Unschool was the way human children, like their mammal cousins, learned for millenia. It was not called "unschooling" because the institution of forced education had never been forced upon children until very recently in human history. What is now seen as a new philosophy is not new at all; it is a deliberate attempt to return to nature;s intent, to return children to their natural, organic state of innate passion. ~Laurie A. Couture

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend wrap up Oct 1-7 2012

This week was pretty laid back, we didn't do any "formal" lessons, but did have a lot of fun researching anything and everything on the net and youtube.  We got in some drawing, painting, practicing writing letters, some spanish, music, and lots of playing outside!

The thing I think the kids enjoyed the most was watching the video of the SpaceX launch.
Article - SpaceX Launch

Saturday, we were supposed to participate in  the JDRF Walk for the Cure. Well, it was cold and windy and since the kids hadn't been feeling well earlier in the week, we didn't want to chance them getting sick again, so we let them play in the inflatables for a bit then came home. It was disappointing, but at least our donations still got counted!

Most of our math this week was done at the grocery store - counting the items in the cart and doing basic addition to add up the value of what we bought. I also worked in a talk about budgeting while we walked around.

Our music time this week has been spent just singing random songs and looking up different veggie tales sing alongs on youtube; here's a couple of their favorites

For the Spanish, I have been teaching them the words I know and also downloaded a free 110 pg PDF from here.  

week of 9/24-28

Math: venn diagrams, fractions, adding, subtracting, multiplying, parts of a whole, logic problems, money & costs, proportions

English: spelling, recognizing letters, letter sounds, writing
                elements of storytelling: characters, setting, plot

Science: gravity, dinosaurs, anatomy/bones, paleontology, solids/liquids/gases, weather

Health: diabetes education, nutrition

PE:  minimum 1 hour/day

Geography/Social Studies: where specific dinos lived, where we live, our neighborhood, China

History: dinosaurs, indians, wild west

Friday, August 31, 2012

End of week wrap up 8/27-31

This week has been a fun week, we had a library trip, zoo trip, and goodwill trip. Mommy also had an ER trip, but that's a different post altogether. LOL

Here's a few of the library books, the rest are in the truck

And a couple others we have been reading, over and over again...

New pre-K & K math and reading workbooks and other misc supplies from Grandma Sara

And a whole stack of free coloring pages leftover from church

We took our trip to the zoo Tuesday with Grandma Sara and had LOTS of fun!!
We hung out with the pandas for a bit (they were sleeping) and talked a lot about China

Then Cory and Mara both decided to be Marco Polo (pictured is Mara)

I really love how our zoo is set up, it is done by region, so all the animals native to China are in the same exhibit and all the farm animals are down in the petting zoo and so on. We really enjoyed the sea lion show, the kids were really amazed by their talents

Northwest Passage is a really cool exhibit and has lots of interactive areas. The kids enjoy this sitting area and the inside area that shows the polar bears and sea lions both above and below the water.

The weather was pretty decent so we took our time meandering through the exhibits and really talking to the kids about the animals and their habitats, what they eat, etc. Our next stop was Teton Trek, we all love this one because there is a beautiful lodge where you can go in and take a break in the a/c. They also have interactive computers that talk about a lot of environmental issues and the region.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

bats, math and baking..oh my!

Yesterday was spent talking about bats and debating whether or not they would make good pets. Cory's theory is that if we had bats as pets, they would eat all the mosquitoes in the backyard so we could play outside more.  So we looked it up!

We also looked up different types of bats, where they live, what they eat, etc and will be making a special trip to the zoo soon to study the ones there.

Math...Let me tell you my son is obsessed with math. All day he comes to me asking "what's this plus this?" He tries to get way to complicated and I answer but remind him we need to stick to numbers he can count to and to try to keep it under 20 for now. lol He's getting better at knowing the answers off the top of his head, but also counts fingers and toes; it's so cute!  Last night in bed we were talking numbers, and I blew his mind taking about fractions.  We have really been enjoying the problems posted by Bedtime Math Problem on Facebook.

