Its Been One Year

Wow, one year since I’ve posted on this site. But I haven’t been absent from Day by Day Homeschooling. I have posted periodically on the Facebook page of the same name-partially because its easier to transfer the pics I take and write a blip about them right from my phone onto Facebook. But also because most my kids are young and we haven’t focused much on formal studies or academics. However now that I have 3 who are technically in school and registered as such, maybe I’ll put more effort into posting on the website as well.  For starters, I will add some of the highlights that I’ve posted on Facebook over the past year.

experimenting with a science kit

experimenting with a science kit

learning to cook real food

learning to cook real food

visiting state capital xmas display

visiting state capital xmas display

self taught art

self taught art

as always, play

as always, play

bug collecting and nature observation

bug collecting and nature observation

coloring, designing, and learning to write

coloring, designing, and learning to write

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October 20, 2014 Play

In case you hadn’t noticed, a lot of my homeschool posts so far revolve around play. Most my kids are young-only two are technically school aged.There are loads of articles out there why play and hands-on, enjoyable learning is important. Here’s a recent one that address the early years -and no, I’m not saying that those who put their kids in daycare, preschool, or kindergarten are bad. However, I don’t think a highly structured environment is necessary for creating smart or well educated kids. I have the awesome opportunity to not force a time table for learning anything. Different approaches are going to work for different families and I think it’s important to keep and open mind toward being willing to change your methods and routines as you go.  We are constantly tweaking it and hardly anything works for every single one of my own children. When I find the time I will post some of the more schooly type things with definite education goals in mind that we’ve done with my oldest child.

Pics later

October 19, 2014-still sick

Yep still cycling through the crud. Holy hell-what do public schoolers do when sickness abounds over and over and over again-mutating into a million different forms of fevers and swollen glands and puking and exhaustion. One friend said they went through the same thing when her kids were all younger-like they were building their immunity and the oldest hardly get sick when the others do anymore. Hopefully that’s what is going on. I’m sick of being and tending to the sick and the witch doctoring doesn’t seem to do much-though it probably does because each ailment seems to only last a day at most-its just that it moves onto another kid or me and then works itself back around as something a little different. We’ve done this the past couple years during the sick season.

So, since we’ve been consumed with sickness have barely done much playing or anything fantastic the past couple weeks. Nor do I feel motivated to type any posts about what we’ve done in the past. Creativity is lacking too. I have sewn a little and watched a few sewing classes on craftsy.

A has been on vacation with her bio dad and step-mom and extended family. She’s still processing the yoga training emotional stuff.

Z and V hung out with Gma J and aunt J yesterday all day-went shopping and to a coffee shop and played A LOT with cousins and probably ate a lot of sugar. LOVE that they got to do that but not the best time to do it in the middle of recuperating -so today Z has a high fever as her body tries to fight off whatever her lowered immune system is trying to fight off.

V helped put up some Halloween decorations today-did quite a bit of it herself and its cute to discover where she put some funny faced pumpkins and rubber bats and sparkly spider garland-okay we celebrate more of a Glamo-ween than a spooky themed holiday. They used to get scared even looking at halloween costumes so fortunately glitter skulls and sparkly spiders also started becoming a trend when they were even younger. I like it better too and plan to keep it that way for awhile.

V will sit almost every day and draw or make sticker pictures. I can just see the gears churning in her head as she makes up stories as she does it-cause then she tells me all about it and sometimes she has me write what she tells me.

I made a printout of all of Z’s favorite Youtuber’s icons with the name printed in big letters next to it so that she can write them in herself.

And that’s all I can think of.

 

pics later

 

October 11-13, 2014

(add pics later) October 11 was the first day in a couple week where I felt well enough to get stuff done. We all slept better the night before and had motivation. We spent  the next two days in the attic. I have been wanting to organize it. But first I had to create some child friendly spaces so the kids could be up there without being in the way, hurting themselves, or breaking something. I started in one dormer and then the other-then I was able to clean, organize, and hang a hammock swing and some magical white lights. Now we have more space to play but I can also be up there and do more in depth organizing.

I make lists. V shows an interest in them. Asking about them, what they say, giving me suggestion. One list I made for cleaning had each room with a rectangle around in and the things I needed to do in each room underneath. One room was listed as “front entryway and stairs” with a long rectangle around it. The second was “hall”. This is how she sees things: She insisted that the first on the list with the long rectangle was the upstairs hallway because it looked like a long hallway while the rectangle around the actual words “upstairs hall” were too short. So I shortened the first to “entry” and put a short rectangle on it and made a separate section for “stairs” and actually drew little stairs into the rectangle. Then  I wrote “upstairs Hallway” and  extended the rectangle. Then she wanted me to add pictures to other list titles as well.

