Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Artistic Inspiration

Well, after just getting over everyone having the flu at the same time and having loads of disgusting laundry and a house to decontaminate and clean for weekend guests - my guys were suddenly inspired....

Yesterday, we let the kids open their gifts to help lift the boring doldrums of being sick. Brianna got a calligraphy pen set and nice parchment paper. She usually hates anything to do with "handwriting" and has an ongoing hate relationship with her own. I would agree that I have the same issue. Handwriting being the only thing I failed in 4th grade. In any case, she loved the calligraphy set and set down to work through the alphabet according to the book. She did such a great job! In the meantime Chase, who really dislikes any kind of sit down style work - wanted to write as well. So I found some lined "elementary" age paper and he wrote his name and copied some sentences, which I wrote to purposely make him laugh. Alexa followed suit, and even pulled the papers out tonight to play around with her sentences some more.

The amazing thing I find is that they do as well as if I had forced him to sit everyday and do workbook sheets or a curriculum. It is great to see how a child can really learn and be inspired by following their own interests and timetable. How much we think we know from our past experiences with schooling, that learning must take place in a certain way, or that if it doesn't happen at a certain time, your child is doomed to failure. I may even consider taking up with Brianna's calligraphy set and seeing if I can improve my own handwriting.

Following this, Lexi wanted to watercolor. I had purchased real watercolors from the craft store awhile back for Brianna after she had gotten some watercolor art books from a wonderful "older" friend Aunt Betty. We also got an acrylic set, with canvases. So everyone water painted and Brianna painted two acrylics for her grandma's.

They all made pizza for supper and we read together from "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. We all love this book! Brianna likes that it uses big words. I like that we all learn new words - by context, words that aren't used anymore in modern fiction. I think as a society we have gotten away from using and understanding rich vocabulary. John does voices for Scrooge and the Spirits, and the Cratchits – which make it all the more interesting.
Amid all this I did manage to make a good dent on the laundry and do some decontaminating ;-)!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Money Management

My husband and I decided to give our kids an allowance to help them learn to manage their money. We all had a field trip to Commerce bank on Tuesday. The kids particularly liked the "Penny Arcade", where you can put in all your coins and they change it into cash for you. Pretty neat. One mother said she'd rather have her kids count it all so as to encourage their skills...

In any case, being a finance major and a previous bank employee, I think I was surprised at what my guys didn't know when asked questions by the bank CSR. My older daughter hadn't given much thought to the concept of interest, even though she has a bank account and is very pleased whenever she deposits money in her account. They were all impressed however, by all the money in the vault. The Teller in the drive-through let them push the tubes in and out - and that seemed to be a hit.

Overall, I thought it was a great field trip. The bank has a website, where homeschoolers can register as educators and print out lesson plans and workbook sheets. The kids were given activity books and a bank.

So - after all of this, today is allowance day. The kids all get $5.0o, of which they save $1.00, give $1.00 to charity of their choice, and get to spend the rest. Last week my son, who also had birthday money saved up his money and bought a rescue hero jeep, with a man at the consignment shop with his own money. He was so proud of himself. This has also limited their constant asking for things, as they have their own money to manage. My younger daughter, who is 5, does tend to want to spend hers as soon as she gets it on whatever - my older daughter is a bit savvier.

Today, however, was our homeschool bowling league day and they all spent all of their weekly spending money on the video arcade. What is really hard for me - is I really want them to get the fact that some of these games are wasteful. Some are games of chance - I guess the only merit one could suggest is that they got some sort of momentary satisfaction from their minutes of usage. It is their money, and I have to admit that I wasn't really happy with their choice. My son even put all of his money in one video game. So, I am not looking forward to when we go into a store and they want something and will realize that hey - I don't have any money left!
I guess it’s really not any different than life as an adult. I mean how do we really explain all those credit cards! We want instant gratification - and we sometimes spend on things when we have bills or other to pay - but want something instead. Perhaps this lesson is really meant for me... I could use a little more restraint. Also, I have a weakness for books. I can't go into Borders without spending $50. My husband thinks this is a waste. I hate spending any money on car repairs or parts, telephone of electric bills, and taxes, even though I know they are necessary evils. I guess one could even say that my Starbucks coffee habit is a bit excessive. So I guess the moral of the story is that it is all a learning tool - what's important to me may not be to you and vice versa. I am sure this will continue to open up all kinds of issues and insight. Another reason why homeschooling is teaching me as much as it is my kids!

Monday, November 29, 2004


I am supposed to be writing a paper for my grad class. I am completely uninspired and unmotivated. I keep putting it off thinking that with just one more cup of coffee I'll be able to plunge just isn't working.

On a positive note an article that I wrote on Imagination has been accepted for publication in Live Free Learn Free magazine. I really like this magazine - it has a definite unschooling slant to it. I highly recommend it!

I also love seeing something I have written be in print. I read constantly, especially with the kids. Tonight we were reading The Tales of Olga da Polga. Olga is a guinea pig with an attitude. We were laughing in hysterics at the part were Olga introduces herself to a hedgehog as a "Hedgehog Eater from Upper Burma". And later convinces the hedgehog that there is a dog nearby, foaming at the mouth, with fangs as big as cucumbers. This of course sends the hedgehog scrambling for the nearest bush as if his life depended on it. I don't know, but whoever this author is has a sense of humor - and must have gotten her inspiration from somewhere.

