Trailer Park Unschoolers

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

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Because It’s Cold Out

This year we’re really looking forward to finding some more unschooling types of opportunities.  We want to get away from the traditional book schooling as much as possible so we can hopefully break away from it entirely.  At least that’s the goal.

We wanted to start out this weekend with ice skating at the local rink, but it looks like that’s not happening.  It was 10°F (-12°C) out there with a -9°F (-22°C) wind chill.  It’s expected to be about the same all week, which is not exactly the ideal kind of temperature to go ice skating in.

In truth, we’re finding it’s not the temperature to do much of anything, really.  The kids want to be sitting up on the chairs in the living room because they’re soft, comfy, and warm.  They don’t want their feet on the floor where the icy draft blows.  It’s especially tough because they like to work on the floor in the living room, which is the coldest floor in the house.  It means we won’t be doing much work out there until the temperature rises.  I don’t want the kids to be freezing.

Next week Corde goes back to school.  It isn’t going to be much warmer then.  (I guess I’d better get her hat finished!)  I kind of wish she didn’t have to be standing out in the cold waiting for that bus in this weather.  It has me wishing she would make up her mind on homeschooling.  Then she wouldn’t have to be out in that cold, but the experience of the exploratory shops is good for her, so there is something to be said about that.

I think if we get back to “school” next week we’ll probably be working in the kitchen, with the space heater out there to warm our toes while we work.  It’s not as drafty as the living room, but it’s still not exactly warm.  We’ll probably be working with hot chocolate, just for the fun of it.

This cold is definitely putting a damper on the things we wanted to do this winter.  We don’t exactly want to be out in the cold.  I think this means next year we’ll have to plan ahead, just in case.  We just weren’t expecting this cold so soon!


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Sorry, We’re Not Home Right Now

Actually, that’s kind of not true. We’ve either been in our yard or at the neighbor’s house. Well, all but today. Today it looks like it could rain any minute. We may stay in today.

The weather has been fantastic. After what seemed like the cold that would not die it was nice to get out in the sun. It was nice for me to get a chance to hang out with the neighbor too. It’s good for the kids too. They have a chance to be social with other kids and get some exercise.

The signs of spring are everywhere too. The early spring flowers are starting to come up. Leaf buds are starting to show on bushes and trees. It won’t be long before our back yard is shaded again, making it a nice place to play in the summer sun.

All the kids are enjoying it too. Even Corde is coming out to play with everyone. Yesterday she played horse and carriage, taking the rest of the kids to various locations in the backyard. It was good to see them all playing together.

Summer is right around the corner. Soon we’ll have all day to play in the sun. We’ll go on nature walks and maybe try to find a local geocash. We can start walking to the store and observing the local changes as we go. We should be able to get out to the local swimming hole. It should be a good summer, but for now we’ll be enjoying what we have.

It’s going to be a busy week. We have jujitsu, of course. We should be going all three days this week. Beekee has the Future Leaders Program, which has been picked up through April as well. Then there’s Easter which will be spent with the Neighbors as well. After that Corde has the week off, so we’ll be taking a break from formal schooling. We’ll be in unschooling mode! It’s going to be good! Yay for spring weather!

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It’s A Beautiful Day

You see what They’re wearing? That’s right, tees. Short sleeves outside is the look of the day. It was 60° out today! This really made everyone’s day. We almost skipped jujitsu so the kids could play outside instead. We probably should have gone out earlier in the day but I had no idea it would be so nice!

The walk was wonderful. It was tempting to just find an excuse to sidetrack off somewhere to keep walking in this warm weather, but we were on a mission. Still, we had a guy call out his car window to us, commenting on the lovely weather.

Of course, the walk was met with Luca being all kinds of corny. This is Luca being a robot, a running robot. Luca created this elaborate world where Luca was the villain and was trying to destroy the world, which never works as fate would have it for most villains. It was a fun walk.

