Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for February 2009

I wanted to start off by sharing that my husband was promoted at his Mixed Martial Arts class. He is now a yellow belt. Yes, it’s just one step up from a white but he has just started and it was exciting for him to move to the next level so quickly. He is one excited fella.

Then I started thinking about eating raw again. I have tried it before but I am much too attached to my baked goods and warm meals.

dsc04365I am going to try to go 50% raw (basically snacks and lunch) but we’ll see how it works out. For snack I made a “chocolate” dip (carob, maple syrup (I didn’t have any agave nectar in stock) and tahini) and apple slices. It’s better than you’d think.

I was supposed to go to an art drop-in tonight but I decided to go shopping instead. I needed some stuff from the health food store and I like to shop the book clearance sales.

dsc04366I found these little gems on sale at Chapters and Winners. We paid more than I like to pay for The Lorax but I think it has such a valueable lesson to learn about consumerism and greed and the importance of our natural resources. Many people don’t know much about Dr. Seuss (other than he wasn’t actually a Dr. of any kind) but Dr. Seuss (or Theodor Seuss Geisel) drew many political cartoons and wrote other kinds of commentaries and stories. The Dr. Seuss name only applied to the children’s stories that he illustrated himself.

When you watch The Grinchthe credits state that Theo Geisel wrote that “You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch” song. Interesting heh?

Twoo Twit looked like a cute story. But I have just finished reading it and I am not impressed. It’s about an owl that isn’t smart or wise and can’t read so he remedies that by going to school. ‘Cause school makes you smart. I am not sure what to do about that book. I don’t like to throw anything away. I guess I’ll give it to my sister-in-law who is a teacher. Thank goodness I didn’t pay too much for it. And finally, Mommy Hugs is a cute board book about a baby’s day to day routine. Complete with bedtime-hugs, I’ll-always-catch-you-hugs etc.

dsc04363Today I gave Trey this Harry Potter set of Lego that someone had given to us. He was so creative. It only took him about ten minutes before he had created this:

When we were shopping I also stopped at my favorite craft and hobby store and picked up more paint. Those boys of mine sure go through an awful lot of my acrylics painting masterpieces like this:

dsc04348Anyways, that’s all for now. Kevin wants me to go exercise with him.

A quick post to post pics of the lunch bag I made for Kevin.

dsc04341The shoulder strap was his idea.

I wish the fabric was lighter in colour as it makes it look so odd all one dark colour. It would have been fabulous as a light colour on the outside and a darker lining on the inside. Offhand I am thinking light green or purple. Oh well. It’s not my lunch kit.

dsc04343As you can see in the second picture, there is a special pocket for cutlery and there is extra room where his bottle is to toss in an extra orange or whatever. Kevin’s immediate reaction was that there was enough room for a pop can. Oy! I see I have more work to do here. LOL.

Today has been a busy day baby wise. I haven’t been able to accomplish much of anything and she isn’t happy unless she is in the sling even if we are holding her.

dsc04338I wanted to post another Tiffin picture. This is the last one I promise.

Well, I will post pics of the bag when I am done with it. I think it’ll work just nicely.

My hubby is having the same snack as yesterday. He is having vegan paella (sp?) for lunch and vegan brownies with strawberries for dessert.

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And I also wanted to post that watercolour painting that Sophia Sunshine asked to see.

You really need a pretty strong application otherwise the white doesn’t stand out as well.

In other news. I figured if I was to be holding Anna all day I could try to read but between baby and the other two monkeys I haven’t been able to read more than ten pages.

Here’s hoping I get some “me” time soon. I have two sewing projects laying all over my kitchen table and sewing room as well as three books on the go. At least I did get my workout done this morning. Well, not all of it. I still need to do my crunches and back strengthening exercise. So many things to do and so few hours.

