Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Long Time, No Post!

I can't believe that I haven't updated her in nearly a month! The kids have been up to so much that I could write pages and pages, but I will try to limit myself a little bit.

First of all, everyone has been drawing and drawing and drawing. Esme introduced JoAnn to a new style of drawing, and JoAnn took off running with it. Lia is always drawing. Antonio has been taking his art more seriously especially on the computer. Esme is the most serious artist though. She is always picking up drawing books to learn new techniques. She wants to do everything right while still retaining her own flair, and I must admit that the is excellent at it! Antonio has downloaded a mass of free trial subscriptions to several drawing programs, and Esme needs to explore it all! She has also been working a lot more with color both from colored pencils, chalk pastels, and markers. I would like to get her a paid subscription to DA which she really craves, and also to introduce her to painting. We shall see what the new year holds.

Antonio has discovered a place online where you can create online graphic novels. He has been using both his drawing and writing skills there a lot. He has always melded graphics and the written word, and having a place where he can easily connect anything online is wonderful!

Antonio has also been spending more time offline lately making inventions. One of his best was a heater made basically out of a card board box, black electrical tape, and a motor. He got the idea online, and it really works. It is a simple way to give his room a low cost boost of heat. Another one of his inventions was a wind turbine. Ant is fascinated with motors and basically anything mechanical. With the current energy crisis, he thought it would be fun to see if he could produce some free energy to run some of his motors, and the exciting thing was that he was successful!

The girls have been busy making furniture for their American girls dolls. The dolls seemed to fall by the wayside in their games for awhile, but now they are back in the forefront. Furniture has been constructed from cardboard, wood, stuffing, and cloth to keep the dolls living in style.

Jewelry making has been a nearly nonstop endeavor for awhile now. A week doesn't go by without someone sporting a new piece of jewelry that they have constructed. Beading and using wire are at the top of the list, but crocheting and knitting are still going on too. There are also more creative mixed media pieces.

Antonio loves watching the Power Block on Spike on Sunday mornings. He learns so much during those shows. I am usually next to him on my computer during that time period, and we have lots of good discussions about the things he sees. The girls pop in and out taking interest here and there too.

With the recent presidential election, all of the kids have had a big interest in the past presidents. This interest has expanded into doing online research and reading lots of biographies from the library. There have been many debates about which presidents were better than others. JoAnn has actually become sort of an expert on Abraham Lincoln. She has read numerous biographies about him and read source documents from the time period about him online.

I could go on, but I think I will save some for tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Long Weekend & New Interests

We have a new family interest, and it is chemistry!!! You see it is an offshoot of playing PPGZ! Ant plays the professor, and he wants to make his characterization more realistic. He found these videos on Youtube - The Periodic Table of Videos. They are wonderful! We have all been watching some, and you learn so much about the elements, and how they all relate to each other. Of course, you get to see some pretty cool chemical reactions along the way. (We all waited with bated breath for the cesium to fall into the water!) Diana will be taking a graduate chemistry course in the near future, and all this chemical exploration should be a big boost to a successful course of study.

Chemisty has led to an interest in scientific measurement. We have been comparing the U.S. system of measurement and the metric system, and talking about how scientists measure various things and why. Antonio always has ideas on how to make various systems better, and Lia always wants to be vary hands on with everything!

The memory on our digital camara dropped by 50% overnight! After checking the camera settings and seeing that every was set right, Antonio had the answer. Flash memory is subject to memory wear. It only has so many erase cycles available. The number is a whole lot, but we are a big family who fills the camera many times each day, and we only have the small amount of integrated memory, no external storage. I was surprised that Ant knew this. (When will I stop being surprised?) So I looked it up, and he was exactly right! Ant and I talked some more about flash memory and other types of memory, and of course, about how he thinks everything could be improved.

Another new area of interest is map reading. We have been thinking about relocating, and the kids have been doing a lot of looking at maps online to check out various locales. On top of this, Diana remembered that we hadn't been letterboxing in awhile, so we have been doing some of that and some other hiking which has involved reading maps. All of the hiking has led to discussions of survival skills and safety in the wild and what to do if you are lost.

Esme has had some bad news. The American Girl doll Samantha is being archived. Samantha was her first American Girl love, and although she has a Samantha doll, she was hoping to accumulate some more Samantha stuff in the future. Although Samantha could be brought back, we can't be sure that she will. Reading about the archiving of Samantha has led to a resurgence in Dollytown (that is what the kids call our home when they are referring to it as their dolls' home.) The kids have been making homemade doll clothes again and have a story line going where the dolls of Dollytown are taking up collections because a hurricane destroyed most of the town, and many dolls are homeless. This has led to letter and speech writing.

This weekend the girls watched Chicago and enjoyed it more than any movie they have seen in quite awhile. All of us love a good musical, but I was surprised that they were so into this that they could hardly tear their eyes away from the screen!

Today we spent sometime together looking up words in the online dictionary. We all love words that have two totally different meanings and were concentrating on those and on words that have recently been added to the dictionary today.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What have they been doing?

Here are a few things the kids have been up to the last few days.

All of them have had an interest in prime numbers that has come from Diana's graduate school math course! We have been reading articles about prime numbers together on the computer and played around with prime numbers in an assortment of contexts. The kids were very surprised that several organizations offer prizes for discovering super big prime numbers, and we have discussed how people discover those numbers (using computers), and the likelihood that we could discover one in the near future and claim a prize. (Highly unlikely as we probably do not have the necessary technology, but you can't be sure it isn't a possibility, and the idea is fun to play around with!)

Antonio saw an advertisment for a video game online that got him thinking about gods of death in various religions and mythologies. He did some research about this online, and we all discussed various death gods and mythologies on several different occasions. This lead to a tangent where he wanted to learn about end of the world symbolism in the Book of Revelation which lead to him reading a lot of it. This lead to an interest in the four horsemen of the apocolypse, and he is now a sort of expert on them. The girls went off on another tangent with interest in the seven deadly sins. Together with me we explored the seven deadly sins online, and we also talked about the concept of sin, sharing our various beliefs and talking about others beliefs.

Lia spent a weekend in Syracuse and came home with a ton of beads and beading supplies from garage sales she went to! All of the kids have been busy making bracelets and necklaces for themselves and their dolls. It is cool to see how they have all developed a personal style.

