Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I have spent the last few years seriously researching educational alternatives to public school. Currently I have been reading about unschooling. The wikipedia page on unschooling describes it pretty well - found here. And for anyone interested, I'd recommend reading anything by John Holt. I have been studying unschooling to be informed in all forms of education so that we choose the best fit for our family.

From John Holt's book, Teach Your Own:
'When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world as their parents can comfortably bear."
I have been reading these books by Holt
1, Learning All The TIme
2. Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education
3. How Children Learn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Home education
Unschooling is generally considered to be a form of home education, which is simply the education of children at home rather than in a school. Home education is often considered to be synonymous with homeschooling, but some have argued that the latter term implies the re-creation of school in the context of the home, which they believe is philosophically at odds with unschooling.

Unschooling contrasts with other forms of home education in that the student's education is not directed by a teacher and curriculum. Although unschooling students may choose to make use of teachers or curricula, they are ultimately in control of their own education.[9] Students choose how, when, why, and what they pursue. Parents who unschool their children act as "facilitators," providing a wide range of resources, helping their children access, navigate, and make sense of the world, and aiding them in making and implementing goals and plans for both the distant and immediate future. Unschooling expands from children's natural curiosity as an extension of their interests, concerns, needs, goals, and plans. Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

I don't want
to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing
beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long,
perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to
drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids
to scout camp.

I want to be
there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk's lawn.

I want to be
there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches
for a sick neighbor's children.

I want to be
there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed
someone's garden.

I want to be
there with the children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a
friend on my shoulder.

I want the
Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

Marjorie Pay

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer is Too Short Around Here

We turned our new oven box into not a Lemonade Stand, but a Fairy Stand. The kids had been working hard on their projects to sell. Jane made about 45 fairies and Charlie made quite a few of his Ikea bead things that you melt. They made posters, and decorated the box so it was pretty cute and luckily some friends showed up to help. This was probably the best part. My kids will hang out with the Holland kids anytime, anywhere. I don't know if they get along with anyone else as well. As you can see in the picture below, Jacob and Summer sort of have a thing going on.  This is what they did when I told everyone to get together for the picture. But don't worry, she says "yum" when he kisses her (its a long story). One of their great ideas was to sit inside the box and work on more merchandise while they waited for customers. Genius. They made about $15 but I think they divided it all up between all of them. I didn't even ever see the money- I am sure it went into pockets and got lost while they finished playing outside. 

Jane is so patient with Scarlet. Its so endearing. When Scarlet is having a hard time, which is 93% of the time we decided yesterday, Jane will take her to the backyard and push her in her swing and she loves it.

We don't really use the tramp for jumping, its more like for looking at the clouds, snuggling in our blankets and reading books, playing in the sprinkler and talking about life and as Jane says, watching time go by.

We got these plastic beaded necklaces from the BB and the kids cut them so that they were one straight line and then played with them ALL DAY. What were they playing you ask? Snakes. Who knew "snakes" could be so fun. So we got on good old You Tube and I showed them a few snake charmer clips which is the weirdest thing ever, and of course that led to busting out the recorder for some crazy snake charming. 
All this summer fun calls for homemade Tabi socks. Socks that Charlie can wear with his flip flops because its not good for his dry itchy skin to be barefoot all summer. So instead of buying them for $12/pair, I just drew around his toe with a marker while the socks were on, then sewed around the lines, then snipped them and VOILA. Free Tabi socks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some People are So Weird!

We had fun looking at all the weird things people do to their poodles.
These poor little doggies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Philanthropia means "Love for Humankind"

I think this would be a great service project to do with kids. I am planning to do it with my Achievement Days group. Here's the description from the website:

The purpose of Make A Child Smile is to tell stories of children battling serious illnesses and then give our website visitors the opportunity to mail a cheery card/letter and/or gift to brighten their day. We encourage you to send REAL MAIL (not email) to our children.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homeschool is Dangerous

Poor Scarlet can't handle the homeschooling going on around here. Its more hazardous than you'd think. Firstly, a stack of math blocks fell on her head and cut it open (notice the surgical tape in the picture), resulting in a trip to emergency to get it glued back (thanks for the ride Tracie). Next, she got magnetic putty stuck in her hair and we had to cut some of it off. Lastly, she almost ate the head of a baby chick...
Alright, she wasn't trying to eat it, just kiss it. She is still in the open mouth kisses stage and the chick is just so small! So the story is that Jane wanted to learn about chicks for this next school year. We've been getting lots of chicken library books and learning as much as we could without actually having a real one. Then on thursday morning, 25 baby chicks arrived in the mail in a box smaller than a shoebox. Five were for us and the rest were for neighboring farmer friends. We bought an "Omlet" which is a coop for suburban backyard chickens and we are looking forward to our own fresh eggs. But these little chick babies have to stay inside  for a couple of weeks because its too cold outside, which means that the kids have had chicks all over the place- pockets, dollhouses, toyboxes, bookshelves... 

The kids came up with these names, after much deliberation: Peeps, Chirping, Ready, Lullaby, and Chop.

Jane said, "When I rub my chick against my cheek do yo know what it feels like? The Spririt."

The morning before they arrived I had a little chicken lesson ready for the kids. Lately we've been into collective nouns so we learned that its called a "clutch' of eggs and a flock of chickens. Then we learned about training chickens to know a certain sound means treats. We learned about the importance of coop cleanliness and the health benefits of a backyard chicken etc. At the end we talked about the whole pecking order thing. Anyways, this was  few hours before the chicks arrived. They came to the door, and we set everything up and then as we sat and watched them, little Jacob says, "Mom, which one is the boss?" He had somehow caught some of the lesson and understood the pecking order part and was wanting his chicken "Chop" to be "the boss".
Seriously you don't get any cuter.

These two love eachother. They are always cuddled.

Only one of these animals is real.
Charlie set up this shot. Pretty romantic mood for a 5 year old.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pug+Poodle = Pugapoo. Pug + Chiuaua = Chug

My mom has this in her front entry and I love it. I love the red. We all have a special place in our hearts for our childhood dog "Poppy". She was the greatest. She's actually under a tree in the yard  so we can visit her often. Last summer while Grammy was babysitting, the kids painted rocks to put by her grave.

Scarlet the Owl

Yes, my 1 year old has Bling in her hair. You are never too young for Bling. Don't worry we only had to feed her a pound of chocolate chips to keep her still long enough to tie it in.

On the highway near my dad's work up north, there was 2 baby owls. My dad is an owl friend (for full story details visit my moms blog). He saved these little baby owls. He even fed them and now they live with their momma owl near by so the workers can visit them once in a while. The best part of the story is this. When we were up visiting my big brown brothers would get in Scarlet's space and she would play shy and turn her head away from them and hold it there until they moved away. We all thought it was so amusing. My dad said that it was so neat how far these owl could turn their heads and it was totally reminding him of little Scarlet and her shy head turn. I thought that was a cute comparison. 
The baby Scarlet look a like owl.

The two baby owls in my dads work truck. Scary!
I love when I check in the kids before bed and discover that two of them decided to have a sleepover.

Eating Raw

So I've read a few "raw" food books now and I went to a class on it too. Its actually a pretty significant transition. It takes creative thinking, new appliances and uses not your regular household ingredients. But look how organized and happy my cupboards look. I have jars full of the weirdest things like maca root, lots of seeds and nuts and dried fruit and beans, yogurt and carob chips, steel cut oats, lentils, barley, agave, quinoa, coconut flour... I find that I use these kinds of things more when its handy.