Trailer Park Unschoolers

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


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Percy Jackson and Screen Time

We just started reading a new book today.  I’m not done with Peter Pan yet, but we decided to mix it up with something more fun.  We’ll work our way through the last 20% of Peter Pan, but we’ll do it at night when the kids are getting ready for bed.

So we started Percy Jackson today.  Corde listened along, figuring she can count it as part of her summer reading (it’s like a book on tape).  She thinks it’s more interesting than the first chapter of Harry Potter, where absolutely nothing interesting happens, not really.  I think she’s wishing she’d read Percy Jackson as her summer reading book instead.  Oh well.  She can always change her mind.

However, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve got to limit screen time for Luca.  Now, I’ll be honest, Luca spends a lot of time watching Netflix, sometimes what feels like too much time.  I’ve tried to be the good radical unschooler when it comes to this, but it’s taking over Luca’s life.  He seems to want to do nothing but watch movies, to the point where it’s starting to get in the way of doing anything else.

Part of this is really Sander’s fault.  Well, I guess the origin is Corde.  She complains that reading is boring for years.  Now Sander says reading is boring.  He’s taken it one step farther to say being read to is boring.  This resulted in Luca crying for twenty minutes because he didn’t want to hear the story, he just wanted to watch a movie.

Well, I was having none of it.  Against all of my unschooling desires, I made up my mind that Luca was at least going to sit quietly while the movie was on, even if all he did was munch on his sandwich and ignore us.  He would be in the same room, and the screen would be off.  He didn’t have to listen, but he had to be quiet and let everyone else listen, and he had to be in the room.

After the whole crying, screaming fit over not being allowed to watch Netflix, we’ve decided it’s time for Netflix to go, at least in anything other than watching as a family.  Luca is on a Netflix fast for a week.  Luca’s really got to start doing other things, playing, interacting, reading.  I thought that summer reading and the potential to win a prize would be enough, but apparently not.

Of course, summer reading at our library is decidedly not cool.  All of the libraries I’ve been to before have all done things where you get prizes for reading so many books, so much time, whatever.  I think when I was a kid you would read so many books and you got a book as a prize.  Now everywhere seems to do time.  Even if they’re just little cheap toys (one place did book marks, rubber duckies, that sort of thing), they get to feel like they won something for all their work.  That was the motivation, to get the next prize.

This library does it different.  You get tickets for every so many hours you read.  The first one is free.  You get another at 1 hour, another at 5 hours, then 15, 30, and 50.  Each of the tickets can be deposited into a box to try and win a prize.  I won’t lie, some of the prizes are some pretty nice stuff, like the gardening kit and the Lincoln Logs.  Still, I find it hard to motivate them when their only reward for all that is a chance to win something.  They could work hard all summer to read all 50 hours and not win a single thing.  And what do I do if one of them wins, but the rest of them get nothing?  This didn’t matter last year because Sander and Beekee only got far enough to do their 1 hour tickets and then we forgot about recording their time, not that we did much reading last summer.  This year I’ve got all three of them doing the elementary summer reading program, and they’re not super excited about it.

I had really hoped to use the summer reading program to motivate the kids to get their reading done.  I wanted them to become stronger readers, and hopefully get Luca started on reading through exposure, but it’s not really happening.  They’re just not motivated for a chance to win something.  I mean, at 5 hours they get a t-shirt, so that’s something.  I just really don’t see this as giving them something to work to.  They like it a lot better when there’s a clear goal in sight.  This is just a maybe, and they don’t like maybes.

Still, it’s getting them to sit for a story every day.  We’re counting read aloud (I don’t know if we should) because Luca can’t read yet, and we’re spending a half hour each day with the reading aloud.  That means Sander has to read one or two more books to get his hour every day.  Luca needs to have two more books read to him.  Beekee gets to read for a half hour quietly.  That gives them a good chunk of reading time down.  Anything else is just a bonus at that point.