Beekee and Sander were all kinds of things on their walk. They were adventurers, heroes, and in this case, carrying laser cannons to stop the villain. I think they were just happy not to have to wear jackets. It’s finally starting to be the kind of weather I like again, the weather we all like.

Soon we’re going to be doing a lot of stuff outside. We’re going to be observing the leaf buds on all the plants. We’ll start watching things grow and change. Hopefully the snow we got on Beekee’s birthday will be the last of the cold and we’ll be seeing some beautiful weather take hold.

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Two Days of Sun

Can I just tell you how amazing the past two days have been?  It’s been amazingly warm outside.  Who knew we’d have the windows open in February?  We took advantage of the nice weather and spent two days outdoors.  It was great!

Yesterday we wanted to go to the park, but we ended up playing at the neighbor’s house instead.  The kids had a blast.  They even busted out the water table to play on, that’s how warm it was.  They ended up coming home wet and happy.  Who can beat that?

The park day got pushed off for today instead.  The weather was even nicer, if you can believe that.  It was 68 out yesterday.  Today it peaked at 73!  From what the weather reports told us today was supposed to be cooler than yesterday.  I guess that tells you how accurate weather reports are!

The kids had a lot of fun at the park today.  They ran around for a good long while, longer than I’d anticipated.  We’d planned to stay for an hour but we ended up staying for almost two hours.  Now they’re eating a quick snack before it’s time to get dressed and ready for jujitsu.  (No, I really can’t go a post without mentioning it!)

img_20170224_142056_957I even got a couple of good pictures of the kids.  For some reason Beekee always looks so serious and intense in pictures.  As I’ve gone back through old pictures I’ve found this to be a regular thing throughout his life.  Funny how he’s so intense!

img_20170224_142205_769Corde, on the other hand, was hard to grab a picture of.  She was running from the camera like it would kill her.  She finally settled to let me take a picture of her when I told her I just wanted one good one.  Her personality really shines through!

img_20170224_142728_672Then there was Luca and the snow.  Luca was so excited to be standing in snow in sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt.  After being bundled up in the snow, it was a lot of fun to be able to stand in what little was left without having to wear layers.  As the kids said, “If only it was always like this in the snow!”

img_20170224_142854_424Speaking of standing in the snow…  Corde wanted to show what she was made of.  She said she wanted to be barefoot in the snow, see what it felt like.  Her answer to this?  “It felt mostly wet, like stepping on ice someone dropped on the floor.  It wasn’t really cold.”  I’ll take your word for it, Corde.  I certainly wasn’t going to find out!

img_20170224_151015_503Even Oz got into the fun.  He was playing zombies with the kids, then wanted to lay down with Sander on the double slides.  They were just laying there, looking so chill.  He really had a great time with the kids, though.  It was pretty awesome to see him playing with the kids again.  He hasn’t had much opportunity to play with the kids outdoors because of the weather, but today happened to be a perfect day for it.

Then, of course, there’s all the other observations we got to make.  Since Nika came with us, she observed how fun it was to chase shadows on the swings.  I couldn’t get a picture of it, but I wish I had.  Then there was the kids making footprints in the sand.  I managed to get my boots slogged in the wet sand when I was going to take pictures.  I started to feel like I would be stuck there forever!

I kept an eye out on the way home to see if we could spot any other signs of spring.  We didn’t see any, but I hear the crocuses are starting to come up.  I saw some of what looked like leaf buds beginning to form on some trees on my walk earlier.  I just didn’t see any when I was out with the kids.  I have a feeling we’re going to see other signs of spring coming up here soon.

It seems like Mr. Groundhog was wrong this year.  We’re not going to have six more weeks of winter at all.  Granted, we did get one more storm, so maybe that’s what the groundhog was predicting, that winter wasn’t quite over yet.  Either way, it looks like spring is finally here now and I’m glad for it.  We’ve got the windows open and are letting in the warm, fresh air.  It’s beautiful out.  Best of all, it’s not quite going to be dark by the time the kids have to go off to jujitsu.  They’re still going to get to enjoy some of the nice weather for just a little bit longer.  That’s definitely going to be a nice walk to class!

