Showing posts with label unschooling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unschooling. Show all posts

Monday, April 4, 2016

Reaping What We Sow {the joys of unschooling}

Remember awhile back when I showed y'all our new-to-us piano? My sweet daughter has been playing away and it's literally music to my ears. She's taking lessons from a friend and fellow homeschooling mom in town and she's loving all the learning.

I was planning on just sharing how much she loves playing the piano, but as I've been watching her on this journey of hers, I've really come to see what a beautiful testament to unschooling it is. So many of us moms, me included, spend a whole lot of our children's early years trying to figure out what they may enjoy doing. Placing them in various lessons, waiting to see if there's a spark. Why do we do that? I remember putting our oldest son in gymnastics classes, baseball, soccer, karate, and the list goes on and on. I thought that it was my duty to find his passion for him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unschooling has taught me to have patience, tons of sometimes scary patience and wait and watch our children. I promise you, they will let you know what their passion is, they will find it all on their own. Isn't that such a beautiful thing?

Sofia discovered a while back that she had a passion for the piano. We had a little keyboard and she taught herself to play a few songs. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you'd hear her playing, I never had to prompt her or tell her to practice. When she felt drawn to the piano, off she'd go. She was so excited when we found this beautiful, old, upright piano, and couldn't wait to take lessons. I've not once told her that she should be practicing, but not a day goes by that I don't find her sitting there at the piano.

Unschooling is still a pretty scary endeavor at times, but it's at these moments I realize that giving our children the space and freedom to listen to their own voices and hearts, is the best gift we could ever give them. It's worth a little fear on our parts, God's got this.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wait........ What Happened To My Laundry Room?

We had quite a tragedy here last December while we were out of town. All Matthew's beautiful silkies got eaten. It was tragic for my little guy and I've been waiting for spring to get a bit closer to start looking for Matthew a new flock. A couple weeks back, I turned to friends on Facebook and asked for their help finding Matthew some new chickens. They came through big time {thanks y'all!} and I was able to meet a new friend that raises her own chickens and goats not too far of a drive from our hometown! 

Her name is Janis and she is a hoot and didn't mind me asking her some pretty dumb farming questions about raising goats and all. I'm still pretty new to this country life and some things I still can't figure out, but she set me straight and didn't even crack a smile at this farm girl transplant! She had quite a few chicks, several silkies, easter eggers and a little black maran. I snatched the easter egger and black maran for me and the silkies for Matthew. She's expecting more silkies this week so I'm hoping to get him a few more. They are too doggone cute! We are hoping that one of them is a Frizzle. Ever heard of those? If not, Google it and be ahhhhhhmazed. They are, well, unusual would be a good word to describe them.

For now, my laundry room has been converted into a baby chickie nursery and I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm dying for a baby goat. Do you think the baby goatie would like the laundry room too??! What? You don't keep goats and chickens in you laundry room??

Friday, August 14, 2015

On The Road

Just a quick hello sweet friends! Wi-Fi is not plentiful where we are, but I wanted to share some of our adventures. We are in northern Kentucky at Big Bone Lick State Park. We've been enjoying The Creation Museum and it's many exhibits. It's been such a joy to see science in a museum from a biblical view. 

My favorite part of our travels is the changing landscape. Such beautiful farmland and so many silos, they are so beautiful. The farmhouses and old churches, have captured my heart. 

The kiddos are well and exploring away. The hardest part for them is pulling away from all the technology 'stuff' and learning to re-connect with one another. We all become so dependent on all our devices that losing them all at once and becoming comfortable with hanging out with each other takes a little adjustment. It breaks my heart and so many times, I wish we had chosen to be a family without technology, I totally have a love-hate relationship with technology. Can you relate? 

Tomorrow, we'll be pulling out and heading to western Kentucky for our next adventure. More adventure photos coming soon..........

P.S. {for my hubby.... he's keeping up with our travels here too!}:  I love you and miss you sooooo much sweetheart and am so grateful for you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Happy Trails

That's me up there, all packed and ready to begin this new journey. It's been a long while in the making, from the dreaming, the praying, the planning, the saving, the camper purchase and redo, it's finally here, our adventures are beginning. The kids and I are pulling out this morning and with that, a new chapter is unfolding, one I've dreamed of for so long. Do you have longings and dreams too? Traveling and exploring with my family has been a dream for so long and now, finally now, the timing is right and the season has arrived. 

I'm so glad y'all are here with us. I'm really looking forward to posting as we travel. Our adventures will begin in Kentucky, the Bluegrass State. I'll post as often as time and Wi-Fi allows. Here we go {big smile}...................