It’s especially hard because Sander is a very reluctant reader.  He’s taken on Corde’s cries that reading is boring, so he doesn’t want to read, ever.  He’s also taken on her argument that reading is hard.  That’s trickling down to Luca, who now says he doesn’t want to read because reading isn’t fun.  It’s just a whole mess of a thing.  I think they all need a role model (not me) to show them that reading really is fun.

Oh well, for now we have Percy Jackson, and that seems to have lit a spark in them for wanting to hear a good story.  That’s definitely something.  I’ll take it for what it is.  We’ll count that towards their reading (whether it’s permitted or not) and run with that.  Hopefully that will help them see how great reading really can be.


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Reading Is Hard…

Sander has been having the most difficult time with reading.  It’s been a challenge for him for quite some time, which is why I pulled him out of school.  They were teaching him whole word reading, which wasn’t helping him any when he encountered words he didn’t know.  It was a frustrating experience for him, so we decided to do something different for him.

Now we’re working on phonics.  It’s already made such a difference in how Sander reads.  It’s not the natural “when he discovers it” kind of experience I’d hoped for, but we’re trying to keep with state standards.  We don’t read together as often as we should, and most of our reading is the easy readers as a part of the Primary Phonics workbook set, but we’re getting there.  He’s building the skills he needs to read, which is the general idea of it anyway.

Today we read one of the Rookie Reader series.  As much as I love the idea of those as beginner readers, they’re really not so easy.  I’ve come to discover that many “beginner” readers have a lot of really challenging words, several with multiple syllables.  They’re not exactly easy reads for a kid that’s just learning to read, which makes it challenging, especially for Sander who is definitely a reluctant reader, if you want to throw a label on it that way.  He finds those books really challenging, which makes enjoying the time reading them that much harder.

One of the problems Sander has with reading is sounding things out.  He tries, but he keeps mixing up the sounds and adding sounds where none exist.  This leads to the frustrating challenge of trying to straighten him out and getting him to read only the letters that exist and in the right order.  It’s really hard to have patience with him while he struggles through.  I’d almost rather read to him instead of watch him struggle to figure it out and get frustrated.  While the whole word method of reading made him equally as frustrated, I think phonics and sounding things out are equally frustrating for him, though he’s definitely making more progress this way.

I have to admit, it also helps that I’m not the best about getting him to read either.  We’ve been known to skip whole days instead of working with it every day.  I don’t feel like fighting with him for daily reading is really going to help him love reading, even if it’s going to make his reading skills that much better.  It’s hard to be motivated to push my kids to do things they really don’t want to do.  I don’t see it as necessary.  I guess this ties back to the days when we used to be pure unschoolers, something I really hope we can get back to as my confidence with working with the system grows.

In the mean time I’ve gotten a lot better at reading to the kids before bed.  Luca doesn’t last long through the stories.  Generally halfway through the chapter I have a sleeping Luca on my lap.  Sander isn’t a huge fan of reading stories before bed, which doesn’t help things much, though I think it’s because he’s just not a fan of Peter Pan.  I think if we were reading a story he was more interested in, that would help.  We’ve talked a bit about what comes next and we’ll see what we end up doing.  We’re halfway through Peter Pan (which isn’t surprising as it’s not an overwhelmingly long book), so we’ll be on to another book soon.

I know reading aloud to the kids isn’t really helping Sander with his reading skills, but I can’t help but think it may eventually increase his love of books.  If I can read stories he really gets into I’ll be able to inspire his love of books.  If he loves books he may be motivated to work on his own reading skills so he can get the stories without having to wait for me to get around to them.

Isn’t that really how unschooling works, though?  You inspire your kids to get into things because you expose them to those things.  Your kids want to read because they learn books are enjoyable.  That’s how you unschool reading.  They learn to read because the words show up in their video games and they want to be able to read it on their own.  They learn to read because they get tired of having to wait for someone else to read everything for them.  They learn to read because it’s a useful skill, not because it’s something they have to do.

