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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The Things My Kids Don’t Know

We’ve been following through with Story of the World, and the kids discovered that Anansi is just a really cool character.  They absolutely loved the story of Anansi.  So what does this have me doing?  As a good mother I go to the library website and request every story known to man with Anansi…because I’m that mom…

It got me thinking about something I hadn’t even realized I’ve never done with the kids.  We’ve never read Aesop’s fables.  We’ve also never done Just So Stories.  These were so much of a factor in my own life that I can’t believe we haven’t done anything with them.  They are living proof that (to some degree) I am a failure as a mom.  How can I neglect these things that were such a part of my own childhood?

I’ve already realized that my kids were growing up in a weird little bubble when I realized my kids don’t know how to sing Twinkle, Twinkle or The Wheels on the Bus.  I’d never taught them to sing Do Your Ears Hang Low.  We never sang any of the classic kids songs.  For that matter, we rarely sing as a family.  The only one we regularly do is On Top of Spaghetti, which Luca insists on me singing at least fifty times over when we’re walking to or from jujitsu.  I really need to brush up on some other fun songs because that one’s getting kind of old.  (Of course, it might help if I actually remembered the other three versus, so that’s a thing.  Luca would probably find that MUCH funnier.)

But my kids really do seem to live in a bubble where they don’t know the traditional stuff kids know at their age.  I mean, how many kids Sander and Luca’s age are studying history?  I find it not at all a problem that they don’t know how to sing those childhood songs every other kid seems to know.

And as Sander’s bus drives by the house, I’m reminded again why I’m so glad he’s home.  I don’t have to worry about him getting off the bus at 4pm, then still having homework to do, and being too tired to do it.  Jujitsu wouldn’t even begin to be an option if he was in traditional school.  He wouldn’t be home for more than an hour and a half before I had to bustle him back out the door!

I digress…what was the point I was making?  Oh, yes, that my kids don’t know the stuff I knew when I was their age.  I guess that makes me feel that my kids are growing up with a weird existence.  I’m not raising them on a healthy diet of children’s songs and things like that.  The kids hardly watch television (aside from Luca who binges like nothing else), and we don’t listen to the radio tons, so they don’t get a whole lot of that poured on them.  They live in this weird state of reality that was so much different than my life growing up.

Yet I can’t help but feel their lives are somehow lacking because these really cool things haven’t been explored by them.  They haven’t learned about Aesop’s Fables or read the Just So Stories.  Now they’re being introduced to Anansi, which is the closest they’ve come to any of that.  While those stories are really cool, we’re just now getting to them, and those were the only ones.  We need to incorporate more of that into our learning time, I think.  The kids would probably dig that kind of stuff.

At the same time, the things my kids have been learning are pretty awesome.  They’ve gotten to watch a garden grow last year.  They’ll be seeing it again this year.  We’re going to be spending time in nature as soon as the weather gets warm, and we’re going to start making note of the things that indicate the change of seasons once Daylight Savings hits and we’ll still have light when we go to jujitsu.  We’re delving into a lot of history, which is great for the kids and they’re really digging into it.  These are things I thought were pretty cool when I was a kid and it’s great to see they’re enjoying it as much as I do.  They’re really getting to experience some awesome things that way.

It isn’t too late to introduce the kids to things I feel are missing in their lives.  Aesop’s Fables will continue to be around.  I’m sure I can find a free ebook with them on Kindle.  The Just So Stories can be gotten from the library, I’m sure.  Since we’re homeschooling there are far more options to bring them up as a part of our homeschooling activities, and I no longer have to worry about Sander getting off the bus at 4 and not being interested in doing anymore school related anything after that.

Now we’ve got this incredible opportunity to fix what I feel like is a major failing in raising my kids (at least the younger three).  I still have time to get them knowledgeable about the things they don’t know, things that I’ve come to understand most kids don’t know anymore.  It’s a chance to open up a world to them that they’d never even known to consider before.  I have a feeling we’re in for a really great experience.