Chase had his first night of wrestling. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is. This can't be a real sport - it's too much fun! The coach was really great. The kids played a lot of games, learned a few moves. I think this may be the thing for Chase. A good outlet for his energy and his desire to be around other boys. It has kind of been hard for him since our move to meet new kids. It seems are neighborhood is full of girls - but lacking boys his age. All in all he really seemed to like it and can't wait to go back. I find it more difficult to figure out what inspires Chase than the girls. It takes a bit more forethought on my part to help him find interesting things to do. At least we know that bowling is not on the list - or it is if it comes with cheese fries.

We had a great weekend at Camp Hashawa for a Bible Study on Habakkuk. While there, on of the environmentalists did a program on birds of prey. They have several raptors that have been wounded, and rehabilitated at the camp, and although they will never be strong enough to go back in the wild, they are great for education. We were able to see a screech owl, barn owl, great horned owl and red tailed hawk, all up close. They also had a bald eagle. Chase said something funny; he had been wandering and came upon the archery range. There was a cabin/shed with all kinds of bows and arrows. He said, " Mom, there is a guy going around with bows and arrows and that is why all those birds were wounded. He must be a poacher!" It took a bit of convincing that this was actually a place of instruction - not for crazy bird-killing poachers. Funny, how kids see something and come up with an explanation that to them seems entirely plausible.
Well, I should go off and write my paper. It is on intercultural management - a subject I think is plainer than dirt. Oh, well it makes me understand unschooling all the more. I get far more out of the classes that I find intellectually stimulating and personally enjoyable. I am sure it is the same feeling Brianna has when we watched Sacajawea and she thought it was boring! It wasn't done as well as it could have been - and did leave one wondering if Sacajawea really had any positive feelings about her experiences. I'll bet in reality she was just a pawn. Anyway - I am delaying yet again...back to that paper!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Turkeys n More

We had a wonderfully busy day! Last night the kids had a sleepover with two of their friends. This was really good for them, as meeting new friends after our move has been a bit of a slow process. Actually meeting people is easy; it's connecting with them in a way that moves from acquaintance to friend. I think we are getting there ;-)

We had Homeschool co-op today at our house. The kids have moved on from doing their play, which I think they will all finish writing and actually perform it in the spring. There is an outdoor stone theater in a park that would be wonderful for them to get the feel of how things work on a stage. Today the kids all worked on singing Christmas songs, which they then want to sing at a nursing home. I think this is a great idea. My husband on the other hand does not because we do not personally celebrate Christmas. So here again is one of those issues that come up - which we would probably have to take for granted if, hey were in public school. The diversity of the whole home school group we are in makes me more comfortable as there are many others who do not celebrate Christmas either. What I think is difficult with this is that all the kids decided together that this was something that they want to do. I want to support that.

When I was a kid I sang in chorus in school and every year we sang at the school, and at the mall. I thought it was fun and enjoyed it - and certainly did not care that the songs were particularly Christmas songs. I can't help wonder what my kids will do when they are older. They will certainly make their own choices.

In any case, the highlight of our day was visiting the organic farm of another homeschooling family. They are members of our co-op and had lots of extra turkeys. So I stopped by to get two - and the kids got to walk around and pet the cows and horses. The farm is so spread out and absolutely beautiful. The rolling hills coupled with the weather today (cold and rainy) made you feel as if you were in Scotland or Ireland.

I love the idea of buying directly from a farmer. I know this family and how they raise their animals. There are no hormones or junk in these turkeys!

This was one of those moments where I thought - ah this is what I want to do! I don't know the first thing about farming - and having to take care of such a large area seems a daunting task. But the idea of raising my own food - and raising it in a pure organic form seems so fulfilling.
I guess I'll have to add it to my list. Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I was told I have certain amount of time to live...would I change something drastically? Would I really pack up the family and head to India?

Well in the spirit of things, I will have to be thankful for what is - that my husband has a good job that he enjoys, we are all healthy and happy and smart. We are meeting new friends and making connections - and we have so many blessings in life. We are learning new things everyday - and hopefully our path is winding the right way...

Have a Wonderful thanksgiving and remember all the blessing you have to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Well, I am new to this blogging thing. I have read about blogs and the idea of it intriqued me. Perhaps it was caused by trying to send the Grandparents large Jpgs, or not finding the time to write real notes ;-) I really want to keep a journal of our homeschooling journey. Sometimes in the midst of the daily grid, I forget how much fun we are having. So this is to remind me - and my kids are thrilled to see their pictures up here!

In any case, my husband and I have been homeschooling our three children since birth. As of this writing, Brianna is 10, Chase is 7 and Lexi is 5. We have adopted a style called Unschooling which seems to fit our family well. Our Homeschooling is child-led, and we never have lack of children's interest's to follow. The world is our classroom - we learn every day... We love to read, play outside, study the Bible, cook, garden, take care of our animals, travel, play games, dream and discover.

We hope you enjoy learning about our world!

Enjoy the Sunshine Posted by Hello

Let's Dress-Up! Posted by Hello