Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!


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WWII Reenactment

We got a chance to go see a WWII reenactment this past weekend with some of my family. They had all kinds of vehicles and planes to look at. We spent much of the early day inside because of the rain, but it gave us a chance to see some really great stuff.

They had two camps set up, one allies and the other German. We were out by the German camp, where the kids got to sit in one of the trucks and Luca got to see the rounds they would be firing for the event. On the American side Corde got to hold one of the guns. She commented on how heavy it was.

They had a small group of the German side set up, complete with some kids portraying Hitler Youth. It was surprising to see such young kids out there.

The battle itself was pretty intense. There was smoke and explosions all over the place. The kids loved seeing the tanks ride out. I think that was their favorite part.

It was an awesome experience and I hope we get to go again next year. It was a lot of fun. Besides, it’s a great way to experience history!

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The Trip to the Children’s Museum

Yesterday we had another unexpected field trip. I was watching a friend’s son and she suggested I bring all of the kids to the Children’s Museum. It sounded like a great idea, though I think I was a little crazy taking five kids to the museum. Thankfully Corde was a great help. She took the day off of school to come with us.

The kids got to explore the whole museum, though they definitely had favorite spots. The water tables were one of them. I thought the kids might be to old for that, but even Corde had fun with it.

They all loved the climbing tower, though I was surprised Corde was able to get through there. Some of those areas were pretty tight squeezes. Luca was the only one that didn’t climb. It was too scary.

The construction stuff was fun for the younger ones, though Corde could have done without it. The rest of them played until Corde suggested we move on.

Another favorite was the dance pad floor with games. Their favorites were dodge ball and musical squares. They were here for quite some time. We even came through twice.

My favorite part was this house they all built together. It took almost every one of those blocks to do it. They had a blast building it, which took some time and engineering skills.

Of course, equally as much fun was demolishing it. That took a lot less time, but was a whole lot louder. They’ve decided that goes on the list when we go again!

Another favorite, and the space the kids spent the most time, was the little grocery store in the downtown area. I remember spending a ton of time there as a kid. I wasn’t surprised that they all wanted to play store for quite some time. My kids love play food and this was a great place for it. Plus, it was a store, which is even better!

The downtown neighborhood had these sitting outside the door to the store, which were a lot of fun too. They also had dominos and checkers, which the kids thought was pretty great.

We had a great day out and everyone was pretty tired on the train ride home, even after getting some ice cream to perk everyone up. It was a great highlight to out otherwise quiet week.

Though, there is another field trip coming up this weekend that we’ll be talking about soon. It’s going to be interesting with a lot of extended family there. It’s proving to be quite the week.


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Busy, Busy, But Totally Not…

It’s been busy around here lately, and by busy I mean in the “busy work” kind of way and not in the fun and crazy stuff way.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  Some of the stuff we’ve been doing is pretty fun.  The kids have been watching a lot of Minecraft videos and the like.  They’ve been having fun with that.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing a lot of knitting.  I knit while they’re doing workbooks.  I knit while they’re watching television.  I’ve even been knitting to podcasts, my personal favorite being CraftLit, which does classic literature.  It’s been a great time for me to do something I love, plus the kids get a bit of freedom to do whatever it is they feel like doing without a hovering mom, not that I really hover, but you get the idea.

As for the podcasts, the kids have really enjoyed some of CraftLit’s premium content.  It’s all of $5 extra every month to get access to the premium books, which is kind of fun for us.  I’m listening to Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) with the kids.  They’re all getting a kick out of it.  With the younger three we’re listening to The Wizard of Oz.  I think when we’re done we may check out the other books in the series.  There’s a lot of them.  While it’s mostly something I do for me, it’s fun when I can get them involved, even if they do check out for a lot of the books.  They would probably like War of the Worlds, which I’m listening too now, but it’s a bit wordy.  I think I may read that to them later, or go back and listen again.

Well, can you tell I love books?  I’m really into classic literature.  There’s something about old stories that makes me happy.  I love that I have a format where I can share it, even if it’s not so much something we do together right now.  Still, I notice them popping in time and again when the story gets good.

So that’s what we’ve been up to, and will continue to be up to for the next few weeks at least.  We’ve got a WWII event coming up over Columbus Day Weekend.  After that there isn’t much.  We’re even planning to go simple with Halloween this year, and stuff the kids can wear in layers.  It was pretty cold last year.  Luca is going to be Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon.  Sander wants to be a pirate minion.  I’m not sure how that will work out, but it’s creative at least.  I think A.J. may go as Rainbow Dash again, or he might opt to go the pirate route too.  That one’s easy.  We have pirate stuff on hand.  Corde will probably do an assassin from Assassin’s Creed again, something quick and easy.  We’re trying to go cheap, aside from Luca’s costume.  Getting something for Toothless was kind of expensive, but as Luca’s missing his top front teeth, he’s kind of bonded with toothless, so it works out.  It’s definitely going to be a chaotic month.

As things stand we have no real plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.  I think we’re going to aim to keep Christmas cheap.  We’re probably going to do a board game for each of the kids, maybe an inexpensive video game, and some Pokemon cards so they can all play together.  The last thing we need is a bunch of stuff cluttering up our house.  We need to simplify as is, so it’s better to have a couple things, but have them things the kids really want.  I’m thinking next year I’m going to start sooner and knit them each something for Christmas.  If I’m feeling really ambitious I may go for sweaters, but I think I’ll probably be practical and go with hats and mittens or fingerless gloves.

