Thursday, April 3, 2014

Learning Log for March 2014

After many stressful months trying to follow a curriculum and doing school everyday with my 3 oldest kids, my husband and I decided to go back to unschooling. School was getting in the way of just living life. I got tired of arguing and fighting with my kids for them "to do school" everyday. I got tired of stressing if my kids were following along everybody else's kids or curriculum. My kids learn everyday and challenge themselves constantly by learning new things and doing hands-on projects. They seek to learn whatever they need for the daily life. Why do I have to worry so much? I find that I can be a very controlling person when I am fear ridden. So I am letting go, and letting God. WOW! That may be the theme for the year. Ha!

March was a month devoted for cleaning and de-cluttering house and catching up on play and creative projects. We'll see what April has in store.

Read aloud Books

* Bible - every night before bedtime.
* The World of Pooh by A. A. Milne - I checked this book out at our library. After reading the first 3 chapters, I found the audiobook on YouTube so we finished it by listening to the dramatization of it. Love YouTube!
* Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan - I am going to try to read all the books of this series. I love MacLachlan's books, they are always family centered. Even if someone died or is divorced, still the family is together going thru the ordeals. I prefer these much better than those books where children have no parents, no authority figure that loves and cares for them and they are all alone in the world going through all sorts of adventures.
* Dr Seuss Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
* Happy Birthday to You! by Dr Seuss
* Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr Seuss
* I'd Know You Anywhere, my Love by Nancy Tillman
* Goops and How to Be them by Gelett Burgess
* First Number Book by KingFisher
* Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg by Lori Mortensen
* If I Ran the Circus by Dr Seuss

Audio Books

* My kids, one time or another have the files below in their mp5s to which they listen to every night at their choosing: Fairy tales and classic stories , worship music, Story Hour files, The Piano Guys, Jonathan Park and The Brinkman Adventures, The Chronicles of Narnia.

* Winnie the Pooh - complete 10 chapters dramatized audio book on YouTube.
* The House at Pooh Corner - all chapters of dramatized audio book on YouTube.

* JOnathan Park - vol. VIII

DD6 independent reading list: 
Talking to DD6 one day I asked her if she was happy to be reading now. She said she was. Then I asked her if she wanted to read Calvin and Hobbes. Her answer: "you can only read Calvin and Hobbes after you read 100 books." So we came up with a plan to list all of her 100 books, because according to her once she reads 100 books then she will be able to read any book. :) How smart is she?

1) Bears on Wheels by Stan and Jan Berenstain
2) The Foot Book by Dr Seuss
3) Great Day for Up by Dr Seuss
4) One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr Seuss - still building stamina. We read this one together. Once DD6 got to the middle of the book she got tired of reading on her own, the book was just too long for her. So I finished it up.
5) Eloise Breaks Some Eggs by Kay Thompson
6) Eloise MOther's Day Surprise by Kay Thompson
7) Eloise's New Bonnet by Kay Thompson
8) Pete the Cat Too Cool for School by Kimberley and James Dean

DS8 independent reading list:  

* More books on Calvin and Hobbes - DD8 routine before drifting off to sleep is to read a few comic strips of his collection of Calvin and Hobbes.
* Despicable Me - The Junior Novel 
* LEGO movie book

Read aloud to DD6 and DD4:

*If I ran a Circus by Dr Seuss
* Good Work, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
* Pete the Cat Old MacDonald Had a Farm by James Dean
* Lafcadio, the Lion who shot back by Shel Silverstein

DD10 independent reading list

* Chitty Chitty Bang Bang- The Magical Car by Ian Fleming -
* Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
* Rosa and Her Singing Grandfather by Leon Rosselson
 * Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbitt
* Encyclopedia Brown sets the pace by Donald J. Sobol

Read aloud to the little ones:
*Don't Play with Your Food! - an official Bob Shea story
* Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
* Big Dog Little Dog by P.D. Eastman
* Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

Activities at Home

* DD11 and DS8 have been working nonstop on stop motion videos. At first, for a week or so, they watched all kinds of stop motion videos on YouTube, the really professional ones, and then some amateur ones. Their creative juices were flowing and they came up with plots, stories and characters. They have made 5 videos so far, including a blooper one. The first 2 videos, Dad did the editing adding sound effects and music. From then on, DS8 is doing all the editing using Time Lapse Assembler and Imovie HD on our Apple computer.