Their cousin and Grandma J visited. They played in the attic and outside. Gma brought snacks. There was a hair pulling incident and other than the tears, both girls reminded Cousin to simply ask for her toy back instead. I reminded her that we try to use words even when we are mad and not physical violence. And we really are pretty good about that though we still need work on not using yelling, wailing, and angry screaming when mad. They got over it soon and it was back to playing nice together. Some people think extremely one way or the other, either extreme parental involvement or extreme letting them figure it out. I’m middle ground and will write about it later.

On Z’s desk, I found a Stampycat and Squiddie made from two white pumpkins and colored paper and markers. They stem from her love of minecraft and Stampy videos on youtube. Z makes things all the time out of paper, scissors, markers/crayons, and tape/glue. Just a few things she’s made are a baby chicken brooder, a diorama of our block, dresses for dolls, and mailboxes for each of us.

September 14, 2014

Princess Party is over. Decorations are still up and will probably stay up for awhile because they are so pretty. They are actually recycled from last years princess party and they are all handmade. I’ll probably try to store them in a way that we can use them again which might mean just hanging them back up at the church (we own a a church building-no longer used for anything religious).

I was going to have someone make and decorate a custom gluten-free cake-but she moved so I had to make it myself. I wanted lots of piping and pretty frosting. I’m pretty creative with making cakes even if the execution isn’t always as planned. But this time I wanted to learn piping. My gram used to be known for making decorative cakes but I don’t remember learning anything from her. I must have watched her do it a few times though when I was young because its always seemed like a natural part of my muscle memory. I know that sounds kind of crazy maybe. But there are things I just have a feel for and I think a lot of that comes from early observation. I might not recall actual memories but I think some of that stuff is just imprinted. Which is why I think its important to expose young kids to a lot of useful and fun skills. Involve them in daily chores, errands, and also hobbies. Take them to demonstrations. Sometimes I forget this. I convince myself  I don’t want to take a lot of young kids out but really I do think its important for them to become accustomed to things outside the home too. I have to figure out a way to take just a couple kids at a time so I’m not so overwhelmed. We can’t really afford a mother’s helper at this point but hopefully we will in the near future.

Kids hung out with my mom since she’ll be visiting a few days. Lots of chatting and imagining.

September 26-October 6, 2014 sick

Z woke up at 2am and puked. I believe the disgusting junk food triggered her digestive issues and lowered her immune system so that she spent the next few days with very swollen glands, fever, and sore throat. She has had difficulty sleeping because its hard for her to breathe.

On the 1st she was feeling well enough that we were able to gather pumpkins from Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

The next day I left for the Hills to pick A up from her REY (yoga) Teacher Training Course. I left a day early to avoid the high winds the next day. I depend on trips to the Hills to rejuvenate my spirit and connect with like-mind people. But poor sleeping situation (an air bed) made it even more difficult for us to sleep and I was no longer able to ward off the cold that had infected Z. So I spent much of our days there indoors trying to recover. Plans with people and outdoor play never happened. We did get to spend quality time with my mom. And I had some lovely conversations with A as she talked about her experience. Many people who she spent that time with told me how awesome or amazing A is.

While I was sick I chatted online with a friend who has a lot of interest in natural health. She helped figure out some natural remedies for our ailments.

There were a few interesting things. Attended a community potluck at Shelter 50. Although I’m fairly anxious in social situation I could see myself getting involved with it if we lived there. When I was in college I had to make a big binder that encompassed every single aspect of a church that I created. Mine took place right in the community and was a large house, maybe a whole block, where community members could live if they needed. It was sort of a collective. Many different classes and discussion groups and small music events could be held there. I think of that often and Shelter 50 reminds me of it.

There was a large totally arched rainbow as we arrived in the hills. I mean huge. The thickest arch I’ve ever seen and brightest-almost fake. It reached across the sky and actually touched the ground nearby. I felt like we could touch it.

So the kids played with some kids of mixed ages, watched frozen, played with their gram, watched cartoons, got their hair washed and nails done at grams work, ate some fun foods, showed me some sweet yoga moves. A also purchased Hyrule Warriors with her own cash. And thanks to a gift certificate Z got a Klutz body crayon set, V bought a mask that she could paint, and Q got a toy that spins circle things up into the air.