Yeah, it’s been a long day.  We’ve had a lot of cleaning to get done.  Every once in a while we go through huge binge cleanings where we go behind and inside of pretty much everything to get the house looking as good as it can.  This happened to be one of those days.  I’m tired, and so are the kids.  I guess that’s the reason I’m going on and on like this.  Well, I’d better get these kids settled down for quiet time.  We’re all in need of it!


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Fort Warren and George’s Island

(Posted a week late because it got lost in draft limbo…but it’s up now, so that’s got to count for something, right?)

We had quite the adventure this past weekend. We ended up going on Monday due to weather, which worked out well because it was a beautiful day.

The trip in started with a train ride into the city. The kids always love a good train ride. Luca got to read a Cat in the Hat book about sharks, which was exciting because we were going to be taking the ferry in.

This was the kids first trip on a boat of any kind. Beekee was a little worried about being on a boat, but he got over it quickly when he realized how exciting it was. Luca loved watching the white waves coming off the side of the ferry. They all loved the ride out.

When we got to the island they wanted to do a couple things right off the bat. First they wanted to eat a quick lunch. Then they wanted to go touch the water, since we aren’t near the ocean much. After that they went to check out the playground that looked like a miniature version of the fort.

The trip into the fort was a lot of fun, once we got in there. It started with a walk around the fort, then we got in to investigate. The younger three loved getting to use flashlights to look around. I think that was the best part for them. Perhaps if we get a chance to go in the future we can take a ranger guided tour, but for now exploring without being bogged down with the history of the place was a lot of fun.

wp-image-145841421The kids have already said they want to go back again next summer, but I think first up on the list is a whale watch. The kids are super excited to get to do that in the future too. It seems this trip inspired a whole lot of excitement. It was a great way to end the summer!


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Upcoming Weekend Fun

It’s been a rather “unschooling” week around here.  We haven’t done much of the actual work we’ve decided to do, just so that it looks like we’re meeting standards.  Now that I’ve put some thought into it, I’ve realized that it’s important for Corde and Beekee (for reasons having to do with their biological father), so it’s worth making sure we toe that line for now at least.

This weekend we’ve got an incredible event coming up.  We’re going to explore a Civil War fort with my dad and my sister.  This is going to be extra fun because the kids will go on their first ever boat ride on the ferry out to the island.  They’re really looking forward to that.

I suppose (if we were that kind of family) I could have prepared them for this by talking about the Civil War and getting their heads set in the history before they showed up.  That’s just not who we are.  I think it’ll be far more fun to jump on in and explore, then worry about the history after the fact.  “Hey, this is cool!  I wonder why they did that…  Let’s find out.”

Hopefully we should have some good pictures from the weekend trip.  It’s going to be quite the adventure, by train, by ferry, and on foot.  It’s somewhere I went as a kid and I think the kids will really love it.  It’s going to be a great time!

 


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Working on Christmas Presents Already

Since the kids are learning how to knit they decided they would make dish cloths for gifts this year. We probably won’t do many, the important ones being my aunt and uncle and my grandmother, but it’s something they can do as gifts.

Over the weekend we went to the craft store to pick out yarn to make gifts with. They had a selection of colors in cheap cotton. I had no idea they had so many options. To be fair, I order most of my yarn online these days and I don’t do dish cloth cotton. Still, the kids had fun picking out colors. Luca picked a tie dyed kind of blue and rainbow. Sander chose a Christmas blend and a variegated green. Beekee wanted orange and a red, white, and blue blend. Corde got three, a tie dyed kind of pink, a similar purple, and a plain baby blue. I got Luca a second set of needles as his are tied up with a scarf, and off we went to check out.

The kids got started with their dish cloths. They had fun getting started. Somehow Beekee keeps adding stitches. It’s not going to be perfect, but for a first go it’s not bad. He’s getting the idea, and that’s what counts.

Sander gets a lot more help, but he’s still doing well. He works through his rows pretty quickly. He wants to do four rows every day. I’m pretty happy to work at that rate with him. His dish cloth is looking good.

Luca just started today and got two rows in. He’s making slow progress, but I expected that. I don’t know if he’ll get more than one done before Christmas. Still, he’ll be pretty happy to give even one away.

It’s early, but they’re getting started in plenty of time to get something done by Christmas. They’re learning the valuable lesson of starting early to get things done in time. Now I just need to get my own holiday knitting started or I’ll never be done in time!


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Cuddled Up to Sleep

Things have been good since we decided to nix bedtime. The kids do get cranky and need naps from time to time, but it’s gone pretty well. I count this an experiment well worth trying.

The tricky part has been finding a way to get Luca to sleep. If left to his own devices he would be up watching movies all night. It’s difficult because he still sleeps with me and the television keeps me up.

However, I have found a solution to this problem. Luca likes to cuddle. We spend time after the television goes off all cuddled up. Some nights we talk. Tonight Luca just wanted to cuddle to sleep. I’ve got him laying on my arm as I type this into my phone.

You know what? This is what life should be about. Life is too short for reading lessons and curriculum. What it really needs to be about is time together as a family.

I can’t say where the decisions I make today will lead the kids and I, but we will certainly spend more time on the things that matter.

And that’s only going to keep expanding. Luca found the other two tablets today so Sander and Beekee can watch movies while settling in to bed. We just need to get them headphones and they can listen without bothering each other if one wants to sleep.

Tomorrow will bring new changes in our lives, but tonight is simple. I just need to curl up on the bed with Luca and the dog. What better way is there to sleep?