Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I CU #5

Its time again for the weekly meme 
I CU -Intensive Care For The Christian Unschooler

“This week we want to…”

Advice About Curriculum & Socialization From Yours Truly

Ok, so I know I've only been at this whole Homeschool thing a short time, and am not really in a position to be giving too much advice...but I seemed to have gotten myself into this one. Carolyn over at Guilt Free Homeschooling was asking on her Facebook Feed for Mom's from all over the U.S. to sign up with her if we were willing to answer questions from parents in our area. I let her know that I was pretty new myself, but I would be willing to answer some questions the best way I could. Little did I know 2 days later I would be presented with a question about Curriculum AND Socialization! From an experienced teacher- no less!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Learning In The Kitchen- Popovers

The other night we watched an episode of Good Eats titled "Popover Sometime".
We had never heard of Popovers before seeing the show. Alton explained the science behind the way the popovers rise without any leaven. My little bread eater thought they looked YUMMY, so of course he asked if we could make some.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Post Ever Link Up

I stumbled upon a fun link up! Its called First Post Ever Link Up.

My first blog post ever was a little introduction of myself. I wrote it not long after we began our transition from Public School to Homeschool. The purpose of my blog at the time was to tell my son's story. Since then it has grown to include ramblings about me finding my way as a new-to-Homeschooling Mom, and many rambles about my thoughts on Unschooling and Natural Learning. There are also a few highlights here and there of things we've done so far. Now that I've finally finished writing my son's story, who knows what I'll come up with to ramble about....

If you want to join the Link Up too, you can find it here:     

My Ramble About The Academic Standards

I'm glad God opened my eyes to bring my son home when He did, because as time went on I began to realize more and more that the future held a lot of me trying to get myself out of what my friends and I call "moral dilemmas". You see, I DO expect my son to know it is important to follow rules, and to follow them, but as time went on, more and more of the of the rules I was trying to convince  him to follow (insert your own word here for getting a smart, strong-willed. logical child to do something that is illogical to him) were obviously arbitrary- especially the one's that had to do with the Standards.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My 3 Year Plan for the Middle School Years

When I first started homeschooling my son last fall, I asked myself what my goals for my his education were. During our time of trying to do "school at home" I was trying to stick close to the state standards because I didn't know any other way. Then I noticed that many career homeschooling families recommended not even looking at the standards. Hmm..on some level that made sense. After all, I was completely free to choose what we would be doing for the first time in his educational life.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Musical Furniture

I hate clutter, but I can never seem to get rid of it!

We live in a small house with limited closest space and we don't have an attic, basement, or a garage. It doesn't help matters that my husband and our son both tend to collect things that look like meaningless junk to me, or that I am a self proclaimed paper hoarder. Now that we are home educating, we've added even more clutter to the mix.
I found blog post recently that suggested using dressers for extra storage when you have limited space.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Shortest Post So Far

Today has been a productive day!

I finished my saga AND I decided what I'm calling our method of Homeschooling. It describes the way we are doing things almost perfectly, and there are no set standards to obsess about.

Guided Natural Learning

That settles it.

Deciding To Homeschool - Part 7 - The Dramatic Conclusion

Fifth Grade Fiasco-  A Recipe For Disaster

If you're just joining us you can read the whole story from the beginning here or you can just jump right in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I-CU #4

Intensive Care for the Christian Unschooler

“This week we want to…”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What My Child Is Reading (Week of August 6, 2011)

I stumbled upon another Meme in the Blogosphere!
I don't know if I'm faithful enough to link up every week, but we'll see.
You can click on the picture to head over there and link up too.

Breaking the Beale Code: The Treasure Hunters Club Book 2The Treasure Hunters Club: Breaking the Beale Code
by Sean McCartney
This is a Kindle Book that I got for free from BookRooster in exchange for writing a review after we read it.

We're doing this one as a read aloud. Its written for Middle School age kids. It supposed to be a good book for boys. We've read the first two chapters and like it enough to continue.

This book is about: A treasure worth 30 million dollars.
Protected by an unbreakable code.
Sought by people for over 200 years.
Is the treasure real?
Or an elaborate hoax?

Join the Treasure Hunters Club as they embark upon the greatest adventure of their lives. Where they must break the Beale Code and escape from an old enemy out for revenge!

