Creating a richer environment when you live an ordinary life. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Any thoughts?


We do not live on a farm. We do not live on a boat. We do not live in an RV. We are not marine biologists, carpenters, beekeepers, yoga masters or musicians.


What are ORDINARY ways to enrich your home? I realize that one answer is getting out, going to museums, touring farms, hiking the woods, having a billion and one experiences, living life out loud. But for the rest of us who aren't go-go-go people all the time, how do you get daily enrichment into your home naturally on the days when you are just, you know, at home?

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#2 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 09:25 AM
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read, read, read, read, read books and newspapers and keep our globe near by


and when we are not reading we listen to mostly classical music, operas (with others musical tastes thrown in), we internet virtual museums around the world, we cook (using history and culture as our guide)-those are just a few things me do most days

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#3 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 09:29 AM
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Awesome question!

Spend less time on the internet.
Buy some flowers
Do art once a week
Hang up the art
Take pictures
Paint a wall
have a morning circle
Spend some time in prayer or meditation focusing on your blessings
Do something to help someone else, like give baby clothes to a new mom
Set the dinner table with napkins and place settings
read to your kids when you want to watch TV
Make a nature table
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#4 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 10:10 AM
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Sorry to forum crash - I'm not a homeschooler. However, I used to take care of kids over the summer and I was constantly looking for home learning experiences. Here's some of the things we would do...


Cooking - I'd let the kids read the recipe with me. Then they would measure out the ingredients and help me prepare it. 


Gardening - I didn't have an actual garden. We just planted some seeds in pots on the back deck and took care of them. It's also fun to plant a seed against the edge of a glass container so you can watch the roots grow.


Butterflies - You can order butterfly eggs from several different companies online and watch them  hatch, make a chrysalis, and turn into butterflies. (I like the eggs better than ordering caterpillars because you can watch them hatch and grow. Make sure that you have a plant with leaves that the caterpillar will eat.) If you get monarch eggs, you can also study the migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico. (You can get tadpoles, ladybugs, crawfish, etc. to observe various life cycles.)


Weekly Country - The kids and I would choose a different country every week. We'd read library books about it, cook dishes from that country, and typically do a related craft. 


- Enriching Toys - I had a few magnifying glasses and a set of Fridgets that the girls loved. I've also seen magnetic gear sets that look like so much fun. 


Art Projects - We did watercolors, air-dry or oven bake clay, pastels, etc. It's messy, but so good for creativity and fine motor skills. 

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#5 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 11:10 AM
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I don't aim for daily enrichment. I try to get ds out of the house 2-3 times a week (park day, field trip, or activity). When the weather is nice, we'll do a neighborhood walk for some fresh air and exercise. If our stay at home days are ordinary, that's ok.

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#6 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 02:32 PM
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I asked my older two what they remember most about our homeschooling days and here is their list:



--  freezing toys (plastic dinosaurs, matchbox cars, etc) into blocks of ice and playing "Ice Age" in a warm bath


--  the time we used up all of our leftover finger paints and had a massive messy party in the back yard


-- hot cocoa on cold days


-- homemade popsicles on warm days


-- listening to books on tape together


-- art projects of all kinds


-- building forts in the living room with chairs, cushions, blankets



Simple stuff really.  They remember so much of our lazy, messy days at home.  All those days when I thought my house was a wreck and the kids were driving me a bit batty and then we would call out for pizza and have a picnic in the living room -- yah, those are the enriching days that my kids love and remember.  



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#7 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 05:55 PM
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I think we all feel like our lives are ordinary and other people's lives are exotic.  I know people who raise bees, and they don't think it's a big deal at all.  I think one of the best things you can do is be interested in stuff and share it with your kids, both to share your passion with them, and to show them how a person can pursue an interest.  Before you know it, you're interest will head down some exotic path (if it hasn't already) or you'll be surprised when someone seems impressed by it.  Pick something your family enjoys, and look for ways to be creative with it, if you've fallen into a rut.  Also, don't read too many blogs and let them make you crazy-- it's easy to go from one to the next and come away with the impression that everyone else is constantly doing amazing stuff.


I like to cook, so we've made food from all over the world.  The recipes don't always work out shrug.gif.  We have some pets, with an emphasis on animals that are either easy to care for or short-lived.  We have a range of educational toys with an emphasis on the stuff my kids especially enjoy.  It's nothing all that spectacular, but I could probably write about it in a way that made it seem like something really special (and it is special to us, but it's also just us being ourselves, KWIM?)



