Monthly Archives: June 2016

Learning to embrace our nontraditional lives

Standard

We have always been kind of nontraditional. My husband has worked many different shifts during our marriage and because we unschool, we have more freedom to arrange our routine around, so that the kids still get time with their Papa no matter how strange his current shift is. I seem to go through periods of time in which I embrace this, and then other times it is like I almost forget that we have always lived our lives a bit differently. I don’t know how that happens, how something I have lived for years just slips from my mind.

This year, my hubby has taken a new job and he works Saturday, Sunday, and Monday really long hours, but the rest of the week he is home. When most people ask what his schedule is like and they hear that, they seem to recoil in disgust. Ha. And I get that, for the average family that kids go to school (or even summer camp this time of year), that would mean they get to spend very little time with their kids. For us though, it works. We not only have more time with Papa around, but we have the weekdays during the school year when most places are close to empty, and more days to do family stuff. It has been working well for us.

We are night owls around here too. Going to bed is not always an easy thing to make myself do, even though I love sleep. Hubby is the same way. So we stay up late, and get up when either the baby or 3-year-old wakes up, which isn’t as much sleep as I might want, but it is just how my brain works right now.

Recently I have suffered from that whole things slipping from my mind syndrome. I don’t know what I make myself learn the same lessons over and over again. Some kind of self-torture is what that is. But it was as if I forgot that we live on our own schedule. We do not have to have dinner at 6, and kids asleep by 9. All of a sudden, I was stressed that things were not going by this typical societal schedule. That schedule just doesn’t fit us. We are a busy family, often out having fun and exploring new places, hiking, playing with friends, and any other adventures we can come up with. Because of our sleep schedules, and the fact that it is not fun to be stressed in the morning trying to get out the door in a hurry, we often don’t start our adventure until 1 or 2. Most of the time, the kids are not done after an hour or two. My kids tend to really dive into something and be super invested for a long time.

So when we walk in the door at 6 or 7 (or later even), then I was suddenly feeling stressed that dinner was not done yet and it is late, and we have to hurry hurry hurry. Hurry is just not a good word. It creates bad feelings. It tempts mom to yell, and kids to cry. I don’t like it, and I am purposely setting up our lives so we have to be in less of a hurry most of the time.  Then I just give up on making food and get the kids a quick snack, and I just stuff my face full of potato chips. That is fun the first few times but then it gets old quick.

Then, suddenly the other day, the lightbulb went off (again!). We do not have to eat dinner at 6 o’clock. Heck, I don’t have to cook dinner at all as long as everyone has food to eat, even if everyone grabs something a different. My kids are not in bed by 9. That is not our life and it really never has been. I am putting pressure on myself for not living up to an idea that does not fit our family and never has. I gave myself permission to cook dinner at 8:30 at night. My husband walked in the door at 9:15 and I was just finishing up. We all sat down at the table (we don’t always do that) and enjoyed our family meal, and then I did the dishes. It was so relaxing, so freeing.

I can’t have my foot in two separate lives at one time; not happily at least. I can’t have one foot planted in the traditional 9-5 American family on a school schedule side, and the other on the radical unschooling, untraditional schedule that honors our individual personalities side and feel peaceful at the same time. I don’t have to conform. It feels good to embrace that. Now next time, I have to learn this lesson I can go back and read this and hopefully remember it a little faster.

Advertisements

Unschooling doesn’t stop on Saturday

Standard

Once you realize that learning happens every day, and let go of the idea that it has to look like school, then you comprehend that unschooling doesn’t stop just because it is the weekend. There are not set days of the week that learning has to happen. We play and do our normal things that work for us every day.

Saturday we went to a program that I registered the kids for. It was Minecraft themed, and I just knew Hailey would love it. The first activity was making bow and arrows out of hangars. This was such a neat activity; one I never would have thought of. They spent a lot of time on that, and even more time with it a home.

13458694_10210120817476617_1724463799331256121_o

Then we inflated balloons with baking soda and vinegar. It was interesting experiment, but Hailey and myself talked about ways we could recreate it at home. Hopefully, sometime this week we are going to see if we can get the balloon so big that it pops.

13483177_10210120817116608_957640566040843930_o

They played with Lego’s and made some crafts. After the program, we walked around a bit looking at the nearby river and the fountains. We were starving, and had the rest of the day to kill, so I messaged some friends and made a plan to meet up at Chick-fil-a to eat and let the kids play. They play for a few hours and had a lot of fun.