Both yesterday and today we have been baking bread. Both kids loved getting to help measure, mix and knead the dough.  Both days have also been full of definitions, spelling, stories, writing, and talking about places we would like to visit then looking them up on the map.

Today we are also talking about different types of weather and what causes it.  Cory really liked the pictures that went with this article on NatGeo.  He always loves looking at clouds and I like trying to explain the different types, and what they are made of. This led to a talk about the water cycle that took us to the kitchen. We put a bunch of ice cubes in a pot, turned the stove on and watched them melt down to water then evaporate into steam.  We also read the Magic School Bus book about it.

After Cory lost interest, Mara crawled up in my lap with another book..then decided she wanted her nails painted. So, yes, I painted her fingers and toes - fingers black (she asked for it) and toes black and yellow. She now thinks she is Bumblebee Girl and wants to be that for Halloween. LOL

Cory heard "Halloween" and came running, talking about what he wants to be....a vampire, a dinosaur, a lion..he has no clue.

Here's what he came up with..now all i need is a brown hooded sweat shirt, brown seat pants and some felt. vampire lion it is LOL

Oh, both kids have decided they like washing dishes and I am NOT complaining!!  Cory is actually in there right now washing some. They both do a really good job, they use way too much soap, but everything gets clean!
Mara washing bowls

I can't wait to see what this afternoon brings!

Trying Tuesdays...

Today has been a trying (for me, another post all together) but very fun day! any topics have come up, been discussed and said "hey, wouldn't it be cool if..."
Here's what we spent most of the day discussing:
Volcanic eruptions probable cause of dinosaur extinction
To go along with this, I found a different volcano project, one I like better than vinegar and baking soda - Storm in a Cup

Also discussed was teeth and why different animals need different types of teeth.  We referenced a great post from Carma of Winging It (link to post).  The kids really got a kick out of the video and chewed like that until they could tell i was about to cry,  then they laughed and ran off.  Cory had fun telling me which animals were herbivores, omnivores and carnivores and we even looked at pictures of their teeth (lion, monkeys, hippos, bunnies, mice,dogs & cats)

Tried something new today for art that the kids really enjoyed. Onion skin paper. They loved being able to put it over a color book page and trace the picture. Cory picked a T-Rex and Mara picked Strawberry Shortcake. Cory is his own worst critic (like I am) and thinks he did a horrible job, but for a first attempt, I think it's great!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

8/17 - 8/20

health - diabetes education, nutrition
science - anatomy, dinosaurs, sea life, beekeeping
math - counting carbs, fractions, counting by 5, money values
english - letter recognition, writing
reading - Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler & Kurt Cyrus
                 Fancy Nancy, It's Beauty Day by Jane O'Connor & Robin Preiss Glasser
                 T-Rex and the Mother's Day Hug by Lois Grambling
spanish - random words here and there
geography - North America, ring of fire, Tennessee
history - looked up events from the years we were born (2006 & 2008)
chemistry - bread baking, homemade volcanoes

Mara can recognize M, R, A, D, O and her name on a page!

I promise my next post will be more pics and less notes!  Things have just been crazy around here!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

mid week wrap up


Sorry for the lack of fancy posts, things here have been crazy and i really just wanted to get what we did recorded so I didn't lose track of subjects covered.

Science - Ceratopsians
largest carnivore - spinosaurus
largest hebivore - argentinosaurus
pbskids.org - dinosaur train & daniel tigers neighborhood

art - primary & secondary colors (finger paints)

computer usage - navigation, keyboard recognition

phys ed - 30 min outside/water play

religion - Jesus Storybook Bible (highly recommend this!)

english - writing, letter recognition, letter sounds

math - basic addition & subtration (1-20), money values, fractions (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1)
            grocery store math  (prices, quantities)

geography - where studied dinos lived

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

big long post - no pics - 3 day wrap up

Over the past few days we have been quite busy (8/13-8/15)! The kids saw the dentist Monday, Cory had some work done and was sedated so we didn't do much that day.  Mara and I got in a lot of reading time.  Since then we have been working on:


