What is Strewing?

unschooling strewing

 

Okay, I sort of, kind of get unschooling, but what the crap is strewing? That’s what we’re talking about all month long over at Christian Unschooling this beautiful September. Click on the link below to read my contribution this month about recent strewing successes in our home and why I think strewing is so important in unschooling.

 

Strewing and Unschooling

 

Also, check out my friend Aadel’s ebook on Amazon called “The Art of Strewing”. Quick read and great insights!

 

-Jessica

Dear Graduate, let me whisper in your ear… {Advice for a High School Graduate}

 What is the best advice for a high school graduate?  Here’s a repost from last year with my answer.

——————————-

So I mentioned recently that my little brother-in-law graduated from High School last week.  And it got me to thinking about the best advice for a graduate.

 

congraduation

 

And, honestly, it’s not the advice I was given.

 

Everyone that tried to encourage me – pushed college.  And a lot of good their advice did me, because I still was never inspired to stay for two semesters in a row, ever.  One here, one there.  I didn’t really care.  I didn’t like college, I didn’t want to be there.  I thought most of it was just stupid.  And you guys know how I feel about doing things that I think are stupid.

 

So yeah, if I could only dispense one piece of advice it wouldn’t be college.  Besides, that piece of paper isn’t worth what it used to be, anyway.

 

But, enough about what I wouldn’t say. Without further ado, here’s what I would say.

 

*Brace yourself for the insightful and wise awesomeness:*

 

Pursue something passionately.

 

That’s it.  Seriously.  Pursue whatever you already have a passion for and interest in.  Read books/websites, make it, break it, play it, paint it, write it – whatever your thing is.

 

But do it in earnest.  With discipline and focus.

 

Because whatever your thing is – your talent, or your yearning, or your dream – God put that in you.  And you’ll do well to go after it with every confidence that comes from knowing your passion is your path.  And “education” is in the eye of the beholder…

 

So, college – schmollege.

 

 

What advice would you offer a graduate?

 

-Jessica

7 Snippets of Unschooling – Star Wars, Howrse, and Civil Rights.

My friend Carma from Winging-It has started a new weekly link up and I thought I’d try it out.  At the beginning of our Unschooling journey I blogged about it quite a bit, chronicling our experience helped me to see the proof in the pudding, if you will.  Once in awhile I stumble onto one of those old posts and they give me warm fuzzy feelings.  My memory is terrible, so if I don’t record these things somewhere I’ll just forget them.  Hence my trying out this linky.

 

~1~

Four Year Old has really been focusing on reading a lot.  He taught himself to write his own name.  He draws letters everywhere, on paper, on a doodle pad, in the dirt.  He’s read several things this week that surprised me. On this day a few weeks ago he copied the words off of his Hardees wrapper.

"Clint hardees biscuit is got from hardees."

He made his own sentence, asking his dad how to spell the next word he wanted and asking for help if he wasn’t sure about how to write a letter.  What amazes me most about his reading and writing is A) He started doing this as a 3 year old and B) We didn’t teach him any of it.

~2~

Eleven Year Old started her second website this week. It’s a tutorial site for howrse.com, a game she spends a lot of time on, so she’s kind of an expert. Her site (which she came up with the name for) is called howrsingaround.wordpress.com.  I help her design her sites, but all the content is hers.

Her brainstorming tablet.

She also wrote a “paper” this week about all of the math that is involved with howrse.  Here’s a snippet:

“There’s more [to your horse] than just feeding it though!  You have to board it in Equestrian Centers (ECs for short.)  The person who owns the EC you want to board in will name a price, and if you want to board your horse in their center you’ll have to pay it.  But if you want to have a lot of money left in your reserve.  (The money is called equus just so you know.)  Then like I like to say—the more for your money!  Because let’s face it…most of the people who run these ECs don’t understand that, if you make your price really high like 75 equus.  Nobody really wants to board there!  But if you grow some crops for the horses that stay there, hire some workers, buy more boxes and meadows, plus remember to always buy fresh bedding for the boxes—and make your price really low like 10, 15 or 20.  Horses will board until you don’t have any empty boxes!”

