Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yep that's me!

Melissa Wiley posted this quiz and I couldn't resist. It does describe me pretty well don't you think?

You Are An Exclamation Point

You Are An Exclamation Point

You are a bundle of... well, something.

You're often a bundle of joy, passion, or drama.

You're loud, brash, and outgoing. If you think it, you say it.

Definitely not the quiet type, you really don't keep a lot to yourself.

You're lively and inspiring. People love to be around your energy.

(But they do secretly worry that you'll spill their secrets without even realizing it.)

You excel in: Public speaking

You get along best with: the Dash

Friday, February 22, 2008

Unschooling what comes naturally

Unschooling is a controversial topics among homeschoolers. It think the reason for this is because unschooling is hard to define. I have never considered myself to be an unschooler, but... If unschooling means not going to a traditional school , then we are unschoolers. If unschooling means never requiring your child to do something academic then we are not unschoolers. If mean being entirely child led then we are not unschoolers. If unschooling means provided materials to inspire your children to explore a topic independently, then we have moments of unschooling in our home.

I have discovered that certain subject unschool more easily in our home. And I have noticed that other subjects come more easily to other families. In our family the subjects that are explored without effort are art, music, and literature. Art happens everyday in our house. Without much effort my girls have become familiar with famous artists and composers. (Thanks Little Einsteins!) The girls beg for one more chapter of reading at bedtime and yell, "turn on the book on cd!" every time we get in the car. They don't even consider any of this learning to be part of school.

The girls also get lots of unschooling moments with their dad. He often discusses science topics with them at dinner time. He was so excited to find out they we were going to be learning about geology that he spent a half an hour one evening explaining tectonic plates and the ring of fire. Last night he and Sierra stood by the world map discussing places around the world. One day he explained why the sky is blue. Something about light waves... And he does it all without preparation. Me, I need a book to help me explain most of these things.

So, I try not to get caught up in the unschooling debate. I watch out for and encourage unschooling moments, but I also plan and present topics that don't happen as naturally in our home. But on days like today when I am sick, I try not to feel guilty for not "doing school." When I observe the paintings made from soap water and food coloring (Art AND Science) and the scenes from various Magic Tree House books being acted out (Science and History), I realize that there are times for schooling and time for unschooling in every homeschool.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh, and of course

to conclude our Geology unit, we made a volcano that erupted!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rocks and Minerals and more, oh my!

We have spent the last week or so learning about Geology. Here are some books and acitvites we enjoyed:

The Earth
The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
Planet Earth Inside Out
I Fall Down
Continents by Fradin
Our Earth by Rockwell
The Earth by Nicholson
*made edible earths from Geology Crafts fro Kids

Rocks and Minerals
It could Still Be a Rock
Rock Collecting by Gans (also called Let's Go Rock Collecting)
The Super Science of Rocks and Soils
* used kit 7 from Young Scientist Series - minerals
*did gummy bear experiments from Adventures with Rocks and Minerals ( only the igneous rocks turned out...)
*used kit 8 from Young Scientist Series - crystals
*used kit 9 - Fossils

How Mountains are Made
Mountains by Owen
Mountains and Volcanoes by Taylor
Volcanoes by Clarke
Hill of Fire
Magic School Bus Blows its Top

Earthquakes by Collier
We Shake in a Quake

We also watched the Magic School Bus videos - "Blows Its Top" and "Rocks and Rolls"

I planned this topic and got the books from the library, but this topic has lead to some interesting independent fun and learning for the girls. The other day they decided to make their own dinosaur digs. We were using plaster of paris with the fossils kit from Young Scientists and they remembered the Dinosaur dig we had bought last year. They came up with the idea of burying toy dinosaurs in some plaster and letting it dry. Today they dug up their dinosaurs and then came up with the idea of making their own Natural History Museum. As I am typing they are setting up displays of fossils, moon rocks and minerals and more. They are planning to give me a tour of it all when they are done. I had hope to get to math today, but I think we may have to skip it in favor of this grand project.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Book Review: Chasing Vermeer

Our most recent book on Cd for the car was Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It is a mystery involving art. The main character are two 11 year olds - a boy and a girl. They become involved in solving a mystery of a stolen Vermeer painting. The boy is very into pentominoes and uses them to help solve the mystery.

Not only was the book really good, it lead us to some fun learning. We got on the internet and looked at Vermeer's paintings. then I got out the pentominoes that I bought last year and have been ignored and left them laying out in the living room during the few weeks we spent listening to the book. It took until the end of the book for the girls to become interested in them (It almost killed me to have the "clutter" laying about for that long, but I endured). It was so fun to watch them get excited about making rectangles with the pieces. They spent a large portion of an afternoon playing with them and even discovered that most of the pieces in the Blokus game are shaped like pentominoes. I can't wait for Balliets next book. The main characters return and the plot involves Fibronaccii's number...

While I would not consider us "unschoolers", I love these unschooling moments where the learning just seems to happen. The are several subjects that seem to unschool easier in our home, but that is the subject of another post.

Note: For those with sensitive children. I will mention that there is reference to a murder and the bad guy dies at the end of a heartattack.