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#8 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 07:20 PM
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Thank you so much for this post. These are the sort of things I hope my DC will remember as well.


Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post

I asked my older two what they remember most about our homeschooling days and here is their list:



--  freezing toys (plastic dinosaurs, matchbox cars, etc) into blocks of ice and playing "Ice Age" in a warm bath


--  the time we used up all of our leftover finger paints and had a massive messy party in the back yard


-- hot cocoa on cold days


-- homemade popsicles on warm days


-- listening to books on tape together


-- art projects of all kinds


-- building forts in the living room with chairs, cushions, blankets



Simple stuff really.  They remember so much of our lazy, messy days at home.  All those days when I thought my house was a wreck and the kids were driving me a bit batty and then we would call out for pizza and have a picnic in the living room -- yah, those are the enriching days that my kids love and remember.  




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#9 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 07:32 PM
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On those days where nothing is scheduled and we stay home, my girls (5 and 7) they just.... play.  They are incredibly good making up their own games (yeah, um, most of the time!)  I can listen to their rhythms.  10:30am?  Time for the fight and reading time/second breakfast.  Yesterday I just kept myself busy doing my own chores and they played one game all day (this is quite rare, BTW, and I don't mean it to be a brag but it is pretty cool if for no other reason than pure relief.)  I share my enthusiasm and listen to theirs and we make it up as we go along.  For younger kids this can really be all you need in the way of "enrichment".  Some of their games are pretty strange and indescribable, some are just unpredictable, like fashioning the alphabet out of the case of refried bean cans the got into without asking.  


So, make sure you provide plenty of refried bean cans!  They have also made games from plastic corks, twist ties, clear bottle caps, green apples, string, water, even vegetable peelings.  Oh, and scissors.  I am a big fan of full-scissor-access!  Binoculars keep them busy, though my 5yo mostly uses them in conjunction with the magnifying glass to read her towering stacks of nature guide books.  She will also "paint" them with a dry watercolor brush, and trace letters will her "quill pen" (oh, thank you Harry Potter!)


Crazy how these girls can keep themselves busy without any efforts to enrich their environment beyond having some good books and materials around, giving them free access to as much as you dare, and giving them loads of time just to do their thing.


I am so going to get them to freeze some toys for their next bath!  Or let them, they love filling the ice trays.



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#10 of 34 Old 02-28-2012, 08:41 PM
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Everyone's life is interesting or boring depending on how you tell it. A good storyteller can have you sitting on the edge of your seat on a bus ride to the grocery store. A bad storyteller can make a trip to the Taj Mahal tedious.


So enjoy the story that is your life.


As someone else sort of said, build a fort over the kitchen table and sit underneath it eating ritz crackers smeared with jelly (if you can stand it.) And drink in the divine of your ordinary life. How blessed you are.


BTW, what do you think about white eggs? Pretty ordinary, huh? When my son was 4, he was shocked that the eggs in my mom's house were white. Eggs were supposed to be brown and green like our chickens lay.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing and living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
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#11 of 34 Old 02-29-2012, 06:05 AM
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Some things we do at home that could be considered enriching:


Play games like chess, Gobblet, Othello, Blokus, or Set


Play around with Scratch


Collect and raise caterpillars.  DD got pretty serious about this last year.  We had as many as 20 at a time.  The coolest was a kind of moth that has wingless adult females.  Hunting for caterpillars is part of the fun.  You can beat trees and see what falls off onto a light-colored cloth or go out at night with a flashlight when more caterpillars are active.  We got a good caterpillar field guide and we use that along with online resources to identify what we find.


Talk about interesting philosophical or social issues.  How do you decide whether something is morally right or wrong?  Is it always wrong to lie?  To break the law?  To kill other people?  What can you know for sure?  How much can you trust what other people tell you or what you read?  How much can you trust your own senses?  What makes things beautiful or ugly?  Is it possible to be wrong about whether something is beautiful, or is it completely subjective?  Should parents be allowed to make medical decisions for their kids based on beliefs that are out of the mainstream?  Is it dangerous to let people homeschool their kids if it means some kids will be raised with beliefs most would consider "wrong?"


Keep pets or (perhaps just temporarily) things you've caught outside like crickets or toads.  (Feeding flies to toads is highly entertaining.)


