Category Archives: nature

Unschooling Today 3/21/2017

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The baby woke up super early this morning, so I spent most of the early morning hours cuddling him. He went back to sleep for a late morning nap, and Elijah woke up. By the time I got up from the baby, it was more like brunch time. I was in the mood to make something special for the kids and decided on pancakes. I mixed them up while the kids played on the tablets together. Elijah then got upset that I didn’t invite him to help make pancakes (oops!), so I asked him to help me flip the pancakes. He was happy to have a job and we got to it! We all enjoyed them!

Hailey started spouting off dinosaur facts. I didn’t know most of them. I never knew there was a dinosaur that swallowed stones to aid in digestion. So strange. After telling me a couple dozen random facts, she showed me where she had learned them on her tablet.

The kids got busy playing and I got some housework done. Hailey brought to me a little project she had been working on with some twisty ties.

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She loves these things. She grabs a bunch at the store and makes shapes and letters with them all the time.

I made some late lunch. Grandma stopped by with a treat for the kids and a quick chat. Grandma is always a big deal around here.

The weather was so nice, I definitely wanted to get outside. I asked the kids if they would like to go for a walk. Hailey came up with a great idea. She wanted to make a list of things to look for on our walk. She said it was like a scavenger hunt. She had me help her spell some words as she wrote them down.

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We set off with our lists and bags to collect the items. We walked around spotting interesting items, and marking off our lists for about an hour. It felt good to be outside. So happy spring is here.

Back at home, Winter laid down for a quick nap while I got dinner on. Elijah played the Wii, and Hailey played in her room. Papa got home and played with the kids. My brother came by for a few minutes and we all chatted with him.

After eating, Papa read books with the kids while I did some yoga and Pilates. I have been trying to exercise more regularly. The kids are watching a show now as we all wind down for the night.

Feel free to share about your day in the comments.

Honesty and forgiveness and childism

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Today we took the kids to a local nature play area and hiking trail. They played in the play area for about an hour, building their house of sticks, and enjoying some fresh air. After we were all played out, we headed to the trail for an easy, kid friendly hike.

Hiking with kids is always an interesting adventure. Sometimes they are really into it. They immediately start noticing their surroundings, pointing out animals or unique plants, asking questions, or running ahead to play. Other times, they start complaining about the walk only a short while into it. Today, it was a mix of both. Elijah (4 years old) got his feelings hurt pretty early on, and he wasn’t easily cheering up. He asked me to hold him. Winter (17 months) was happily toddling along, so it was easy for me to pick up Elijah. When it was clear he needed some extra cuddles after a few minutes, I told him I needed to put him in the carrier on my back. He liked that and all was good.

We stopped for a short rest break. Elijah was still on my back while I sat down. Hailey (6.5) was sitting close to me, Winter was playing behind in the dirt, and my husband was checking something on my new boots. All of a sudden Hailey was screaming crying. It all happened very fast, but I heard a rock swish by and quickly realized that someone had thrown a rock and it had hit Hailey in the eye. She was almost inconsolably (understandably). All of attention was focused on her until she was calmer. Then I asked what happened. She didn’t know. I asked if Elijah threw the rock and he said no. I felt bad that the baby had grabbed the rock and tossed it without me noticing. He can be pretty rough in his curious toddler way. He is definitely in a throwing phase. I had been watching him, but my attention had turned to my then bare feet as hubby looked at my boot.

Winter was completely oblivious to all of it, as he sat digging up dirt. There was not much to do at that point. Prevention is really the key with that age, and the time for that had passed so I sat and comforted Hailey. All this happened in about 5 minutes. All of a sudden Elijah tapped me on the shoulder. He said “Mommy, actually I threw the rock.” I was surprised at his confession, seemingly out of nowhere. I asked him why he threw the rock. He tried to explain where he meant to throw it, and he didn’t mean to hit his sister. I don’t know if he really meant to throw it somewhere else, or if he didn’t think through how it would feel to be hit with a rock, or maybe he thought he couldn’t reach her and he wanted her attention. His face was full of worry for his sister. I pointed out her bruise beneath her eye, and explained that this is what happens when rocks hit people It is very dangerous and not a game. I said if he wanted to throw rocks, I could help him find a place to throw them away from people. He told Hailey how sorry he was (not coerced from me).