Unschooling on a Budget: YouTube Is Your Friend

For the longest time I used to say “I don’t YouTube.”  It was true.  I don’t like wading through endless amounts of content to find something good that I have to preview for the kids, fact check, and all of that.  However, there is a lot of good content out there.  (Of course, if you’re reading a blog, you probably already know this…)

Sometimes you hit on good stuff by chance.  Other times you’re led to channels that are generally really good.  I was lucky enough to find a few good channels as a result of Nerdcon last weekend and we’ve been doing a lot with that.  I’m including some of the videos we recently watched at the bottom.  There are plenty of other shows to look into as well.  I’m sure there are hundreds of other channels out there that offer a good deal of educational content too.  These are just some I know about (and if you know of good channels, feel free to add them in the comments!

My kids are (mostly) young enough that they’re not ready to traverse YouTube alone, but I let them be the guide.  We’re working our way through Animal Wonders MontanaSciShow Kids, and SciShow right now.  We’re planning on adding Crash Course KidsCrash Course (for Corde), and The Brain Scoop.  They’re all done by a close network of people, but they’re decent, educational sources, and the kids seem to think they’re pretty fun.  This gives us a whole bunch of topics to learn about, even if it doesn’t all sink in at first.  We can always go back and watch them again if the kids are interested.

The wonderful thing about YouTube is it offers a whole world you might not be able to explore otherwise.  There are cool experiments that are shown online, along with the science behind them.  Some are too dangerous or involved to do at home.  Some are just not practical or too expensive to make it practical.  If you’re working on a budget, this can be a great way to show your kids the science without the cost of doing the experiment.  YouTube is free, so that can help a budget greatly.  Then you can save for the experiments you really want to do at home, or for projects your kids are really interested in.

For older kids, YouTube can be a great way to explore new concepts and ideas.  Corde has watched numerous videos with theories about what’s really going on in My Little Pony, or speculations of what the newest Pokemon could be.  It’s not traditionally educational, but she finds it fun and it gets her thinking.  There are thousands of videos on Minecraft out there and many of them tutorials that can generate new and interesting ideas.  Then there are all the videos that teach kids how to create.  There are art lessons, robotics lessons, even music lessons on YouTube.  I know someone that taught herself to play guitar with nothing but lessons on YouTube.  It’s amazing what kids can learn or be inspired by on YouTube.  The opportunities are endless.

I give Corde unlimited use of YouTube because there’s so much to learn on YouTube.  She mostly uses it to look up stuff on Pokemon, but I feel like it’s her choice to find what she’s interested in.  Maybe she’ll start watching videos on cooking and baking, given she’s interested in going into culinary (and may opt for a vocational school over homeschooling next year).  There’s just so much for her to pursue.  When the other kids are old enough, I have every intention of doing the same for them.

I really encourage you to check out the channels I listed earlier, but if you want a sample, here’s some of what we’ve been watching around our house.


Why We Unschool

It dawned on me today that I’ve never really talked about why we unschool.  It’s not really a complicated thing.  I mean, making it as simple as possible, we do it because it feels like the right thing to do.  Isn’t that why anyone does anything?

Of course, there’s always a way to make it more complicated.  In truth, it really is much more than simply because it’s our choice.  It has a lot more to do with our values and how I want my kids to grow up.

Now, in no way are we as radical as we used to be.  I never used to require anything from my kids.  They showered and bathed because they wanted to.  They brushed their teeth because they liked to.  They weren’t required to have what everyone else was having for dinner (though I was only making one meal, so they had to choose something they could do on their own).  We didn’t even really do family dinners.  Everyone ate where they wanted to eat, engaged in what they wanted to be doing.  Often times this meant watching television shows and chatting about them afterwards.  We were totally radical.

And I wish we could be that kind of radical again, but it’s not in the cards.  As long as we live where we do we’ve got to keep to stricter standards.  Even so, we still want to unschool as much as humanly possible.  We’re trying to do the minimum required to make the system happy, something I wish we didn’t have to do.

But why do we still do it?  Wouldn’t it be easier to go the more formal route?  Aren’t we kind of leaning towards the more formal route by means of doing curriculum?

Well, no, it wouldn’t be easier.  No, we’re not really headed towards the formal homeschooling route.  We’re just doing what it takes to follow the rules.  It’s living within the laws of the society we live in, even if we don’t like all of them.

I’ve seen other homeschool families.  I’ve known a lot of families that work fairly well with homeschooling of all varieties, but when the kids struggle they can sometimes grow to hate the experience.  That’s what I hope to avoid, a scenario that the kids end up hating me, or hating learning because it doesn’t work for them.

