Category: Untraditional Education

Doodle-a-Day:2-18-08 plus some thoughts on unschooling

When I was a kid I was fascinated with the outdoors. I would spend all summer outside,carrying a backpack full of essentials including my favorite doll, a Tupperware cup full of homemade lemonade, colored pencils, book, and notebook. I am sure I had a first aide kit of sorts in there as well as some natural books and other things that seemed necessary to being out in the woods.Read More

Untraditional Church: How we got here.

I have been thinking that I should post on this subject for a while but am leery of making someone else defensive of where God has them.

So before I explain let me say this--What God has for us is NOT exactly the same as what God has for someone else. I don’t know what His plan is for you other than that He wants you to love Him as He loved you and wants to grow you into the very best person in Him that you can be. I am comforted to know that He has called others to this same place and that we are not alone in this. I also recognize that just as He calls some to keep their kids in public or private school, He calls some to stay in the traditional church institution. At this point I think I will be spending Sundays explaining how we got here, what we do, and why–both from the personal view point and the scriptural. To start I want to explain how we got here and where we come from. It is a bit of a long story so grab yourself some coffee and make yourself comfortable.Read More

IF: Theory

The plan worked better in theory .

Loosely based on my kids who love building Rube Goldberg machines and often have slightly odd theories about how things work.  In this case instead of a Rube Goldberg machine I used my son’s ball track–which also often works better in theory than in actuality.   And this is one of my kids’ favorite way to do things, planning out outlandish activities then testing their theories.

I couldn’t decide between color and black and white–the color is just colored pencil because watercolors wouldn’t work with this paper.

Yes, I have been doing doodles each day but haven’t gotten them posted due to household issues–not only is Rachel less than great but my husband is in pain with an injured back and muscle spasms.  So much has been going on that I shipped the other two to Grandma’s house. 🙂

A Day in the Life 15: Some days are like that, even in Australia

Rachel tried to snow board but her feet were too big for the foot holes. She got in trouble for stuffing her clothes and toys under the dresser, every, single, day–because mommy keeps checking her work. Her mouth and head hurt because she is getting two molars which mean a fever which means she is on seizure alert.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel

Mommy told her to wear a helmet when sled riding and she didn’t. Then she thinks she hit a tree and thinks she hit her head but only remembers suddenly being on the other side of it lying in the snow. She thinks she will wear a helmet now.

Yesterday she wore her footy pajamas and got in trouble for running in the kitchen which she was doing because she wanted bacon and told mommy that and then ran again and her feet fell out from out under her and she landed on her back hitting her head in the place that still hurt because she had hit it on the tree.

“It has been a terrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel

Last night she didn’t sleep well because her head hurt and woke up in pain because her earing was pinching her ear went back to sleep and then woke up with it bleeding from being pinched and her head hurt from being hit and while she was trying to take the earrings out she knocked over a nail polish which broke open all over the carpet. She tried to clean it up with water but that didn’t work and now the bathroom smells like nail polish and remover because mommy had to scrub it.

“It has been a terrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel “Life’s not fair,” she says.

At breakfast she was out of bread and took her zinc without eating so then her stomach hurt and she couldn’t find something she wanted to eat and her head hurt and her ear hurt. Then she got a fever again and had to take a bath which she didn’t want to do because it made her cold. Then Mommy made her change out of her new fuzzy pink sweater and wear her tank top and light pj pants, “I HATE my light pj pants,” says Rachel. And daddy can’t comfort her because his back is out and his neck is spasming and she wants her daddy.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week ,” says Rachel. “And everything is awful.”

She was fighting with her brother and sister and was mad because they wanted to watch one movie and she wanted to watch another and mommy said that they had done their work and could watch the one they wanted because she had just watched the one she wanted. And Mommy called Grandma who came and took her brother and sister because they were fighting and mommy had to take care of both herself and daddy and they get to go play in the snow and visit at grandma’s while she has to lie down and be sick, and her head still hurts and everything is awful.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel. “And they get to have all the fun.”

Mommy settled her down with some hot carob milk and a pile of new movies to watch and the house is quiet. “Everything is awful, and it has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, ” says Rachel.

“Some weeks are like that,” says Mommy.

Thursday 13: Artistic Influence or 13 children’s book illustrators I love.

I have been pondering what has influenced me as an artist and where to go from here. I have some favorite fine artists most of which are well known and which everyone has heard of. More importantly I was surrounded by many books illustrated by great illustrators. I spent a lot of my childhood perusing those books, often trying to imitate their drawings and paintings.

As an aside I will say that this is the way most of the best artists learn, by imitating other great artists, absorbing the style elements they love and rejecting the bits that don’t work for them. Very few great artists learned their art by being taught how to draw and paint each element, instead they were inspired by other artists and grew because they loved the work. If you have a child who loves art don’t get them art lessons, give them lots of resources–good books with great illustrators, books of famous artists prints, get them good materials, quality paper and pencils will go a long way towards helping a child develop his artistic talent.

That said the following is a list of the illustrative artists that I found inspiring, which helped me develop (and continue to help me develop) my own style. If you have a moment take a peak at these brilliant artists and their work. There are some great artists here.Read More

Awesome Sale

Library and Educational Services is having an AWESOME sale. Since they are wholesale you have to be a homeschooler or teacher or someone else who qualifies to get an account but if you fit the bill this sale is incredible!

They have so many great things on sale for about 25% of the normal price that I can’t even list them all. A lot of A&E history DVD’s as well as stories of the presidents.

I just ordered the 5 hour long Pride and Prejudice DVD set for $15–its the 10th Anniversary Deluxe addition which prices at $60.  (When I told Shamus the price he said get it as an anniversary gift. :))

If you do video tapes they are selling out of those–they have the 10 tape set of Nest Entertainment  animated Bible stories down from $130 to $20!  My kids LOVE these stories but we don’t do video tapes so that isn’t happening–if we did we would be ordering them.