Hailey seemed to calm down more, knowing what had happened. We decided it would be best to head back. After a few thoughtful moments, Hailey stopped and said “Elijah, I am really proud of you for telling the truth about throwing the rock.” I was proud of that too, because admitting mistakes is not easy, even for adults.

On the way out of the trail, a woman passing by asked Hailey why she wasn’t walking and having me carry her (why is this her business?). Hailey said “My brother accidentally hit me with a rock so I was sad and Mommy is holding me.” The woman rolled her eyes and said “Oh yeah an accident, I’m sure”. That really rubbed me the wrong way. Here was this interaction that she had no idea about, but yet she was assuming such negative intent, even given the information that it was not intentional. I can’t imagine a stranger having the same reaction if I was limping and she had asked what happened and I said “My husband accidentally bumped into me on the trail and I fell”. I really do not understand why someones mind goes to the worst possible scenario with these little people. And really, even if it had been on purpose, she had no insight to what occurred. This was probably a situation that was best for others to stay out of.

Overall, I think some important things came out of a hurtful accident. I am really proud of how both my kids handled themselves. I am most proud of the empathy they are both learning.

 

Unschooling Today 11/1/16

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The day after Halloween! I was a little nervous on how moods would be today from staying up later than usual, and basically replacing dinner with candy :P. We took it very slow and easy this mornings and early afternoon. We hung around, snacked on candy, and watched a new show on Netflix that Hailey discovered last night. We talked a bit about what shooting stars actually are. I picked up the house a bit, and got dinner marinating.

Grandma stopped by to say hello, which always makes everyone smile. We each visited with her for a few minutes. The baby took a nap and then we all got dressed. Today was a beautiful day, and I wanted to get out and get some fresh air. I don’t know how many more days we will have that are warm and sunny, so we should soak it up!

The kids immediately started playing a game together. They were birds and needed to build a nest. They collected rocks, sticks, and leaves. They played like this for well over an hour. Winter wondered around, sometimes following them; other times investigating sticks and random objects he could find.

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Hailey told me she named each one of the rocks based on what it looked like. This one was named Moon Rock because she said it resembled the surface of the moon.

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She also was grouping her rocks. Here she had them grouped into sets of three. When I commented that she grouped them she answered “Yep, right now I have nine”. Real world math and multiplication there.

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After playing for a while longer, we took a short walk and I finally caught my first Charmander on Pokemon-go!. We were getting hungry so we headed home. I cooked us up the dinner I had started earlier while Elijah played a computer game and Hailey watched her new show.

I just finished playing a game with the boys, who can be very rough and tumble and I am a little sore. Elijah was an alligator and Winter was determined to tackle everything. I got them settled down eventually with books for Elijah and nummies (our word for breastfeeding) for Winter.

Please feel free to share your day in the comments!

 

Unschooling today 10/22/16

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Today we got out the door a bit smoother than usual. I think that was because Hailey woke up much earlier than usual. She said her dream woke her up. I had made a pot of oatmeal at Elijah’s request, so we all ate and headed out the door.

We went to a super neat event. It was called Human2fest. It focused on meditation, mindfulness, yoga, art, wellness, and holistic care in general. This is right up my alley! We mostly hung out in the kid’s area. The kids made some art pieces. Elijah worked on painting the outline of his hand, for a project the art coordinator is going to make. It will be a collaboration of all the kids hands who made one.

They had a kid’s yoga class. This was so much fun. Hailey loves yoga and often watches yoga YouTube videos. The teacher of the class was laid back, gentle, silly, and patient. Some parts I even did right with them. They did yoga, a yoga story, all crawled through a downward dog tunnel, and said positive affirmations about themselves.

 

We walked around and checked out the booths. Hailey asked to have a sample at the Indian Food truck. This is a big girl for my girl. She has always had trouble trying new things, and has been intimidated by foods that do not look just right. But she really enjoyed her sample so we bought a plate for her and Elijah to share. They played at the playground area for a few and then we headed out.

We let the baby nap in the car on the way to meet up with a group to do a pumpkin themed activity. We read a pumpkin story, had a snack, and then took a short walk to find little pumpkins hid throughout the trail.

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On the way out of the trail, Papa and Elijah threw some leaves off the bridge into the river and watched them float down the stream.