Now, for Beekee, he really seems to like the whole workbook thing.  He’s really interested in learning and has no problems with writing, so long as I write out the words for him to copy.  I write faster than he can and he can’t write at speed of thought.  For him I think a more formal style of education might suit him.


But overall this helps us avoid tears.  Instead of fighting to get the required work done, I can relax and enjoy my time with my kids.  I can show them stuff I think is interesting and cool.  They may take to it or they may not.  I introduce topics to my kids and they either take it or leave it.  That’s the way it needs to be.  I’m excited to be able to provide that for my kids.  It’s a free-form kind of learning that I love.

Most of all, I unschool because I’m lazy.  Yeah, I said it.  I don’t want to be wasting my time working on lesson plans and projects that my kids will struggle through because they have to.  I’d much rather throw a few things out there with the vibe of “Hey, isn’t this interesting?”  Then I can sit back and watch them latch onto it, or not.  If they’re not interested, we drop it and move on, but if they take to it, we go deeper into it.

Above all, it’s about freedom.  We can live in the way we want to live.  We can have fun, relax, and enjoy our time together.  There doesn’t have to be tears over lessons, or fighting over getting things done.  There’s no bribery or coercion.  It’s fun, the way learning is meant to be.  That’s what we love about it.  That’s what we hope to keep doing with our time.  Hopefully we’ll be able to get closer to that as we move into the future, but for now we do the best we can, taking it one day at a time.



The Biggest Myth of Homeschool Seems to Be Time Spent

I have to admit, I envy those moms who can get all their kids through their lessons in a matter of two hours every day.  In my house it seems like we’re working from 9am until 2:30 when A.J. would have gotten home from school.  That’s not all that far different than their school hours.  The difference is it’s a more relaxed pace and we seem to get a whole lot less done, in a round about way.

Maybe I just didn’t notice before my kids went to school, but we spend a lot of time out of our day working on stuff.  Even the stuff that doesn’t come in the format of curriculum based schooling gets a lot of time.  Each of the kids spends 30-45 minutes on the computer, which is followed by the same amount of game time.  We spend no more than 30 minutes on math.  Sander does all of four pages in his phonics workbooks, and they all do more than 20 minutes of reading time.  A good chunk of that is me reading to them.  We end up spending a good part of our day working together.

It also feels like we don’t get that much done for the time we spend, which may seem kind of silly.  I mean, we get a lot of information out there (though how much is retained is a mystery to me), and I do my best to make sure my kids are educated to the best of my ability, but it feels like we could be doing more, or maybe should be doing more.

I have to wonder how these other moms do it.  I keep hearing that homeschooling takes an average of two hours a day for elementary kids and I’m just not seeing it.  We’re working for a steady five hour block at least, and while it’s not all formal school work, we go through a lot of information.  It doesn’t feel like we do much, but we do.

Take today as an example.  We learned about Hammurabi’s Code.  We read about the making of a mummy.  Beekee and I read about recycling.  Luca and I read about frogs.  Sander and Beekee did their math.  Then we watched these videos:


Granted, the videos were both short, but it’s just one more thing I can add to the stuff we did today.  It all adds up over time.  It works into quite a long day of learning.  We seem to fit in so incredibly much every day.

And this all goes back to the idea that unschooling really takes a lot of time with younger kids.  I kind of think of it like throwing a lot of information at the kids to see what sticks.  At the end of the day I’m pretty happy if any of it sticks at all.  Anything they find particularly interesting we can go into deeper.  Things that are less interesting (which seems to be anything I throw at them) get tossed aside and aren’t gone into any more in depth.  It seems to be working for us so far.

Okay, okay, I take that back.  Some things have stuck.  The kids wanted to learn more about the pyramids and mummies.  They were interested in the You Wouldn’t Want To Be books.  They really like the SciShow Kids shows, and they’re enjoying watching the animals on Animal Wonders.  We’re undoubtedly going to expand our homeschooling videos to include other things that get tossed my way (like this video I just thought to pop up again for no explicable reason other than I was reminded someone sent it to me).


