Trailer Park Unschoolers

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


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The Titanic and Tech School Accepted Students Day

Today was another unschool day.  We decided to do this by way of watching Titanic’s Final Mystery followed by Brain Games.  We’ve added these to our Documentary Challenge page, and we’ll keep adding to that as we watch more videos (provided we can get images from Amazon).  For full disclosure, I use Amazon Associate links.  This is a great way to help support the blog, but also it’s the best way I know for delivering content.  Most of what we try to stick to are stuff that’s available free on Prime, so it’s not even generally stuff you have to pay for, and if it’s not on Prime, it’s on Netflix.

Anyhow, the Titanic, right?  The kids got all excited about a Titanic documentary, so we decided to check it out.  It went into all kinds of detail about the myths surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, as well as why those myths were undoubtedly nothing more.  It talked about who was to blame for the sinking of the ship and why things happened the way they did.

I’m not going to go into it in great detail.  If you want that, you should definitely check out the documentary.  It’s free on Netflix.  However, I will share a little of what we found really interesting in the whole thing.  In particular, the scientific reasoning behind the sinking of the Titanic.

Long story short, the Titanic sank because they didn’t see the ice burg until an estimated 37 seconds from impact.  This gave the ship enough time to turn, but not turn off enough to avoid impact.  The reason for this was something called a “cold air mirage.”  This made the ice burg almost invisible until the last minute.  There’s nothing about the watchmen needing binoculars or the ship going to fast or anything else.  It was all a trick of the weather, something that was demonstrated in the video.  Watch it.  Trust me.  It’s pretty darn cool to watch.

But more than just preventing the crew from spotting the ice burg in time, the mirage was also likely the reason why the Californian didn’t come to the aid of the Titanic.  They saw a ship off in the distance but thought it too small to be the Titanic.  This could be explained by the mirage theory.  That also explains why the Morse signals were sent, but neither side got a proper answer.  The Californian thought it was just a flickering light on the other ship while the Titanic reportedly didn’t see the return signal at all.  Imagine how different things would have been if that signal came through.

That whole thing makes so much sense.  If it were all just a mirage, that would explain why so many signals got crossed and why so much information that seems obvious went unnoticed.  It all adds up to the whole situation being a huge, unfortunate stroke of bad luck, all at the hands of the weather.

Best of all, they actually go through the documented reports that make this story the most believable of all.  They read off transcripts from eyewitness accounts.  They study the weather as recorded by other ships that happened to be in the area at the time.  They even went out on a ship in modern day to record some of the data that may continue to reflect the situation at the time.  It was great to see all that evidence stacked up to actually produce a viable answer to why the biggest ship in the world at the time would sink, and why even modern ships would likely have gone down under similar conditions.

From there we watched Brain Games, which was a really neat show on how the brain actually works.  The episode we walked talked about vision, and how the eye focuses on certain things while missing details that would otherwise be useful information.  It was actually pretty cool.  I don’t want to go too much into that, as I’ll probably talk about it later, but it’s there.  If you’re interested in checking that out, it’s also free on Netflix from Season 2.  We all thought it was a pretty cool show, well, everyone but Corde because she’s not here.

Then there’s tonight.  I get to go to the parents’ orientation at the tech school Corde has opted to attend in the fall.  She’s going to an accepted students day and I’ll be walking home with her.  I’m so glad this school is in walking distance because it means she can actually go to this sort of thing.  If it wasn’t for the fact that they specify the parents or guardians must pick their kids up from school I would just tell Corde to walk home.  She knows the way and I trust her to walk it alone.

I’m actually kind of looking forward to Corde going to this school, in a way.  It’ll give her a chance to check out different career opportunities.  There are some she flat out knows she doesn’t want to pursue, like cosmetology, and others she thinks may be kind of fun, like culinary and “legal and protective services”.  It would be a great way for her to really experiment, which is something she hasn’t had much of a chance to do.  It will be good for her to see what’s out there and have a chance to try some of it.

So that’s what we’ve been up to.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about accepted students day once we’re all said and done with that.  And this weekend the younger three are in for a treat because they’re off on a trip to the zoo.  That should make for a fun day.  And summer is going to be on us soon, so I’m sure we’ll have all sorts of opportunities for fun and learning, even if we don’t get out as much as we want to.  We’ll definitely see how it goes.  It all depends on if this summer continues to be so rainy, or if it turns out brutally hot, like last year.