The Lion Graphic Bible: The Whole Story from Genesis to RevelationThe Lion Graphic Bible: The Whole Story from Genesis to Revelation
by Jeff Anderson and Mike Maddox

I bought this last winter, and it had just been sitting around, but Padawan decided to start reading it the other day. He liked it enough to sit and read a good part of it in one sitting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Summary Of The First Few Days Of Our Schooly-Unschooly Schoolyear

My 3rd blog post tonight! Well, I had a lot to say and thought it would be best to break it up.

Padawan and I had previously talked about how he would like the first day of homeschool to go. We also determined the first day of Public School would be our last day of summer break.

In my Unschooler mindset this is mainly for record keeping purposes. It also lets Padawan define his own boundaries of school time and non-school time. We had an original agreement that he holds me to that school things can only be discussed during school time. I have yet to keep them straight 100% of the time.

What did we do on our last day of summer break? 

It started out with the two of us staying up all night, building with Legos and some other things I can't remember. Then around 5 AM, he spontaneously felt the need to teach me about the different stages of matter. Next, he read an internet article to me about plasma. After that he started to build some sort of Plasma Generator thingy-ma-bob on Roblox. (I forgot the technical word for it). He gave up on that after several attempts to get the motor to work the way he intended. Then we made breakfast together or whatever meal you would call it, and turned on a documentary about Deep Sea Treasure hunting, followed by an episode or two of Shark Week before I fell asleep. I woke up a little later and he was sitting in the recliner reading his Graphic Bible that I had bought for him last fall. He totally rejected it then, so I put it in the bathroom along with some other of the things I had from before. That was a pleasant surprise!

Whew! I'm glad we weren't doing school that day!

Day 1 of our official school year began with Padawan going to Waffle House for breakfast with his Dad while all the other kids were waiting for the bus. Then a little trip to Kroger to pick up some poster board for an art project.

Upon leaving Kroger, they stopped by Redbox to pick out a movie. He decided that would be a good alternative to the "finding your classes", "getting to know each other", and "telling about your summer break" that his BFF (if guys have BFF's) would be doing that day in Middle School.

After Kroger, they had to stop by Petsmart to pick up an aquarium plant for the first LifePac Science lesson. He came back talking about how great it was that he got to spend time with his Dad. (They haven't had much quality time the past couple of weeks.) He talked on and on about all about the different exotic pets he saw there, and how he fell in love with a Chameleon that they had for sale. He planted a seed with his Dad about possibly getting one sometime in the future for a "class" pet.

He learned that the guy at Petsmart wished that he would have been homeschooled, and thought it was odd a college graduate was working at a pet store. That led to a good discussion about our current economy. He also learned that his Dad was really into talking about homeschool to everyone they met while they were out and about.

After they got home, we did the first Lifepac Science lesson on Photosynthesis and set up the accompanying experiment.

To end the school day we watched the movie, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid- Roderick Rules. This should not to be confused with non-school movie watching, because this was "school time"

The next part should not be confused with "doing school", because our school day had officially ended. In his leisure time, he did some more typing, internet research, Roblox math, and watched some more Shark Week documentaries.

Day 2.

Padawan checked on his Photosynthesis experiment from the previous day and set up another science experiment that demonstrates how seeds grow differently dark and light. He has to check on them every 2 days.

After that, he thought it would be a good idea for to me to read some of our schooly stuff to him while he quietly played a game on Roblox. He said that he can listen and play at the same time.
Ha! I had already figured that out on my own a few months ago! Sometimes I are smart too! He can listen just fine- if not better- if his hands are busy with something else. I'm thinking that his Autistic trait of Delayed Echolalia has something to do with that.

So, I read some from Apologia's Who Is God series about building your life on a solid foundation, and a little from the Horizon's Health book about "What is Health" (physical, mental, social, and spiritual). We discussed the questions from health book, and he wanted me to continue so I read the introduction part from our Roots of English book. He was also surprised to find that these new school books mentioned God, and had bible verses in them. A concept totally foreign to him as a Public Schooler. 

He wanted me to continue, so, I read to him 2 chapters of a treasure hunting story that I got for free on the Kindle from BookRooster.

Later on we listened to the Photosynthesis song on YouTube and did the introduction lesson of the Meet The Masters art program. As we got to the last slide of Meet the Masters the doorbell rang. There happened to be a quiz at the end of the presentation that I had intended to ignore, but he jumped on the computer and the quiz while I was outside talking to the neighbor.

