Category Archives: Yes

Unschooling today and yummy snacks

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Some public schools near me started back today. That is almost hard to believe. It is so early! It is summer! I continue to be glad for the choices we’ve made to keep the kids home. 

This morning started out with an oatmeal bar. I got the idea from Our Muddy Boots Facebook page. If you don’t follow her already, head straight over and check her out! The kids made their bowls of oats with their add-ins of choice. 

After breakfast, Hailey picked up a workbook we have laying around. She found these at the store a couple of years ago, and works in them when she wants. I call them activity books. She’s really enjoying practicing her spelling lately, so that’s mostly what pages she chose to do. 

The majority of the rest of day, the kids spent in the computers together. They u watched some shows, played starfall, then some PBS kids games. I’d bring snacks and check in. They’d show me their computer creations, and songs they made. The toddler was running around doing toddler things like building blocks and making messes. 

On the way to taking Hailey to her martial arts class, I mentioned I was stopping at the store while she was gone. She asked me to pick her up a couple of things because she had an idea of a treat to make. 

I grabbed the groceries, and then picked her back up. I made dinner, while the kids played and chatted about their plans. Immediately after dinner, Hailey set to work on her recipe idea. She wanted to create a bar with marshmallows, peanut butter, pretzels, and chocolate chips. 

She had me help her with the peanut butter and breaking the pretzels, but she did everything else herself. The recipe was completely made up by her. 

We baked it. It was hard to wait for it to cool. 

Hailey was disappointed that they weren’t as sweet like a dessert, more like a granola bar. She decided on less peanut butter and more marshmallows next time. 

Elijah had fun making some creations with the extra supplies. 

That was our day. Please feel free to share about your day in the comments. 

Eat the candy!

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We didn’t control the amount of candy that the kids ate this year. We put it all in a big bowl and the bowl sits in our living room, on top of the TV stand (out of the baby’s reach because he would eat the paper, stick pieces down the vent, and feed chocolate to the dogs!). The only thing I asked was please only take a few pieces at a time into another room (so candy didn’t get left out for the baby to find- see above), and let’s please try to throw our wrappers away. I also put a small trash bag next to the bowl and there is one in almost every room for convenience.

The first night was the big pig out. We all ate what we wanted, but honestly looking at the trash gathered, it was not as much as I thought it would be. The next few days, the kids would eat a handful or two at a time and then none for a few hours. The parents would eat a piece or two when they wanted. It slowly decreased. There was no pressure here, no guilt thrown their way. I didn’t hope that they would stop eating it, or give any looks whenever they grabbed another piece. At one time, Hailey mentioned her tummy not feeling so hot and I suggested ‘Hmmm…. I noticed you haven’t eaten much yet today, but some candy, maybe your tummy needs something more filling”, and offered to make her a snack. No pressure or shame attached.

There was much discussion of Facebook about parentings taking a set amount of their kids candy to eat for themselves. I will be honest and say that both Papa and myself joked about it with the kids, and with friends while we were trick or treating. The kids laughed right along with us though. I never realized that there was this a prevailing attitude of control surrounding how much candy the parents got to eat. I did not have to force my kids to share with me. They were happy to share their loot with us. As a matter of fact, the day after Halloween, Hailey set up a pretend tea party and picked out a few of my favorite pieces for me as the dessert. Abundance creates generosity. At this point, after everyone has had their favorites, some candy was tried and found to not be liked, and they have offered some to anyone who has come over, there is not much left.

This is not just for Halloween though. We live like this all year. The kids are excited about candy because it tastes good, but they are not desperate for it. There is no internal struggle for them to eat as much candy as they can before I take it away, so they stuff themselves to full to eat anything else. We try to create an atmosphere where food is food, and everyone has a say in what they eat in when all the time. Food is not good or bad, and there is no set things they must eat each day. They are always allowed to ask for what they want and I try to make it happen. The kids are still snacking out their favorite foods as well. I have sliced lots of apples, and peeled plenty of oranges. I have made chicken, eggs, and oatmeal.

If you read my post months ago on food freedom, you know that I have held some very strong beliefs about food in the past. I have struggled with over controlling myself and others. I have let food induce many negative feelings in myself and let it stress me out to a unhealthy point honestly. Yet, I have felt so little stress this Halloween, and it has shown me how far I have come on my journey. It feels good to choose joy, to choose peace.