Halloween is approaching, and an interest in ghost stories and haunted houses has arisen. The kids have been spending the time after we go to bed in the girls room watch ghost hunting tv shows and haunted house movies, and then turning off the machine and telling their own stories. Lia definitely doesn't like scary things and none of the rest of them like things that are too scary so they are challenged to find material that is mysterious and interesting without really being scary. Diana has also been putting slightly scary and mysterious stuff into her netflix queue. Esme really wants to go to a commercial haunted house this year so that they can roleplay during the experience. I want to try to make this happen for them so I may do some research before our family trip to Syracuse next weekend.

Of course, there is much discussion of the presidential election!!! It is so cool to see how they all really think about the issues and understand the various political parties and working of the federal government! Esme in particular debates politics regularly on her various forums and loves it! They asked me last night who I was voting for, and I honestly told them that I was undecided and still reading up on things. When Lia expressed disappointment (she is not so patient and wanted me to make a decision now!), both Esme and JoAnn told her that I was doing the right thing and that this was a very important decision and that I should think things through carefully! I was so proud of them.

Of course, the vast majority of their time is spent roleplaying Power Puff Girl Z. Organization IV and Care Bears have not totally fallen to the wayside, and Ant was cosplaying someone from Naruto just the other day, but PPGZ is definitely the roleplay of choice these days. I even have a character now - the Professor's mom. (I think that makes me really old!) It is a fun character though. I like to put my son down and treat him not at all like a super intelligent scientist.

Oh! I almost forgot! Both Ant and Es have been learning html coding. It is rather funny I think because I just assumed they knew a lot of html coding! I mean isn't that what you learn first? But the things is, they are forum sort of people and most forums use different coding, and that is what they know! It is so cool to see how fast Ant learns these things. He only has to see something briefly once and then he has it! Esme has to practice a bit and use something a few times before she is 100% sure of herself.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Link

Article about gaming and learning -

http://www.livescience.com/technology/081003-school-games.html

How Learning Happens

Learning is often a fluid thing. You have an interest or are exposed to something and one thing leads to another. Connections are made. No curriculum is necessary, just sources of information which can be people, websites, books, video, or audio in nature.

Conversations with my kids tonight (all of which flowed from the PPGZ roleplay) included the seven deadly sins, various gods of death in different mythologies and religions, and symbolism in the book of Revelation in the Bible, especially they four horsemen of the Apocalypse. We all shared info with each other, and two computers were simultaneously in use researching topics and gathering information.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What they do...

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately, and I have noticed that a lot of new unschoolers are listing activities that their kids are doing and then breaking them down into schooly sort of stuff. Some are doing it because they still see the world as broken up into subjects. Others are doing it because there state requires very specific records, and they are worried that they will forget too many things. Anyways...I thought I would do it today! Just for fun 'cause that is how I am!

What they did today...

Lia - attended Red Grammer concert (music, social studies, social skills), baked cookies (math, science, home economics), worked through problems with siblings (social skills), cared for pets (science, responsibility), watched Ever After (literature, listening, social studies), rollerbladed on edge of road (phys. ed., pedestrian safety), watched CSI (science, general problem solving), drawing (art), did laundry (home economics, math)

Josie - rested a lot because she is getting over a cold + discussion about cold (science, health), did a lot of cooking (science, math, home economics), read lots of The Moon by Night (literature), attended Red Grammar concert (music, social studies, social skills)

Esme - wrote blog posts (writing, typing), socialized through various forums and IM'ing on the internet (social skills, writing, typing, computer skills), drew and did graphic things in PSP on the computer (art, computer skills), decided what she would have for breakfast and lunch and prepared her food herself (home economics, health, decision making skills) , participated in PPGZ roleplay online (social skills, creativity) , listened to a wide assortment of music online (music)

Antonio - designed and built an 8 axis joystick type controller out of legos and a rubber band (math, engineering), took apart an old laptop and figured out what all the parts were and how they compare to parts in our laptop that we use now (engineering, math), build a microphone for Diana's computer out of things he found in his room (engineering), experimented with electricity and various parts (math, science), played bits and pieces of various video games (problem solving), vacuumed + did laundry (home economics), took care of pets (science, developing responsibility), discussed the development of computers and computer advancements and how it affects society (science, social studies)

Of course, everyday is different. Today JoAnn and Lia were somewhat ill and not doing as much as usual. It was Esme's computer day, and she wasn't sharing! It was very rainy. You get the idea...tomorrow will be a different day, but this one was good too! Oh! Also, I of course don't see everything that they do...so this isn't all of it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Linky!

Here's an unschooling friendly article if anyone is interested.

How Children Learn: classic of human, kid-centered learning

Book Review - Meet the Austins

Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle was the first book published in the Austin family series which also includes The Moon by Night, The Twenty-Four Days before Christmas, The Young Unicorns, A Ring of Endless Light, Troubling a Star, and the short story, "An Austin Family Christmas." Although Meet the Austins was published in 1960, I never read the book as a child. I did read a lot of other L'Engle books including the Murry family series and the Camilla books, but somehow or other the Austin books never caught my eye. I first read the Austin books as an adult in my 20's rather haphazardy without regard to chronological order or the order of publication but just whatever I happened to see on the library shelves first. Recently I decided to reread the series in the order of publication.

I remember Meet the Austins as an easy read about a loving family that pretty much gets things right as they live their lives in the world with its typical ups and downs. I was not an unschooler when I read it before, and I didn't have such a well defined life philosophy as I do now. I am happy to say that I still think the book is a good read and definitely suitable for "modern youth."

Although the book was published in 1960, there is nothing in this book to "date" it. I quite honestly could have been reading a book about children in the 21st century. OK, there are no computers or cell phones, but I have read lots of books recently that do not make mention of modern technology. The book has long chapters, and although it is not difficult to read, the flow does not mimic most of the popular novels currently being published targeting 4-6th graders. Those who are use to short, snappy chapters and to-the-point sentences, might need to get use to the longer attention span required for an older book.

Now onto the story. The book is really good. It is about a family with four kids aged 4-15 living in the country. They take in a fifth child whose parents have both died until other arrangement can be made for her. Her personality does not blend easily into the family, and the primary plot of the novel is her and the family's adaptation to the situation. Themes include the importance of love, consistency, and safety in our lives; and the importance of diversity/nonconformity in society.

