to and try to figure out a bit more of a flow to our lives that feels really positive and healthy. I look forward to learning about all of you! 

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#19 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love the winter but this year I've felt really housebound because of the extreme cold and having a real little one again. I try not to wish time away but I am really feeling the call of spring this year. 

 

Welcome Healthy Momma! Until my kids were older and got involved in lots of scheduled activities and eventually part-time classes, I found that the natural start to our homeschooling year seemed to occur in April, with spring thaw. Things growing, kids full of energy to be outside as the days got longer, lots of creativity. All spring and summer we'd go strong. In the fall there would be some new experiences or activities or old things starting up again and that would put a bit of new energy in, and then as fall headed into winter there would be this lovely push towards Christmas and gift-making and crafts and cooking and celebrating and lots of music. After that ... not much until the weather started to warm up again.

 

And once I noticed that this was our natural cycle, I stopped feeling badly about the lack of apparent productivity during January and February. Maybe you'll discover the same. 

 

I'm thinking it's time to start ordering seeds for the garden.

 

Miranda

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#20 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 09:15 AM
 
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I totally agree that spring is the beginning of the "homeschool season".  It just seems to flow so naturally that way.  What is keeping this year's February from being that dull is cookie sales and the promise of their public presentations for 4-H, which they love planning for a doing.  We could probably do more to include them in the planning of the garden, buying seeds, etc, but the start of that is so far away.  Fava beans, very very soon, but not with this torrential ark-worthy weather we are getting now.  But usually, February is a lot of down days, often crabby and dull, even on our best days a lot of reading and TV and repeat.

 

We've been lucky to avoid any illness this winter, but that would exhaust me as well, not even counting a new little one.  Be kind to yourself.  

 

I don't live in a snowy region anymore, but I did live in Spokane, WA in the snowy 1970's, and I cried one late-March day when it snowed.  Not a great big blubbering cry, but a frustrated-to-tears cry nonetheless.  I loved the sledding and the snow play, but I was just DONE and the snow hadn't even melted from the drifts and the piles in front of houses from snow plows (and the endless work to clear the driveway from the snowplow's work) and now it was snowing and it was nearly April.  I was probably 8yo that winter.


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#21 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 09:37 AM
 
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Funny how different that is in different places. My kids and I are busy learning to ski this year (and last), and we're all so excited to finally have enough snow to do it. I feel like the middle of February is when the winter starts getting really wonderful, with fluffy snow covering the bushes and lots of bright daylight sparkling on it as the days are getting longer... And folks aren't so crazy busy as they are in summer, so it's a good time to get together. March is often even better for skiing. Mid-April I'm done and ready to start shoveling off the garden, but at least it's usually nice weather and a good low-tiding time. What I really don't like is November, when it's stormy and cold and dark and there's nothing left to harvest or gather and no snow to play in. I often leave the state in November. Of course, that's my rhythm and largely based on our outdoor life, and I don't know if the kids' indoors/academic sort of interests will follow it or not.

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#22 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Funny how different that is in different places. My kids and I are busy learning to ski this year (and last), and we're all so excited to finally have enough snow to do it. I feel like the middle of February is when the winter starts getting really wonderful, with fluffy snow covering the bushes and lots of bright daylight sparkling on it as the days are getting longer... 

 

I think this might have been the case with us, except that we had four children with a 9-year age range and usually just one parent available, so it was really hard to do proper outdoor physical stuff as a family. Things really opened up once the youngest kid was four. Having a baby plus two or three still-very-young children made it really hard to get outside for anything more than a half hour of play and snow shovelling here and there. Those are the years of Cabin Fever that I'm recalling.

 

These days I'm totally with you: I love the snow and the winter. All my kids are capable of joining in and it's serious fun. I'm grumbling a bit this year only because we spent most of January swinging between warm melty days and minus-twenty days where everything froze into ice, with almost no snowfall to replenish things. So the skiing was really lousy until this past week.

 

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#23 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 07:33 PM
 
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Hi Everyone,
I'm new here. I feel like I am always looking for a good unschoolers thread/group somewhere so I hope this is it! I have posted occasionally on various fb groups, but have never really found the support I was looking for there. So anyway... I hope its ok to tell a story here and do a little venting. I am looking for *support and empathy* and definitely not *judgment.* I hate to have to say that but after a few posts in places, I realize I have to. greensad.gif

Anyway, my DD is 5, almost 6 and we are unschooling right now. Lately she asks to go places a lot, be with other kids, etc...it's challenging. I have a one yr old with special needs, so we have a fair amount of therapy appointments, and we also need to be careful about our contact with other people because she has immune deficiency. Needless to say I've been a bit overwhelmed with how to meet these two kid's needs at once!