{Totally 'borrowed' the idea for my pictures up there from another sweet blogger that always inspires me. Go check out her blog The Rosy Life and be inspired too...............}

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why We Unschool Our Children

Helloooooo sweet friends! I'm having computer issues, making blogging a little tricky. Our oldest son is working on my laptop, bless his heart, he's my awesome tech guy, soooooo, I'm re-posting  a favorite of mine today. Unschooling, I could talk about this subject ALL day, you should be glad you don't live nearby, cause really I called talk about this subject for e-v-e-r. Let's just say I'm a bit passionate about schooling our kiddos. Any questions? Ask away.......

Let's talk about unschooling, shall we? So.... what is unschooling? Well, unschooling is a style of homeschooling where your children are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own time. I really believe there is a HUGE lack of information on how unschooling looks in a typical family. When you begin your homeschooling journey, you also begin the CURRICULUM journey. Many homeschool families try to replicate "school" at home. Guess what? Just because you have chosen to homeschool, doesn't mean you have to mimic school. You have the freedom to not only nurture your child's education but your WHOLE child. Step back and look at the BIG picture, your child as a WHOLE, not just their book smarts, but their character. I've seen way too many homeschooling parents totally miss the opportunity to grow the WHOLE child because they are so busy on the curriculum. They are wasting such a gift.  

So what does our unschooling family look like? Well, we don't live on the side of a mountain and haul our water in by mule. We don't live on a bus and travel around the U.S.{although I really do want a CAMPER, but, I digress}. We don't live in the backwoods and hunt vermin for our meals and have coon skins hanging on our porch {not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you}. We are a pretty regular family. I'm a college educated, self proclaimed DIY'er, writer, wife, and UNSCHOOLING mommy. So why did we choose unschooling? We wanted our children to have the space and time to explore their own passions in their own time. Every day is FILLED with learning, just like in real life. There's no set hours for learning. Knowledge is around us ALL day EVERY day, we just have to seek it out. We want our children to adopt a lifestyle of learning. Learning does not have to be only from 8am to 3 pm. Learning is now and always.

Do we live a child centered life- NO, but, we do let our children decide what they want to pursue on any given day. Sometimes that means sand box fun all morning for our seven year old or rainbow looming for our eleven year old followed by our thirteen year old baking for the afternoon. It also means that our youngest just learning to write at seven is o.k. and our oldest daughter not caring much for reading until she was ten was also o.k. But once they are ready to learn, boy-do-they-fly! There's no forcing them to write their ABC's through tears or bribing them to read a chapter in a book. When they're READY to pursue any task, they just excel.

Schooling at home is a journey and one that changes shape as we change over the years. Have we always unschooled- no. It took many years of relaxing our homeschooling style to get to where we are now. And some days, I'm still full of fear.  We have raised and graduated one son already that was given this freedom to explore all his gifts and passions. I wouldn't change a thing! The freedom of a relaxed learning environment molded him into the amazing, confident, talented, young man that he is today. And that's not just a mama's pride. He really is exceptional and it has a whole lot to do with him having tons of freedom to explore the world around him. So this is why we unschool our children- because it works and I have a passion to continue this style with our other three children.

In a few upcoming posts, I'm going to explore the many ins and outs of unschooling and try to answer many questions you may have about this style of learning. I believe that it is a very misunderstood form of educating and that more people may enjoy it's benefits if they only understood it better. So, if you have questions like:  "what is unschooling and how do you unschool?", "as a parent, are you afraid that you're messing up your kids?", "what does a typical day of unschooling involve?", "do your kids like unschooling?", "can you be a christian and unschool?", check back soon and I'll answer ALL these questions and more. What do you think? Could unschooling be for you and your family?

Here's some more I've written about unschooling: Unschooling 101Fear = GoodAnd They Take FlightA Crazy Little Thing Called Unschooling {Part One}A Crazy Little Thing Called Unschooling {Part Two}Unschooling: The Elementary Years

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Unschooling: The Elementary Years

Back in March and April, I began writing about how we unschool our children {A Crazy Little Thing Called Unschooling Part One and Part Two}. I was supposed to continue and share how we approach the elementary years, but I didn't. Why? Why is a couple of reasons, one being I'm terrible with follow through- ha, and the other being, my heart just wasn't ready to share yet. 

Y'all know that this blog is a place of honesty and the 'real', it just has to be, or what's the point really? Well, unschooling can be hard, and this lifestyle can really shake your confidence, a whole lot.  Unschooling requires a certain conviction that you know in your heart that this is the right way to educate your children. It takes boocoodles of faith y'all. 