How did the book mesh with my life philosophy? Well, the parents spank their kids. I would not spank my kids. I do understand the theory behind spanking though, and I do not think it is any worse than other punishment like time outs as long as it is carried out in a thoughtful manner. My point is that one shouldn't punish their kids at all. The parents use a few other methods of punishment that turn me off too, like making their kids spend time away from the family when they have done something wrong and not letting the siblings comfort each other. There is also an overriding sense in the book that crying is a bad thing to do. I cry a lot, and it is not at all bad for me. (If I didn't cry, I would be likely to do worse things.)

In spite of the parenting techniques exhibited in the book, the children are well loved, well adjusted, and for the most part happy. The book definitely has a "good family" feel. The kids' interactions with each other are very loving, ideal even. They are still realistic though; the siblings occasionally get angry at each other and make mistakes.

As in all of L'Engle's books that I remember, there is a bit of spiritual underflow in this book. L'Engle was very spiritual herself and a member of the Episcopalian church. The spirituality is not of the "hit you over the head" with theology type though, but more a clear belief that God is in charge and that he will take care of us and make sure that everything is OK in the end. I feel that the spirituality in this book would not offend anyone, and if anyone disagreed with the statements made, it would be a good discussion starter about spiritual beliefs. Having said that, in this particular book, I think there is too much religion to make it a "the whole class" has to read book in a public school environment although having it as a part of a classroom library would be great.

I would recommend this book to my children. It could lead to great discussions about families, parenting, and spirituality.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Blog!

I started blogging with a weight loss blog, and I have long thought of doing another. I have been playing with it for awhile watching to see which direction it goes, and now I present:

Not Your Typical Weight Loss Blog

Meals

Meals are a weird control issue for me. Food is the hardest thing for me to unschool. It was the last thing to go, and even now, I struggle with it regularly. See there have been times in both my childhood and my adult life that I have gone hungry. There were times in the past when my children went hungry. You would think then that I would want my kids to have a large assortment of food to choose from that they can eat whenever they want (the unschooling ideal.) In reality, I feel the need to be absolutely sure that we have all the food necessary every day for regular meals and snacks, and then to parcel in out in careful portions so that everyone has their needs met.

Note, I don't do this, but a part of me wants to!

When we lived at Kennedy Square, I use to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner nearly everyday and serve them at the table. By the time, I switched to unschooling food, the kids were pretty happy with the situation, and the unschooling mostly took the form of asking them if they wanted anything in particular when I went to the store and keeping things they could snack on around for when in between meal hunger struck.

Here things are feeling hard for me lately. I have been feeling that I don't have enough time for everything. Lately breakfast has been a free for all and sometimes lunch too. To be honest, more often than not lunch too. This leads to a messy kitchen and food confusion! I haven't even been writing weekly meal plans for dinner lately! Luckily I have the kind of mind that tends to organize things so I basically have the dinners planned in my head, and they have tended to be quick and easy, but it would be nice for the rest of the family to be able to see what I have in mind in advance.

I know that controlling all the food is the wrong way to go. Ideally, I'd like the kids to get their own breakfast and clean up after themselves. I'd like to have lunch and dinner planned in advance and make lunch for the family myself, and have the kids who are interested in making dinner (Josie and Lia definitely maybe Es, Ant isn't as interested in cooking as he use to be) make dinner and clean up after themselves. They have expressed interest in doing this, but it seems like so much work to get everything set up.

I just need to let go of my perfectionist ideals and let things flow more.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Life...

I have so been neglecting this blog! What have I been up to? First of all, spending time outside before winter hits...you never know in our area! It could hit any day.

Second, spending time with the kids. They are all very busy with their own things and each other, but they still break off from time to time wanting to do things with me, or Diana and me...so I am trying to be as open as possible!

Third, desperately trying to make money. Everyone in our family has been so busy trying to make enough money to get us through the summer! Our original intention was that Diana would have financial aid for grad school that would carry us through this time, but in reality, there were delays, and although she is now a full time student, her financial aid will not arrive until mid-September...probably at the same time that her first pay check arrives! Very annoying. But we are all pulling together and doing our best, and we just might make it. Here our some of our money making endeavors...

Faerie Garden Fancies - mostly Diana's art for sale in the form of jewelry, tiles, cupcake toppers, miniatures, etc - we all try to help with this though! New merchandise is posted nearly everyday, and Diana does custom things as well as custom shop banners/blog headers (absolutely gorgeous) too! Check out the end of summer sale!

Copper Clad Treasures - our vintage copper clad, cast iron, etc. kitchenware shop, most merchandise is copper clad jello molds but there are a few other pieces including an antique copper dipper that is available for only $20. I organize and price, Diana takes the pictures, and the kids help where they can. I have so many more things to post here...I am trying to post at least one new item a day!

Mermaid Summer - This cafepress shop was the brainchild of Esme. She did the beautiful watercolor that is the basis for our image, Diana edited it to fit on various products, and I helped with the business end of things. I did not expect this to be big money producer, mostly thinking it would be fun for Esme...but lo and behold, we have had a sale...so we shall see!

We are also selling some things on ebay. Seller name is bunnykissd if anyone wants to see what we have up there.

Last week, we had a several day garage sale. The kids were in charge of that!

We are selling some things locally through craigslist.

I have been writing for Associated Content. Check out my "table of contents" to see if I've written anything that you are interested in.

I don't know if we've done anything else to make money...oh...I do surveys...it is about $20 a month but every bit helps. Sometimes one of the surveys is for the kids so they help there too. They also advertise everything we do. Esme is popular, lol!

Anyways, that is what I have been up to! Hopefully I will soon be back to a slower pace with more time to write here!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kids' Interests

Just a reminder to myself about what the kids are up to these days...