So anyway, I finally got on our local homeschool field trip list, and signed up for one that I KNEW my DD would LOVE. It even fit into our schedule perfectly, it was a dream come true! At the local nature center. Even one of her best friends would be there. She also had her last birthday party at this place. So, last night when she said "what are we doing tomorrow?!" (like she does every day/night)...I could say "we're going to the nature center!" Great. She was excited.

Well, I got up this morning and she had set up the living room to play "school" of all things! She was pretty into it and (I know now) was just too absorbed with that idea that she decided she didn't want to go on the field trip in that moment. But instead of saying that, she said "I"m sick." Of course there were no actual signs of her being sick, and I wasn't buying it, but my husband was buying it because *he* is sick right now. Urgh!!! Anyway, we did ask her if she just didn't want to go...she didn't really answer the question...until this afternoon she admitted she wasn't sick and that she had just been too into her play and didn't want to leave it. She said "she was only talking to herself, not us," and in this way felt that she wasn't technically lying to us!! OMG!!

I've done my best to be calm about it all...allowed her to stay home, I honored her saying that she was "sick" etc. But inside I am fuming!! I will admit that *I* was pretty attached to going to this thing! I know that we all would have loved it, and now, who knows when it will happen again. I am also now enduring all the facebook photos from friends who went and had a fabulous time. GRRRRRRR!!! I really want to give her a "consequence" of some sort, but I can't think of anything I can feel good about, because I am not into giving arbitrary consequences. greensad.gif I just learned *again* that I need to have the "commitment" talk with her *when* I sign her up for *anything!* greensad.gif

Anyway, I am *so sick* of trying to do "child led learning!" She changes.her.mind.all.the.frickin.time!! She says she wants one thing, so I plan, plan, plan, prepare, pay, etc...*then* she changes her flippin mind!!! Dear God! I just want to throw her in school!! Make her appreciate what she's got at home! Anyone who says "once we started unschooling, our lives got so easy" I just want to smack! Or "just parent with empathy, it makes them want to cooperate with you, and it magically makes everything easy!" Smack again! These people have never met my kid apparently! I use empathy all.the.time and believe me, it never produces magical immediate results! I still do it because I think it's important for the long term, but good god! Not for the short term!

Anyway...I *am* truly grateful for our opportunity and ability to unschool, I really am, and there are some great moments, but good gracious! It is not easy! Thanks for listening...
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#24 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 07:36 PM
 
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Hi Everyone,
I'm new here. I feel like I am always looking for a good unschoolers thread/group somewhere so I hope this is it! I have posted occasionally on various fb groups, but have never really found the support I was looking for there. So anyway... I hope its ok to tell a story here and do a little venting. I am looking for *support and empathy* and definitely not *judgment.* I hate to have to say that but after a few posts in places, I realize I have to. greensad.gif

Anyway, my DD is 5, almost 6 and we are unschooling right now. Lately she asks to go places a lot, be with other kids, etc...it's challenging. I have a one yr old with special needs, so we have a fair amount of therapy appointments, and we also need to be careful about our contact with other people because she has immune deficiency. Needless to say I've been a bit overwhelmed with how to meet these two kid's needs at once!

So anyway, I finally got on our local homeschool field trip list, and signed up for one that I KNEW my DD would LOVE. It even fit into our schedule perfectly, it was a dream come true! At the local nature center. Even one of her best friends would be there. She also had her last birthday party at this place. So, last night when she said "what are we doing tomorrow?!" (like she does every day/night)...I could say "we're going to the nature center!" Great. She was excited.

Well, I got up this morning and she had set up the living room to play "school" of all things! She was pretty into it and (I know now) was just too absorbed with that idea that she decided she didn't want to go on the field trip in that moment. But instead of saying that, she said "I"m sick." Of course there were no actual signs of her being sick, and I wasn't buying it, but my husband was buying it because *he* is sick right now. Urgh!!! Anyway, we did ask her if she just didn't want to go...she didn't really answer the question...until this afternoon she admitted she wasn't sick and that she had just been too into her play and didn't want to leave it. She said "she was only talking to herself, not us," and in this way felt that she wasn't technically lying to us!! OMG!!

