Hellooooo out there!

So after much prodding from one of my friends (ahem, Cate) I finally sat myself down to write a post. I didn’t realize it had been so darn long!!!! The last time I wrote here, we had just purchased and received our curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page. It took us a couple of days to find a rhythm with it and now we have finally settled on something that works extremely well. We only get it out when we can’t think of anything else to do! It seemed like all the boys needed was a jolt and now they’re in a creative burst.

For a couple of weeks now, Ryan has had a real fascination with mathematical concepts. At any given time, he will shout out, “Momma! I just figured out what 7 + 7 is!” and then he will give me the correct answer. He is, completely on his own, discovering subtraction. For example, we bought this package of snacks at the store the other day. It was a “Mystery Box” and cost more than I wanted to spend but it came with 16 packs of snacks inside. The first day we had it, Ryan kept going back to the box over and over again and I asked him, “Ryan, how many of those do you have left? You’re going to eat them all in one day!” Without skipping a beat, he said, “No Momma, I’ve only eaten three. There were 16 in here before and that means there are 13 left.”

Well, he might eat every snack in the house but he’s grasping the concept of subtraction at the same time. LOL

Iain has been in “deep” mode. Sometimes Iain is all about doing, playing, having fun and at other times he is very contemplative. He came down for dinner last night and out of the blue he said, “School is pointless, right Momma?” I asked him what he meant and he said, “well, school wants you to learn things that aren’t important and they put all kinds of pressure on you to learn it. It’s stuff you forget anyway.” I wondered where in the world this was coming from. Had he seen something on You Tube? Nope. Apparently he was just up in his room, reflecting on his life and thinking about how much he liked being home. He said that when he was in school he felt tremendous pressure to perform to a certain level and then felt very bad about himself when he couldn’t do what the teacher expected. I swear, some days, the things they say really amaze me.

I had a conversation the other day with our favorite neighbor, Miss Charlotte. She is a globe-hopping woman who is living a very exciting life and my boys absolutely adore her. She told me the other day that she and her husband get a kick out of talking to my boys. “It’s like talking to little adults,” she said. She finds their perspectives fascinating as well. It makes me feel good to hear her say that. I know people from that generation can have a difficult time understanding how we learn without books and schedules to follow so it’s nice to hear that they see the magic that I see.

Ooooh! I almost forgot! We finally got some serious snow here!
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It was beautiful! Sean and Iain made a giant snowman:
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My niece thought it was way too cold:
too cold

It was really awesome to get one good snow. Now we’re ready for Spring!!

I hope all has been well with you and your world!

Mamak - March 16, 2009 - 5:39 pm

Hey you!
Sounds like things are going awesome for you all! And look at that snow. That must have been so much fun. Do try and post now and then. I love this blog. I really do. :>)

Marin - March 17, 2009 - 10:09 am

There you are! I’ve been missing you. I loved the snow but now I am sick of this rain!!!!!

I am actually trying to update my blog every once in a while now.

Iain is really looking grown up.

Later,

Marin

Cate - March 17, 2009 - 3:54 pm

SOOOOO glad the nagging paid off – welcome back, you were missed!!!

The snow looks gorgeous – and totally foreign to me who has never experienced anything like that. Also sounds like your boys are growing beautifully.

Cate :-)

Madeline - March 18, 2009 - 9:38 pm

I love your snow pictures so much! Amazing (your talent). And I can’t believe how tall Iain looks.

allyall - March 22, 2009 - 9:38 pm

Glad to hear from you again! Love the snow pics!

That’s a wrap

What a week this turned out to be. It had some ups and downs but all in all, we had a good week. As you may have read earlier in the week, we started using a unit studies curriculum and got off to a bit of a rough start. As the days went by though, we finally hit our stride and fell into a rhythm that feels right for us. We’re not doing every lesson in the book but we’re reading some great stories and having some amazing conversations and BONUS, I’ve seen the creative spark ignite in the boys again. We had all been in a kind of slump and this little jolt seems to be just what we needed. Example for you. Today, Ryan was bored out of his gourd and was looking for something to do. NOw keep in mind that this house lacks nothing for these children to do. They have a Wii, an Xbox 360, Gamecube, DS’s, computers, DVD’s. And they have no limits on any of those things. You might think that my kids spend all day using the variety of electronic equipment available to them but NO. Today, Ryan dug through our “activity closet” and found a set of Magnetix that had been put away several months ago. Excitedly, he and Iain opened the box and began a project. They wanted to see how long a strand of Magnetix they could put together. After getting all of the pieces out and connected, they could see that it was REEALLLY long but that wasn’t good enough. They had to get out the tape measure and see how many feet long it was. Which led to seeing how long the room was and figuring out the difference between the two lengths. The principles of unschooling never cease to amaze me. This was the really shiny moment in our week.

Last night, we had kind of a scare which we can laugh at now but terrified me quite a bit when it happened. Sean and I were sitting in our family room watching The Office when we heard an extremely loud thud and crash from upstairs. We ran at lightning speed up the stairs and could hear a child crying hysterically in the bathroom. Ryan, our 6yr old met us at the top of the stairs, “Momma, I think we’re going to need our house insurance.”

