Please pray for our neighbors in Oklahoma and other areas that have been blasted by severe weather. This is what it looked like from our front porch yesterday (late afternoon, though the dark clouds make it seem like night out there).
We are safe and have much to be thankful for today. However, our hearts and prayers are with those who are hurting this morning.
Just a few shots of our clouds...the last photo I took yesterday gives me hope that there are brighter days ahead.
I love weekly wrap-ups.
Summarizing our week and posting a few pics
are about the closest things I do to recordkeeping.
But this week, I'm changing it up a bit.
I'm going to tell you what we didn't do.
We didn't get up at a set time every morning...we go to bed fairly early and I let the girls sleep in until they get up on their own. Our mornings at home are slow and quiet:)
We had no set time for "school"...learning starts as soon as they wake up and lasts all day long. Some days seem busier or more productive than others, but that's because each day has its own flow. We keep our schedule to a minimum so that there is plenty of uninterrupted time to read, play, explore, and create every day.
We used no textbooks...but I saw them reading biographies, a giant book about space, a book of quotes, and a camping book. We're also reading Swiss Family Robinson together every day (and discussing it together). The girls also looked up things in the encyclopedia, dictionary, or on the internet. Actually, A. has been known to read the dictionary, but I think I remember reading encyclopedias myself when I was a kid;) Oh, how could I forget? They both love video tutorials!
There were no assignments...yet there was plenty being done. The girls freely pursued math videos to earn badges on Khan Academy, completed art projects, watched and filmed 7CoolHomeschooler videos on YouTube, read biographies and took notes, listened to speeches from my college students, tried new recipes in the kitchen, made comic strips, helped with our home remodel, developed archery skills, worked on new gymnastics skills on the trampoline, played piano, babysat, and played games.
I gave no grades...grades do not seem that important when what I am really trying to cultivate are natural curiosity, industriousness, creativity, problem solving skills, and diligence.
We are not counting down the days until the end of our homeschool year...because there is no end to our homeschool year. That free feeling that comes at the end of a long, hard academic year is ours all year long! We are bound by no schedule as we pursue our interests and grow, change, or develop new skills all year long.
And that joyful freedom is the best part of this interest led journey we are on:)
And while I know an interest led approach doesn't work for everyone-
it is what's right for us,
so I am passionate about sharing our unschooling experience with others
because it has changed our lifestyle for the better!
1. My dining table looks like this most days
2. M. and Daddy built a fence:)
3. A. loves house plans!
4. A.'s hand art
5.-7. Archery lessons for the whole fam...it's a great family sport. We're having fun encouraging and competing with one another.
8. Face Timing with far away friends. Technology makes it easier to be apart.
9. The new room we remodeled is still empty, so M. has turned it into her movie studio:)
10. Inspired by 7CoolHomeschoolers videos, the girls held a blindfold taste test with friends.
11. Anybody ever play Bag-o? It's one of our camping games, but we got it out one night and played in the yard:)
12.-15. This is how I celebrate the end of the academic year at the college...with cartwheels! I may only work part-time, but I look forward to summer break as much as the college students do:)
Linking here today...join me!
We've been busy...the good kind of busy;)
Busy wrapping up a semester at the college (my students took their finals yesterday...woohoo, it's summer break)
Busy working in the yard and garden,
trying new recipes,
volunteering in our community,
finishing the loft space remodel upstairs.
And while it's nice to be busy,
I'm ready for a few days rest.
Guess our summer fun list will have to wait just a couple more days!
1-3 Farmer's Market Day- there's always a crowd. We found all sorts of fresh, local goodies to tide us over until our garden is producing. M. stopped to take pictures of the flowers in the town square. The beautiful azaleas are in bloom:)
4-6 What these two girls spend all afternoon doing...oh, to have that kind of energy again!
7 Mother's Day morning:) M. gave me a coupon...she'll get up early and take care of the hens and chicks for me (offer expires on 12/31/13). I plan on cashing in that coupon very soon!
8-11 Mother's Day afternoon...because there are no holidays for DIYers;) Glad Hutch is willing to do all the work up high! I prefer to keep my feet on solid ground. I could hardly watch him work on the platform he made across the top of the stairs...yikes!