Lia: roleplaying Nicole, organizing big time!, hanging out with the grown-ups, cooking, playing beauty parlor with her American girl dolls, watching Clean House on TV, playing animals & Care Bears, playing with Allie the Guinea pig

Josie: reading just about anything she can get her hands on, websurfing to learn new things, roleplaying Paris, chores/being helpful, hanging out in the woods alone, cooking (starting to cook independently), playing animals and Care Bears, starting to play around with some of Ant's physics sites/programs, starting to do more drawing (has posted on Deviantart now!), actively working on learning to swim better and being more comfortable in deep water

Esme: playing Audition and Step Mania online, playing animals and Care Bears, connecting with online friends (has had 2 long phone calls with Allie), writing a lot!, drawing a lot!, entering online writing contests, reading some, taking interest in keeping her room clean and organized, interested in little kids and babies, gardening, trying out new hairstyles/fashions/make-up, forget-a-lot cosplay, participating in online roleplaying

Antonio: still loves playing with his physics sites and programs, playing Maplestory & Runescape especially with Devin and others he knows IRL, playing old favorites on the PS2, watching movies, playing guitar more especially with friends, biking, swimming/diving, cosplaying Shino, participating in online roleplaying groups, participating in online social networking sites, still likes playing with his legos, learning new things from online video/tv type shows, reading mangas & science type books, doing more drawing, lawncare, taking lots of more adult responsibility towards family and home

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sunrise

Last night, we stayed late at Flat Rock and watched the sunset. Then Ant went to spend the night with Devin, and the girls stayed up all night in the livingroom and went outside to watch the sunrise. I got up at 7:30, and they were still up. They said the sunrise was beautiful! Josie and Es went to bed soon after that, but Lia stayed up with me a bit. We chatted online, she had some cereal, and then she helped me with a couple of chores. Now they are all asleep and will probably sleep 'til late this afternoon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Finally Ready to Open...

I have finally finished getting my etsy shop online! It was a somewhat difficult task and as I add more items, I am definitely going to use the kids' help for measuring and sorting and organizing.

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself. I recently decided to sell a large collection of copper and copper clad items. I think there are around 200 items total, but since they are scattered around a bit at the moment, I am not sure of the exact number. This past week Diana took photos of 19 of these items, and I started posting them on etsy. I have a huge number of jello molds. Most of them are selling for $5. If you want to check them out visit Copper Clad Treasures .

Here are a few things that I have listed so far...


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ending in Good Things

I was reading something someone had written on an unschooling email list, and it got me to thinking about endings. You hear people talking all the time about living in the moment - making this moment, and of course, the very next moment, as good as it can be. That is a very good thing of course! Sometimes though it can be useful to think in terms of endings.

I can think of so many examples, and I want to write all of them down, but I will stick to a simple one. You make dinner. Maybe it takes a lot of time, and you think it is special, and you know it is nutritious and tasty to you. You sit down at the dinner table as a family. One of your kids looks at the food askance and asks if he can have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some baby carrots with ranch dressing (things that he likes and knows you have.) You could use your power to try to make your child sit at the table and eat what he is served which most likely ends with the kid not eating anything. What is the ending? The kid is hungry. Dinner was unpleasant. There is a lot of tension in the house. Now let's say you say, "Sure, go ahead and help yourself." Everyone else starts eating, and the kid who made the different dinner comes in a few minutes. What is the ending? Everyone is fed. You had a pleasant family dinner. Maybe you have leftovers of something you think is tasty and can have for lunch the next day. Your kid feels heard and loved.

There are so many moments I ruin by trying to control my kids. I am so much better than I was 10 years ago, but it is still a process for me. It is so different than what mainstream parenting specialists preach. It works though. I have seen it over and over again. I change my behavior patterns to less controlling, and my kids improve on their own because it is what they want for themselves. Now I think I will not only think about the moments but the endings. How many happy endings have I ruined by my trying to control? I want my children (and me too!) to have lives full of happy endings!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Math

My fifteen year old son Antonio has never used a math curriculum. He has had questions answered, and things explained but he has never done a math workbook or worked through a math textbook or had arithmetic methods taught to him in a sequential, consistent manner.

My son Antonio is great with numbers.

Today he was working on the programming for a new video game. He wanted the gun that he was designing to fire on the diagonals. He was talking it over with me showing me what he was doing. Antonio loves to discuss his programming! Sometimes it is difficult for the rest of us to sustain an interest though because it is very much his passion. He said that the place the gun would be firing would be 45 degree and then he'd have to add 90 to get each of the other angles so it'd be 135, 225, and 315. He wasn't writing anything down...and he only paused a second after each calculation in his head. He didn't use an algorithm. He could just picture how the numbers related to each other and knew the answers.

I know there are other people like Ant, but in my experience tutoring highschoolers in math, they seemed few and far between. Although most schools now struggle to incorporate "number sense" into their curriculums, number sense is not something that can be taught. It is something that is acquired by living in the real world and using numbers when it is necessary in ways that are useful or interesting. Curriculums are good at helping kids learn algorithms...things like how to "rename" (what use to be called carrying and borrowing) and patterns and tricks to make arithmetic in workbooks easier. With the advent of inexpensive, widely available calculators, knowing how to do arithmetic easily isn't even as important as it once was. But the real truth is, that kids who naturally acquire number sense will be able to do arithmetic and apply what they are doing to the real world much better than if they memorize some algorithms.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Transexuality, Homosexuality, & Freedom in Children

Today online, I was introduced to Kenneth Zucker and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. It seems that if you have a child who is exhibiting activities that seem inappropriate to his or her gender, you can take that child to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and have him or her treated.

What form does this treatment take? Well, to begin with, Zucker feels that if your child is participating in behavior that he sees as atypical for its gender, then there must be something wrong with the mother. (Sound familiar? It is easy to remember a time when autism was blamed on the mother.) So the mother has to learn to be a better (read more strict) parent.

Second, the therapist meets with the child and tells the child that all sorts of bad things will happen to him/her if he/she keeps up this behavior. For example, a four year old might be told that no one will play with him if he brings a doll to school. This line of reasoning is repeated throughout therapy. If you do the things that make you happy, bad things will happen to you, and no one will like you.

The third step is probably the worst. The child is to no longer be allowed to do any of the things that the clinic deems inappropriate for their gender. A boy must give up any toys with even a remotely feminine cast. If he is in a group play situation, he must play only with other boys and only with boy toys. His hairstyle and clothing must be masculine. No pink or flowers may decorate his room. His parents must be consistent and punish any infractions.

It is so hard to imagine anyone doing this to their child! First of all, it is terribly stereotypical. Who is to say what is girl behavior and what is boy behavior? I know that statistically differences exist, but there are overlaps. There is no black and white in this area! We are all different! I can't imagine trying to draw a line between what is acceptable and what isn't.

Also, telling a child that doing the things that make him or her most happy is bad, is very likely to lead to mental health issues! Even if this so called therapy worked in preventing someone from growing up to be transgendered, it would be sure to lead to a whole host of other problems. As I am sure most of my readers know, I believe that everyone, including children, has a right to pursue joy. Punishing your child for being themselves and actively pursuing joy goes against so much that I am for!!!