If you homeschool check it out–there are some great books and DVD’s available at great prices.  You have to sign up and give some evidence that you are homeschooling since it is a wholesale site but it is worth it.  If you want to see the email I received that explain the sale let me know and I will email it to you–it lists the sale items in detail.

On Board Books and Growing Up

The kids are cleaning out their rooms. We do this at least once a year, usually more often. They accumulate stuff they are too big for and need help choosing. This evening I went through their book shelves. I don’t allow too much twaddle up there–if a book doesn’t have great illustrations and good writing it lives a short life in our house. Sure Dragon Tails and Bob the Builder make their way from the thrift shop but they make their way back pretty quick.

This year was a bit of a shocker for me. The girls have begun in earnest to enjoy “real” chapter books. Sure they still enjoy some of my old picture books but most of those got moved to my son’s bookshelf. They were replaced with classic chapter books and favorite fairy tales, the books that get read and reread, and the picture books with incredible illustrations to be used for inspiration.

In my son’s room the baby board books were nestled away into the closet for a future grandchild (not mine, I am hoping my brothers will have children to read them.) It was hard to pack the Stephen Cartwright books away though the Sandra Boyntons stayed to hang out with Patricia Polacco and Dr. Suess, alongside Oxenbury and Rosemary Wells in the hopes of enticing our little man to read and be read to. Other favorite picture books, the ones my son once could not sit still for now reside on the shelves beside Thomas the Tank Engine, waiting for him to find them and ask for them to be read. No Bath Tonight, Say Hello Vanessa, That Fat Hat, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Could Be Worse await him and knowing how they have pleased my brothers and I as well as my daughters I know that soon he too will search them out to read them over and over.

Still it is sad to see Where’s My Teddy? go, and all the Usborne baby books are there no longer. I wonder if he will notice that Tickle Tickle is gone. I wonder if he will miss them. He needed the room for his big kid books and I am sure he will find many new imaginings and inspiration among these pages which have been read by two generations already.

Update: No I am not one of those moms who get all sentimental about baby clothes, its just the books, I am deeply attached to certain books. 🙂 Having written my sentimental stuff I tucked him in bed and he happily settled down with “Snow Day” which had been tucked away on his sister’s shelves. In fact he was having a hard time deciding which “new” book to peruse tonight. 🙂

Doodle-a-Day:2-12-08

Today I spent some time sketching as Issac moved about and built an impressive city out of the memory rocks we keep in a giant bowl by the fire place. He has all kinds of building toys but loves balancing rocks one on another and spent 45 minutes at it after playing out in the snow. Because he was moving about an building as boys do the sketch is more impression than any attempt to capture Issac as he is.

Catching a Love of Learning

I have been thinking a lot about where I came from, how I got here, and where I am going.   I was blessed growing up.  My parents were both teachers and both loved to learn and who taught me to love learning–not book learning and school but real, day to day, learning.

My dad was a mathematician who taught math and later took up teaching computers.  He kept me immersed in science though I refused the maths side of it.  He loved all things nature and gave me a fascination of museums and nature documentaries.  He taught me how to experiment, explore, and love the world I found around me.  He taught me how to work hard with my hands and to glory in the results.  He taught me to love learning for the sake of learning.

My mother, on the other hand, was an art student who loved the crafts side of art and to read.  She often taught arts and crafts to others and exposed me to many different media and materials.  She also made sure I was exposed to the great artists and lots and lots of books.  Between her and my grandparents–who subscribed me to numerous book clunbs over the years,  I had more books than any of the kids I knew many with beautiful illustrations.  We also spent plenty of time at the library and in the summers would go to the art museum .

My parents never gave me art lessons or drawing books, instead they exposed me to nature and good artists.  They taught me to research the things I was interested in, to proof read and to make rough drafts of things.  My love of learning and my interests were not learned in school–they were caught by being exposed to many thing, by seeing my parents with their multitude of interests, by watching them learn, and by asking lots and lots of questions.  Because my parents encouraged me to pursue what I was interested in instead of just doing what they were doing, because my parents had many hobbies and were constantly learning new things, because they encouraged me to do the same, I learned how to teach myself, how to explore and research, to find out what I wanted to know and what interested me.

What is interesting is that this particular form of education–which I value more highly than anything I learned in “school” and which is one of the reasons we take this same approach with our own children, allowed me to develop beyond my parents.  I would not describe my parents as having great taste or  of being particularly wise or deep–not that I am perfect either.  They are themselves and each has as many good qualities as bad.  However, their love of learning and their willingness for myself and my brothers to grow in knowledge and understanding and to love learning was right and out of that environment each of us developed into our own person with our own tastes and individual ideas.  We may have each attended public school but it was our home-life and the love of learning their that shaped us and made us who we are today–and though my youngest brother is still in high school both my other brother and I are following our dreams, continuing the legacy of learning and growing, both self-teaching as needed instead of relying on outside teachers to impart knowledge.

A Mob of Snowmen

Saturday, after 50 degree weather we suddenly got several inches of snow, which then melted by the end of the day, only to be replaced by great winds and freezing temperatures the next day--our weather is a bit odd. The kids took full advantage of Saturday’s snow and attempted to make a village of snowmen. It looked more like a mob to me, especially when several got their heads knocked off or were left partly made because the snow was too heavy.

I was going to show these individually and talk about what was going on but I have been gone all day and just found out I need to go out again to fix someone’s computer. My doodle will have to wait and you can just click on the slideshow if you want to see the whole gallery of pictures.