She not only virtually learns how to care for a horse on this site (and endlessly memorizes facts about different breeds) she’s learning a lot about practical economics, etc.

~3~

Star Wars sparked a lot of play this week with May the 4th being Star Wars Day.  We had a movie marathon and watched all the movies in machete order.  The Wild Boys “played” Star Wars Monopoly by making up games with the action figures and also “racing” their guys around the board by rolling the dice and moving the guys to see who could get around the fastest.

They also watched this a cappella star wars song endlessly and the oldest two memorized it in it’s entirety. Four Year Old memorized … part of it. :)

 

 ~4~

The Husband pulled down his old foot locker from the attic this week and shared all of his treasures.

Five Year Old was particularly interested in Husband’s old military patches, and where each one came from – Arizona, Iraq, Israel, etc …

We looked through an autobiography that Husband wrote as an assignment as a 12 year old, that was pretty funny.  And looked through his old ribbons and metals and learned what each one was for.

~5~

We also spent plenty of time playing.  We went to the lake for one last hurrah before the move.  I’m going to miss having the lake all to ourselves during the school year.

The Wild Boys found a stick bug, we looked at lily pads and their flowers, we watched birds, and we spent a good amount of time talking about alligator behavior because some big ones have been spotted on these fair shores recently.  We were the appropriate amount of paranoid.

~6~

We stopped by and saw The Wild Things Papa one day while he worked and explored an elaborate playhouse that he’s building for a client. It’s complete with a balcony inside, and will eventually have electricity, air-conditioning, carpeting, and the whole shebang.

~7~

 

We borrowed and watched a couple of new movies this week.  We honestly don’t watch tv or movies a whole lot so it was kind of a fun movie week for us.  Aside from our Star Wars Marathon we also watched Soul Surfer and Eleven Year Old and her partly African-American friend watched The Help. That started a host of conversations about segregation, the civil rights movement, etc.

—————————————————

Whew!  I’m so used to this lifestyle that living and learning blends together for me now so even I’m impressed at all the learning that takes place in a week when I have to sit down and think/write about it.  And there was a lot more than this, of course.  This is just some of the stuff that I had pictures to go with. :)

 

Check out the other Unschooling Snippets at Winging-It.

 

 

-Jessica

Deschooling, Math, and OCD

I got to thinking yesterday about how we really don’t play board games very often.  Which doesn’t make any sense because we own a lot of board games.  And they’re fun.  So I determined to play one.

After putting Sir Grumps A lot (aka – Two Year Old) down for a nap, and giving Four Year Old free reign to Age of Empires (which is all the poor boy wants out of life), I gots down the Yahtzee.

Apparently, I had never taught them to play Yahtzee.  For shame, I know!  At first, Ten Year Old was unenthusiastic.  And I know why.

She is absolutely phobic of numbers.  I’m not kidding.  Even the mention of numbers makes her shut down and / or cry.  Math never came naturally to her when she was “in” school.  She could not do those timed math drills.  She could probably get all the right answers if you gave her time, but it would take a long time.  And mostly, it’s because she didn’t care.  And because her attention to detail is crap.  She’d subtract when she was supposed to add, etc.  Sure, the answer’d be right. But tests don’t really care about your intentions.

We used to agonize over homework.  With tears.  Every. Night.

And the more she was pushed, the more neurotic she became in other areas.  She would be overly emotional for no reason.  She would fear things irrationally.  She would have nervous ticks.  The constant clearing of her throat.  The constant rubbing of a blanket.  Hoarding things.