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Sounds Like Rain

Yeah, that’s exactly what it sounds like outside.  The weather is finally warming up again and all the snow we just got is melting.  It means the walks that were shoveled are finally starting to clear up.  It means my street (where plowing was seriously a joke) is finally starting to look like a street again.  This means walking is suddenly starting to become less dangerous!  Yay for that!

The trick lately has been walking to jujitsu and the library.  Most of the main roads had the sidewalks plowed, but on our little side street, no one seemed to care.  It’s supposedly state law that you have to clear the walk in front of your house, but since our street is full of renters, I get the picture that no one really cares.  It’s not like they’ll be sued if someone were to get hurt.  More importantly, in a multi-family, who is responsible for the walk?  It’s hard enough to find someone who wants to be responsible for the driveway.

For the most part walking down our street meant walking in the street, not something I was terribly happy with.  We ended up walking “ducks in a row” between Oz and I on our way to and from jujitsu and the library.  I felt better having the kids walk between adults so that (hopefully) if someone lost control of their car, or just wasn’t paying attention, it would be an adult that got hit, not a kid.  I HATE having to walk in the street, especially on my street where people tend to speed and it’s narrow on top of it, especially with cars parked out there.

While I wouldn’t call today a beautiful day (it’s cloudy, wet, and muddy out there), I’m honestly glad we’re getting this warmer weather after the snow we got this week.  It’s supposed to be really nice this weekend, which is good for us.  We’re planning a library trip to build with the KEVA planks on Saturday.  While that’s not slated to be the nicest day of the weekend, it’s supposed to be pretty nice, and with temperatures above freezing all week, I can imagine we’ll get a decent amount of melting going on.  We may even have clear sidewalks by then!

Thankfully the warm weather is on it’s way.  It won’t be long before spring is hear and you won’t be able to keep us in the house.  We’ll be spending plenty of time at the park, and when we can manage it, out in nature.  Once we have a car again we’re going to be out and exploring the world of geocashing as well.  I’m really looking forward to that.

For the time being, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with the sound of melting snow outside, wishing it were rain to wash it all away.  The kids aren’t a fan of the snow and can’t wait for it to be gone so they can have real fun outside.  (I guess that’s what happens when you raise your kids in Texas for most of their lives.)  Instead they’re happily inside playing with LEGO blocks, playing Minecraft, or watching movies, longing for the days they can go out and play in the sunshine.

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Because It’s Unseasonably Warm

Today we decided would be a good day to go to the library.  We knew it was going to be warm, and I had to go to the pharmacy already, so it seemed like a logical thing to do.  The library is on the way to the pharmacy.  So we set out, taking advantage of the nice day.

img_20170121_105455_335Since Corde was on an overnight, we only had three.  They got along better than I’ve ever seen them get along before.  Luca wanted to hold hands with both big brothers, which was the cutest thing to watch.  We brought the stroller just in case (and it was a good thing too), but for much of the way Luca walked.

img_20170121_122309_919For once we didn’t get any books at the library.  I didn’t feel much like enforcing the book hunt, so I decided to let it go this time.  They were too busy playing with trains.  I didn’t feel much like looking for books on my own, so it was just a day of returning the old books and playing.  I think an all-fun library day every once in a while isn’t a bad thing.  Besides, I don’t want to make the library less fun because it’s all about books for my kids that aren’t as into reading.  Besides, we have almost too many books at home as is.