I've done my best to be calm about it all...allowed her to stay home, I honored her saying that she was "sick" etc. But inside I am fuming!! I will admit that *I* was pretty attached to going to this thing! I know that we all would have loved it, and now, who knows when it will happen again. I am also now enduring all the facebook photos from friends who went and had a fabulous time. GRRRRRRR!!! I really want to give her a "consequence" of some sort, but I can't think of anything I can feel good about, because I am not into giving arbitrary consequences. greensad.gif I just learned *again* that I need to have the "commitment" talk with her *when* I sign her up for *anything!* greensad.gif

Anyway, I am *so sick* of trying to do "child led learning!" She changes.her.mind.all.the.frickin.time!! She says she wants one thing, so I plan, plan, plan, prepare, pay, etc...*then* she changes her flippin mind!!! Dear God! I just want to throw her in school!! Make her appreciate what she's got at home! Anyone who says "once we started unschooling, our lives got so easy" I just want to smack! Or "just parent with empathy, it makes them want to cooperate with you, and it magically makes everything easy!" Smack again! These people have never met my kid apparently! I use empathy all.the.time and believe me, it never produces magical immediate results! I still do it because I think it's important for the long term, but good god! Not for the short term!

Anyway...I *am* truly grateful for our opportunity and ability to unschool, I really am, and there are some great moments, but good gracious! It is not easy! Thanks for listening...
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#25 of 50 Old 02-18-2014, 09:58 PM
 
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Things really opened up once the youngest kid was four. Having a baby plus two or three still-very-young children made it really hard to get outside for anything more than a half hour of play and snow shovelling here and there. Those are the years of Cabin Fever that I'm recalling.

 

Well I just have two kids, but my youngest is only barely 3yo. She's learning to ski too. I do suspect I'm just a more stubborn or pushy parent in the realm of outdoors stuff. Not as unschooly there, I guess! It's a huge part of our life, so we started taking them on multi-month wilderness expeditions as babies, and have never presented outside time as optional. :)  There's a weekly preschooler hike, and preschooler ski in my town, and my kids usually get at least an hour or two of hiking/skiing/snow play/beach play on most of the rest of the days. I do suspect that nearly all kids across history were 'required' to learn and do certain things to be part of their family's life, and they usually enjoy it, so I don't feel particularly conflicted in being a little pushy there. Though this is the first year the 3yo has been expected to hike and ski on her own -- I wore her on my back until this fall.

 

I'm particularly lucky that both my husband and I work at home (him part time, and me very part time) so it is often possible to get out skiing/snowshoeing for an hour or a few without children, especially now that I have no nursing babies.

 

kwoodchuck -- I'm sorry things are so hard. I think I'll leave the advice mostly to the more experienced folks here though, since my kids are too little. And while they dawdle at getting ready, they don't tend to mind going places. I don't usually present things as a choice in that moment though. I mean, I'll ask them if they had fun at kid ski day, and if they're excited for next week, and would listen if they wanted to quit. When my 5yo really doesn't want to do something, he usually expresses it at other times too, not just when he's annoyed about having to get his coat on. So when it's time to go, I just say it's time to go.

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#26 of 50 Old 02-19-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I just have two kids, but my youngest is only barely 3yo. She's learning to ski too. I do suspect I'm just a more stubborn or pushy parent in the realm of outdoors stuff. Not as unschooly there, I guess! It's a huge part of our life, so we started taking them on multi-month wilderness expeditions as babies, and have never presented outside time as optional. :) 

 

That's fabulous! I would have loved to have raised my kids that way, but with dh working and on call so much, I was in practice single-parenting and discovered that with three or four little ones it was beyond stubborn and into the realm of insane to take them on long adventures by myself. I did do a five-day bike tour when the youngest two were 3.5 and almost-1 but once my middle dd came along I needed more adults or fewer kids and I honestly just gave up for several years -- and then it was tough to establish the expectation. It's great that you're able to keep that expectation and lifestyle going. I don't think it's necessarily unschooly to simply assume your kids will take part in your family lifestyle. I certainly never asked my kids whether they wanted to experience my hours of quartet rehearsals in the living room. If they didn't put up with that, I couldn't do the things I loved, that I was committed to, and in the absence of problems and complaints, we all just assumed that was "how our family lived." 

 

We're in the mountains where XC skiing is sparse and challenging but the downhill skiing is amazing. I feel badly that my older kids didn't learn to downhill ski at young ages since our nearby hill has only a (hugely long and steep) t-bar, doesn't allow backpacked kids, doesn't have a ski school, and hence one parent can only assist one child at a time. The other three have to already be managing the lift fine on their own (and how could they have learned that?) or sitting in the lodge with the other parent -- who was rarely available. So my kids learned, but not until they were were older. My youngest has benefitted from being at the tail end of the family in that it's been possible to ease her into things at a much younger age with the older kids being more self-sufficient already. We started her rock-climbing at four and she's done pretty much everything else too from multi-day wilderness canoe trips to downhill mountain biking. 

 

I suppose it's all good, though, since the main thing my eldest wants to do during the short times she's home in the summers is big alpine hikes and wilderness canoe trips. We've managed to instil that love somehow.