We only have so many days in our lives. Every day counts. A day when you are three or a day when you are six or a day when you are fourteen. Childhood is not a time to prepare for adulthood, it is a time to live! Children die. It is sad, but it is a fact. Through the internet I know several families that have had children die. Many of these families were unschoolers. (Not because unschooling children are more likely to die, but because most of my online friends are unschoolers.) In those families, the children really had a chance to live life! They weren't forced to sit in a classroom and to do homework and put in situations where they felt bad. They lived with love and support seeking joy. I cannot imagine a parent telling their son that he had to give up his best friend (a girl) because he might grow up to want to be a girl...*is baffled*.

By Kenneth Zucker's own admittance, about 20% of the children who go through his program still grow up to want to change there gender. He claims this as an 80% success rate. I say that some of those 80% are now so confused they don't know what they want (and may be terrified of being themselves) and the others probably would have never had serious gender identity issues when they grew up anyways. There is also the chance that some of the 20% he doesn't claim to "cure" may have not grown up transgendered but are actively rebelling against so much control!

Oh! The whole reason I have been reading up on Zucker is that he has been nominated to lead a working group that will be revising the sexual identity and gender disorders section of the DSM-V. This poses a problem. If someone with his attitude is revising definitions of mental health disorders, we are likely to move back a bit in our progress in this area as a society as a whole. There is a petition online at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/objection-to-dsm-v-committee-members-on-gender-identity-disorders if you want to formally protest this nomination. If you want more information, just google Kenneth Zucker.

Soak Up the Sun


Come visit Faerie Garden Fancies, our new etsy shop! Currently featuring a selection of polymer clay pins including summery suns...


Gods and Goddesses...


And Diana's signature bunnies! If you want something particular, we also take custom orders. Diana is doing custom designed banners for etsy shops and custom headers for blogs too. She will work with you to create the custom design you are looking for are looking for! If anyone is interested comment here, and I will tell you how to get in touch.

Currently all items are Diana's designs, but we are planning on expanding to include the whole family!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Disclaimer

After the last post, I find it necessary to post a disclaimer. When I said that the books on my booklist were suitable for 9-18 year olds in terms of readability and content, I didn't mean that every 9-18 year old would be able to read the books or that every 9-18 year old would be able to benefit from or enjoy the content of them. By readability, I meant that they were written simply and unpretentiously. Regardless of how well one reads, it is never easy to wade through wordy, twisting sentences that never seem to say anything. By being of appropriate topics, I meant that there was nothing that the majority would find overly adult. There is no graphic sexuality, and although violence is sometimes portrayed, it is within the context of events in the lives of children, and it is not written about in an unnecessarily graphic way.

I realize that kids learn to read at different ages and at different rates. My daughter Lia, who is 10, would not be able to read any of the books on the list with complete understanding although she might enjoy listening to some of them. Right now her reading consists mostly of Amber Brown books and books from the Cobblestreet Cousins series. She also enjoys long picture books on a variety of topics (although she sometimes asks an older sibling to read them to her) and nonfiction on topics of interest to her (preferably with plenty of excellent photographs or illustrations.) As an unschooler, I do not teach my children to read. I answer their questions and provide them with help and books when they ask for them (and sometimes strew things when they don't), but I don't force anything on them.

My kids learned to read a very diverse ages. Emma never had a time when she couldn't read...she just seemed to naturally learn while she was learning to speak. Antonio wasn't a fluent reader until he was about 12. Esme learned at the age of four, but took a few years to go from reading easy readers to adult literature, becoming fluent at about the age of 8. JoAnn just learned to read overnight at about the age of 10. One day she was struggling to read the simplest of things, and the next thing I knew she could read absolutely anything sometimes better than me! I had heard previously of unschoolers just learning how to read with no help nearly overnight, but JoAnn was the first time it happened to me! Lia is the youngest and has always had people available to read for her so reading hasn't been something she had needed much in her life. She just recently caught onto reading (about the last six months) and is progressing through various reading stages (which I can observe by noticing what she checks out from the library and chooses to read at home) at a fairly quick rate. I assume she also will be able to read anything before another year is up.

Probably Antonio and JoAnn presented best the two extremes of learning to read the natural way. Antonio has had speech and language problems most of his life, and he struggled as he learned to read bit by bit following his own instincts and asking lots of questions! As a four year old, he had an idea of how language was put together. To a certain extent, he knew "how" to read, but he wasn't very verbal and it was another 8 years before he could really read. Antonio can now read anything, but reading is definitely not his preferred method of receiving new information. Oddly enough, JoAnn is my other child with language and speech problems. (It runs in the family.) She is very quiet and shy though. I had no idea that she was even really interested in reading yet. She listened to books, and sometimes did "pre-reading" sorts of things like making up stories to go with picture books and memorizing easy readers and reading them to herself, but she never asked for help or for me to explain how it all worked. Obviously she was observing and learning quietly within herself in her own way. One day, when she was about 10, we were walking along, and she said to me, "Mom, before I went by signs, and I had no idea what they said. Now I know what they all say, and I don't have to try to read them, I just know!" I was so surprised at her observation. Not long after that, she was picking up absolutely everything to read including the adult books I had checked out for myself from the library.

So don't feel bad if your 9 year old can't read the books on my list! Always follow your child's lead. Pretty much every free, normally abled child learns to read as long as they have access to print, readers available to answer questions, and an honest need or desire. The reason school children so often don't learn to read well is because they are made to feel dumb and given the impression that reading is something terribly difficult to do. The same goes for topic. Each child is different in what he or she is willing and able to understand and handle. If you have a sensitive child, be available to discuss difficult things that they have read about with them. Support them and allow them to experience all the emotions that the literature leads too. You will not only be helping your child learn to read better and to grow in their worldview, but you will also be building your relationship which is the most important thing that you can do!

Books

I just finished reading a great book. It really had a huge affect on me, and I thought, "Everyone should read this!" The truth is there are no books that "everyone" should read. Some people don't enjoy reading very much, and can learn and be entertained better in other ways. Some books that might be really, really good in a life altering way to me just might not affect someone else the same way.

Of course, many kids go to school and are told what to read. With school and homework, these same kids often don't have much time or inclination to read for fun. (I realize this varies, but when my daughter Emma went to public school for 7th grade she basically stopped reading anything she didn't have to with the exception of Animorph and Babysitters' Club books. She is a big reader and always has been accept for that one year.)

I think schools often stagnate in their choices for required reading. They stick to a few classics. Maybe they already have the books on hand. Maybe the teacher doesn't want to read something new or write new lesson plans. It is also true that more recent books written for the 9-13 age group are more likely to deal with contraversial issues that teachers just might not want to have to discuss.