So, the elementary years, here goes......... Matthew is our first child that has been unschooled since the beginning. He knows nothing else. In the 2's, 3's, 4's and even 5's, I didn't feel any discomfort in allowing him the freedom to explore the world around him and learn as it naturally occurred. By six and seven, I started to get a little antsy and prayed a whole lot for my spirit to calm and I had to reassure myself that he will learn how to read and write proficiently when he is ready. Oh lordy, I doubted myself and this lifestyle, often.  I would try new writing books and methods to no avail. A pencil sat in his hand with a death grip I'm telling you and I'd be nearly in tears and filled with doubt. We'd stop for a few months, then try again, same thing. I didn't want him to feel any pressure, shoot it's unschooling y'all, so we'd forget the reading and writing for a while.

Matthew turned eight, and I'm pretty sure I was chewing off all my nails by this point. Still Matthew showed little to no interest in reading or writing. Now I should say that he wasn't just playing Hot Wheels all these years. This little dude is sharp. He loves  documentaries on lots of subjects especially nature and science. He can spout out facts to rival an adult's knowledge in those subjects. He also, works hard outside caring for his chickens and helping his dad with yard work. House work, got that covered too. Basically, he's an unschooling dream. He is a voracious learner and a very well-rounded little boy. He's proof that unschooling works. I  was the problem.

But then, reading and writing. I took a friend's advice and gave him a dry erase board and markers rather than a pencil and lined paper. He writes. Hallelujah, he writes! Pencils are getting easier for him, but he much  prefers the board and markers. I re-discovered our Dick and Jane books, and the boy is reading. Another hallelujah! I just had to keep tweaking and searching what was best for him, and I had to have the patience to wait for him to be ready. That's the crux of an unschooling lifestyle. I'm breathing a bit easier over here now, I'm pretty confident that he will master reading and writing, maybe even before he's eighteen! Seriously though, unschooling has it's scary, uncomfortable moments, but I still wholeheartedly believe that it's benefits are totally worth all the worry.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why Camping? {our first adventure}

So why camping? Why was it so important to me to purchase a camper? To take on a massive year long search and pinch pennies all the while saving for a camper, then to finally find one and begin a truck load of work, cleaning, sewing, and saving some more for the redo. Why all of it? This is why..........

I desire for my children to laugh more together, I desire for my husband and I to take it slow and sit around a campfire growing our relationship without even saying a word, I desire for my children to learn, not through books, but through life, I desire for my children to be raised knowing that hard work {yes, setting up and taking down your pop-up is work} gives way to pleasure and a sense of accomplishment, I desire to escape technology, both for the kids and adults, I desire a simpler, slower pace and if that means packing up and going on a camping adventure as often as financially feasible, then that's what I want to do. 

Camping is a lifestyle. I learned a whole lot on our first trip out, some expected, some not. I knew I'd get more proficient with setting up the camper and campsite, I knew I'd learn lots of organizational skills {five living in a 12x12 box and you get mighty organized mighty fast!}, but what I didn't expect was my mental growth. I looked around and saw lots of other campers. I saw families camping with kids of all ages and lots of retired couples too. That was what I saw on the surface. But, what I really saw was that these were a special kind of folks that are tough, not afraid of hard work, people that understand that in great work there is great pleasure. I long to be more like these people. In my quest for 'myself' these last few months, I have grown complacent and lazy, I've gained back weight and have gotten sadly out of shape. I was inspired by and in awe of those campers and I did some serious soul searching that ended in me kicking my patootie into gear. I know who I am and who I want to be, geesh, I wasn't planing on getting all that from camping, but thank you God for opening my weary eyes!

I saw my children find other activities {no internet or t.v.}, they woke up earlier and went for walks, together,  they built campfires on their own because they wanted s'mores for breakfast {hey, I know, but they were having a blast}. 

For all these reasons, for these reasons, I wanted a camper. For these reasons, we searched and saved for a year. For these reasons, it's everything that I'd dreamed of and even lots that I couldn't possibly have even known. For these reasons, we'll be going camping as often as possible, I - can't-  wait!

Love y'all so much, and thanks for being around for the stories and adventures!

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Same Camera- New Habit

I'm so gosh doggone happy to see the sun on a regular basis here lately. We still run outside every  time it comes out. We are about to head into an entire week  of sunshine here in North GA and I couldn't be happier. We met up with our friends at the lake again and had a gorgeous day in the sun.

I've started to get in a better habit of taking my camera everywhere I go. I was noticing that I would be saying, "oh shoot, I wish I had my camera", waaaaaay too often. So now I'm trying to always remember to take my camera along, even on little outings because you just never know what you'll see or what memories you may be able to capture.

Never would have gotten a picture of this beautiful rainbow if I had left my camera at home. 