Back at home, Elijah was watching TV and Hailey brought me a library comic book over and had me read some with her.

She then wanted to take a bath and see if she could float in the bath water with her life jacket like she did in the big pool.

Elijah found a book that had a picture of stamps. He asked me if I would help him make a letter. So he drew a picture for his Papa, I helped him get an envelope and stamp, and write the address down. Hailey wanted to join and wrote one for a friend.

They wanted a before bed snack, and asked if they could experiment making one. They ended up tearing pieces of bread, spreading them with peanut butter, and placing a chocolate chip on each one. A tasty treat for sure!

Since Papa had to work on Father’s day they elected to give him his presents when he got home from work. The kids worked on cards for their Papa and my Dad.

Sunday, we took it easy in the morning. While I was laying the baby down for a nap, Hailey took it upon herself to find a sturdy butter knife and cut up an entire watermelon. I was shocked, but she was so happy with herself. Even Elijah told sissy “I so proud of you”.

We then headed to see me Dad for a few minutes. They don’t get to spend much time with him, so they were happy to see him, even if only for a short while.

13495269_10210131907953872_5606079082635463006_n

Then we met up with my Mom to head to see their great grandparents for a bit. It was nice to visit and chat, and of course have ice cream sandwiches.

13466448_10210131909713916_6445718873580750468_n

Back at home we made homemade Chinese food and read some animal facts in a book we borrowed. We ended the day with some audiobooks and cuddles.

We had a really fun weekend filled with friends and family, and of course plenty of opportunities for learning.

 

Attachment Parenting to Unschooling

Standard

Even if we arrive at a similar place, everyone’s journey to get there can look very different. If you are reading this blog, whether you unschool, homeschool, or send your kids to school, I am assuming that you either already believe in gentle parenting and children’s innate desire to learn or you want to believe and learn more about it. So how did I get here? Check out my post over at Whole family learning.

I love her blog and her Facebook page, so go on over and check it out.

How did you get here? Please feel free to share your journey.

Unschooling this week.

Standard

Back again for another peek inside our lives. We have been out and about so much recently, I have not been able to keep up in documenting it for you. Here is what we have been up to.

Monday we took the morning very slow and relaxed. In the afternoon we headed to a library program with some friends. The listened to a story, made crafts, had snack, and played dress up.

13432421_10210056632752039_217089450482843933_n

We played outside for a bit before headed home.

Tuesday we went strawberry picking. This was a lot of fun.The farm was so beautiful.

13391666_10210025976505652_2419362526733846306_o

The place we were at was very family friendly and told the kids to feel free to snack while they picked. They all didn’t hesitate on that, especially the baby.

13411645_10210025974345598_2198381918008237824_o

Yummy! After that, we had a few errands to run and we stopped for some lunch as well. We headed home and relaxed for the rest of the night.

Wednesday started off by Hailey finding a workbook we bought a while back. She loves those and sat at the table for a bit with it that day, as well as almost every day that week. We met a bunch of friends at a park for a surprise party and playdate for a friend. We ate snacks, played all day, and had cake. Fun day all around.

13434934_10210056631832016_5217913854637704193_n

Thursday I had an eye doctor appointment. The kids walked over with Papa to get ice cream while I got checked out. Then we headed home in a hurry for an unexpected vehicle repair.We headed back out to our very last nature class that is taught by my friend. It was just us and her kids so we mostly just played. The kids made bird feeders.

Then we took a hike. A toad was found along the way and they took turns holding and petting it.

13422270_10210047781610766_4003144766073147401_o

The kids threw rocks in the pond and gathered the biggest ones they could find. Some of the grownups had a headstand contest.

13407027_10210047778810696_4908777536296708_n

Today was grocery store day. The kids have their own little bags of money that they wanted to bring so they could pick out something and pay for it with their own money. At the first store Hailey picked out a croissant with chocolate in it. Elijah picked a nitrate free beef stick. At the second store, Hailey and Elijah both went for a chocolate coin and a tiny little dollar container of ice cream. They both helped count out the money and hand it to the cashier. I loved their faces, beaming with excitement. Hailey was so thrilled that she had her own receipt.

Share your unschooling adventures in the comments!