Of course, that backfired with Corde.  She just wanted me to read everything for her.  “Reading is boring,” she still says even now, but she would listen intently whenever I would read a story aloud.  She’s a bit old to enjoy read aloud stories, but she still hasn’t gotten that spark of wanting to read on her own.  She’s started reading Coraline and hasn’t gotten past the first chapter, and she’s been working on it for a almost two weeks.  I honestly think she’s never going to take to reading.  She much prefers to watch Netflix or play silly little games on her phone.  At least texting is making her spelling improve.

Luca, on the other hand, has really taken to reading.  It’s frustrating because Luca wants to read everything, but doesn’t have the skills to actually read any of it.  It’s frustrating for Luca because he wants to read the same as the rest of the kids.  It’s doubly frustrating for me because I have to explain to Luca that, until he can develop the skills himself, I still have to do the reading.  In the end it would all be so much easier if Luca would learn to read.  I have a feeling once Luca learns, nothing will stand in that kid’s way!

Beekee is much more of a reader than Sander and Corde.  He can sit for hours reading on his own, though given the choice he would rather play video games or watch television.  I’ve taken to instituting reading time during the day so that Sander and Beekee have to read.  Once Corde is home, that’s when she’ll do her summer reading.  Beekee really seems to like this time, though he does have a tendency to just look at the books rather than actually reading them.  At least the idea is there.

This all brings me back to Sander.  I’m not sure how I’m going to help him become a reader.  Maybe if I keep picking up Kindle edition books that will help.  I like the Kindle edition books because I can download them as many times as I like and they take up no physical space to store.  If the kids want to read them when they get older I can always get them their own Kindles to load up with all their favorite stories.  That may be what it takes to get Sander interested in reading.  The challenge then is picking out books that he’ll really enjoy.  Peter Pan is not a win, in spite of the adventures and everything else.  I think it’s far too wordy and not enough action.

If anyone’s got suggestions, I’m all ears.  I’ve already decided we’re going to do Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and likely the Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Extraordinary Children.  We’re definitely going to read Coraline.  I just don’t know where to go from there, maybe the Redwall series.  There are too many options and I’ve got to admit, I’m not up on what kids are reading these days.


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Peter Pan

I’ve got to admit, I’ve been a horrible mom when it comes to reading to my kids.  I really should do it more often, but it never seems to be a good time.  There’s a whole big push in my area that reading to your kids 20 minutes a day is good for them, or having them read for 20 minutes a day.  Most days we manage 20 minutes of Sander and Beekee reading.  Corde (not surprisingly) hardly reads at all.  I try to squeeze in reading to Luca, but it’s not always that easy.

After watching an episode of Once Upon A Time (on Netflix) with Peter Pan, we decided I would read Peter Pan to the kids again.  We read it quite a few years back when we still lived in the trailer park.  Beekee was so into the story that I managed to read the whole book without a break when all the other kids had fallen asleep.

Now, I have to say Peter Pan isn’t the perfect read aloud for so much time off of reading together.  It’s long and wordy so the kids tend to glaze over and zone out.  They couldn’t even pull from the text that Nana was a dog.  Still, they’ll get used to hearing me read and eventually the stories will start sinking in.  On top of Peter Pan we also have the complete Wizard of Oz series, all of Anne of Green Gables, all of the Judy Moody books, as well as the ones about her brother, Stink, and Coraline.  We’ve got plenty of stuff on my Kindle to keep us reading aloud for quite some time.

I have to admit, I kind of like doing the read aloud stories on Kindle.  They’re easy to store and I don’t have to worry about losing the book from one night to the next.  I misplace things all the time, so having something so easily found (it’s in a bright turquoise case) is a definite benefit.

And poor Luca couldn’t last the whole chapter.  I had a floppy Bear draped over on my lap, perfectly content to sleep there.  I needed help to move the sleeping one out of my lap and onto the bed.  Luca actually managed to stay asleep straight through the night until morning, falling asleep almost two hours before the usual time.  I think we may need to keep that up, for no other reason than to get Luca to bed earlier.

As time passes I’m sure my skill at reading will improve again.  Like I said, the kids will get used to hearing my voice and hearing me read to them.  They’ll get used to the idea of books being a part of our regular day.  Their exposure to new ideas and vocabulary will definitely help, especially since books have a much more challenging vocabulary than television shows (except maybe some of the educational ones).  It’ll be good for them, and it’ll help their brains grow.