And, I kind of get her.  I do.  Because I was sort of that kid, too.  I hated math.  Particularly math class.  I had an irrational fear of being wrong.  So I refused to try.  Particularly if I was called on in class.  My 8th grade math teacher really disliked me, because no matter how simple a question she asked me, I would say “I don’t know”.  Sometimes I did know.  But the pressure of answering in front of the whole class was too much.  My brain would literally shut off.  And the teacher’s impatience and anger certainly didn’t motivate me.  I would actually give the wrong answer, knowing it was the wrong answer.  Because at least it was an answer I was in control of.  If I gave a wrong answer on accident, that would be mortifying.

But the trend started long before 8th grade…

yearbook

That’s right.   I was a real challenge.  For most of my elementary teachers, I think.  Btw, I don’t know why I was wearing glasses, I could see just fine. I think my mom got conned at the eye doctor.

Anyway, because of Ten Year Old’s own math trauma and challenge,  we’ve definitely been in what I understand to be a “deschooling” phase these last few months.  Time for her to just be free and shed the academic weights on her shoulders from traditional schooling.

Which leads us back to Yahtzee.  She didn’t want to play at first, because of the obvious use of numbers.

IMG_8063
But once we got going, she had a good time.

She screamed uncontrollably when she rolled a yahtzee at the beginning of the game.  And then laughed uncontrollably at her own reaction.

IMG_8064

IMG_8066

She did great adding her scores and dice throughout the game.  She multiplied and added just fine.

But when we were all finished, and adding up the scores, it started to go downhill.

IMG_8078

I was doing all the writing and adding, but I was doing it out loud, so she could follow along.  Simple stuff, like “if we take this 20 and this 30 we can make a 50”.  But she started to clam up and panic.  And if I asked her a question, she would just blurt out an answer without thinking about it. I asked her what 20 plus 2 more was, and she blurted out, “Um, 30!?”.  Now, she knows it’s not 30.  Obviously.  She’s just so scared to think about numbers, that she shuts her brain off if they’re in the room.  I tried to stay patient.  Though it’s not easy in those moments, when you know they know what 20 plus 2 is.  So I tried to talk to her calmly about how she doesn’t have to be afraid of using numbers. Numbers can be fun, and they make a lot of sense.

Then an hour or two later, I watched her walk through the room, and then backtrack and rub her hand on a table because she had forgotten to when she passed it.  Monk, much?  Of course, it was harmless.  She was smiling, and happy.  But, I haven’t seen her do anything that OCD in awhile, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was connected to her math stress earlier in the day.

I’m going to continue to tread calmly and lightly when numbers are involved with Ten Year Old this year.  It seems obvious that, like me, she is not going to pursue a career that involves advanced math.  So as long as she can function as an adult, I see no need to give her undue stress with numbers anytime soon.

-Jessica

Reading Without Curriculum.

IMG_7322


Yes, that is an 1986 ‘Find Your Fate’ original.

 

I have a Six Year Old.  Technically he’s in “1st grade” this year. At the beginning of the year, I had some curricula.  I also felt pressured to “work on” his reading.  After all, he’s six.  And in 1st grade.

 

But even though I tried to make it extremely casual, he wasn’t fooled.  I tried to hide his “lesson” under the guise of sitting on the couch with a book and just asking him to help me read it.  Simple books.  Simple words.  But he would resist, no matter how friendly and fun I tried to “make” the atmosphere.  And I would end up getting extremely frustrated at his unwillingness to read even the smallest of words.  Two letter words.  Even ONE letter words.  I knew he knew all of the letter sounds.  But he would just cry and fidget.

 

So I quit.

 

I decided he would read when he wanted to read.  Not when I wanted him to read.

 

So we started going to the library every other week or so and getting a giant stack of books.  I tried very hard to read to him whenever he asked.  I’m not always able to.  But I try to make it a priority.  There’s a certain strike-while-the-learnin-iron-is-hot concept there.