Read (or tell) stories from the Bible.  (Or other mythology.)  We had a good discussion last week about the story of Job.


Do art.  We have a book called Drawing with Children that we've had fun with.


Give your kid a camera and let her take pictures and videos.

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#12 of 34 Old 02-29-2012, 06:09 AM
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DS (6yo) and I are homebodies (and DS gets horribly carsick, so we limit our driving excursions to museums and woods, etc.).  I try to get us out of the house on a neighborhood walk every day.  We have several different routes to choose from, but basically we've done the same walk hundreds of times.  DS still manages to entertain himself by picking up a fallen twig and pretending it's an xyz, or breaking it against a big tree.  The changing of the seasons always makes our walks more enjoyable--DS and I point out new buds and blooms to each other; I love noticing how the color change progresses in fall; DS likes to comment on how naked the trees are as they drop their leaves.


Other than that, we pretty much just stay inside (we're both weather wimps and freaked out by bees).  I go to the library at least once a week to check out books on whatever DS is currently interested in; we're also watching travel DVDs as part of our social studies.  At the moment DS loves Garfield, so we've got about a dozen Garfield books checked out, as well as a couple of Garfield cartoon DVDs.  DS will spend hours reading the comic strips out loud, and sometimes he'll try to draw his own versions.  He's also very interested in pretending to be a kitten, so I've got a variety of cat books checked out, too.  I refuse to have pets, and we don't have any nearby friends with pets, so DS's pet exposure is very limited.  He's had a blast watching funny cat videos on YouTube, reading Lol Cats captions, and watching movies like That Darn Cat!


I garden, and DS usually likes to take note of big changes (crocuses are blooming!), or help me pick basil leaves for pizza, or sometimes just play with the watering can (making cool designs on the driveway with water).  DS isn't interested in most of my gardening, but he's exposed to it, is very familiar with plant life cycles, and he adores helping me plant seeds and watching for the sprouts.


I knit and crochet, which DS has zero interest in, but he sees me reading patterns and working with yarn to create warm or whimsical things (he loves the Hobbes I crocheted him back when he was in his Calvin and Hobbes phase).  He knows it's something I enjoy, and he knows that if I'm upset, it calms me right down.


I cook dinner every day and sometimes bake.  DS usually ignores it all.  Sometimes he likes to help use the can opener.  Other times he'll become obsessed with stacking up all the (many) spice jars in various formations.


Randomly, DH will suggest a science experiment.  Most of the time DS is excited about those, but sometimes he's not interested, or too involved in something else.


We have a wall map of the US which we mostly use to show DS where we'll be traveling.  Also a laminated world map, which DS loves to draw on, and a globe, which DS mostly uses as Earth for his Star Trek Lego creations.


The other night, when DH came home from work (after dark), he noticed several planets were close to the moon, so after dinner, he took DS outside to show them to him.  


Basically, just try to be aware as you move through your day.  Notice the little things, point them out, see if it sparks an interest.  If not, fine.  But at least the exposure/awareness is there.

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#13 of 34 Old 02-29-2012, 06:15 AM
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What an awesome thread! We just took our kids out of school to home educate.  Im getting some pretty groovy ideas here and its spurring my own imagination. I had a look to see how much it would cost to purchase some butterfly eggs and its SO cheap!! Do I need a special cage to hatch them in?

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#14 of 34 Old 03-01-2012, 11:09 PM
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We're pretty ordinary. 


We try and celebrate the big holidays with meals - like Jambalaya for Fat Tuesday (we're secular, so no lent) and Cabbage for St. Patricks Day. We celebrate each of the equinoxes and solstices. And of course, regular family stuff.


We put the bulbs in so that they pop up in the spring. And we walk around our neighborhood and look at our neighbors yards. We don't get that much sun for gardening. So we have one small bed and a few containers. I try and walk by them every so often. Look, up comes the garlic. The kids have a couple house plants and cactus. We have a few flowerbeds. We don't cut the heads off the flowers until the new growth is coming. Now the birds are eating the seeds from last years flowers. Wonderful! We can see them from the window. Of course there are squirrels.


I think the beauty of children is that if we stand back, they can find the extraordinary. In the fall, when we went on a little tiny walk in a near by forested area, it was just the right time for the spiders to have a ton of webs everywhere. It had rained, so they were all standing out and glowing in the shade. My son noticed and was so excited. So I think another aspect is waiting for them to notice the extraordinary. 