All of this will also continue to link back to other things in their lives.  They’re going to hear about Peter Pan and Captain Hook, characters they’re seeing in the television show.  Then they’re going to hear about the Wizard of Oz and we can watch the movies that go with that theme.  They can hear about Coraline’s adventure, then watch the movie again to compare.  There’s even a series on Netflix called Anne with an “E” that we can watch as we read Anne of Green Gables.  It should be fun.

Reading to the kids has always been on and off a thing that I’ve done.  Being radical unschoolers, we never really had a set routine, which made it difficult to keep the reading thing going.  Now that our lives have more structure it should be a lot easier to keep it going.  I’m not sure how it will fit in when we start going back to jujitsu, but we’ll find a way to make it work.  I’m really excited about being able to do this with them.


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Holy Cow, We Did Something Today

I’ve been bad about the homeschooling thing lately, and by that I mean the formal homeschooling.  Since I’ve started working I’ve really stopped doing a lot of what we used to do, you know, the formal book stuff that normal homeschooling families do.  I kind of stopped caring.

Yesterday, for example, the kids watched Pirates of the Caribbean when they first got up.  They spent the rest of the day watching various other shows.  To quote a shirt I saw and loved (and must soon own), “I give zero fox.”  I couldn’t give a flying rat patootie what the kids were doing yesterday, so long as I got to sleep in for a few extra hours.  I was in no mood to put up with the kids fighting me over books.  I didn’t even have it in me to put a documentary on Netflix.  I just didn’t care.  I was too exhausted to deal with any of it.

Okay, so most days haven’t been that bad.  We’ve watched a lot of documentaries over the past couple of weeks since I started work.  We haven’t been all about ditching educational stuff.  Yesterday was an exception.  Still, we haven’t really been on it like we used to be, math, reading, phonics, the whole shebang.

And I’ll be honest, I really liked it.  Yesterday it was great to just let the kids go wild and do whatever they wanted to do.  I felt like this was the way it’s supposed to be, that we’re supposed to be living this kind of lifestyle.  I really need to get my head screwed on straight to find a way to make this work because this is really what we need to be doing.  I don’t need to work in all these books and things.  The kids will learn, whether I push them to or not.

As a result, I’ve opted to take Mondays off from schooling all together.  Actually, so far as I’m concerned, we’re going to be in our “summer” homeschooling routine.  I’ve decided for the summer we’re going to do phonics, reading, and writing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We’re going to do math, geography, and science on Wednesdays.  If I’m feeling ambitious we might do history on Mondays or Fridays in the form of reading together or documentaries.  We’re not going to be hitting it hard and heavy like we have been all year.  We’re just going to take the relaxed approach.

But today I got us somewhat back on track.  Sander did his Explode the Code and Primary Phonics.  Luca did the same.  Beekee did some of the pages from his workbooks that he’d skipped.  It’s late in the day, but I hope to get some math squeezed in at the end of it.  If not, we’ll do the math tomorrow and try to work a fuller schedule.  I don’t want to completely give up on our former routine.  I think we just need to play with it a bit.

As for why we’re working through the summer, I know the kids are all going to be in “elementary school” next year.  It would be good to get them all reading independently on a strong enough level that they can start having fun with reading.  So far Sander is just reading the primers from his phonics program as well as some of the LEGO phonics books.  Beekee is getting into the Horrible Histories books, which kind of makes me feel like I’m covering reading and history with him.  Luca likes me to read the LEGO phonics books and let him repeat the words I read, that way Luca gets to “read” the story too.  I’m trying to work on making books a part of our daily routine.