My prized purchase of this trip was sushi rolls which I don’t have access to here.

September 25 and 26, 2014 Greek Gods

V eats two thing nearly every day. Yogurt and grilled cheese. She also still has breast milk and has many nutrients there. The brand of yogurt we buy is Greek Gods and there is a Greek statue on it. One day V asked me what it was and I told her. This led to what Greece is and to Greek Mythology. I happen to have a fascination with mythology and have since I was a kid. I have a few books including some ones geared toward  kids. Soon the other kids joined and we looked through them, read some stories, and discussed the stories and what people believe (or used to believe)  in general about origins of things. The next day we continued reading about it. V called them legends.

On the 25, J took girls to visit a lake (Wilmarth). They both ended up slipping on some moss into the lake.

On the 26 We went to Huron and visited some parks. We started with the lake and beach area. They explored “Gazebo Island” and rolled around in the water and and sand. I shopped for groceries while kids and J went to the “Rocket park”.

September 24, 2014-fall is here

The changing of the seasons. Yes that’s learning. You spend time in nature and you are going to learn. Especially when someone isn’t there trying to teach you something. In fact that goes for a lot of things. Play is learning.  I know this because I talk to my kids. I observe and sometimes I play with them. I’m amazed by the question, the observations, the imaginations, and the self-reflections they come up with. Play is important for everyone but especially for kids. This means of course; I have it fairly easy right now when it comes to facilitating their education. I know as they grow they are going to want to do more things, go more places. So I want to take this time to really enjoy them, and to develop my own skills that I would have loved to learn earlier had I been given the time and encouragement.

Their cousin told them they are missing out not being in school (because they admired a necklace she’d got there). Oy. I doubt she just comes up with some of the stuff she says to them. I can’t help feeling somehow she’s been fed that kind of false information, maybe to make her feel better for being different then them? But either way she doesn’t realize the shame she inflicts on them or the superiority she portrays by saying such things. And maybe whom ever is telling her that doesn’t realize it either. Whatever, it really makes me wish we had more homeschool friends they could play with while they are so young and impressionable. Older kids, like A aren’t so bothered by it, she has had time to feel confident in her self.

A is at her yoga teaching course. Its intensive. She’s never done this kind of structured course before. She’s never been away-sort of on her own for this long. Its out of her comfort zone yet in her comfort zone because its in the Black Hills. It a time for growth both physically and mentally. I don’t know if she’ll use her certification to earn money but I do think this will be something beneficial for her.

I’ve been sewing a lot. Figuring out a bodice or two that fits me that I can apply to different sewed outfits for me. I’m using Craftsy online classes as well as the books I’ve had forever and my own imagination to learn to sew better. I’m showing  my kids that education is self-directed. My hope is they learn that before they are adults and while they have very little responsibility. I’m re-learning as someone who’s had to dismiss how I’ve been taught. They have the advantage of never having to develop a fixed mindset-always being open to being able to learn.

Z and V have been playing even more together. When they fight I try to stay out of it for the most part and when I do they usually quickly resolve it. And when they fight its usually because they are hungry or tired. I do intervene more when Q is involved because he can’t stand up for himself as well being so young.

V has been exploring drawing and modeling clay more. She holds writing utensils different. I show her the “right” way and she tells me  she likes it the way she does it. She’s confident enough to tell me what is on  her mind.

They have been using water colors on the porch. They’ve been playing hide and seek and setting up their own pretend cafe. They’ve also been running outside after dark-exploring a new darkened world.

Fall is a good time to get artsy I guess. The vibrant colors and earthy smells and sound of crunchy fallen leaves- they must excite the senses and make a person want to create. To reflect and express yourself creatively.

 

September 13, 2014-Princess, I Adore You

It is V’s birtday. She is 5. I wrote this last year for my personal blog. V is very into princesses but I didn’t just write it for her. As my son grows he  shows a very caring heart and a gentleness with small living things. He also enjoys dressing up, getting his nails painted, and putting on makeup.  This is for all my children. Its not exactly an educational post but since our schooling is largely about relationships this post shows a part of our relationship philosophy:

 

Every once in awhile I will catch a post expressing disdain for  Princesses. Whole blogs saying how princesses are a bad influence. comments from parents who say things like , “my girl is very into princesses but its okay because she also likes building things and capturing bugs.”  I think most the posts and thoughts behind them send a bad message. Not allowing a child an interest in all things Princess is in essence telling your child that the feminine is lesser than the masculine. It’s like telling your child you love her but not that part of her. Or telling your child that it’s okay to dabble in girly things but only if they focus on the better more manly aspects of life.