"School at Homers" also often require certain books or at least books chosen from a parent or curriculum supplier's list. In the case of unschoolers, nothing might be required, but children still ask their parents for recommendations, and parents still bring things into the home to strew in case their children find them interesting.

In the spirit of helping out those who may feel led in some way to guide a child's reading, I have prepared a list of 10 books that I think are exceptional. All of these books had a huge affect on me, and I could highly recommend them to anyone. The list is far from complete. I only included books from series if they were excellent stand alone reads, and I limited myself to one from each author. I also stopped at 10. I will probably be adding more parts to this list in the future. Not all of these books were written for children, but all are appropriate both in readability and in topic for 9-18 year olds, although older kids might get more out of them. The list is in no particular order.

1. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
2. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
3. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
5. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
6. Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
7. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
8. The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
9. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nature Study

As spring turns into summer, opportunities to study nature increase. Here at Faerie Gardens there are so many interesting plants and animals to observe and learn about. I have seen more interesting bugs since we have lived here than in the whole rest of my life!

Yesterday, a weird beetle attached itself to my clothes. We still have not been able to identify it. It was at least an inch long with red flashes of color along each side and long, swooping antennae. It was some sort of long horned beetle but unfortunately our search ended there. While researching it, we found out about the Asian long horned beetle, an imported pest in our area that kills hardwood trees. I am quite sure that that is not what I saw (they have white spots all over their bodies and are a shiny black while mine had red markings and was a matte dark brownish-gray color.)

In addition to numerous bugs, we have been trying to identify all the caterpillars, moths, and butterflies that we have seen. I hang our laundry outside and recently a tent caterpillar actually built its cocoon on a pair of Diana's pants! It sort of grossed us out, but it was sort of cool too! Ant had a green and brown caterpillar in his bedroom this morning and took pics and then took it outside. Diana and the kids have been playing with millipedes. (They freak me out!)

I planted a sunflower garden, and I had some sprouts, but it seems they have died in the parching heat we have been experiencing lately. Since the earth is prepared I am going to plant something else there...maybe tomorrow! Our yard is full of an assortment of wildflowers including hawkweed, daisies, white clover, buttercups, cinquefoil, and others I can't identify. There are so many wild strawberries that the kids are picking a quart a day and not running out yet!

At the rear birdfeeder we have a male/female pair of indigo buntings visiting regularly as well as numerous chipping sparrows, chickadees, and goldfinches. One day we had 12 goldfinches at the feeder at once!!! Our platform feeder recently succumbed to a windstorm, but under the regular feeder we regularly see mourning doves and blue jays. Other visitors to the area have included brown headed cowbirds, cardinals, and a gray catbird. There is a flicker that likes to perch at the top of trees and cheep loudly! Woodpecker visitors have included the downy and the red-bellied. Diana saw a flock of turkeys in the woods, and of course, we have tons of robins and crows.

We have a new feeder in front but haven't seen any birds at it yet. When we first hung the other feeder it took awhile to get visitors so I am trying to be patient. Oh! Diana saw a hummingbird a couple of times too! We have see an occasional deer, but today the kids saw a baby deer, still with spots, in the woods. They came up on it so suddenly it startled them (and I am sure they startled it too!)

I am excited about our observations so far and look forward to seeing and learning about more new things this summer!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thoughts

We had been moving forward to get another computer (or two.) What we were really moving forward to though was a place where the kids wouldn't feel so frustrated because they weren't getting their need for computer time met.

Since Ant has got the PS2 online, he needs far less computer time! Sometimes your needs can be met in a way you don't anticipate.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Absolutely Awesome Unschooling Goodness!

For awhile now, Ant has wanted to get his PS2 online. There were lots of difficulties in our way, but for a long time we kept plugging away at overcoming them. Then the desire seemed to sort of fade, overcome by other desires. I forgot all about it! I don't know if Ant thought about it much or not, but he was busy with new interests - drawing & blogging at Deviant Art, playing with Devon, bikeriding, cosplay, etc.

Today he was sitting here next to me at the PS2, and he screamed, "I'm online! I'm not quite sure how I did it...I wasn't even really trying...but I'm online!!!" He is so happy. He immediately spotted some people and started playing Tony Hawk American Wasteland with them. One of Ant's goals is to have more online friends, and he is so very happy right now!

Books - The Akhenaten Adventures

This series of books, about a pair of preteen twins, John and Phillipa, who discover they are djinn (genies) and need to adapt to a whole new society, new worldview, and new concepts of themselves while still dealing with all the trials and tribulations of those about to enter puberty, is written by P.B. Kerr (who wrote the Berlin Noir trilogy for adults as Philip Kerr as well as several other adult novels in the same genre.)

I recently finished the first three books in the series: The Akhenaten Adventure, The Blue Djinn of Babylon, and The Cobra King of Kathmandu. The books were good reads and interesting, introducing the djinn culture as well as introducing bits of the culture in Egypt, Iraq, and India. JoAnn has read the the first one (beat me to it), took a break to read a few other things, and is now reading the second. She really like them! At her recommendation, Es started the first one and has been reading it off and on for a couple of weeks.

I would recommend this series to kids that like series about fictional characters; magic, myth, & history; and preteens with magical abilities. It adds a new twist to the crop of Harry Potter wannabe reads out there, and you or your kids just might want to explore!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Family Fotoblog

For about the past month, Diana and I have been posting nearly daily photos in our new family fotoblog. You can check it out at Faerie Gardens Family Fotoblog.

I got the idea for the blog from an unschooling group I belong to. One of the members decided that she would rather be someone who didn't blog because she often felt compelled to think up interesting things to write and also both blogging and following others' blogs were taking up too much of her life energy. Then she heard about project 365, a blogging project in which participants take one photo each day for a year and post it. She thought that sounded like fun and along with her son created a blog to participate.

The project grew, and now there are over 30 families in the shine with unschooling project 365 blogring. Of course, we are all unschoolers so we don't follow the rules! Lots of people don't post everyday and that is perfectly fine. Lots of members post more than one picture and that is fine too. Because these are family blogs, anyone in the family can choose to take and post photos each day.

Participating is a lot of fun, and I have grown to love our blog. It is a low key way to keep us all looking at our life and celebrating the joy that is there!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Moving outside my comfort zone...