If you find a caterpillar, stick it in a jar and feed it! We have had great experiences from that. We look for bird's nests outside! 






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#15 of 34 Old 03-02-2012, 08:22 AM
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I love these responses, and just have to laugh, because I am planning to school my kids at home next year, and I am thinking about the struggles we'll face with enrichment...and presumably, our life wouldn't fall within your definition of "ordinary." We'll be living most of the school year in Dubai (we're here now, but kids are in school), and a small part of either end + summers in US.


In the US, it's easier for me to think of what to do--farms, parks, trails, YMCA, farm markets, community service, libraries, bike rides, museums. Art and craft supplies are easy to find and relatively cheap. Animal shelters, homeless shelters, domestic abuse shelters need volunteers. In Dubai, the only thing that doesn't cost money is the public beach. So I'm looking at a school year (more or less) in a small apartment. I can only hope we end up close to the beach, and right now my plan is to work on mastering public transit (which probably sounds funny to anyone who uses it regularly), having lunches in ethnic places all over town over the course of the year, visiting the Hindu shiva and the Sikh Gurudwara if we can, doing a lot of PE in the building's gym (during the day when most tenants are working), and studying Arabic. I'm sure I'll be online looking for cheap and easy science experiments, and we'll work on housekeeping skills. winky.gif


But it's like SundayCrepes said, any life can be exciting or boring. We are bored much, much more often than we ever were in the US, but we are trying to dig more deeply into life here and not just have the typical expat experience of school and extracurriculars all week and then the mall, resort, amusement park or hotel stay on a weekend. (We'd go broke if we lived like that.) Even so, we spend most evenings reading aloud, and here I am on a Friday night cruising MDC while my kids read books after cooking themselves some noodles for a snack.


On the bright side, I have two confident travelers who are learning about parts of the world we'd otherwise have missed. shrug.gif


Had to laugh, because like Daffodil, we also had a great talk last week about Job (we're Muslim, and he is a shared prophet).

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#16 of 34 Old 03-02-2012, 09:35 AM
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I think it's also important to stop and think about what life is like for the average school-attendee.  Math class isn't WOW SHABANG every day. There is one, two if lucky, major field trips per year. Yes, you rotate rooms, but all learning takes place in the same building every day. Go home, do homework, sports practice, eat dinner, watch tv & play, go to bed. Most people in this country live ordinary lives, that's why it's called "ordinary"! Nothing wrong with it. My parents did have decent money & I went to school. They did not take me to the museum, science center, zoo, music hall, etc. That was what school field trips were for, in their eyes. I took dance classes and bowling. Our school had monthly skate night at the roller rink. That kind of stuff. I spent a lot of time just playing, either by myself or w/ the other kids on my street.


Some things I remember were building a giant volcano for science class in grade 8. Padding eggs & dropping them out the window, trying not to break them. Making collages with cut-outs of the 50 states. Being handed photographs from magazines and having to write a paragraph about it. Collecting bugs for a bug box. Collecting leaves for a leaf book. Spelling bees. 


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#17 of 34 Old 03-02-2012, 09:53 AM
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I very much agree with the sentiments that "everyone thinks their own life is ordinary" and that "It's all in how you tell the story." 


I often think of our family life as pretty boring. We live nowhere near museums, zoos, science centres, movie theatres, pools, restaurants, ethnic neighbourhoods, recreation centres or other nifty public resources. Our house is modest in size and accoutrements. We're largely trapped indoors by snow and cold weather for five months of the year. We live too far from town for the kids to walk to visit friends. Everything requires driving and there isn't much even so. There are few opportunities for activities: no gymnastics, no dance, no youth orchestra, no martial arts, no softball, no hockey, no swim team, no chess club.


So we've learned to create our own opportunities, and to preferentially use what opportunities our life does present. That often involves me imagining us as visitors to our own home and asking what we would be interested in. For instance, I think of someone coming from a completely opposite kind of place -- perhaps central Paris, or NYC, or Mexico City -- and I wonder what would excite them about our home environment. This exercise gives me a new perspective on what our boring, ordinary home environment has to offer. Then I begin to pay attention too all the stuff that normally just acts like wallpaper in my life, and I begin to see ways to take advantage of it. 