Many times the hate on Princess is due to the hyper-sexualization of them and their influence on a kids body image and gender roles. I do feel its important to not put all a child’s worth on her looks or how feminine she is. I can see how, if the first thing you say to a girl revolves around her looks ( you look pretty in that dress, your hair is so cute) it can condition her to seek approval in just one area of herself. But I don’t think looks should be dismissed completely. I see nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel pretty. It’s perfectly natural, instinctual, and universal to most species of plant and animal. I see it as my responsibility to nurture my children as they are. Princess merchandise may send a negative body image and sexual message but as a parent I can be a stronger influence.

What I’m referring to is the hate of the femininity of princesses. Some objects, actions, and interests are more feminine and some more masculine. Sometimes things are considered more so because of shape- what looks more like a certain gender body part. Some things are more so based on a trait that is generally associated with a natural hormonal action such as the gentle caring of mother and her baby.  Some are cultural (and really variable) such as Men being doctors and Women being teachers- it wasn’t long ago that healers were often women and teachers or mentors in a trade were more often men. Princesses are feminine. Being a princess goes beyond looks. They are gentle and caring. They are diplomatic and listen calmly. They always present themselves properly with beauty and grace. Princesses are feminine and to dislike that your child likes princesses is like saying you are disgusted by the part of her(or him) that is feminine. A part of your child that is just that, a part of her. And to dislike the femininity in a person is basically saying that it is lesser than the masculine.

I don’t want to act as if a child, boy or girl, is lesser because she(or he) has has strong feminine leanings. Both genders should be allowed to follow their interests and curiosity without being shamed. Feminine and Masculine may be different without being in competition.  I don’t have issues with anyone having more of one trait than another. I feel that all the princess bashing is symptomatic of a society that has come to view the feminine has less than by elevating a woman  (or a man) only when she does something masculine. Or demeaning a man (or a women) when he does something feminine. Many parents are extra proud if their girl children can swing a hammer, climb a tree, catch bugs and snakes, play with trucks, compete in sports, and find careers of high position. All because these are seen as better. If their boy children show an interest in sparkly dress up,  caring for dolls or stuffies,  playing house, or if they enjoy domestic skills and personal grooming, then they are encouraged to grow out of it or labelled with a feminine word (pussy, prissy, girly, or something more crude). It doesn’t matter which gender people still treat femininity it as if its lesser.

My goal is to encourage my kids to follow themselves without assigning them roles that could trap them or make them feel less than. Sometimes it takes breaking my own programming and habits. Yes, being a role model does need some in depth self-reflection and work. With conscious effort, hopefully I can help them see the value in both feminine and masculine qualities. That its perfectly okay to be interested or tend toward one over the other or both. That sometimes in life they will need a little more of one or the other and much of the time they can find a balance.

Sept. 12, 2014

Okay, so maybe I can better manage once-a-week posts? But that’s typical of a life spent mostly at home, whether homeschooled or unschooled or public schooled. Life becomes routine in many areas and one forgets to take note of the little things that make it special. On top of my own personal issues with living in a place where I have to really work to be happy. And part of finding that happiness comes from being outside but its been chilly and I haven’t wanted summer warmth and sunshine to end so soon-technically its still summer.  And with my own struggles comes my failure to notice the good and quite frankly to be good. It is work sometimes for me to be kind and present and patient with my children. I’m not generally an unkind person but sometimes my children trigger the part of me that needs work and healing. But even in the gloominess there’s been sunshine and learning.

Princess Party time is upon us. My third child is very into princesses and so we’ve had princess parties for her last couple of birthdays. With parties comes DIY decorations and cakes. Z decided to make garland and she did. I only had to help her find some supplies and hang it.

A has been artistic and painting bookmark from recycled tags. She is also working on her prerequisites for her yoga course. We had to get her some clothes and stuff for it and I let her know how much the purchases just for her cost. I think its important the kids are aware how much money it takes for them. Although I didn’t require her to earn the money for this course-which I’ll get into another time-I thought it important to keep her updated about the cost of it.

Z and V have been playing more together lately-with the exception of today.

And while I’m sure we did more, that’s all I can remember in the moment.