12-14 A. spent a lot of time on Khan Academy this week...what a great resource! M. made cooking videos and treated us to homemade strawberry shortcake with fresh local berries that a friend gave us:)
15 Sharing M.'s recipe at the end of this post! You don't want to miss it.
16-18 Sharing games with kids at the children's shelter and teaching them to play some of our favorites. They especially loved Guess Who, Jenga, Candlyland, and Battleship. We'll be doing that again soon...what a fun and crazy day!
19 My friend Tami and I had an opportunity to visit with seniors at our local high school and pass out Bibles and copies of The Life Book to them! Curious? Follow the Life Book link and download a free copy of it:)
Our "schoolish" endeavors this week:
Researching and trying new recipes, especially gluten free recipes
Blimeycow on YouTube
Autobiography writing- this was fun! Loved reading the story of A.'s life through her own eyes
Bird watching- we saw a beautiful painted bunting in the backyard:)
Seven Cool Homeschoolers- This is one of the highlights of each week...check it out!
Shel Silverstein poems
Khan Academy math tutorials- both girls love this incredible free resource!
Take Two (A.)
AG Treasures game- a pretty fun American Girl game (it takes a while to play, so we only get it out every once in a while, but it's a favorite)
Camp Out (M.)- a very cool book for kids interested in camping, hiking , and outdoor skills. We're planning on camping soon so I think M. wants to be prepared!
Tuesdays at the Castle (A.)
Nurse Matilda (M.)
and I can't forget to share this-
M.'s recipe for Strawberry Shortcake
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries
2 T. sugar
1 1/8 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 c. unsalted sweet cream butter
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. milk (M. substituted vanilla coconut milk)
heavy whipping cream plus a small amount of powdered sugar
*Makes about 8 cupcake size shortcakes*
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Rinse and slice strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little sugar (to taste), toss lightly, and set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in another bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center for the egg and milk. Stir until combined.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners (about half to 3/4 full) and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. They will look more like biscuits than cupcakes:)
Cool, slice, and serve with strawberries on top:)
To make the whipped cream, just
put heavy cream into a bowl and beat on low until it begins to thicken. Begin to add powdered sugar by the spoonful (to taste...it doesn't take much) while continuing to beat the cream. Stop when you reached the desired consistency.
I am eating gluten free now so I had my berries and cream with Udi's Gluten Free Granola instead:) Yum! I didn't feel like I was missing out;)
I planted a whole bed of strawberry plants last year, so I'm hoping for a big bunch of berries this year. I sure hope there's more strawberry shortcake (or strawberries with granola) in our future:)
Linking up here today:) I guess it's better late than never!
I would love to have a homestead, but I get overwhelmed at where to begin.
I'm a global thinker not a linear thinker,
so I look at the big picture
rather than the steps of getting from point a to point b.
I'm not so detail oriented or
much of a planner at all...
or even patient, for that matter.
I just want to do it already.
Unfortunately, that is so not going to work for building a homestead.
So, I am trying to plan...
definitely not my strength,
but here goes.
Last year, we continued remodeling the inside of the old farmhouse
and added a screened porch to the back.
We raised chicks and rabbits for the first time.
The girls established a profitable egg business.
M. started her local, natural, and organic cupcake business.
Hutch built four raised beds for a small vegetable garden.
We planted two apple trees
This year, the plan (so far) includes
finishing the farmhouse interior (we are so close!)
a dozen more chicks (done!)
using the same four raised beds for planting the vegetable garden (done!)
adding a few containers for planting veggies
exploring raising dairy goats
planting four more fruit trees
We have big dreams for this place! I just have to be reminded that it's a process and an amazing learning experience for us all and not something that happens overnight.
I am inspired by these words
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
and this video that Jessica shared on her blog:
I'm also linking up here for more ideas and inspiration. Join me:)
As of this week, our homeschool group
is finished for the spring
and won't start back up until fall.
The girls are already wondering, "Now what?"
I'm thinking of restful days at home,
working on the house, and
maybe completing the dozen or more projects
I started earlier in the year and didn't have time to finish.
The girls are worried that they'll be bored this summer...
not when you are used to learning all the time!