That’s kind of what unschooling is about.  “Look!  This is so cool!  Don’t you think it’s cool?  Let’s totally learn about it!”  Granted, I don’t have the knowledge to back up a lot of what I’ve seen in these shows.  I’ve been out of the science world and can’t tell you why this stuff is cool, but I hope that by exposing the kids to some of this stuff we might be lead to other things that the kids want to learn more about.

That comes down to the whole point of all this.  All this stuff takes a lot of time.  Reading together takes time.  Finding and sharing videos takes time.  Watching documentaries takes time.  Introducing the kids to cool new concepts takes time.  Even the basic curriculum stuff takes time.  All of it carves out time from my usual day (which was typically spent kicking around online while Luca was napping and playing guitar).  It’s not something you can really go into thinking “This is going to be so much less work, only two hours a day!”  This is something that takes dedication and really becomes a lifestyle.

I guess the one thing I can say about homeschooling, and really unschooling, is I hope you like your kids.  If you choose this path it means spending a lot of time with them.  Of course, it also means you get to learn a lot of really cool things right alongside them, so I suppose that’s cool.  It makes it really worth it in the end, but boy do I wish someone had warned me about all that.

It’s funny, though, sending the kids to school made me forget what the “work” of homeschooling is really like.  It’s less work than fighting the school system, that’s for sure.  If nothing else, at the end of the day I can never say I’ve had a boring day at home!

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Computer Time for All!

Today, after my bout of homeschool jitters, I decided (since Corde was home from school) that we had to make the most of the day.  She was home because she missed her bus (again) and decided it was better to take the detention than to show up late (and probably still get a detention anyway).  That made it the perfect time to do some homeschooling.

img_20170126_125942_309Corde spent a good bit of time on Time 4 Learning today.  Originally it was just something to do to keep her busy, but she kept at it for a good long while.  It was good to know that the math program covered subjects she hadn’t learned before, and it seemed like the science curriculum was all new to her too.  That was definitely a good thing.  She enjoyed the “Gameroom” time at the end of the lesson too.  She played some classic arcade games and had a pretty good time with it.

img_20170126_171539_168Since Corde was enjoying it so much, I busted out the laptop.  It had to be attached to a cord during use since I didn’t let it charge fully, so I set it up on my bed where it would be comfortable to use.  The plan was to let A.J. sit on my bed and work on the laptop while Corde was on the desktop.  There was a slight problem with this plan.  Some of the lessons required more reading than A.J. was ready for and it was a little complex for him.  I ended up reading the lessons to him instead.  The mouse was a little hard for him to use so we may look into getting a mouse as an extension to help that out.  It means his work is something I’m not necessarily going to be able to leave him to do while I’m doing math with the other kids, but we’ll get his reading there.  It might not be something I can have him do while Sander and Luca are working on math, but we’ll get there.

img_20170126_171626_462Once Corde was done, Sander wanted to jump on too.  Even after a full day of school Sander still managed to squeeze in over a half an hour on the computer.  He’s really become a fan of the school program.  I have a feeling we’re going to get some really good education time out of that program.  Downside to this, you can see how cluttered and messy my desk really is…I am not an organized person at all…

img_20170126_182005_700And, of course, since everyone else was doing it, Luca wanted to play again, sitting on my lap (which made taking this picture a little challenging).  I was excited to see that Luca was all about learning again, even though we’d done school earlier in the day, Luca still wanted to do more.  This program is really working out for us.  I’d say we’re getting our money’s worth.  It’s been a real hit, especially with Luca, who logged nine hours on the program last week.

And the final touch to this day of massive educational victory?  The kids are going to be doing a trial run at the martial arts school next week!  They’ll be going three days next week to try it out and see if they like it.  At the end of the week we talk price, which scares me.  I kind of wish I knew what I was getting myself into financially before we started all of this, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.  Keep your fingers crossed that this is in our price range to afford.  It would be so good for the kids!


Unschooling vs. How We Unschool

I think I may have written on this topic before, but it never hurts to revisit.  It’s especially important because we’re going to be adding more curriculum into the mix so we make sure we’re hitting the milestones the state requires.

Where do we start?  How about with the basics?

What Is Unschooling?

That’s really an easy answer.  Unschooling is child-led learning.  Kids learn best through life experiences and following their passion.  Unschooling embraces this.  Kids are given opportunities to learn, so they learn at their pace, picking up the things that are important in their view.