 

Sometimes he would read a random word off of a sign or package.  Once in awhile he would want to write something and I’d spell aloud any word he asked me to.  His Ten Year Old sister would read everything aloud for him when she played video games.  At church he would sit beside me and would I sing the words into his ear as we looked at them on the screen.  And that has pretty much been it, for months.

 

Then one day this week he wanted to open his own new game on Zelda – Legend of the Wind Waker.  “Okay”, I said, “It has a lot of reading parts you’ll have to read”.  And then I watched in awe as he read screen after screen of training instructions, with minimal help from me.

 

Then last night I was reading him a Magic Tree House book. (Which I also consider a history “lesson” Winking smile )  Right in the middle of my energetic telling of Jack and Annie’s Egyptian adventure, he interrupted me by pointing to the page, and reading the entire last sentence I had read.  Not all of which were small words.

 

When the last chapter was over he jumped up and asked if he could read me a book.  Are you serious, I thought?  

 

He brought back “Mr. Brown Can Moo”.  And proceeded to read me the entire. thing.  Having never before in his life read a book.  Once in awhile I would tell him a word, or show him how it could be broken down into parts to make it easier.  Like Hippopotamus, for crying out loud.  But for the most part, he read the entire thing.

 

And then this morning, after breakfast was over, he walked up to me with a book.  A big kid book.  No Mr. Brown.  No Mooing.  And said, “Mom, I figured out that this word is “Autobot”.   Then he sat down and read the first page.  I helped with words like Decepticon and Cybertron. After one page he was done, and ran away to do something else.

 

I’m pretty sure he’s reading above his grade level.  Without a curriculum.  Without any reading lessons from me.  Just because he lives in a literate, first world nation, surrounded by the written word, and is able to pursue the activities he’s interested in.

 

The more we use life as the template for our learning, the more I’m convinced of it’s effectiveness.

 

-Jessica 

The Shifting of an Educational Paradigm

 

A lot of what I think about education has changed this year.

 

Actually, all.  All of what I think about education has changed this year.

 

But that’s typically the way I learn things.  Full throttle, delving, delving, delving towards the truth I know is at the bottom somewhere.

 

Reading, reading, reading.

 

Thinking, Thinking, Thinking.

 

And in the end I usually end up feeling, thinking, believing differently about something than almost everyone I know in “real” life.  Literally, thank God for internet friendships.

 

So, in my first real year of homeschooling, I’ve been challenged to reconsider everything I’ve previously thought about education.  I’ve questioned every model I’ve ever personally experienced.

 

It’s been interesting.

 

And it’s caused me to stop trying to keep up with the educational Joneses.  You know the ones.  Bless them, the super organized mommies that somehow plan for and practice every subject under the sun.  That teach Latin and homesteading and very elaborate and detailed lessons that weave their Art through their History through their English through their Spelling curriculums.  While hopping on one foot, holding a baby.

 

I half way tried to do this at the beginning of the year.

 

I hopped.  I held.  They cried.  I yelled.

 

And I found myself asking, “Does this matter?”

 

Does making them do worksheets about comma usage matter, if it’s going to end with them crying, and me ripping chunks of my hair out?

 

Does sitting to do a pre-planned lesson about Sumerians matter if they’re not going to listen because they’re not interested and I’m going to get frustrated because they won’t listen because they’re not interested?

 

I’m a baseline kind of gal.  And for me, it comes down to protecting my loving relationship with my kids.  Because I’m already not that good at it.  So throw in a bunch of junk that doesn’t matter between me and them, and things really get messy.

 

I want to teach my kids things that I think are really important.  Things they’ll need in their life.  Particularly of a spiritual nature.

 

I feel like that is the job God has given to me as their parent.  So if something else is getting in the way.  Well, frankly, that thing has to go.  The end.

 

So I’ve stopped pre-planning lessons from a curriculum.

 

But, by no means, have my children stopped learning.

 

The philosophy of life learning, as I understand it, states that kids will learn what they need to know.  What they want to know.  They will pursue things passionately that they are interested in (as I have done with education methods) and learn things from a myriad of “subjects” in that process.  It also assumes that if you simply provide access to learning tools, kids will pursue them of their own accord.