My community is hosting a six-week yoga program. I am really hoping that my hubby can rearrange him Mixed Martial Arts schedule so that I can attend. This might get tricky since it also sounds like he wants to join a police prep class at the local gym. That means he’d be busy four days a week. That would make it hard for me to schedule things in. Oh well…we’ll get it figured out.

dsc04334My Tiffin arrived today. It is pretty spiffy. It looks smaller than you’d expect but when you compact everything together it has all the space Kevin will need for his lunch. My big challenge now though is that Kev wants me to make him a lunch kit that has a compartment for his stainless steel water bottle, his Tiffin and a special space for fruit and cutlery. Any ideas?dsc043321

This is Kevin’s lunch for tomorrow. He is having left over Chinese stir fry from the Vegetarian Low GI book. He is also having homemade vegan pudding as well as olives, veggie crackers and some cheese.

We were trying to cut cheese out of our diet but then I found out that Kevin was losing weight from all his Martial Arts training as well as his regular work outs. I became worried that he wasn’t getting enough calories and started putting cheese back in his diet for the extra fat.

thriveOn Monday I was at Superstore and in their book rack (which I hardly ever look at) they had a copy of Thrive Fitness. It’s the newest book by Brendan Brazier. I own two of his other books and couldn’t resist snatching this one up too. I really like his philosophy on food, exercise and reducing dietary stress. His new book covers how to eat for optimum weight loss, muscle gain and overall wellness. He even talks about the ability to reduce the likelihood of disease or cancer even through diet.

china-studyA fantastic book for that is The China Study by Colin T. Campbell. It’s an absolutely fabulous book for anyone who wants to know how to combat diseases and cancers.

One more little thing. When we were painting this morning Trey painted this chopstick I gave him and he has been using as a wand. He has been running around all afternoon pretending to be Harry Potter and shouting “expelliarmus” at everything.

Kev was playing along with him while he was trying to write some items for a grocery list. Everytime Trey “disarmed” him he would throw his pen in the air and make a big deal about how he couldn’t write because Trey kept disarming him. Trey was laughing so hard he could barely breathe. It was quite an amusing show.

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I found a new blog today called “Let’s Explore.” 

I used some of the ideas from there to have some fun with the boys. We did the salad spinner painting, the painting with kitchen utensils and the letter one. I did a variation on that one and used white crayons to write a large J for Joel and a T for Trey. Then they painted over it with watercolours. 

The boys always love to paint and do so almost daily.

They have been asking me to take them to the library but we’ve been lucky (Ha! Yeah right.) enough to have a few inches of snow and I am not a winter person in the least.dsc04323

So…until the weather warms up we are trying to keep ourselves occupied inside.

Thank goodness for music, books and computers!

dsc04291wA friend invited me to join her on a trip to Nordegg this past weekend. We spent the weekend sewing and relaxing in the woods at a wonderful cabin/campground called the Goldeye Centre. The staff there accomodated our difficult diets wonderfully and allowed us to sit back and enjoy not having to cook for ourselves.

I managed to make my self a new sling ((one of those really long wrap ones that you have to wrap around your self a gazillion times) thanks to a generous donation from a friend) as well as a slip. I was also able to finish up some projects that had been sitting around my house since before the baby came along.

dsc04272The weather was so nice that baby and I were able to go for a walk in the woods before heading out. I hope I can go next year and without baby. Then I can follow the ladies and enjoy some snowshoeing and cross country skiing!

My friend also taught me how to needle felt. It was easier than I expected and I was able to fix some of the dolls she had made for my kids that my cat had managed to tear up. The one pictured is one I made.

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When I came home I expected to come home to a mess since I had left my house a mess before I had even left but my husband surprised me with a clean house. He washed all of my dishes and even vacuumed!

Today I went to a wood store near my house and bought more wood toys for the boys. Here is the outcome:

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My hubby wants to get himself a lathe so that he can make these kinds of projects himself but for now a good one is out of our price range. I am getting a better sewing machine (since we both sew and even he gets cranky when my junky one acts up) before he gets a lathe.

It was sure nice to get away and have some time for myself (sort of…I did have my lil’ girl since she is only three months and still nursing). I was quite refreshed when I came home and the boys were happy to see me. It was a good break for us all I think. Well, I think my husband could have done without a break from me.

I have had more time to read s1nce 1 was without the distraction of the internet this week.

Right now I am reading Teach Your Own by John Holt. I have just started it and I don’t have much to say about it other than I am so far enjoying it and that the tone is completely different from the last book I just finished reading on Education.