 

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#27 of 50 Old 02-19-2014, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyway, I am *so sick* of trying to do "child led learning!" She changes.her.mind.all.the.frickin.time!! She says she wants one thing, so I plan, plan, plan, prepare, pay, etc...*then* she changes her flippin mind!!! 

 

Oh, I remember this! My elder kids never transitioned well, and often developed cold feet about new experiences laced with unknowns, so this is very familiar to me. 

 

This may be a dirty confession, but I sometimes took a somewhat loose interpretation of "child-led learning." I assumed it meant "supporting my child in doing what she has expressed interest in, and will almost certainly be happy to have done, even if she is currently throwing a snit about doing it." I mean, I didn't always over-rule immediate desires, and I didn't ignore anxieties and other forms of resistance, but there were definitely times when I just pushed my kids past their in-the-moment whims and desires. 

 

For example, my ds knew he needed to be more active, and had expressed a desire to get involved in martial arts ("but not the fighting kind"). I discovered a lovely aikido dojo, so I called and arranged for him to join an age-appropriate beginner class. When it came time to go he balked. He was maybe 11 at the time, so he had all sorts of articulate and well-reasoned arguments why he shouldn't go. I knew it was mostly that he was anxious about the expectations and the new people and all the unknowns, and that he was busy playing games on the computer. I told him I understood why this felt hard, and no one was going to push him to participate or interact with anyone, he was welcome to simply watch, but I was going to take him since the initial impetus had come from him, I had put effort and energy into organizing it, and the sensei was expecting him. He cried the whole way there. At age eleven. You would have thought I was preparing to dump him at military school. 

 

Aikido ended up being something he really enjoyed. So ... Yeah. "Child-led" to me doesn't necessarily mean letting kids do what they say they want at any given moment. Sometimes it means the parent has to keep the bigger picture in mind and provide the expectations necessary to overcome in-the-moment obstacles. And, of course, also talking to your child about those obstacles and how they present themselves and empathizing, and explaining why you insisted yesterday, and pointing out how it turned out well, and talking about what you both learned from the experience. Still, it's a tough call to make sometimes, and at the time it doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy like "I'm being such a caring and supportive parent." But if you're being caring in the sense of exposing them to things that you know they'll enjoy and which they've expressed interest in doing, and are empathically helping them learn from the bigger picture, I think you can rest easy.

 

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#28 of 50 Old 02-19-2014, 08:43 AM
 
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#29 of 50 Old 02-19-2014, 09:02 AM
 
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I deleted my last comment, because Miranda said things so much better and more helpfully.

 

Except this I did want to say:  I've seen this happen before with parents who like to be child-led, in theory.  They work their tails off following up on interests and are burned out.  You can dial it back.  Not every interest has to be followed up.  And even if you do follow up, it can be something simple like a book from the library.  Especially at this age when deep interests are less common, children are naturally more fickle.

 

There are even advantages to backing off:  especially when they are exploring, they can explore with that wide-eyed wonder and open mindedness that they will never have again.  I noticed my involvement wound up with names and facts and directing their attention to something and that wasn't always best--usually not, I don't think.  Little kids don't think in words, they notice what catches their eye, and I was busy trying to fit that into "scientific observation", failing to see the value of her own.  In addition, they also learn to follow up on their own interests, which can be as good a skill to learn than what they are studying, if not better.  

 

The last advantage is that mom and dad can kick back and stop *doing* so much for their kids and start doing for themselves.  Not that my girls were ever interested in doing much that I did, preferring their own games and activities for the most part, but child-led doesn't always mean that the parent is following either.  A choice to do what parents are doing is also child-led.

 

There needs to be balance.  Redefine "support".


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#30 of 50 Old 02-19-2014, 09:45 AM
 
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We're in the mountains where XC skiing is sparse and challenging but the downhill skiing is amazing.

I live in the same terrain! (and had the same winter, with no snow until a week and a half ago).  Skiing for the preschool set involves taking them to the top of an ungraveled road by truck or by foot, and letting them head down on downhill skis with a crowd of moms chasing and picking them back up when needed. Skiing for the rest of us is skinning up a mountain and then skiing back down on trails cut by other skiers. And "ski school" for both crowds is one wonderful and enthusiastic guy who used to be a ski instructor and makes it his mission to volunteer helping teach everyone in town that he can and loaning out gear to most of them.

It does sound like your kids managed to have a great love and experience of the outdoors despite those early difficulties. And I can see why it would be much more impossible with 4 of them. I have my hands full with just my two. 

 

(now your other post is reminding me that I need to try and start up an aikido class in town again).

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