This week was far from boring-
Birding- spotting new birds, observing nesting birds
Photo collages- Thank you, A. I love the collage you made!
Coin collections and coin history
Keepers of the Faith badges
Trip to the library
The Big Book of Spy Stuff
How movies are made
The Sound of Music (one of our favorite movies...we've been singing the songs all week:) Also learning about the history from that time and the real Von Trapp family
Adam of the Road (reading it at bedtime...almost finished!)
Craft Monday- we were behind in posting our recent crafts, but we updated the page, so check it out!!
Drawing, lettering and cardmaking
Seven Cool Homeschoolers video making:)
Alone Yet Not Alone (started this one on our road trip...a really good book about having faith through difficult circumstances. M. kept asking me to read just a little bit more!)
The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia (A)
Episodes of the Waltons and great discussion on life during the Depression
Crafts- The girls made a gift and cards for a friend's birthday party
Silver Dollar City- The weather was eighty degrees and sunny...perfect for the water rides and walking around the park (which is beautiful this time of year). Everyone rode their favorite rides, then the girls went to "school" at the 1880's school house.
Cooking and trying new recipes
Visiting the Emergency Children's Shelter- taking lunch and playing games with the kids there today:) Something we enjoy doing as a family and with our church family
1. Drawing the planets
2. These two cuties are one of the best parts of each week! The girls look forward to babysitting them.
3-4. It snowed in May...for the first time in history for our area! We stayed warm inside, worked on crafts, and watched reruns of the Waltons.
5. A. was the narrator for the play that her theater class performed. She did a wonderful job!
1. Tell me these aren't the cutest bugs ever?! M. and friends after their performance:)
2. Studying her coin collection...she's gotten a lot of new ones lately as friends and family have realized that she's interested in coins:)
3. Daddy and M. heading to Silver Dollar City
4. Navigating the park
5. Mama and A.
6. Trying not to get splashed by the log ride!!
7.-8. Going back in time to school in the 1880's. They liked the slates;)
9.-11. The park is shaded and beautiful this time of year but also very hilly (definitely a workout for the legs:)
12. We were tired at the end of the day and rode the train through the park to give our feet a break.
Lots of crafty things going on this week. I hope to see more to come this summer as our days slow down!
“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Love that quote!
Linking up with Savannah at Hammock Tracks this week and these ladies too:)
Take two girls
add one day at home
with no outside commitments...
and complete freedom to follow interests
and pursue learning independently.
Throw in beautiful weather and plenty of outside play,
and you have the perfect unschool day.
The day flowed along from one thing to the next:
Birding- nesting, spotting new birds
Creating photo collages on the computer
Studying coin collections
Planning future KOF badges to earn
A trip to the library
Seven Cool Homeschoolers on YouTube
The Big Book of Spy Stuff
How movies are made research and discussion
The Sound of Music- History at the time of the movie and the real Von Trapps
RootWords app- quantity, number words
Puzzles- they made their own:)
Plenty of time outside- reading, caring for the animals, jumping on the trampoline, and doing cartwheels
Adam of the Road (what we're reading at bedtime)
every day isn't just like this...
but most of our days are this joyful
and I want to remember that later-
Because these girls are growing up too fast.
Last weekend, we went back in time to 1863.
We participated in a local Civil War
battle reenactment in honor of the sesquicentennial
anniversary of the battle.
A. and M. both took turns assisting the surgeon as he tended
to the wounded during one scene,
and they danced at a party with
soldiers in another scene (just before the party is surprised
by an attack from enemy troops
and their dance partners are carried away as prisoners)!
The cool part is that all of this really happened...
right here in our town
150 years ago.
I love that the girls got to experience just a taste of what life was like back then...
the difficulties and the sacrifices that people experienced.
They danced, acted, interpreted events, served other volunteers, and answered questions from both children and adults.
What a fantastic learning opportunity!
Oh, and I had a part too:)
I was a lamenting lady...
I believe that's Southern for "a lady who complains a lot".
The other ladies and I reflected back on what life was like before the war.
It was fun!