As my kids get older, I am continually challenged to move outside of my comfort zone both as a parent and as a person. I suppose it starts the first time one is out of your site. Maybe you decide your three year old can play with her blocks unattended in the livingroom while you cook in the kitchen. Maybe your four year old can play alone in the backyard.

The trust goes further as the years progress. Your seven year old wants to ride her bike alone around the block or to spend the night at a friend's house or to browse in the children's section of the library while you are perusing the adult fiction section in another part of the building. There comes a time when you need to let your child do something that makes you nervous, otherwise you will stifle them and make them feel powerless. I firmly believe that feeling powerless is the root of much of human negativity, rebelliousness, unhappiness, and even violence. I do not want my children to feel powerless, ever.

So I trust them. I might express concerns, but I listen to their counterarguments, and we continue to discuss until we come to a conclusion that we can both agree on. It isn't always easy, and it often involves stepping outside of my comfort zone. I am the one with years of hangups and insecurities ingrained into every part of me. I am the one who is most likely being irrational. Sometimes my children choose to honor my insecurities even when they are irrational, but I do not thrust my distrust upon them. I work to listen to "who they are", and allow them to be how they need to be.

It isn't only in the parenting arena that I am stretched. As my kids get older, moving into their teens, they have more needs that are best met outside the immediate family. Maybe not "best met", but perhaps just that is the most reasonable option. If my daughter wants experience with farm animals, and we are not set up to acquire any, it is quicker and easier for her to get this experience with another family. If my son wants to learn auto mechanics, the same situation applies. I am not naturally a social person, but to best meet my children's needs, I am pushed outside of my comfort zone seeking opportunities for them to branch out into the world beyond our family and fly.

Through all of this I grow. It is one of the best side effects of both parenting and unschooling. Growing with your children. Learning new things about yourself. Becoming more than you ever thought you could be.

Monday, May 26, 2008

More About My Kids

Lia:

favorite thing to do in the whole wide world = hug me!

favorite colors:

1. dark purple
2. black
3. dark green

Josie:

favorite thing to do in the whole wide world =not sure (maybe roleplay)

favorite colors:

1. pink
2. green
3. yellow

Essie:

favorite thing to do in the whole wide world =roleplay

favorite colors:

1. blue
2. red
3. purple

Ant:

favorite thing to do in the whole wide world =not sure

favorite colors:

1. pink
2. purple
3. blue

Today the kids went to Devon's house to play wii. It was the girls' first time playing. They played dance dance revolution and guitar hero 3. They loved it!

Books

A few weeks back I read a book called Eleven by Lauren Myracle. It covered one year in the life of an eleven year old girl. Although the book had some redeeming factors, I had a lot of problems with it. I thought the school culture portrayed in the book to be inaccurate and the characterizations to be weak. It was as if the author was writing about an adult's perception of a preteen. There just seemed to be a wall separating the reader from the people portrayed in the story. That being said, the book did have a good plot and a few insightful moments. It isn't that I wouldn't recommend it, just that it wasn't as good as it could have been.

Yesterday I finished reading the book Nobody Was Here: Seventh Grade in the Life of Me, Penelope by Alison Pollet. This book had a very similar plot to Eleven. It covers one year in the life of Penelope. She is twelve, a year older than Winnie in Eleven but close enough to be going through the same types of things. School figures prominently in both books, as does a plot revolving around changing friendships as one grows. The difference was that Nobody Was Here was so much better! The characters had depth. The school had "personality". Teachers and preteens behaved appropriately and realistically. It was still a preteen/teen book, but it just had so much more depth! I would highly recommend Nobody Was Here to both unschooled and schooled preteen and teen girls. (Adults and boys might enjoy it too!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Kids

It is cool to find out how your kids feel about themselves. Even if you are with them everyday and very close to them in the kind of a relationship that unschooling is great at facilitating, you still can't read their thoughts.

Yesterday, I had some time to talk to JoAnn. I asked her what she thought her strengths were. I think it is very important to know oneself, and that includes knowing your strengths and weaknesses. After discussing a bit just exactly what I meant, JoAnn said that her strengths were reading, spelling, making up stories, cooking, and fashion sense. Her perceived weaknesses included grammar, handwriting, running, a bad temper, and shyness. I think that I would agree with her assessment. I would add understanding/relating to animals, a good work ethic, and empathy to her strengths though. We also talked a bit about how some weaknesses were things we just might accept as innate or permanent areas in which we just aren't as good as others while some weaknesses might be things we want to work on so that we can either turn them into strengths or just areas that aren't weak anymore.

Later I talked to Esme in the same vein. She saw her strengths as writing, drawing, fashion sense, and running and other physical endeavors. She did not see herself as having any weaknesses. My take? I would add peacekeeping skills and ability to get along with others to the strengths. I would put moodiness and lack of patience into the weaknesses, but those might be due to her age. (She is 14!)

I attempted to have the same conversation with Lia, and it didn't go as well. Lia is nine, and I don't think that she has as well a formed sense of self as the older girls. When I first asked about her strengths, she said that she didn't have any. That most definitely isn't true! After some thought she said that she is good at singing and doing chores. Those are both true. I would say that Lia's strengths are singing, work ethic, friendmaking ability, outgoingness, and willingness to try new things. She identified her weaknesses as carrying heavy things, acting, and drawing. I don't see this at all. When the groceries get carried in Lia often out carries her 15 year old brother. She is an excellent drawer (although she is probably comparing herself to her older sibs who are all also excellent drawers, especially Esme), and her roleplaying ability is great! I think I am a bit sad that she sees herself as so "ungifted." It must be hard being the youngest. (I am oldest, and I always saw the drawbacks to being the oldest so this is something new for me to think about.) I would say Lia's weaknesses include moodiness (it runs in the family) and stubborness.

Antonio said that he had tons of strengths, but they could mostly all be summed up by saying his intelligence. He said his number one weakness is lazyness, but that he doesn't like to talk about his weaknesses. To be quite honest, I know Antonio the least of all my kids I am not sure that I am willing to make an attempt at his strengths and weaknesses. I do think it ironic that my son, who at one time would have been labeled mentally retarded is now able to count intelligence as his primary strength. Oh the benefits of unschooling!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

RP'ing and Cosplay

My kids have always roleplayed. Antonio and Esme started out playing Winnie the Pooh when they were still preschool aged, and soon diversified into the Lion King and other games of their own creation.