* DD6 got interested in making stop motion videos too and began learning how to shoot the photos and assemble little stories too. I haven't been able to take many photos because the kids have been hoarding my camera to make their stop motion videos.

* Cleaning the yard, picking up fallen branches, sticks and wood. Burning up some fall leaves that were still on the ground. We also had our first "playing in the sprinkle bring on the warm weather bash." :)

* Spring cleaning. I got everyone involved. I cleaned my kitchen cabinets and DD6 helped me empty them out and trash a lot of glass and metal containers I had been saving. She was so helpful. In the kids bedroom, we were able to finally downsize their stuffed animal closet. We got rid of the really old and junky ones. DD11 got to clean up her room and the black hole (that's how she calls under her bed) got cleaned up and it's now empty. We also organized her closet and I am just waiting for Spring so we can put the winter clothes away and bring out the shorts. :)

* Play dough time for DD4 and DD6.

* DD11 is creating her own recipe book. She began with a simple white rice recipe, photos included, but the plan is to fill the notebook with recipes she can easily execute and prepare if I ever needed her to fix a meal without my supervision.

* The beginnings of gardening: cleaning out weeds from our abandoned raised beds, sowing flowers, greens, tomatoes, eggplants, hot peppers in containers; transplanting my leeks; and just working the soil in the beds. DD11, DD6 and DD4 helped sow flowers on the flats and put them up in the green house. DD6 spent a couple of hours with me weeding and cleaning the raised beds. We had the best of conversations and she is such a hard worker. :)

* More spring cleaning and de-cluttering. Cleaning out boxes of books that I had in the attic, as well as the shelves in our office. I am consciously trying to downsize the number of books we have in our home. If we haven't read it in the last year, they must go, unless I know that I will be using it in the following year like with homeschooling curriculum. But even with that, I am selling lots of curriculum on Ebay.

* Lots of stop motion videos... for a whole week non-stop, everyday, the first thing in the morning, that DS8 did was set up the camera and create stop motion LEGO videos. He created the stories and plots, used the LEGO pieces to create the stories and then took hundreds of pictures. He then uploaded them to the computer and edited his movies, adding sound effects, recording his own voice, cutting and pasting, even putting whole sections of out takes together. He even got DD6 and DD4 involved in his projects using the LEGO friends pieces and all.

* DD6 and DD4 did some water coloring painting. DD6 is helping more and more with cooking. She is my official salad helper or anything that involves cutting.

* DD4 is officially a LEGO builder. DD11 passed on to DD4 her LEGO Friends and she has building up a storm.

* Playdates at our house. Lots of playing outside and sharing projects and books.

* I gave the 2 older kids a challenge: to prepare a 5 minute speech to give public to persuade me and their Dad to buy them a toy they really want. DD11 wrote her speech down and has been practicing it. She will probably deliver it in April.

* Our two roosters escaped in the beginning of the month and we were left with a Top Hat hen only. We hope to be adding more pullets to our coup in April.

 Field Trips/ Activities Outside Home

* Lego Club - Mini figures. The kids got to showcase their first stop motion video.

* Mechatronics - the same fantastic Dad who leads the Lego Club at our library is offering this 6 week course of robotics, electronics and mechanics to the kids who are interested. I signed up DD11 and DS8. The first week the kids covered structures and build bridges and tested them for strength and support. The second week they worked on taking Remote control cars apart. The third week they will be putting them back together.

* 4H - The kids build their own roller coasters for marbles using foam tubes and tape. We ended up bringing some home and the kids repeated the experience here.

* Co-op - We covered the Human Respiratory System and the kids did their project on MUCUS and the importance of it. They got to make some Green slime. See link below for the YouTube video with the recipe. After co-op it was playtime at the park.

* Birthday party, Picnic at the park, playdates with friends outside just enjoying the sun and the warmer weather. Dinner and fellowship at a friend's house.