Now, this can be a scary thing.  It means having complete faith that your kid, at some point, will learn to read, even if it looks like they never will.  It means trusting your child will some day learn how to write.  You have to have believe that your child will eventually pick up enough math skills to get through daily life.  Sounds pretty scary, huh?

Some parents are hardcore about this.  They never actively “teach” their kids anything, and by that I mean they don’t actually do the job of creating lessons.  Lessons happen through life, and the parent provides opportunities.  This can be by leaving around cool stuff for the kid to explore and maybe ask about, or this could be by going on adventures to places where new experiences can be had.  It’s totally freeform.

That is the parent I used to be.  I’d never dream of doing workbooks or curriculum unless my kids asked me to, and they never did.  That’s how I wanted to raise all of my kids, and would have, if we’d stayed in the great state of Texas.

How We Homeschool

Here’s where things changed.  After having moved to New England, we now have to be able to prove the kids are meeting their grade level.  In particular we have to prove they’re on track with reading, writing, and math.  There seems to be less concern with making sure the kids are on track with science and social studies because “on grade level” is a lot more fluid of a thing.

Much like other unschool families that face these standards, we’re left to figure out how we’re going to blend these core subjects into our homeschooling curriculum.  How we do that is going to vary greatly depending on the kid.  Each of the kids has different needs for each age, so making sure we hit all the markers is going to vary.

First of all, I’ve got the kids doing Time 4 Learning.  It’s an online program designed to be a supplement to curriculum.  We’re also going to be getting a subscription to Starfall, another online program that helps with reading and writing.  That’s going to be the core of our “curriculum” so far.  That will give the kids all a base level of language arts, math, science, and social studies.  Starfall for Sander and Luca also adds reading skills.

While that’s a good basis, we want to make sure there’s no doubt that we’ll be getting through the material the way the state wants us to.  This is where actual curriculum will bridge the gap.  We’re going to be working with Explode the Code for Luca and Sander, as well as Primary Phonics.  For language arts, Beekee and Corde will both be expected to work on a monthly writing sample.  This is all portfolio filler, and a good opportunity to write about things they enjoy.  We may also look into Spelling U See for all of the kids because their spelling, it is massively horrible!

For math, we’re planning to get into working with Math U See.  I’d heard good things about Saxon and it’s manipulatives, but it’s a much higher investment for a program that’s really only supposed to be background to keep the state happy.  I’d rather go with simpler and cheaper.

I know, I know!  That sounds more like homeschooling than unschooling!  What’s the deal?  Well, meeting state requirements is what enables us to continue to educate at home, so if we have to make sacrifices in the realm of language arts and math, so be it.  Other parents find other ways of getting around it, but I’m not comfortable with that, mostly because if it ever comes to the point where they’re made to pass standardized tests, I’ll have some confidence in their ability to do so.

How We Incorporate Unschooling

Well, that’s pretty much where the line is drawn.  Language arts and math are going to be the only things we’re really putting down in curriculum.  Everything else will be child-led.  If they want to spend the rest of their time playing Minecraft, so be it!  If they want to read tons of books, okay by me.  If they’re really into comics, that’s cool.  We could end up doing crazy science experiments, watching oodles of television, or doing pretty much nothing at all.  I know the kids will enjoy the stuff on Time 4 Learning because it’s all based on games, especially the stuff from Science 4 Us.  It’s meant to be fun and educational, so not a typical homeschool curriculum.

And over the years I expect I’ll gain the confidence to do less and less formal schooling and trust the kids in their ability to learn on their own more and more.  Or we might move to a state with more lax homeschool laws to get away from the stricter standards put on us by the state.  That would be ideal.

In the mean time, I’m planning to provide ample opportunities to learn and plenty of things to explore.  Our house is full of books on various subjects, though Minecraft seems to be the only thing anyone really cares about.  I’m okay with that.  We’ll probably watch some documentaries, just for the fun of it.  There are so many opportunities to learn out there, and I plan to offer as many to the kids as possible.

So that’s how it’s done, and how we do it.  If you’ve got any other questions, please feel free to leave it in the comments.  I’m all for adding Q&A as they come my way!