 

Now, I’m with the rest of you.  At first my brain said, “SNORT”!  “Ooookay, whatever crazies!  If I wait around for my kid to want to learn, I’ll be waiting a looong time.”  Or the ever present, “If I let my kids do whatever they want, they’d just play video games all day!”

 

But the more I thought about it, I realized my knee jerk response was one that had been programmed into me by my own upbringing and society and “education”.  It wasn’t actually based on truth, or experience, per se.

 

In fact, my own experiences and observations in life add up to a wealth of evidence that the traditional schooling model is the one that doesn’t work.  It crushes creativity, brands students with a letter grade worth, and tests the fool out of them on things that they won’t use, basically,for the rest of their life.  And generally, once someone emerges on the other end, they feel pretty bad about themselves as far as their intellect is concerned.

 

I think there’s this assumption out there that there is a magical core set of information that children must know before they are grown or they will eat with their hands and beat on their breasts for the rest of their lives.  But that if we just force them to be exposed to enough of this core information (while telling them they’re terrible at it) they will achieve at least enough enlightenment to keep the lights on at their cave one day.

 

Now, one of the big reasons I feel qualified, in part, to criticize the current educational system, is because I am a product of it.

 

Hello, my name is Jessica, and I’m a Public School Graduate.

 

I cannot tell you the capital of many, if any, countries besides my own.  I still don’t know when to, and when to not, use commas half the time.  I rely on my laptop calculator for even the simplest math problems.  I use dictionary.com daily.  I pretty much don’t know the history of anything.  And I might not be able to name all the planets even if you asked me.

 

And this is not because a decade stands between me and my diploma.  On the day of my graduation, I could not have told you these things.

 

Yes, I was exposed to them.  Yes, I was tested on them.  Yes, I even did pretty well on those tests.  But I did not learn them.

 

I did not care about them.

 

I do not care about them.

 

But what I did learn, was that a lot of people were better at tests than I was.  A lot of people were prettier than me.  A lot of people had nicer clothes than me.  That I was “bad” at some things.  That being talkative, or passionate, was generally frowned upon.  And that getting answers wrong was the worst thing you could possibly do.  Ever.

 

Of all the things I wish I had learned in my formidable years, none of the above make the list.  I wish I had learned, Blessed are the meek.  And love your neighbor as yourself.  And you are beautiful.  And God has a plan for you that does not involve the American Dream.  And God has uniquely gifted you on things that you won’t be multiple choice tested on.  And faith can move mountains.

 

Those things could have actually helped me in the last 10 years.  Helped me avoid a lot of heartache.  Help me sooth other’s heartaches.  Helped me to understand the purpose to my existence.

 

Now, I realize some people are going to argue that academic vs. spiritual education isn’t an either/or situation.  I understand that.  But I do believe that the percentage of people that are pursuing one over the other for their kids, is in the 90th percentile, even if they aren’t consciously doing it.

 

So, I would like to challenge every person, even if they’ve been trained in and for the traditional education system, to really delve, delve, delve, and explore the possibility that there may be a radically different, more natural way for our kids to learn that sacred core swath of information.  By just living.  Living in a free and loving environment.  An environment without tests or pre-planned curriculums.

 

And then, before you pull out that “I could never” or “I’d never be able to” card from your back pocket, hold your “I can do all things” in front of you.

 

And then, consider believing it.
Photobucket

That’s stupid. So I’m not going to do it anymore. {One mother’s journey toward unschooling}

I am a questioner.  I just am.

 

I see everything in layers and take practically nothing at face value.  I can’t stop myself, I question everything and constantly seek deeper definitions for simple things.

 

So you can only imagine what happened to my brain when I saw this this morning.

 

I am a sucker for logic.  And that there just makes a darn lot of sense.