There’s this whole push in my area for reading twenty minutes a day to foster good reading habits.  I’ll be honest, I’ve always kind of sucked at that.  I’ve read to the kids when they want me to read, not when I think they should be read to.  This has resulted in a horrible habit of reading, one that I’m going to have to rectify.  Now that Luca and Sander are older I can get them to settle in for chapter books more, so I can start reading those to the kids every day.  Sander is also getting to the point where he can read his primers for twenty minutes a day, or two LEGO Star Wars phonics books in a day.  Beekee sits down for a chapter of his books and that’s twenty minutes for him.  I’m not strict about it.  I don’t ask them to tell me about the story they’re reading or expect them to pass any kind of “test” on the knowledge gained.  I just want them to learn that reading is fun.  That’s something Corde never got.

I’m thinking of starting it all over again with reading Coraline.  The kids liked Coraline the first time we read it through.  That was when we were living in a shelter, so three years ago.  The kids loved it better than the movie.  That’s something I remembered.  It would be fun to read it with them again.  I have it as an eBook, so that solves the problem of losing it when we moved.  I’ll be honest, I’m thinking we’ll get all our books as eBooks from now on.  It saves space on our bookshelves, which is great, and we don’t have to worry about losing books if we ever move.  We just need to find them and download them again.  We could literally have thousands of books without having to worry about them ever getting lost for good, unless Amazon happens to kick the bucket.

Or maybe we won’t read Coraline.  Maybe we’ll read the Wizard of Oz series, or Anne of Green Gables.  Those would be fun reads too.  Eventually I plan to get Percy Jackson and Harry Potter as eBooks.  At a chapter a day (perhaps minus the days I work) that would lead to a lot of days of reading.  We could get Peter Pan too, and Alice in Wonderland.  I think I’m going to be more excited for these books than the kids.

Anyhow, I digress.  On an “unschooling” level, today was kind of a fail, but on a “homeschooling” level we got a lot done, considering how lazy we have been about everything.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that once we’re set up to do more science experiments and everyone has a better grasp of reading and writing, we’ll probably get back to doing more “unschooling” and less “homeschooling.”  It feels nice to know we’re getting back on track.

As a side note, something that I’ll probably end up ending all of my entries with, we’re really hoping to get Oz back into the military.  It would allow us to live a little closer to the means everyone else seems to live by.  We would have more money to put towards educational pursuits, which would make unschooling all the easier.  So keep your thoughts, prayers, and whatever else on this working out for us.  We could really use this right about now.


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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.


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Mama, Can I Give You A Kiss?

Today was the first official day of February vacation in the local schools.  You know what that means?  All four kids were home from school today.  It was actually kind of awesome.  We had a nice chill day, all considering.

We started the morning out with reading.  It began with the second chapter in Story of the World.  Overall I think the kids don’t hate it.  I have to engage with them every single paragraph for them to do anything other than glaze over and tune out.  If I keep asking them questions after every paragraph they actually listen.  I can’t make them be history lovers, but at least this is a start in getting them engaged.  The only down side I see is it brings in Biblical stories into the history, which isn’t really something I follow with.  We’re not a religious family, and at the risk of upsetting someone, there’s little historical fact to support that the Bible is an accurate account of history in any way, shape, or form.  Still, I think it’s a good base to work with.  The best part?  Even Luca was engaging with the reading when I took it paragraph by paragraph.  I was so proud of my little Bear!

From there we went on to You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Sumerian Slave.  The kids liked that well enough, even Corde.  It wasn’t the most comprehensive history book I’ve found, but it at least got them to be interested in the subject.  It gave them a different view of what life was like back then, and had more of a personal feel.  Those books are short enough to make them fun and easy reads.

After that the kids cycled through doing their work on the computer.  Sander and Luca played on Starfall for a good while after they were done.  They loved that program.  I’m so glad I payed to get the full content.  It wasn’t expensive ($35 for the year, I think?) and the kids really like playing on it.It’s been great for teaching Luca to read.  It’s been helping Sander too, though not as much.  He even read a book to me today, with some help along the way.  His skills at reading have gotten so much better.

Then, out of the blue, Luca said to me, “Mom, can I give you a kiss?”  I almost didn’t catch it at first.  I said okay and I got the sweetest little peck on my cheek.  Luca then gave the happiest little grin.  These are the moments that make me love having the kids home, sweet moments that I would miss if they were all in school all day long.