Now are teens, they have sometimes been embarrassed of their extensive make believe games when talking to their non-unschooled friends. No longer! Through the internet, they have discovered that RP'ing is now a rather mainstream teen pursuit. Currently they are really into RP'ing Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts 2. They have been following another group of RP'ers, Castle Oblivion (also doing Organization XIII) in the UK, and have now become interested in Cosplay. They hope to make or buy Organization XIII cosplay outfits and host a cosplay picnic of their own!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Library Finds

Somewhere, Can You Feel the Force by Richard Hammond was recommended to me. I no longer remember where, but when I first heard about it, I knew it was exactly the kind of book my son Antonio would enjoy browsing. Recently I picked up a copy at the Liverpool Library, and I was not disappointed. It is one of the DK books, chock full of info presented in an interesting as well as informative manner. The subtitle is Putting the Fizz Back into Physics, and although physics already fizzes in our house, this book was great!

When I got home from the library, I strew the book on the yellow table where the kids share the laptop along with the manga books that Antonio had chosen for himself. Later I saw Ant eating a snack in the yellow chair reading the book with interest. Ant is more a "get info from the internet" sort of person than "read a book sort of person." Any book that grabs his interest must be a winner.

Later that evening, the girls were all fighting over the book. The back cover of the book has questions that the book will answer, and they had read them and all wanted to be the first to search the book and find the answers. I let one of them take the book and helped the others find the answers online so no one would have to wait. All four of the kids have browsed this book at some time or another though.

If your kids are interesting in physics, engineering, or just how things work, they will love this book! If you don't think they are, they might just surprise you if this book is available for them to explore.

Another library winner was Three Minute Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald. Diana picked up this book because she thought the short stories might be good for filling time during her substitute teaching jobs. She hasn't had a chance to try it out yet because everyone here is so interested in it. The first day it was here the girls argued over this one too...and then Diana wanted it...and was fighting for it too! Unlike some other similar books I have seen, this one has really interesting stories. My daughters love them and talk about them after they read them asking each other if they have read it yet wanting to discuss and share. I would highly recommend this book too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What We Did Today

Today Antonio got his legos out. He made a gun, and he made a pole thingie that could pivot 360 degree and with a little modification, could be turned into a free turning turret. He also climbed a tree so high that I could hardly find him! Right now, he is playing Kingdom Hearts 2. He has been talkative and social. Everyday he wakes up and says, "I am not going to Devon's today." Then he ends up going! He knows he doesn't have to, but he gets bored and feels sorry for him.

Esme had the entire day on the computer except for her shower. She played Audition and is proud to have leveled up. She blogged a bit, and she went to all her forums. (American Girl and Care Bear forums.)

JoAnn has been having a bit of preteen moodiness. She played with Lia a lot though, and there were very few conflicts. They played Bratz this morning and shared their lunch with the dolls. This afternoon they spent outside playing animals and also went for a long walk. She helped me make dinner, and did some dishes and other chores.

Lia spent most of her day with JoAnn or me except for a little bit of rollerskating.

This evening, all of the kids celebrated Molly's birthday. (Molly is Antonio's American Girl doll.) They plan these celebrations complete with presents all the time. They are so creative! They also spent some time with Allie the Guinea pig, and Esme tidied up her cage.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Antonio continues designing things with Rigid Chip. He has lots of good thoughts and thinks a lot about how he could improve products that already exist. Today has also spent some time working on a new turret game on gamemaker, and he played Audition A LOT! This afternoon he challenged Emma to an audition, and he held his own although he didn't win.

The laundry challenge just might be finishing up. I am seeing that there is an end! I sent JoAnn into her bedroom to get clothes, and she had trouble filling the basket. She says that that doesn't mean that there isn't any, just that it is harder to find.

The girls are enjoying having so much to choose from when they get dressed each day. I so want to pare down the clothing stash, but I don't want to diminish their joy.

Our new Guinea pig, Allie, seems to be adjusting well. Today I cleaned her cage with a little help from Es and Lia. I enjoy giving her plenty of tasty food. She is so vocal everytime she hears a plastic bag rattle. She knows it just might mean a treat is coming her way!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Unschooling

I have been giving a lot of thought to the direction that I see this blog going, and I think it is going in an unschooling direction.

Today I did a lot of chores. I did not require my kids to help with them. Sometimes this bothers Diana. I don't require her to help with them either. My reward is that when someone does happen it is with a bounce of positive energy that makes us all feel great.

When I was first hanging out the laundry last week, Lia and Josie helped me a lot, especially Lia! It was so much fun! Lately they have been busy with other things, and I started guilting them into helping. Today I made a commitment to myself to not go in that direction, to just suck up and do it myself. *I* am the one who wants to do so much laundry and catch it all up! Well, boy was I rewarded! Lia volunteered to help me a lot today. Sometimes when asked and sometimes just out of the blue! It was a lot more fun than yesterday.

I am tired now though so it is off to bed for me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Unschooling Today

There was much laundry done today including hanging out on the line and folding and putting away.

Lia and JoAnn spent a lot of time in the woods.

Esme went off on an adventure in the city with Diana.

Antonio has done a variety of things on the computer. He wants to belong to a Maplestory guild that has other teens/young adults/older-more mature preteens on it who will be home during the day. They would either have to be homeschoolers or live in other time zones. I suggested that he ask at the unschooling_gamers list, and he said he had never joined it. So he is going to join it and ask if someone who plays Maplestory knows of an appropriate guild or would like to get together with him and start one. He also made a foray into the woods but claimed it was too cold to spend much time outside!

Lia finished reading Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon today. It is the first longer book that she has read, and she really liked it. I will have to get her the next one in the series.

JoAnn finished reading No Castles Here. She said that it was a very good book. I haven't read it yet, but after I do, I'll see how I liked it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Future of Traipsing about Granby

I started this blog thinking I might want a less personal online journal, a place where I can share my views and news. Since then I have started writing for associated content and have been sharing a lot of my views there. I have had a need though to write some things that I don't want to argue with people about on livejournal. It isn't that any of the people that might argue couldn't read here, (and I don't mind at all if they do!) It is just that I see this more as a forum where it is ok to express differing views instead of my more personal space.

I have also been thinking about how I don't really have an "unschooling blog," and I am somewhat jealous of people who do. At the same time, I don't really think that unschooling is something that needs a separate blog. It is just life. Unschooling is just a term to help people who don't can't imagine life without school to fit it into their paradigm.

I am going to be spending more time writing in the near (and hopefully far) future, and those are my thoughts as to where this blog might be heading.