For us, that's stuff like strapping on headlamps and snowshoes on dark winter evenings and tramping through the forest. Or arranging to visit the new baby goats at the homestead of some nearby acquaintances. Or teaching ourselves how to build wattle fences from the weedy hazelwood bushes that grow up on the edge of our property. All of which I'm sure sounds terribly exotic to someone who lives in suburbia or a small city -- and which could lead you to ask what someone like me would find exotic about your home life. 


We do have long periods of house-bound-ness in the winter. This week I have two kids sick, the snow is thigh-deep and still falling. We're mostly staying home doing low-energy things. My kids are older (9 through 15) so our home activities reflect that, but here are some of the things we're into:


Stop-motion animation

Zentangles / zenspiration doodling


The Great Harry Potter Film Festival (popcorn, friends, movie after movie after movie...)

Minecraft (computer game played from home on a shared server with local friends)

Ethnic cooking (dd9 is making dal for us today)

Kitchen chemistry (purple cabbage pH indicator: too awesome!)

Watching the bird-feeder

Baking ... especially the experimental sort

Building a hydroponic window garden 

Redecorating bedrooms

Designing a garage



Watching the Human Planet (BBC) series

Warm baths


Making soap

Improvising and composing music (digitally or acoustically)

Skypeing friends

Baking bread or making pizza

Knitting, weaving, felting, crocheting

Family board games





Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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#18 of 34 Old 03-02-2012, 01:50 PM
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Some great ideas already.

Here are a couple more:


Bring the world to you.

Join postcard swaps, ATC swaps, craft/nature swaps, country swaps. Find penpals. Invite interesting people to dinner. Host short term (or longer term) student exchanges, or offer to billet visiting musicians or artists. Offer up your yard or couch for people passing through (there are a few different organizations which match people up for that sort of meeting).  There are tonnes of ideas in the book Growing Up Global which is excellent.


Sign up for newsletters (online or snailmail) that may lead you to explore interesting topics at home. Stargazing, art, birdwatching, citizen science projects, global awareness, world music etc are just some ideas.


Celebrate birthdays of famous people, different cultural events, historical days. Do it with just family, or invite friends. Host parties (family art, family math, open mic night,  dress as your favourite historical figures etc.)  Have a family writing club, book club, movie reviews, newsletter, blog.


Have family projects. Build a cob oven or a soap box derby car. If you have outdoor space, get chickens, set up bird feeders, breed rabbits, naturalize your yard and have it certified as a backyard habitat. Friends of mine built a cedar strip canoe one winter with their 3 boys (its gorgeous!)


Have family info nights or debate nights - everyone brings something new to discuss for dinner. Love this idea.  Read the newspaper or magazines together.


Have things that make exploration easy - reference books, binoculars and a microscope, weigh scales, basic science and art supplies, hand tools that kids can access, scrap lumber and building materials, old gameboards and pieces for creating new games.


Set aside regular times for exploring together - one night a week for science, one for movies, afternoons for art or poetry, screen free days, new music Mondays so that time doesn't always dribble away with what is easy rather than what is interesting.








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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#19 of 34 Old 03-02-2012, 03:22 PM
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#20 of 34 Old 03-03-2012, 03:50 AM
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SundayCrepes, this is so eloquent and true. heartbeat.gif
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post

Everyone's life is interesting or boring depending on how you tell it. A good storyteller can have you sitting on the edge of your seat on a bus ride to the grocery store. A bad storyteller can make a trip to the Taj Mahal tedious.

So enjoy the story that is your life.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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#21 of 34 Old 03-05-2012, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by genifer View Post

What an awesome thread! We just took our kids out of school to home educate.  Im getting some pretty groovy ideas here and its spurring my own imagination. I had a look to see how much it would cost to purchase some butterfly eggs and its SO cheap!! Do I need a special cage to hatch them in?

There are companies that sell cages, but you could easily make one yourself - bonus activity! I've seen homemade cages made of plywood frames wrapped in a fine mesh. Make sure you have mesh on the top too so your caterpillar has something to hang from while making it's chrysalis (I prop up long hefty sticks for the same purpose). The most important thing is to have a plant your caterpillar will eat. Some caterpillars are very finicky (e.g., monarchs will only eat milkweed).
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#22 of 34 Old 03-06-2012, 12:24 PM
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Something that's made a huge difference for us is having our good friends and neighbors over.  We alternate hosting Monday evening dinners before our boys head off to their scouting meeting.  Sometimes we eat something a bit fancy, but sometimes it's just a pot of spaghetti or pizza or soup and bread.  Sharing our week with each other enriches both families. 