  • letter recognition & alphabet order
  • letter sounds
  • writing
  • synonyms for big, small, a lot
  • rhyming words
  • tracing letters (Mara)
  • How to spell your name (Mara)

  • telling time (digital clock)
  • adding (1-10)
  • subtracting (1-10)
  • counting by 5's
  • money value (1 chore = $1, how many chores do you need to do do get a $7 toy)
  • value of coins penny-quarter
  • shape recognition - basic for Mara, advanced for Cory (cylinder, pyramid, cone, etc)
  • counting to 15 (Mara), 25 (Cory)

  • buoyancy (sink or float)
  • gravity (bouncing different size balls from same height)
  • centrifugal force (rolling a tire with water in it)
  • inertia (in the car)
  • dinos, crocs, woolly mammoths
  • Levers (at the playground)
  • Pulleys (on a farm set toy & flagpole) 

  • where we live
  • distance between Memphis TN and Huntsville AL
  • where the closest beach is

Chores for both kids this week:
  • taking your dishes to the sink
  • picking up toys when done playing
  • putting dirty clothes in basket & taking to laundry room
  • sorting dirty laundry into piles by color
  • vacuuming your bedroom (Cory)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chemistry in Kindergarten, yes please!

I know you are thinking, no way, seriously?! You are teaching your kid chemistry? Why yes I am, and today we made a volcano. Excuse the quality of our volcano, I ran out of flour and had to half the dough recipe so you can still see the coke bottle. Oh well, it still worked.

Before adding vinegar

After the vinegar

Again, not the greatest but the kids were thrilled.  Here's the science behind how this works:

  1. The lava is the result of a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar.
  2. In this reaction, carbon dioxide gas is produced, which is also present in real volcanoes.
  3. As the carbon dioxide gas is produced, pressure builds up inside the plastic bottle, until the gas bubbles (thanks to the detergent) out of the 'volcano'.

In reading about volcanoes, we also fit in a bit of geography, and talked of the place where there are volcanoes.

We also ready some cool books about Woolly Mammoths and watched Ice Age. Cory asked where mammoths lived, so we looked in the book and pulled up a map...and we talked about Siberia.

Then we talked about the weather in Siberia and how it differs from the weather here in Memphis, TN.  We also managed to talk about how many days are in a month and how many months till his birthday (in Dec). This convo was brought up by his asking for a toy for his b-day; guess what, its a mammoth!
See Tremor here!  And in discussing Tremor, we again had the discussion of the value of a dollar, how many dollars Tremor costs and Cory could do to earn the money for Tremor if he wanted to buy him before his birthday. 

That led to a wonderful talk on responsibilities and respect and chores and I just love how this works!!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Library Day 8/7/12

Tuesday, we took a family trip to the library. Cory immediately went to the information desk and asked where the dinosaur books were. He was amazed at all the choices, but here's what he decided on:

Just in the Dinosaur Wars book, we covered:

  • Metric conversion chart, height/length comparisons (how many Daddy's it takes to match dinosaurs), weight comparisons (dinosaurs weight in tons = x amount of Daddy's truck). They really enjoyed doing this and got a huge kick out of dinosaurs equaling 10 or more of Daddy's truck. relating to that really helped them understand the size

  • definitions- 
    • herbivore-  Noun:   An animal that feeds on plants.
    • carnivore-
      1. An animal that feeds on flesh.
      2. A mammal of the order Carnivora.

    • prey- 
      An animal hunted and killed by another for food.
      Hunt and kill for food: "small birds that prey on insects".
    • predator- 
      1. An animal that naturally preys on others.
    • fossil- 
      1. The remains or impression of a prehistoric organism preserved in petrified form or as a mold or cast in rock: "sites rich in fossils".
    • serrated- 
      Having or denoting a jagged edge; sawlike: "a knife with a serrated edge".
  • geography- Spinosaurus lived in AfricaGiganotosaurus lived in South America

Cory isn't the only one that got books, I racked up too. Can you tell I'm a little worried about teaching him to read? LOL

Earlier in the day, we had a special lesson and guest. Our Diabetes Educator came by and got Cory all hooked up to his insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. We listened as she explained all the details and taught Cory the importance of wearing it and not getting it wet.  He's pretty proud, can you tell?