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We then headed home. The kids took a bath. We might do a movie night before bed.

 

What did you do today?

Our unschooling day 10/12/16

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Trying to keep up the momentum of write all the things so here is what our today looked like. We took it slow and easy this morning. When we were ready we got dressed and headed out the door. Papa needed some quiet time at the house to study for a test he needs to take for a technical certificate, so I made plans to meet up with friends at a park with the kids.

The kids played for hours. The park is one of our favorites and they all had a great time. They played with fresh walnuts that were fallen (and some fell right before our eyes and luckily didn’t hit anyone). Elijah and his best friend pretended to cook with them and have a restaurant. They also used them as balls, and rolled them down the slide. His hands are now walnut stained color despite washing them a few times.

The kids played in the creek a bit. They all enjoyed wading in the water, but got more wet than we had originally planned for.

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Hailey said they found a frog or two. Her best friend caught a little fish in a bucket. We all took a look and she let it go.

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Winter and his best baby friend threw rocks into the creek.

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We all bring snacks and share them so there is always that. Lots of the normal park type play as well. After about 3.5 hours we headed home to change wet shoes and clothes, have another quick snack, pick up Papa, and run out to the store to grab some things on sale.

Back at home was dinner. Then the kids took a long bath and played in the bath water. We read books before Elijah went to bed, and Hailey is still up hanging with me. That about sums up our day. Feel free to share about your day in the comments!

Our Unschooling day 10/11/16

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This morning we woke up and decided we wanted to make pumpkin waffles. I love that our relaxed schedule means that we can have a more elaborate breakfast when we feel like it. After breakfast, we all got dressed and ready and headed out to enjoy the beautiful day. We decided to head somewhere we could go hiking and the kids could play at the nature play area they love.

The kids set right to work finishing a house made of sticks and getting involved in an imaginary game they created. They played for about 40 minutes. Elijah built a large “stove” out of logs.

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Papa was busy playing too. He used a big stick as a lever to raise a log back onto two other logs that used to hold it. Then he built a little obstacle course.

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The last leg of the course was a bit shaky. Hailey took it upon herself to see if she could figure out a way to make it more stable.

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After some trial and error, her and Papa figured out a way together to get it the way they wanted and we took turns trying it out. Winter was having fun too. He noticed a tree had a large hole and was sticking things into it to see what would happen.

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After the play we went for our hike. The kids ran ahead and played as Pokemon characters for most of the hike.

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We stopped to take a snack break at our favorite area of the hike. This area is known as the Osage Orange tunnel and it is so neat looking.

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The hike was finished soon after and we headed home to finish the dinner that I had started earlier before we left. Hailey tagged along with me to our local Le Leche League meeting.

We came home and Elijah and I played superheroes for a few minutes. Of course he was the superhero and I was the bad guy who he had to “defeat up” (that is what he says instead of beat up). He picked out the book “Green Eggs and Ham” for me to read before going to sleep. Hailey is relaxing with a show in her room before the rest of us will head to bed.

How was your day? Feel free to share in the comments.

Hey, it’s been a while!

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Hey all! It has been a while. I mentioned on my Facebook page a while back that I would not be writing as much for a few months because my Mom was having some major heart surgery and I was going to be helping her with recovery. For all who asked, she is recovering well and I have more time opening up again.

So what have we been up to? We had some weeks in and out of the hospital. Then weeks of running back and forth from our house to my Mom’s house. Much of our down time has been spent relaxing because we needed it. But this past week, we have been back in the swing of things.

We celebrated the baby’s birthday. He was affectionately known as Pumpkin in utero so we had to do a pumpkin picture for his birthday.

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We’ve played with friends at the park. Had a bonfire with friends, and handled some appointments.

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Today, we went to our favorite farm for a “spooky” scavenger hunt program. We had a bunch of fun hunting down the clues, and playing games.

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We also got to make Papa a mummy! I was supposed to be the mummy, but we voted and Papa got picked to be the mummy 3 to 1. Ha!

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We also found this cool little creature.

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Back at home Elijah wanted to make “Easter eggs”, which means he wanted to dye hard-boiled eggs like we do at Easter. I have no idea what made him think of it, but I said yes, and searched for the last remaining bits of food die and the last few hard-boiled eggs we had in the fridge. He mixed and dyed and was so happy with his results. He was super proud of doing it himself.