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<-This book, has a vastly different tone and point of view than I have encountered in other books. He views the school system as broken and in need of reform. But what he really means 1s that 1t 1s in need of reforming back to its original system.

He claims that the reason that so many graduates are illiterate and that Canada and the US score so poorly on international tests is because the school boards have become so mired in bureaucracy and intent on adopt1ng every fad (like “reading for meaning”) that they have forgotten how to teach children. He believes that the school system is worth salvaging and his solution is to go back to the old days when kids learned but a few subjects (English is one of them) 1n great depth and parents worried about the real life experiences.

He states that parents have expected schools to raise their children but the schools haven’t been able to establish a real standard of morality. That in our culture of political correctness and relativity we have been unable to really establish a sense of right and wrong.  He sounds like a religious conservative to me but I do see merit in a standard set of ethics. 1 d1sagree that schools should teach moral1ty though. That sounds l1ke the parent’s job to me.

He claimed that the schools hoped on board of liberal ideologies like child led learning. He didn’t have anything positive to say about this. But I think he is absolutely right. The school system is not set up in a way that would allow child led learning to actually work. The home and the world would likely be a much more fruitful place for child led learning to be effect1ve.

So while he bashed child led learning I didn’t take offense because his book was meant to address public school reform. It was irrelevant for a home/unschooler.

Another interesting thing he sa1d was that Canada spends more tax dollars on education than any other country and yet our educational standards are constantly being dumbed down to make the average student feel accomplished while we fail miserably on an international scale.

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<- Th1s book, was full of 1mpract1cal adv1ce and not worth the $1.5o 1 pa1d for 1t at the second hand store.

1t may not 1nclude yell1ng or spank1ng  but 1t has no shortage of hum1l1at1ng, coerc1ve techn1ques. For example: 1t recommends that when a ch1ld has reccur1ng to1let acc1dents that you should make them go from play to to1let TEN t1mes 1n a row to re1nforce that TH1S 1s where they are supposed to pee. 

1 also read th1s book-> The No-cry D1sc1pl1ne Solut1on. 1 suppose 1f you had never ever read a parent1ng book you m1ght enjoy th1s one. But th1s one seems l1ke a rehash of every other book 1 have ever read. Very l1ttle w1sdom to be gleaned from here.

1 am sorry about the 1’s but my loaner keyboard won’t work all of a sudden w1th that letter anymore so 1 can’t 1tal1c1ze book t1tles e1ther. Annoy1ng!!! 1 am able to change a few us1ng the spell check but 1t won’t work for all of them.

dsc041271 realze 1 have already talked about Playful Parent1ng but 1 wanted to say a b1t more. 1 was surpr1sed to find that h1s philosophy on parent1ng was very close to my new one. The whole 1dea of respect1ng the ch1ld but also expect1ng them to help pull the load at home was encouraged 1n h1s book. He says that 1t g1ves k1ds a sense of belong1ng and self-esteem to be a part of the fam1ly un1t 1n the fo1ls and 1n the fun.

1 really enjoyed th1s book. 1t has really encouraged me to be more 1nvolved 1n my k1ds’ playt1me. 1t has also been a good tools for encourag1ng cooperat1on from them.

When we need to reconnect 1 f1nd that they become less cooperat1ve. The other day Joel really needed a d1aper change but he refused to let me change h1m. So 1 tackled h1m and wrestled w1th h1m unt1l we were both laughed and worn out. Then he gladly got up and walked to h1s room for h1s d1aper change.  

Th1s may seem coerc1ve to some but to me 1t allows me to have fun and st1ll get th1ngs accompl1shed. 1 love how 1t changes everyone’s mood for the better.

And f1nally, some l1ght read1ng: dsc04251

Creative Play for your Toddler 1s a cute book w1th craft 1deas for Waldorf type toys. 1 used a couple of 1deas and have enr1ched the ch1ldren’s playroom a tad.

Bend the Rules Sew1ng was fun too. 1 know that 1 w1ll enjoy mak1ng some of these fun l1ttle projects.

Gorsh! 1 love my publ1c l1brary. 1 get to read/look at books and determ1ne 1f they are worth spend1ng the dough to add them to my own l1brary.

When I get Teach Your Own done I am going to start reading Hold on to Your K1ds.