After going to the library we decided the weather was nice, so we took a trip to the park.  The sun had come out and it was starting to feel really nice out.  It was 57 out, which is unusually warm for this time of year.  For me it was still jacket weather, but the kids were plenty warm with running around in the cool, fresh air.  It was wonderful to get out in the warm weather with the sun finally shining after what seemed like days of clouds.  We really needed the change to our routine.  I hate to say it, but I’d be happy if I there was no more snow for the rest of the season.

img_20170121_133020_499The kids weren’t the only ones to get a good bit of exercise today.  Nika, as always, was along for the journey.  I’m finding I like having someone to hold her while I go take pictures of the kids.  She wasn’t a fan of me walking away from her.  She was rather confused.  With a few exceptions, she’s been glued to my side.  She didn’t know what to make of being left with someone else, even though she knows Oz quite well.  He takes he for walks sometimes.  Life with a service dog isn’t always the easiest, but we’re adjusting.

Right now the Beekee and Sander are sucking up the last of the sunlight for the day.  They’re playing outside, enjoying the nice weather while they still can.  It’s supposed to be decently warm for the rest of the week.  I’m hoping it’s going to be warm enough next weekend that we can get in another trip to the library.  That would be a great way to celebrate their first day of freedom from school!

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Snow Days

Today it snowed.  I didn’t think it was supposed to snow until tomorrow, but apparently it came early.  I could be wrong.  I wasn’t exactly tracking the weather.  Still, it ended with a quiet day indoors.

I have to be honest, I feel a little bad about that.  The kids spend so much time indoors.  It would have been nice to get them out in the snow for a while.  Unfortunately, none of them can find what they did with their mittens and hats.  That means cold fingers, something that’s not going to lead for long outdoor play.  I suppose we may go out to play tomorrow.  It’s not exactly supposed to be warmer, but at least the stairs should be cleaned off and safe for them to go out on.

So what have we been doing?  We’ve been watching Outrageous Acts of Science off the DVR.  This is cool because it shows viral videos and then explains scientifically what’s happening, or in some cases, what went horribly wrong.  It’s made it an educational experience.  I love that my kids enjoy stuff that isn’t just junk television.  It’s not like they don’t watch any junk television, but they get a healthy dose of stuff that’s educational too.  I just wish there was more of that kind of stuff out there.  It seems like so much of the educational channels like TLC (The Learning Channel) and Discovery have gone over to reality shows more than educational stuff.  It’s like they forgot their mission.

We’ve had a pretty productive week, at least Luca and me.  We did some work in workbooks, though we didn’t get much computer time in.  I’ve been extra tired the past few weeks so getting much done during the day is a little hopeless, but I’ve tried.  I’m pretty happy that we got some work in the workbooks done.  We’re starting to get into a rhythm, and I think once everyone’s home it’s going to work into a rhythm every single day.  I still want to hold by unschooling as much as possible, but the state has certain requirements that I have to prove I can meet.  I have to be able to prove the kids were performing on grade level, which was something I couldn’t do before when I was unschooling.  I figured reading and writing skills would develop in time as the kids found they needed to learn them.  Now state requirements say that kind of natural progression isn’t acceptable and I have to prove they can make the required markers.  That’s going to mean doing what I’m doing with Luca, finding a fun way to sit down and get some stuff done so they can stay “on track” with the understanding that it’s only because the state requires it.  Hopefully I’ll find ways to make the basic subjects enjoyable enough that they don’t mind it too much.

Watching the plows go by, their bright lights flashing blindingly in my windows, I think how much easier things were when we were the Trailer Park Unschoolers.  I really miss it.  There were no restrictions on what we taught at home so the kids could learn as naturally as they chose to.  There was no snow, pretty much, so we didn’t have to worry about snow keeping us in.  We didn’t have so many restrictions on our homeschooling or our lifestyle.  It was amazing.

So now I guess this blog has a new mission.  Not only will I be writing about how we unschool living while being poor, but I’m also going to talk about how we incorporate unschooling while still living with the state mandated restrictions to our plan.  It should be interesting.

Though, I have to be honest, I hope some day we move out of the “poor” category and land ourselves solidly middle class with a house of our own, or at least a trailer on some land.  I hope that we can elevate ourselves to the level where we can spend a little more money on adventures.  Until then, I guess I’ll keep telling you how it goes from here.