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#23 of 34 Old 03-07-2012, 10:38 AM
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One thing we incorporated into our days years ago ~ At dinner we all share 'our favorite part of the day'. This is a very sweet and fun moment for all of us, and it really has helped me get to know the kids and their individual preferences better. They tell me clearly, in their own words just what happens in our days that is memorable, enjoyable, and important to them. I was actually thinking last night that I wanted to share this idea on my blog. We get so much out of it, even though it is a short, easy thing to do as a family. My dd 4 often turns it into telling your favorite 3 things as it is hard to pick just one. Too fun!

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#24 of 34 Old 03-15-2012, 01:58 PM
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A few ideas:


Listen to classical music - the Beethoven's Wig CDs are great, and the 2-CD set from classicsforkids:   (I posted the link because it is hard to find)


Practice instruments


Read children's collections of Aesop's fables, mythology, classic fairy tales, Just So Stories, etc.  Stuff that gets the brain going.


Watch science DVDs.  Do experiments.


Paint with different types of things - sponges, toothbrushes, toothpicks, feathers etc.  Look at art books.

DS1 March 2003DS2 Sept 2005,
and 3 , in our happy secular
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#25 of 34 Old 03-15-2012, 07:45 PM
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This is a GREAT thread! So easy to get stuck in ruts. Thanks everyone!

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#26 of 34 Old 03-17-2012, 09:06 AM
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Dancing in the Kitchen (always)


Watching cool videos - especially around the world type videos (we love YouTube)


Making obstacle courses in the backyard (or throughout the house)


Watching movies with crazy popcorn - blue cheese popcorn, pbj popcorn, maple syrup popcorn...


Singing - through which ds is learning about Beatles, Doors, Dylan, Marley, politics, philosophy, and awesome vocabulary words. (we're terrible singers btw, but it's so much fun)





Mama to one 9yo Dancing Boy

My Blog -

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#27 of 34 Old 03-18-2012, 10:38 PM
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Such a cool thread to read! 


Really quickly, I want to tell you that I own Shel Silverstein's cd where the poem, "Ickle Me Pickle Me Tickle me too" :




Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Went for a ride in a flying shoe.
"What fun!"
"It's time we flew!"
Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle was captain, and Pickle was crew
And Tickle served coffee and mulligan stew
As higher
And higher
And higher they flew,
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too,
Over the sun and beyond the blue.
"Hold on!"
"Stay in!"
"I hope we do!"
Cried Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle too
Never returned to the world they knew,
And nobody
Knows what's
Happened to
Dear Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.


Tearing? I mean, my goodness.. does he not say it all? :D! It gets me! I sneak it into some of the Raffi playlists. I think it is about how fleeting childhood is, and like the beginning "Went for a ride in a flying shoe."Hooray!" "What fun!""It's time we flew!" , how fun growing and living those years are. Sometimes when I am feeling so ordinary it reminds me that my kids are so new and it is actually rather healthy to focus them on the free, organic (schooling, living, being), and the priceless love that comes when I am not planning for it. I know I am suppose to be prepareing them and giving them an awesome life, but sometimes I like to think back to a film "Baraka" which shows the human story, good and bad, but the first part of the film in a great way. The first actor is a monkey, which is an accident (director's voice over tells this, " the camera was set up, actor was called to the set, but then the monkey decided to hop in" ). The monkey wound up meditating in a hot spring with ice in his/her hair. It was perfect because they wanted to have the first scene represent all of humanity and let this monkey be in the film and not the actor they originally had. The monkey looked around a little bit, then started to close and reopen it's eyes, then let them be closed for a quite a few relaxing breaths, I am sure by the sweet warmth of the springs. What I mean to say is, life is so simple sometimes; don't forget how perfectly sweet thoughts you can have sweeping. 


Okay. The other thing that comes to mind is ----- why be ordinary? Something *must* be itching in you. Listen to it. I agree with the "wallpaper" Miranda spoke of. Some ways we can on the brink of bringing out something inside us. Please play around with it! Write down a list of free things or abstract ideas you want, or want more of. is a site that has really been changing my life lately! Pandora for free music too. Both of those are free ways I have really begun to express more of myself. Basically try to get some inspiration. I am trying not to list examples because sometimes it can make you think and think like you are window shopping. Maybe that is okay, but linking some of *your* passions with a list of free ways to get there and then searching pinterest maybe closer to target. Even searching there for just blah things you want to change as well. (I follow a lot of art, nature, and some style, but about 300 homeschooling moms are the bulk). 