Also, keep your fingers crossed on the whole military thing.  We’re in the process of trying to make that happen.  It could be so incredibly good for our family, but we could use all the luck on this we can get.

Until later, have a wonderful day, and I’ll likely be checking in with you all again soon!

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Airplane Science, Business Math, the Fifty States, and Full Bellies

Yes, we’re hitting the unschool habits hard this weekend. We had no real plans to spend our Sunday learning. Somehow it just happened. Educational experiences are everywhere!

It started last night with Corde wanting to help Grumpy make goulash for dinner. She was soaking up every detail. Let me tell you, the kids ate last night! We all did. Corde and Beekee both had seconds. I did too. By the end of the night we were all stuffed. As if that wasn’t enough, we also had ice cream. I have to admit, even with having a late dinner and waiting an hour for dessert, I was still hungry when I went to bed. My appetite has been pretty fierce. I’m sure nursing a nearly fifteen-month-old has something to do with it. Today we ate rice with veggies until we were stuffed too. Rice and canned veggies may not make a fancy meal, but it’ll fill you.

The kids also made a discovery. Last year in our haste to move out the kids forgot their fifty states magnet puzzle that was on the fridge. They didn’t seem to miss it then, but they certainly love it now. Even Sanders loves to “find states”. Luca is better at destroying the whole thing so someone has to put it back together. I think at this point the kids know the states better than I do! Once upon a time I could pass a test on all the states and their locations. Now I’m rusty. I even knew all the capitals, but no more.

We also spent a bit of time talking profit and loss in getting ready for the fairy festival. Grumpy did some math with Corde to show how much profit he can make on his products. It was simple and didn’t include overhead like the cost of his booth and all that. We just wanted to give her a basic understanding.

So far the day has been capped off with a lesson with paper airplanes. The kids made theories on what would improve or degrade their flight. They tried throwing their airplanes at different speeds and heights. They included a passenger in some of their trials. It was all a lot of fun. I felt a little bad because I just sat back and watched, but I was tired. I still am. The fatigue is starting to set in. I can honestly say the stress has worn me thin.

It really feels good to get back to unschooling and away from homework, classes, and formal education. I kind of miss being free-spirited unschoolers! It was good to spend the day back at our roots. We need to do more of this.

Oh, and we still haven’t forgotten the documentary challenge. We may have a couple more to add to the list. Corde decided we should pick one winner for the whole year. It’s just been to crazy of a year otherwise. Each video watched counts as it’s own entry. The prize thus far is going to be a small sculpture, a friendship bracelet, a picture in some fashion (she’s working on something more unique than a sketch or a painting), and a hand made card. Don’t forget to check it out. As the year rolls to a close some other goodies may be added. Keep checking in for details.


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Corde’s Challenge

Corde has decided she’s a smart, educated, really capable kid.  She wants all of you to be smart, intelligent, capable people too.  It would be really easy for her to just say, “go read a book” or share her knowledge with you, but that wouldn’t allow you to bring your own perspective into things.  As a result, she’s come up with this brilliant challenge.

Here’s what you do.  Go to the Documentary Challenge page.  Choose a documentary.  Watch it alone or with your family.  Discuss what you learned with at least one person that didn’t see the documentary with you.

Why?  Learning is good!  Sharing what you know is better.  We’re going to try and keep the documentary page updated with all of the latest selections so you’ll have plenty to look through.

And how is this a challenge?  Corde and I are still trying to devise a way to figure out how to keep track of everything so we can tally the results.  I think the general plan is to put everyone’s name in a drawing for each of the documentaries you watch and then Corde wants to draw names for a hand-made gift for the winner.  I’m not sure how often she intends to do drawings, and how many prizes she plans to give out, but we want to get the idea going in your minds, and get you thinking about those documentaries, maybe watching a few.  While the knowledge you’ll get should be reward enough, Corde wanted to give an additional bonus.

So for the time being, just leave a comment on the Documentary Challenge page with the name of the documentary you saw and we’ll start collecting names for our drawing.  We’ll keep the details coming, so stay tuned in!