Thankfully, the rest of our week was spent in 2013:)
Here's what we did:
Garden planning and planting
Theater practice and play prep- both girls helped with props and costumes, M. found sound effects, and A. created the program
Adam of the Road (read aloud)
Pilgrim's Progress in Modern English (M.)
Hattie Blue Sky (A.)
Making videos for Seven Cool Homeschoolers
A visit to the Emergency Children's Shelter to take donations and supplies
Presidents...M. found flash cards and quizzed the whole family:)
Khan Academy- equivalent fractions, the flu, the heart, Robert E. Lee's surrender, Abraham Lincoln's assassination...all kinds of good stuff!
Sign language and choir performances
Hope your week was great:)
Linking up with friends right here...
I'm not sure if I should say we are
or interest led learners...
maybe we are a mix of all three.
I really see us as joyful learners,
but I'm not sure that
many people know what I mean when I say that.
I thought I would try to explain:)
One of my goals as a mother who homeschools
is to inspire a love of learning in my children.
I hope that both of my girls embrace learning
throughout their entire lives.
I can't make that happen,
but I can create a joyful learning environment in our home right now...
one that fosters creativity and builds critical thinking skills
with the hope that this will have a profound
life long effect on my girls.
In trying to create such an environment,
I've found this to be true for our family:
A joyful learning environment is one in which children…
Have unstructured time to play freely and explore independently
See learning as natural with parents as both guides and partners along the way
Experience learning by being actively involved in every step or stage along the way
Have easy access to a variety of good books, board games, and art supplies with limited time on electronic devices
Observe nature and spend plenty of time outdoors
Are guided by natural curiosity rather than a scope and sequence or list of learning objectives
Interact with others in the community as an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships
Are treasured for their uniqueness and shown the love of Christ
Enjoy the freedom to express themselves through words, dance, art, music, and/or performance
and most importantly,
Share their ideas and answers without fear or criticism
Being encouraged to follow their interests and passions
What are your ideas for creating an atmosphere of joyful learning?
I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman this week.
I ran into him on one of our outings into the community.
He felt it necessary to express his opinion (in front of my children, no less)
that homeschoolers are too sheltered
and not learning the skills that they need to be successful in life.
Obviously, he hasn't met too many homeschoolers!
I bit my tongue at my first response (which wasn't going to be kind)
and took a deep breath.
I explained as sweetly as I could
that his idea of homeschooling might be a little skewed.
I invited him to look around at the homeschoolers in our group
who were visiting the air and space museum.
They were busy actively learning all around him.
I talked to him for about ten minutes
and explained a little bit about how and why we homeschool
and how we stay active in the world around us.
I didn't have to do that,
but I wanted to show him that there's more to homeschooling
than his narrow point of view.
I hope I made a positive impression on him,
I really just wanted to say,
"Really?! You've got to be kidding me. Clearly, you've
never spent any time with a homeschooler!"
Here's what my sheltered children did this week...I doubt any of this will help them be successful in the real world.
Thomas Jefferson bio
The Indian in the Cupboard- we finally finished it...so good!
Crafts- for AG dolls and also creating puzzles for each other (this took a couple of days, but ended with each of them creating an original seventy piece puzzle of artwork for the other to try to put together- pretty cool!)
Civil War reenactment- We are participating in a local battle reenactment in honor of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the battle. Love Living History and the opportunity to be a part of it.
Woodworking- Daddy helped the girls repair and restore their AG doll beds.
Junior Electrician's Kit- a favorite this week, but always right before bed for some reason...probably part of a plan to stay up all night;)
Adam of the Road- still reading aloud just a few chapters a week, but enjoying it
Gymnastics- the girls created a "vault" from the ground up to the trampoline...not sure if I should be worried or not:/
Seven Cool Homeschoolers on YouTube:)
Episodes of Fetch
The Brain unit study
Field trip to the Animal Safari- a great day trip with friends, lots of fun, and loads of animal science. Definitely one of the best things we did this week:)
Writing- family newspaper, a play, and short stories with Storycubes
Another road trip to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum trip-Wow! So much learned in one day...parts of an airplane and function, flight simulator- Cessna 172, forces of flight (lift, drag, gravity, thrust), parts of the instrument panel, centrifugal force
Planetarium- the highlight of the Tulsa museum for all of us. I had never been to a planetarium before. M. said that it was "amazing"!