I once did a year of not buying stuff and only got stuck a few times. Three things happened: I got more creative, I found more time, and I by taking myself away from buying places, it seems I took the elevator to the top floor of design (and "designing" my life). It seems that the stores...trying to think but it seems like I can't think of ones that I really loved after that year..anyway, it seems like the tons of choices in those places kept my life very ordinary. I am much more into free ways, clearing clutter or handmade, or next to nothing and hopefully reused way of life now. I just did a cloud painting on cardboard for a play kitchen - which use to be dining hutch, etc. I had to stomach the cost of the paints and brushes though, but I like having the supplies. I also love making those colored books of scrapbook making into - anything. Like this (making one):

Also doing this over the windows as curtains, but in white (cause the room has a lot of rainbow going on): .. 


I also have been wearing red lips lately for fun. :D 


I guess the biggest change has been a juicer. Whole different topic but really rocked my world and great! 


The suggestions made by other members are super great! I think I have done most of them and highly suggest it! I am organized about it too. I take notes that we did it (digital stuff) and see a trend.. it is super rewarding to them as "school". It may be hard for you to start a new gig or process in your life with all the ways we get ourselves busy, but make a list.. look at it next month and then once again the next. Something will begin to surface like "Making indian food." you may get a few recipes printed out... in a sense like riding a bike. 


I know I am going to have a raw food party because I am trying to meet hippie moms so badly! I am asking a few new friends (relocated) to invite any cool people over to it. 


I also have a big fluffy dress I got a bag thrift store sale that I wear to "Tea." :D A few crazy days are fun times!




Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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#28 of 34 Old 03-19-2012, 01:21 AM
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Loving this thread, so inspirational!


greenacres love your post and just wanted to say how much I love in your signature "semi-unschooling". That's where we are, or at least where it feels like we are moving towards.!

Raising Geek_Generation_2.0 :LET ds= 10 ; LET dd1= ds - 2; LET dd2=dd-2; IF month=0.67 THEN LET ds = ds+1; 
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#29 of 34 Old 03-24-2012, 01:14 PM
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lurk.gif so many beautiful things shared. Lots of inspiration.



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#30 of 34 Old 04-04-2012, 09:35 PM
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I am loving this thread!

We are pretty ordinary too, though I have all kinds of neat hobbies I rarely have the uninterrupted time for now, with 3 between ages 1 and 7. 


We have started grooving out to loving our home, and being in it, when we are not either having to clean it, fix or clean up after a meal, get ready for bed, or get ready to go out. That precious time at home, when the meal is done til the next meal, when the meals are cleaned up after and the house is tidy and swept, and we then don't have to pack up and rush off somewhere, are GOLD.


Sometimes we slouch in front of screens for some luscious Netflix Roku for them, and some private computer time for me, and that's good, but the best of all is when we turn off from the screens and turn on with each other, and that is when the magic happens.


During that magic timespace, we discovered, we LOVE to:


-Have tea and toast in the dining room

-Play Parcheesi

-Play dominoes, cards, (little kid games) or something else

-Crank up the Pandora on the big speakers and dance til we feel betta

-Cuddle and read just like on those pretty homeschool-life-is-perfect blogs

-Cook something that is a treat, just for fun, instead of a meal, out of necessity.

-Sit outside on the sunny steps and watch the world go by while sipping something cold and yummy.

-Make tissue paper flowers, sew something, or paint, or some other cool art or craft

-Decide to go for a walk to the park and play, and stop by the corner store and say hi to the people we know.

-Make music

-Flip through catalogs or magazines, and talk about what we like in this one or that one

-Make dreidels out of clay (we did this and it was hours, days, and weeks of fun, as we then learned how to play dreidel after they were dry and ready)

-decorate the living room for whatever little celebration or occasion is coming...can be anything, string lights, paper flowers and garlands, flower arrangements, we love it.


And last but not least, often in those moments, we find ourselves sort of dispersing while still together, each to their own muse. The 7 year old wants to work on a project, the 4 year old wants to flip through books or build with legos, and the toddler wants to nurse and nap while I indulge in a magazine or handicraft. Bliss!


40ish homeschool.gif trekkie.gif guitar.gifhbac.gifnovaxnocirc.gif raising 3 kids with the help of their loving father.

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