The photos in this post brought to you by our oldest daughter. Smile.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Crazy Little Thing Called.......... Unschooling {part two}

I'm thrilled that so many of you are curious about unschooling, I got lots of great questions after my first post last week. If you missed it, click here  to catch up. 

I wanted to start with the middle-school and high-school ages and then I'll talk more about the elementary years next week. This unschooling thing is going to look drastically different for each family depending on your child's most recent learning environment. Have you recently pulled them out of school, do you homeschool but have a very strict curriculum based environment in your home, are you a relaxed homeschool family? Depending on which one you are, will have everything to do with what unschooling will look like for your family in the beginning.

Unschooling requires that your children be interested in pursuing learning on their own, requires that they be self-motivated learners. The question I'm asked most is, "how do you get your kids to be self-motivated learners? I can't ever imagine my fourteen year old picking up an algebra book on her own? I don't think unschooling will work for our family". Here's how it works for us. Our kids have always had a relaxed learning environment. That's a much easier and smoother path into an unschooling style of learning. If we had had a more rigid homeschool, using lots of curriculum, lots of book-work, quizzes, and assignments, the transition to unschooling would have been a huge shock. It would have required a lengthy period of adjustment {months or longer} for them to learn how to feed their natural curiosities without my help. They would have first had to even realize they had an innate desire to learn on their own, a God-given curiosity. So, coming from a relaxed background, easy, but if you are coming from a more rigid learning environment, it will be a longer path, but one that you will see develop over time

So okay, it may take lots of patience to achieve an unschooling lifestyle in your family, then what? That's when you get busy as the parent. It is my job to be an excellent listener, and notice subtle cues from my kids. They may express their learning desires but they may have no idea how to get from point 'A' to point 'B' on their own. That's where I come in. That's where it becomes my job to see if I can help them navigate through their desires. I also keep up with areas that I notice they may be lacking in and 'casually' leave things, that may help them improve in those areas, around the house {aka strewing}. Sometimes they notice a book and pick it up, other times they're just not interested and I'll try again in six months or so. I also plan lots of field-trips. Remember that pop-up camper we are working on, all about hands-on learning and experiencing new environments. We also read aloud daily as a family. Living history and bible are two of our favorites. You never know where your child's talents may lie, expose them to as much of the world as you reasonably can.

I marvel at the growth of our girls' photography skills. They photograph everything  and are growing their talent by leaps and bounds {all the photos in these unschooling posts, our daughters}. They are given an inordinate amount of time every day for their artistic passions, sometimes through watercolors, acrylics, clay, or photography. Our youngest daughter loves reading novels, but our oldest prefers non-fiction, mostly about blogging currently. Last summer, I suggested to her that I thought she may enjoy blogging and I told her that I'd be happy to help her if she wanted to get that started. There was total silence.......... not a peep about starting her own blog. Then about four months later she came up to me and said, "so how do you start a blog". That's my best advice on unschooling, throw out ideas that you believe may be a good fit for your kids, then back up and WAIT. That seed may never sprout or it may grow into the most glorious towering oak that you've ever seen. She has a little blog now and she did it all herself. For any of you bloggers reading, you know that that requires learning HTML and coding and boocoodles of other stuff to get a blog up and running. I'm really proud of her and I know she may never have had time for things such as this if we sat around our kitchen table from eight till two with our curriculum.

Now that leaves me with those subjects that my kids just don't like at all. What then? This can be the most nerve wracking part of unschooling....... if you allow it to be. So far, our girls show no interest in math, none.  So what do I do about this? We do math where we can, cooking, groceries, camper remodels require lots of measuring, sewing and the like, you get my point, life math. I have complete confidence that if in a year or two, they realize that in order to acheive their dreams they must have a college degree, and need math to get in, they can comfortably achieve what is required to pass an entrance examine in six or so months. It's no different than us adults, when we become motivated, we can move mountains. Our kids are sharp and they should be afforded the same confidence we have in our own abilities. 

That's pretty much it in a nutshell for our middle-school/high-school philosophy. The largest factor in our unschooling lifestyle is faith and a deep-hearted belief that our children need only support and guidance to find their own way in life. I've been a curriculum based homeschool mom, a relaxed homeschool mom, and now an unschooling mom, and this is without a doubt the most difficult because it does require a huge amount of faith and prayer. Through all those styles though, I love what I see in my kids through unschooling most of all. They have confidence in themselves that I'm so grateful for. If you'd like to take a look at Olivia's little blog, she'd be overjoyed for you to visit and share if you feel so inclined {Click Here for Liv In Progress}. It's a teen lifestyle blog and I'm ever so proud of her. 

More to come next week on this crazy little thing called unschooling. 

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