And now, please excuse me. My sheltered children are participating in a local Civil War battle reenactment as part of a living history demonstration.
I love homeschooling, even if some people just don't get it!
"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."
Leonardo da Vinci
We homeschool a little differently than many people we know.
I don't usually tell the girls what to do
or when to do it.
We don't work through a set curriculum
or a set schedule
at a set pace.
But that doesn't mean that the girls are idle...
not by a long shot-
in fact, they are quite industrious.
Industriousness is a matter of attitude
Of wanting to take the initiative
to develop new skills.
It's realizing that idleness serves no godly purpose,
and seeking to avoid it.
It's not just staying busy for busy's sake.
It's being busy with a purpose...
with a goal in mind.
Now I don't know what my girls will be doing when they grow up,
but I do know that I want to teach them to
work at whatever they do
so that when they are grown, it's a part of their character.
If I can model industriousness for them now
give them opportunities to practice it,
then they will have learned a most valuable skill
that will prepare them whatever
they do in the future.
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Ephesians 6:7 NLT
DIY.org- check this out...such a cool site! Thanks, Susan:) The girls are so excited about this.
Cooking tutorials- M. makes videos of her own while she's cooking in the kitchen
The Silver Chair (M.)
The Indian in the Cupboard (both)
Literature Fair with our homeschool group. Thanks for the idea, Mary! A.'s presentation based on a biography of Leonardo da Vinci won first for her age group, and M.'s Pie project won second place for her age.
Nancy Drews book and the movie (a favorite of ours:)
Caddie Woodlawn- we finished the book and are looking forward to the second one...definitely going to add this to our favorites list!
Seven Cool Homeschoolers- This week's assignment was to make a craft tutorial. Loved watching all the videos!
Root Words App (Thanks again, Susan:), 94 seconds, BrainPOP
How It's Made episodes
Girls Who Rocked the World- A.'s reading it now...M. just finished it:)
Little Women, the movie (both book and movie are much loved here:)
Garden planning and prep work
AG doll crafts
Caring for the chicks and rabbits
Helping with the remodel- Oh no, I forgot to take pictures of the new bathroom! I will work on that this week.
Photography- both girls practiced using their photography skills at the garden center:)
Thomas Jefferson bio
The brain- A.'s been wanting to know more about the brain so we found a unit study for her...it's pretty fascinating.
Olga Korbut- M.'s been watching all the videos from her gymnastics routines form the 1970s
Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss bios
Episodes of Fetch
M. made me some lemon honey this week: local honey, a few drops of pure lemon essential oil, juice from a lemon (with a little pulp and zest too). We add a tablespoon or two of this to hot water and drink it for allergy related issues like drainage, sore throat, or cough. I'll add this little recipe to our Natural Health page:)
2. A. answers questions as she interacts with one of the judges at the Literature Fair with our homeschool group.
3. We had a nice turnout of kiddos from kindergarten through eighth grade for the fair and some amazing project board displays.
4. If you ask the girls, the best part was hanging out with their friends all morning!
5. M. did her project on the book Pie, of course;) She made passed out samples of the peanut butter raspberry cream pie that is mentioned in the book too (it's surprisingly yummy:)
6. I love that this fair was an opportunity to share a favorite book with others and to interact with people of all ages. Here M. is visiting with someone's grandparents about her project...awesome!
7. I have no idea what she is doing, but she has drawn a crowd...looks like cheerleading, but that doesn't really fit in with the theme of her book. There's no telling!
8. Both girls brought home ribbons and book prizes from the fair.
9. Love this stoneware egg crates from a friend in my favorite colors!
10. It was raining one day and I heard laughing from the other room. I walk in to find M. covering A.'s face with tin foil and duct tape. What?! No worries...they were just making masks. Good to know!
11. We take an archery class together every week. The girls are waiting for class to start and enjoying the beautiful view:)
12. My favorite of A.'s flower pics! I love the color.
13. I had a hard time picking a favorite from M.'s, so I picked three! She's really gotten interested in taking better pictures lately:)
Linking up here today. Join me!