Throughout the day we discussed various topics including:

  • ancestors of crocodiles
  • how to fold shirts
  • volume and capacity of containers (more on this another day)
  • origins of the word dinosaur - Greek (Cory is really interested in the Greek language, thinks the words sound funny)
  • importance of eating healthy foods and brushing our teeth
  • weather
  • writing worksheets
  • what you can buy for $1/saving money/allowance for chores

Mara's letters worksheet

We were also lucky enough to be able to go to McDonald's play room while Daddy went to a class at church. That was a very fun filled 90 minutes of running and climbing goodness!

Old pic of Mara, but same McD's

All of these subjects have blended into today (Wednesday) also, which is fine by me, this is stuff they enjoy.  Later today they will be spending the afternoon and night with Grandma, so no updates from me till probably Friday  :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

first day of kindergarten 8/6/12

With today being the first day of school for public schools, we decided to start today to.  We spent the morning at Shelby Farms Park. First, we stopped by the lake and fed the ducks
We took the opportunity to hang out in the shade and ask the kids a few questions and laugh at the ducks and geese who realized they were missing out on a yummy treat. We were quite sad though that we didn't see any turtles this time but also thankful we didn't see any snakes either.  There is a beautiful lily pond on the other side of the road that we hope to visit when it gets a bit cooler. the kids are hoping to find frogs there.

Topics covered:
  • habitats - water habitats & what animals live there
  • anatomy of a duck - why do ducks have webbed feet? What purposes do their feathers serve?
  • food chain - what ducks eat & who eats the ducks

Then we moved on to the playground where Mara took to the slides and had a snack. Mance took Cory over to the swings where they had talks of pulleys, levers and gravity. After that they headed over to the rope course where I'm told Cory climbed the whole entire course!  Lessons learned there were in agility, gravity, balance and hand/foot-eye coordination. I wish I would have been there to take pics. Oh well, there will be a next time!

As it crept closer to 11am, it got really hot, so we left to go to lunch. On the way out we spotted these guys, which prompted another good discussion.
Topics covered included:
  • habitats - American plains
  • endangered species - American Bison
  • food chain/prey and predators - what bison eat and what eats bison
  • weather - why bison have fur, temps ranges for our climate zone (zone 7)
  • measurements (feet and inches) - how bison and dogs compare in size

On the way to the restaurant we also passed a solar farm. next time we will have to slow down so I can take pics. Here's a recent article about it.  This also prompted great discussion.
  • How the sun makes energy
  • energy conservation - if we conserve energy, we have more $ for other things
  • costs or electricity - the more we use, the more $ it costs. 
Also covered: parts of speech, handwriting

Definitions of the Day:
  1. The natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.
  2. A particular type of environment regarded as a home for organisms.
Endangered Species:  a species whose numbers are so small that the species is at risk of extinction.
  1. The state or process of a species, family, or larger group being or becoming extinct.
  2. The state or process of ceasing or causing something to cease to exist.
  1. The action of conserving something, in particular.
  2. Preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife.
  1. Of, relating to, or determined by the sun: "solar radiation".
  2. Relating to or denoting energy derived from the sun's rays: "solar heating".
Agility:  the gracefulness of a person or animal that is quick and nimble.
  1. The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass. For most purposes Newton's...
  2. The degree of intensity of this, measured by acceleration.

All in all it was a great morning, too hot to be at the park, but we all had a great time.  Now they are down for rest time. Maybe we can get some more handwriting done this afternoon; Cory has decided he wants to be penpals with a friend that lives in Nashville.  :)

First Day of School Pics:

Cory, K, 5.5yo

Mara, K4, 3.5yo