 

Which brings me to this: there are a lot of factors that went into my decision to homeschool.  Some of them are illustrated (ha) above.  It started, as usual, with me questioning things.  Why am I sending my kids away from me all day?  Just because everyone else does?  Just because it’s normal and expected?  How long has public education been around, anyway?  What do I really want my kids to learn between now and when they grow up and leave me?  What do I need to do to make that happen?

 

Now, once I decide which side of a line I fall on, I don’t dawdle on making a decision.  I don’t dance back and forth or worry or spend a long time deliberating.

 

My process goes a little something like this:

 

“Hmm.  That’s stupid.  Okay, I’m not doing it anymore”.

 

The end.

 

I don’t really care that other people think differently or won’t really understand.  I’m an all or nothing gal, and once presented with a truth I have to act on it, 100%, immediately.  Like a few years back when I started learning about nutrition.  I walked away from an article on artificial food dyes and went straight to my pantry and threw all of that stuff away.  And more or less never bought it again.  The end.

 

So, that’s how my decision to homeschool came about, also.  Oddly, there was no last straw.  There wasn’t even a camel.  I just woke up one day and said, “This is stupid.  I’m not doing it anymore”.  I wasn’t even mad at the public school.  They didn’t actually have anything to do with my decision.  My decision was about me, my relationship with my kids, and my relationship with my God.

 

Now, bear with me for this next bit, because this is going to sound a little out there.

 

I did not bring my kids home to educate them.

 

Sure, that’s a side effect.  And I realize that’s a big motivation for some people.  Everybody knows homeschooled kids are “smarter”.  Score higher, spell better, speak latin, yadda yadda.  But that’s not why I brought my kids home.

 

I brought my kids home to disciple them.

 

I was becoming painfully aware of how quickly their childhoods were going to be over and what a sucky job I was doing as a parent to pass on to them what I actually thought was important.  None of which was found in this place called “school” that I was sending them away to 8 hours a day.

 

But of course, as soon as I took the first step into the world of homeschooling, … I started to question things.  Not things, actually, everything.   Why do I have to have a grammar curriculum?  Who says my kids have to do this kind of math at this particular age?  Do they really need to know about American Presidents, or predicates, or what year the pyramids were made?

 

Why should my kids have to keep an academic schedule that they played no part in picking?  Or even if they did help pick it, why do they have to do a history lesson right now on ancient Egypt that I’ve planned, when what they want to know about are worms?  Or to read a book, or to write a story, or to sketch a horse, or to climb a tree, or to build with legos?  And why am I going to make them cry by insisting on my pre-planned academic schedule when they’re just going to have a bad attitude now anyway, because it’s not what they’re interested in?

 

And why did I bring them home again?  Oh yeah, it didn’t have anything to do with Egypt.  It was to teach them what it really means to know, hear, and follow God.  It was to foster their unique talents and abilities.  It was so that they could live a life outside of marketing and materialism.  It was so they could care about people instead of brands.  It was to create an authentic loving relationship with them that would go beyond parent and child, to discipler and disciplee.

 

What does Abe Lincoln have to do with that?   What do comma splices have to do with that?  What do equivalent fractions have to do with that?

 

And that’s how I found my way to a little thing called unschooling.  Does it mean not teaching your children anything?  Absolutely not.  It just means letting learning happen naturally.  Which it actually will do if you just let it.  Will they still learn how to read and write and do math?  Yes.  Just not out of a workbook at an assigned time of day.

 

Does it mean letting them not bathe if they don’t want to, or not clean their room if they don’t want to, or not brush their teeth of they don’t want to, or letting them play video games all day if that’s what they want to do?  Absolutely not.  Unschooling does not mean child led families, or lack of structure, or a lack of discipline.  It just means not forcing certain structures and schedules and academia and curricula on them that so don’t matter.  And in the process, potentially sacrificing your ability to disciple them in things that really do matter. And possibly killing their creativity and their love of learning with a slow painful death while you’re at it.