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Hailey has been playing around with rhetorical questions and sarcasm. She has asked a bunch of questions about those two concepts and has been trying it out for herself.

She also lost a tooth!

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Also, I have a very newly started reviewing blog and Facebook page. I will be posting reviews of products, books, toys, clothes, local restaurants and events, and natural products. So if that kind of thing is for you than check that out and give me a like to help me build up my following.

Tomorrow we are surprising the kids by taking them to an amusement park for a Halloween event. The crazy, fun, busy season is starting around here. How are you enjoying Autumn so far? Please feel free to share your days in the comments.

Our Unschooling day 8/19/2016

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Today I had to get the kids up a bit earlier than usual because we had a chiropractic appointment. It was a bit of a rush to get out the door, and we were still 15 minutes late. We walked in, the kids didn’t have shoes on (they were with us but I couldn’t get them to put them on quickly and we were already so late), the baby has a crooked onsie snapped on by one button, and I was clutching the now lukewarm coffee I had not finished. At least we made it! You have to laugh at yourself to get through this life. Appointment went well as usual.

It was a really nice day out, and we had not been hiking much this past month due to the heat. We decided to head to a nearby metropark to play and hike. The kids played for a few minutes with the logs. Winter thought this was super cool.

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Elijah and Hailey pretended they had an office, with a kitchen I believe is what I was told.

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Hailey found a slug. We looked at it but didn’t touch it. She remembered how difficult getting slug slime off was from the last time she found a slug.

 

Elijah found a walnut in the shell and noticed that the smell was quite interesting. He asked me to smell too. Before today, I do not think I have ever smelled one. Smelled kind of pine like.

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We headed off to hike. The sun came out and we were not under shade for a few minutes, so it started to feel like a mistake, and the kids were not happy. We persevered though, made it to the shade and everyone was better. We came upon a creek. The kids played in the water a bit, pretending rocks were fish. When they were finished playing we had a snack. Hailey asked Papa questions about rocks, and Papa was more than happy to talk about rocks, the earths makeup, the age of rocks, etc. We kept on hiking. The kids pretended to be Pokemon while we finished hiking. We stopped for drinks of water, and the kids played in the water a bit. Winter loves the water so much. He laughed at the sight of the water fountain.

After we were loaded up in the car we headed to a store to get a few things I noticed were on sale. We drove home, making sure to hit some Pokestops. At home, Elijah helped me make dinner and asked if we could make banana bread with the super ripe bananas on our shelf. So after dinner, he helped me bake that.

Papa downloaded a flight simulator and played with the kids for a few minutes. We read our new library books and got in Pj’s.

That was on unschooling day! Feel free to share about yours in the comments.

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Choosing connection instead of control

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Today we were going to meet with some friends at a nature play area and creek. Hailey (6) was not really wanting to go our of the house but agreed. She brought her tablet along to keep herself entertained doing.

At first I looked at her sitting to the side of everyone playing and thought “she is really missing out.” I wondered if I should tell her to put her tablet down and play at the nature park with her friends. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted, but I held my tongue. I stepped back and seen that she did not feel like she was missing out on anything, and she was happy.

It didn’t stop there though because we walked down to the creek and everyone was looking for crawdad’s. I knew she would love it but she didn’t want to go in the water unless she could bring her tablet, which obviously not a good idea, so she chose to sit to the side and keep playing on it. The voices in my head crept up again. “She would love this, if I just told her she had to put it down, she might be frustrated at first but would probably have a good time.” Once again, I stopped myself. She was choosing what she would enjoy most at that moment from the options she had. She didn’t even feel like going out today, but got ready without hesitation because she understood that everyone else wanted to go.

It started to rain a little, but everyone in the creek didn’t mind. I told her that tablet might get wet, and this might be a good time to put it somewhere safe. This time the words were not coming from a place of control, but a place of love. Kids can usually tell your heart; they know the true intentions behind your words more often than not. She understood that there was a legitimate reason for my suggestion and she agreed. She put the tablet away and played in the creek. She used the net to help catch some crawdads to show the littler kids. She had fun.

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She was able to enjoy herself the entire time. I was able to stop myself from making choices that were about control instead of connection. Everyone had a good time and all were respected for their choices.

 

Unschooling this week.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!