 Websites/ Links we found and used/ Apps

* Rainbowloom Website - DD4 is using this site now. She finally got her own kit and is learning how to make some bracelets too.
* Survival Craft on the android.
* Art for Kids
* Minecraft
* Videos on YouTube on minecraft worlds, mazes and other minecraft related things. Videos on YouTube on how to draw a pony.
* HouseholdHacker - check out this guy on YouTube for some scientific, gross and fun experiments.
* How to make green slime - we used this for our co-op on our study of the human respiratory system.
* An Education -  In which I bash traditional schooling and make a plea for something different. - An Essay for college entrance.

TV shows/ Videos/ Movies/ YouTube

* Episodes on YouTube: STitch!; Lego Chima; Kung Fu Panda, My Little Pony

* Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers - Polish social worker Irena Sendler's courageous crusade to save thousands of Jewish children from the Nazis comes into focus in this gripping documentary. Having miraculously survived the war, Sendler -- now in her 90s -- recounts her experiences. She was nominated for a Nobel Prize but lost to Al Gore and his climate scheme. A shame! Got the DVD from Netflix. Watched with DD11 only.

* I am David - from Netflix - watched this one by myself with DD11.

* Aliens in the Attic

* FROZEN - Oh, my! The most beautiful story. :) If you haven't seen it, go rent it right now! :)

* Turbo

* LEGO Legends of Chima episodes on YouTube

* How to Find Your Dragon - documentary on YouTube
* Adventures of LEGO Minecraft episodes - on YouTube

* lots of teaching YouTube videos from how to play minecraft and survival minecraft games, to how to make minecraft minifigures, on to how to make stop motion videos, sharing survival and adventure worlds,  
* Bill Nye the Science guy episode on Structures and episode on Simple Machines.

* Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport : I rented this from Netflix. This is a documentary that shows how 10,000 Jewish children were moved into England just before WWII. I highly recommend it. It might be disturbing to young children. I rented to watch with my kids (11y.o. and under) and then changed my mind and watched by myself. DD11 watched the last 30 minutes of it and when I asked her if she would like to watch it from the beginning she said "I don't like these documentaries. They are very sad. I don't want to watch it from the beginning."  On the link, there is a great study guide with lots more information and activities to do with children/ students.

Mom's Eclectic Reading List

*Mattie C's boy - the Shelley Stewart Story by Don Keith as told by Shelley Stewart - Interesting book about a radio show host. He is from Birmingham, AL and I was able to learn a lot of the South's history thru the book. He was born in the late 30s and lived through the segregation of the 1960s. Really interesting book of how people can overcome their difficulties with perseverance and faith.

* Book samples I read on Kindle that I found interesting and would buy if I had the $$$: Milkweed; more books that I just don't got the time to list...books on unschooling, deschooling, kids' behavior,

* 1808 -  While in Brazil I bought this book and the sequel. Both books are journalistic historical accounts of what happened in Europe and Brazil when the Portuguese Court relocated to Brazil, their colony, during Napoleon's conquest of European countries. Very interesting so far. 

I hope Spring has found you well.... We found ourselves expecting a new baby!



Dawn said...

What a wonderful month. Unschooling fits you all nicely.
blessings, Dawn

Melissa N. said...

It seems like a good fit for your family, unschooling. We are leaning more and more in this direction every day

Love your pictures. Thanks for sharing


strawberry, fudge, and chocolate said...

You have so many resources packed into the post. I have the Kindertransport saved on my Netflix queue but I have not taken the time to watch it. My youngest struggled with the sadness of that period in history which is why we moved on but I know we have not left it, just paused for a while.....

i said...

Strawberry, fudge and chocolate... I understand well what you are saying. I know I need to move on but I am fascinated by that time in history. We began reading a biography written for young people of Hitler. I think once we finish that we will watch the The Hiding Place and then move on too. What's next anyway?? :) Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I completely know the feeling of swinging in and out of unschooling. God has been seriously proving to me that the world is not mine to control! Thanks for the reminder of what bothers me when I get too into curriculum :-)