 

In the past couple of weeks my boys have been really interested in puzzles.  And they continually impress me with how good they are at them, even the little guy.

 

The Four Year Old has been wanting to learn to write letters. On his own.

 

After watching an episode of CyberChase, my 6 year old brought me this:

unschooling math

And explained to me that 1/2 was the same thing as 4/8ths, and that 2/3rds was the same thing as 8/12ths.

 

Equivalent fractions!

 

Which, according to the math curriculum I ordered at the beginning of the year, is what my 4th grader is supposed to be learning right now, not my first grader. If the curriculum had it’s way, I’d be making him do worksheets full of adding problems right now. And honestly, he’d probably be crying. But instead, I took the opportunity to show him what fractions look like when they’re written down. And what the bottom number means and what the top number means.

Photobucket

 

Today he wanted to take his piggy bank down and count his money. Am I supposed to tell him that right now it’s time for our pre-planned science lesson, but if he’ll just be patient, in 2 weeks our math lesson will be about nickels and skip counting by 5’s? Why? Why not let him do what he’s interested in right now?

 

Photobucket

 

He skip counted by 10’s.

Photobucket

 

And Four Year Old counted everything by 1’s.

Photobucket

 

Then my sweet, generous, crazy haired boy…

Photobucket

 

…went with me to the Dollar Tree.

 

And used one of his dollars to buy a new puzzle for his baby brother.

Photobucket

 

And of course that little genius finished it all by himself in a matter of minutes, even though I didn’t think he’d be able to do it at all. I constantly underestimate them.

 

I want my kids to understand God, to love life, to care about serving others, and to use their unique talents and gifts to do all of the above. And if that means they never get around to a pre-planned lesson about Harriet Tubman, or never master muliplying by 9’s, I really don’t care.

 

I refuse to waste my life or the few precious years I have with my children focusing on things, and making them focus on things, that won’t matter 20 years from now, and certainly won’t matter in eternity.

 

Because…That’s stupid.  So I’m not going to do it anymore.

 

The end.

Photobucket

B is for Bowman. Or Bohemian. Or Bird.

I’m going to share something that would shock and dismay most homeschoolers. I don’t have a grammar curriculum. Or a writing curriculum. I don’t make my kids copy-write things at predictable times of the day or week. I don’t force them to suffer through grammar worksheets.

Reading, writing, and grammar, are best learned in a casual environment.

My Six Year Old knows a great deal about punctuation, just from me pointing it out to him while I read. He knows what quotation marks are and what they mean. He knows about capitalizing the first letter of a sentence, and about periods, and about exclamation marks, etc. Even though I’ve never put a worksheet in front of him.  I’d rather my children’s learning have a more natural flow to it. I want them to associate learning with living, and for them to have a passion for both. And I’ve never found structured grammar curriculums to offer…either.

So what exactly do we do? Well, that’s a fair question.

This morning we picked up one of our library books.  Curious George learns the alphabet.  We got as far as page B.  We decided we all really like the letter B.  And the man in the yellow hat made it turn into a bird.

Photobucket

So that was cool.

So we decided to write B stuff. I had some ole, classic, free, internet “B” pages printed off and stuffed in a folder somewhere already. So I gave those to Four Year Old and Two Year Old and let them trace or scribble them to their hearts content.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Six Year Old was inspired by a Dollar Tree Puzzle. So he decided to write something about Bakugan Battle Brawlers.

Photobucket

Nice, right?

Photobucket

Then I decided I really liked that B bird.

Photobucket

And Four Year Old decided he did, too.

Photobucket

And Six Year Old decided he did, too.

Photobucket

And Two Year Old decided he had a robot arm.

Photobucket

And Dog decided he wasn’t getting enough attention.

Photobucket

And Husband decided our birds were lame.

Photobucket

How’s THAT for an English lesson?

I absolutely adore home learning.

Photobucket