I looked at him like he was nuts because I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about. When we got to the bathroom, Iain was crumpled up in the tub, the metal shower rod was bent and pulled out from the wall and he was crying a lot. Once Iain got calmed down a little, we were able to gather bits and pieces to put together what happened. Apparently, Ryan was “dropping the kids off at the pool” and was bored while he was sitting there. So what does he do? He asks his older brother to entertain him. At first, Iain says no but Ryan starts to get mad so Iain gives in. Iain stands on the edge of the tub, grabs the shower rod and then hangs from it. Well, it tore out of the wall, and Iain hit his head on either the tile soap dish or the edge of the tub and got quite a goose egg as a result. I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with a head injury but they can be really scary. We had to wake Iain up every couple of hours last night to get him to walk around and talk. Someone had to sleep with him to make sure he didn’t throw up in his sleep or have any major changes. We have to do it again tonight, too. Thankfully Iain is much better today. Right now in fact, he and his brother are playing Tony Hawk and are taking turns “owning” each other. Whatever that means. It was a scary thing to go through last night though and I’m so glad that Iain is ok.

Truth be told, I’m pretty terrible in those situations and don’t handle myself well. Sean had to tell me more than once to calm down so thank goodness he was here or else the kids could have been mentally scarred by the whole experience.

It feels like we did a lot this week. We reconnected as a family and reignited our passion for exploring ideas. In spite of the bumps and bruises both physical and otherwise, I think we had a great week and am looking forward to a great weekend, too.

:)

Mamak - February 7, 2009 - 11:48 am

Sounds great minus the crashing, head hitting, freaking out part. Glad that monkey is ok! You know, I so want to give the unit study a try. I think I will order a unit in a few days, and see how we do. I looked at the other unit studies on that review page and none seemed as mellow as this brand. So I think since we have a relatively positive review from you, we may try it. It would be something new to mix it up a little here. We are getting really anxious for spring to come, so maybe this would help fill the void. Hell, we have hit every museum here twice! :>)

Cate - February 12, 2009 - 10:21 pm

Hi there Evie,

am finally back in the land of blogging, and not just living on Facebook headlines.

Just had a catch up read on your family’s comings and goings – sounds like the unit studies are a great call, and I’m sure that they will spark all sorts of tangents for your two inquisitive boys to follow.

Perhaps new topics to consider could be “how much weight can a shower rod take?” or “best landing for boys swinging over the bath”.

Cate :-)

Stephanie - February 13, 2009 - 11:27 am

You’ve been passed the Happy meme if you’d care to keep it and share it. You can find it here.

mamak - February 14, 2009 - 7:01 pm

I tagged you for a game as well. It’s a fun one for you especially because it’s about a picture! See my place-K

piscesgrrl - March 10, 2009 - 9:41 pm

I’m glad he’s ok – yikes! That’s the wrong kind of unit study – LOL.

I tend to be good when other kids are hurt, but terrible when mine are hurt.

Our First Day With Unit Studies

Well, I wish I could say that things went smoothly. All in all, we really enjoyed our new materials. The story we read was great and the conversation that accompanied it was wonderful. The problem is, I think I’m being too schooly. I don’t know how to implement this without being schooly about it. One of my major character flaws is the anal attention to detail I will pay to “following the plan”. Deviation and flexibility do not come naturally to me and I think this is where the conflict arises.

Anyway, Ryan was able to complete many things today without any issues. Iain, on the other hand, was hesitant about our new plan and got bored. He told me later that, he *can* do it, he just needs lots of breaks, with which I have no problem. I think I just expected too much today. It’s going to take some trial and error to get it “right” for us and how we are comfortable.

The whole reason I chose Moving Beyond the Page is because it encourages conversation and not rote memorization of facts. It engages us and entwines the subject matter with real life issues and examples. I definitely think this is a good fit for us, I just need to work on my delivery. :) Ryan chose to begin with a unit study on Cultures. He is very interested in other countries so I wasn’t surprised at his choice. His materials include a huge variety of storybooks: The Irish Cinderlad, The Egyptian Princess, Why Do Mosquitoes Buzz and many other titles. I like it because these are stories that we wouldn’t have come across any other way. For some reason, my boys just don’t like to read and don’t want to go to the library anymore. They will listen to stories though and these seem like they will be great for all of us.

Iain chose a unit called Cycles. It involves the Life Cycle, Water Cycle, and Economic Cycle. With the unit we will be reading, Poppy, Charlotte’s Web, and The Family Under the Bridge. Also, Iain’s kit came with a package of Owl Pellets that go along with the Poppy story. We’re going to dissect the poop and look for bones and try and figure out what the owl ate. That is the one thing Iain can’t wait to do. LOL

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Ryan expressed an interest today in doing the same lessons that Iain is doing so I think tomorrow we might try that. It may help things go more smoothly if we’re all hanging out together and talking about the same things. I will let you know.

If you’d like to read a review of it, you can follow this LINK and see what this reviewer had to say about Moving Beyond the Page.

Louisa - March 1, 2009 - 3:02 am

I’d love to hear how it’s going….I’m seriously considering ordering a couple of these for my kids…..Louisa
ps. read ‘owls in the family’ I think by farley mowatt