We’ve taken a bit of time out from our regularly scheduled homeschooling tasks to keep the state happy this week.  Instead we’re focusing on having a good week as a family, and doing some reading because I know the kids are at least picking up on a few facts that way.  It fulfills the suggested amount of reading twenty minutes a day.  We usually go way above that, mostly because I enjoy reading to my kids and they seem to get something positive out of it.  Besides, I would feel lost if we didn’t at least do something.  So computer time and reading it is.

I’m really happy to be getting back to our unschooling roots again.  This week has already been really good for that.  I think we’re going to be borrowing some stuff from classical homeschooling again, like the suggested reading list (because it ties in with the Charlotte Mason living books thing I like so much), but for the most part I want to keep our bend towards unschooling.

Today I really learned something from my kids.  The best moments are those spent doing things we enjoy.  I like reading to my kids, and they seem to enjoy it, so I suppose we’ll be keeping more of that.  The kids seem to like their math program, so we’ll keep up with that.  Luca and Sander really like Explode the Code, so we’ll keep working with that.  Sander and Luca both like Starfall (which is to be honest, a very unschooler way to learn reading, through playing games on tech), so we’ll keep with that.  The kids are enjoying their work on the computer, so we’ll keep up with that too.  Because when it comes down to it, doing those activities that they seem to love really inspires some beautiful moments with them.  I wouldn’t want to miss it.

And that’s what I love about this.  I love hearing A.J. say his land is called “Mesopotamia” because it means “the land between rivers” in his play.  I like working with Sander on his reading, and watching his vocabulary and his ability to read slowly growing.  I love getting kisses from Luca for no reason other than to give me a kiss.  These are things I never saw when the kids were in school.  These are the moments I missed.

Today’s beautiful moment was a kiss from my littlest.  I have no idea what tomorrow’s moment will be.  I just know that, whatever it is, it will make my day that much brighter.


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Llama, Llama in Pajama

Sometimes the things I hear really make me scratch my head.  For example, waking up to the Legend of Zelda theme.  In case you don’t know it, here’s an awesome video by Lindsey Sterling with a whole medley of Legend of Zelda songs.  We particularly love her in this house, especially for her nerd video gaming stuff.

Then there was the thing about llamas, hence the name of the post.  Sander was saying, “Llama, llama, pajama!”  I have no idea what brought that on aside from me talking about alpacas.  The kids were asking what the difference was, so I told them the only real difference I knew is that alpacas were smaller and generally thought to be nicer.

This whole thing led to a discussion about llamas and alpacas.  (I think this may warrant more books from the library, but not until we return some of them.)  The kids have decided we need to raise alpacas.  I’m okay with this.  I’m a knitter and hope to some day be a spinner, so having alpaca fleece (which makes my favorite kind of yarn) on hand will not be a problem for me.  I think we may need to consider buying some land so we can have alpacas and rabbits for Corde.

We’ve been doing a lot of reading in the house so far.  I pulled out some of the DK Eyewitness books we got from the library and told the kids to page through them this morning while I write this (and wait for my headache to dissolve) which has kept them occupied quite well.  Beekee has been learning about Mesopotamia.  Right now Sander is looking at a book on ancient China.  Luca pulled out a book on frogs that I’d gotten for Sander (who absolutely loves frogs).  I guess we’re really making good use of those library books.  It’s a good thing I got so many then.

Undoubtedly I’ll be writing about Mesopotamia soon.  It’s currently Beekee’s favorite subject.  (Oh, yeah, in case you didn’t get the memo, A.J. and Beekee are the same person.)  He learned about it with Time 4 Learning and has been interested ever since.  He’s got a section on ancient civilizations, so we’re going to go through all of them one after the other.  It can’t hurt to spend a good long time studying them.  I guess it ties back to our time with classical homeschooling (the exact antithesis of unschooling).  I kind of want to take us through history from beginning to modern.  We’ll see how that goes.  For now, I should let Sander hop on the computer and get some work done.