We also discussed future our game building projects on Roblox (of course). One is going to be a world tour that transports your character to different countries for our World Geography and Cultures study. The other one is going to be something to do with the planets and space travel. Because I'm the COOLEST Mom ever!

Later *I* cut out pictures of the artists we'll be learning about to glue the outside of his art portfolio folder that *he'll* be decorating next time he decides to do art. Then he told me that one of the pictures I printed out was wrong- its supposed to be an artist named Piet Mondrian, but he swore to me it was a picture of Hitler. I had to look it up to be sure, because in the picture he does look like Hitler. At this point, I'm not sure which one of us is really doing school. But we're having a blast!

Summary of Our Unschooling Summer

The things that I had intended to blog about periodically- but didn't...

The downside of our summer was that the most exciting and eventful part was the snake incident. Unless you count the week that Padawan's uncle (who is about as much as a conversationalist as Padawan and I are) stayed with us. This included all the many, many, hours my husband, the only extrovert among us, was at work. Let's just say that we may have set a new record for the amount of Netflix movies a person can watch in one week. My neck still hates me!

I chose to count the week I spent at my parent's house as the first summer vacation I've had since the economy went south. After all, Mom's Bed and Breakfast was actually pretty relaxing!  Maybe we'll have the time, money, and opportunity to do some exciting things in the near future. And I'll be praying that I'll feel like going.

Padawan had freedom to do his own thing this summer (as he has been able to do every summer even when he was in Public School). Outside of Roblox, he gravitated to historical and scientific things as he has always done. He incorporated his new knowledge into his game designs and conversations on Roblox and with the family. He continued his daily studies in Roblox math. His spelling has improved greatly, and he has become quite fast at typing. He's also gotten really good at figuring out how to incorporate different elements to his online models and games. KUDOS to him because I couldn't figure it out when he was begging me to help him earlier this year! His friend came over occasionally, and his interest in Legos was re-sparked for a couple of weeks.
BUT now Public School has started back in our county, and he is mentally done with his ideal summer break...

Also, I'm learning to use his Austistic traits- especially the one about certain routines being nearly set in stone-  to work for us and not against us!

I view this as a good time to try to help him establish some better habits and routines as we settle into our life without Public School.

A fresh beginning! A time to guide him into becoming a more rounded person!

A life that includes things in addition to Roblox and Documentaries!

Forward March!

Imaginary Peer Pressure

Wow! Our summer break is officially over. We started doing our Unschooly/Schooly thing (or is that our Schooly/Unschooly thing ??) officially on Thursday- the day after Padawan's previous classmates started back to school. We didn't want to be the same as "them".  Either way, its all good!

I'm really excited and eager to see how this school year will unfold!

This is the first year I did not dread the end of summer break, or desire to continue my countdown of the days until he graduates. I actually looked forward to it, and I want to cherish every moment.

I'm confident about the decisions I have made regarding our educational choices and goals for Padawan, but still in the back of my mind there is a debate going on.

A debate between imaginary people from the Traditional, Relaxed, and Unschool camps about whether I am worthy to be included in their social circles because maybe we're not doing enough things the same as them.

That's right! I am being plagued by imaginary peer pressure! Imagine that!

Here's an excerpt of the conversation in my head of me defending myself against these imaginary people.

(Don't worry, there's no need to call the people with the little white coats just yet).

Me to the Imaginary Unschooler:
"Yeah, I apologetically bought curriculum and schooly things- a lot of which I'm sure he will love, but some that he may just look at and take no interest in it. You know, its like buying gifts...some he likes and others he never takes an interest in- only this is an educational gift.

Me to the Imaginary Relaxed and Traditional Homeschooler:
I apologetically don't plan to make him use it all and I certainly don't plan to make him do his schoolwork.

Me to Myself: (in my stern voice)
You know what Jen, IT SHOULDN'T MATTER!!! The only people it should matter to are God, Padawan, and you. You both came out of a long hard battle over all things Public School, just enjoy these years and your newfound freedom to find your own way!

Me to Myself again: (in my wimpy voice)
But..but...the unschoolers who I think are REALLY cool (the in-crowd) won't think that I'm much of an unschooler, and the other schoolers won't think I'm much of a homeschooler.

Me to Myself yet again: (in my NY accent movie voice)