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.

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.

 

Supporting their interests

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I try to always support my children’s interests. Whatever they are currently passionate about becomes important to me because it is important to them. It could be a hobby, television show, game, or many other things. Sometimes, it is a challenge for me to really get into it, but I do think it is worthwhile, especially if it feels like something that is going to be a part of their lives for a while.

Hailey is very imaginative and loves pretend play. When she was a toddler, she would get ideas from tv shows. It really meant a lot to her when I would watch the shows with her and learn the names of the characters and their traits. She would love for me to tell her made up stories using the characters and throw in real things they might do. I couldn’t fake it, I had to actually watch and learn. This was no small thing to her though. She went from show to show asking me to play with her in this way for about two years. I tried to find good things about whatever program it was, although some were harder than others. Some I really did not like, so I just played along until it passed.

Unschooling flourishes when interests are supported. Part of unschooling is trying to find ways to explore the interest, sometimes expand on it. When Hailey went through a Phineas and Ferb stage it was a lot of fun for everyone. We all enjoyed the show. Hailey talked about inventions she would make and acted out each character. I bought her a Perry stuffy for Christmas. She was also going through a joke telling phase, so I purchased a small Phineas and Ferb joke book to tie the two interests together. Even small things matter, I found some Phineas and Ferb napkins as a thrift store and brought them home. That was a big deal to her.

Hailey loves to make art. I am the opposite of artistic. I try to always have supplies on hand and I try to always find events she can go to that focus on art. She recently turned her into a local art show and was thrilled to see it on display.

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Her two pieces on display

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She also loves Pokemon. You can’t really be around her for long without expecting to hear about it. We bought a pokemon handbook with all the details on the pokemon, we have pokemon stuffed animals and figures, pokemon cards are received for presents. It is a big part of our life.

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Combining her love for art and Pokemon

Whether it is Pokemon cards, tv shows, helping Hailey record her videos for YouTube, playing superheroes, finding a book about bugs, or buying art supplies, I truly encourage you to explore and support their interest. Not only do they learn so much that way, but it can truly be fun and they appreciate it so much.

 

Food Experiments

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My daughter has taken a sudden interest in creating “recipes”. This shouldn’t surprise me I guess, since she likes to create in general. She has found much joy in mixing together different flavors of applesauce, fruit pouches, and yogurt.

My initial reaction did go to food waste and mess. But truth be told, she has eaten most of what she has made and even helped clean up the mess without hesitation. The first time I walked into the kitchen and she explained that she wanted to pour milk into a popsicle holder and freeze it to make a “milk pop”, I almost shut it down and told her how flavorless that would be. I am glad that I caught myself and instead of letting that slip I forced a smile and said “That sounds like an interesting food experiment.” I really love fostering her since of creativity and curiosity. I try to just think of the temporary extra cost as homeschool supplies, after all learning is in all the things.

Also a huge bonus is that she has tried some new things, which is actually a big achievement for the kid who has trouble with anything new or different.

Oh and if you are wondering how the “milk pop” turned out, she offered it to her little brother who did not seem to think it was gross or flavorless at all. She had an ear to ear smile as she told me that someone liking her experiment made her “kind of like a chef”.

Saying Yes

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I believe in saying “yes” as often as possible. In reality that does not always feel easy. Look at this picture for example. Here my two oldest wanted to wash dishes together. A no would have been an easy thing to say. I thought of lots of reasons to say no, but when I really considered the reasons why, none of them were good enough.

“No, it would be too messy and water will get everywhere.” It did. Water was all over the place. It was pretty easy to clean up. And I showed my daughter how to point the sprayer downward and she really tried to keep it in the sink.

“No, you can’t waste the dish soap.” To them it was not a waste at all. Besides, what is a $2 bottle of dish soap compared to the fun they were having?

So, I said yes. And my daughter said “I wanted to wash dishes for you. I know you love clean dishes. You can take the day off.” Such a sweet thought. Saying yes allowed her to show me her love for me. Saying yes gave her an opportunity to take enjoyment in a typically mundane chore. Saying yes facilitated a feeling of accomplishment and pride in their work and ability to contribute to the household.

It was worth the mess. It was worth the “wasted” soap. It was worth the less than clean dishes that will have to be washed again. It was just worth