unschooling –

I’ve been thinking a lot more about unschooling lately (well ever since my 9yo decorated an entire page of Singapore with the phrase “I want to be unschooled.” Yeah, she’s a funny one..

I have both publicly and privately stated that I’m an unschooler at heart – I like it. It feels comfortable, but it scares the hell out of me too. But the fact is, we really don’t use curriculum – the girls do 15 mins or so of Time4Learning every day, they practice piano for 15 minutes, and they were doing a lesson or two of math every day (although we are on a break from math) – and that was it. The rest of the day is filled with playing, activities, classes, fieldtrips, videogames, etc. So we aren’t that far off from unschooling, right?


I think I was wrong. I now think that I never understood unschooling – well wait, I take that back, I understood it at face level, but I am now thinking I never really got it.

Anyway, I have updated this blogs through other crisis-of-faith revelations and thoughts, and I just wanted to let you know what was going on here…and maybe someday, when I have the time, I’ll write a real post about what’s in my head. I’m still not sure that unschooling is for us, but some of what’s in my head, and some of what I want for my kids has been certainly interesting to ponder.


Crystal Garden

As part of Quinn’s Scientist requirements (one of the few things he has left to complete before he can cross-over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts), he needed to grow a “crystal garden.”

Crystal Garden 1

I was really surprised to see the quick results, since Jason and the boys set up the tray just yesterday.

Crystal Garden 2

This method is far faster than typical salt and sugar crystal experiments we’ve done before.

Crystal Garden 3

I’ll post final results when we have them…I’m guessing if there was this much growth overnight, we’re going to be astounded by the ultimate results!



Originally uploaded by deannajo

Meredith decided that once she turned seven she would read chapter books. Doesn’t matter that she was only on lesson 80 of 100EZ lessons and that she was still sounding out words letter-by-letter. Once she turned 7 in late Sept, that meant chapter books. By Dec she was frustrated that it didn’t just happen, so she took it upon herself to make it happen. She checked out chapter books from the library and started diligently working her way through them – page-by-page. No wait, lets make that letter-by-letter. The first weeks she would work for an hour or longer on one page, often times guessing at words. Within a few weeks she was able to read several pages a night and found she was guessing less and less. Now here we are in early Jan, and my girl has completed three chapter books, and read enough of them to tell me the plot and several funny parts of each book.

We resumed school this week – we haven’t done school in probably a month or longer due to holidays and illnesses, etc. So the girls logged onto time4learning.com to do their language arts work – Meredith is a second grader, but because she was still learning to read, she was working through the first grade language arts program – she was near the end of it though. Now we’ve returned to time4learning after our long break, and after Meredith mastered the chapter book. And guess what, her stuff is too easy for her. And guess what else, the second grade stuff is too easy for her. That’s right – in appx one month, she jumped from the end of first grade in time4learning all the way up to third grade and she did this on her own, with no assistance from me (I helped with a word here or there, but that’s it!).

This girl is amazing with her motivation to succeed. She set a goal for herself, and worked so hard at it. Even though one night she was so frustrated with what she perceived to be slow progress, she was in tears. The next night, without a word, she picked up that book and was right back at it.

This picture was taken earlier today at a Roots and Shoots meeting – they were making valentine’s day cards, and Meredith was looking at the whiteboard to see how to spell “Valentine’s” – look at that intent look on her face 🙂

goin’ to the library

goin’ to the library

Originally uploaded by deannajo

so as a bit of a background, I’m trying to teach myself photoshop. A month or so ago, I requested some books from the library’s website. In my jammies. At midnight. From the comfort of my own home. Since then, every so often I get an email that one of my books have come in. So while running about with my 13 children, I may have five minutes to run by and pick up my books – do I haul all the kids in and out of the library in the cold? No I do not. Because the library by my house has a drive thru window. You drive up, present your card, and they get the books that you put on hold. My library is the best in the whole wide world. Its awesome for homeschooling (especially slacker schooling) – I can go online and request all the books I need for a unit, and in a few days they will be ready to go, and I can just drive through and pick them up. The kids request books this way too.

*disclaimer – we do go in and hang out in the library too….just sometimes we don’t have the time, and this is such a nice option!

A Cook in the Making?

Last night, Quinn took this book to bed with him.
Quinn's light and fluffy pancakes
He woke up determined to make pancakes for breakfast (even though he is, without fail, the last person up).
Quinn's light and fluffy pancakes
I’m not a big fan of big-production breakfasts, but he learned a lot doing this. Hopefully it won’t be long before I have to have zero involvement (I already made him do all the dishes, lol).
Quinn's light and fluffy pancakes
They were a big hit–enjoyed by all (except mom, who is determined to go no-carb until she gets the holiday weight off).
Quinn's light and fluffy pancakes

New Year’s resolutions

Okay, Deanna. NOW I am ready to talk resolutions. I have three. I guess. Maybe it’s 12. Anyway.

1. I am not going to eat out all year. This is a big and daunting resolution, but I am designing a challenge to make it fun. That can be found here: A Year Without Eating Out.

2. To stop waffling about educational stuff and just enjoy homeschooling my kids. I am embracing a very child-led approach for the new year. It will not be completely unschooling, but very close. My plan is that they have to do math, piano practice, and a bit of assigned reading each day. Then, the day is theirs with the caveat that there is no computer or tv time until after 3 pm.

3. To resurrect this blog, since my participation in it fell to the wayside as I went through every educational crisis known to womankind this spring, summer, and fall. I’m over it. Blogging about the daily fun we have and what we DO accomplish is motivating. So, I’m going to do it.

4. (See, not three) I’m going to Bali! I need to raise/earn/save the money to go, but I’m going to make it happen.

New Year’s resolutions

Yeah, I know its only Oct – I’m just preparing for things – this is in no way an official list, but here’s what I have so far:

1. Drink more. I’ve really been slacking off in regards to my alcohol consumption over the past several years.

2. Have more sex. Its fun. I should do it more often. No more excuses. I’m not pregnant, I’m not nursing.

3. Put myself in more pictures. Preferably not having sex or drunk – but its an option I guess.

Last year my resolution was to wear more make-up – its the first time in my life I’ve really kept a resolution. I think I’m on a roll!

Ok, I know you were expecting something more…um, self-helpy? Perhaps something related to my slackidasical method of homeschooling? Given the purpose of this blog and all. Maybe something about balance, since I drone on and on regarding the lack of that in my life? Maybe lose weight, exercise. blah blah blah. Nope, I want to set resolutions that are attainable. And fun. And don’t make me feel like crap come Jan 15th (unless I’m hungover, because that means I’m DOING IT!)