Day 132

Goings on in our home...

Jacqueline went to a birthday party for her friend Jasmine at Chuck E. Cheese's. Besides the noise level being almost deafening (which is ironic coming from me after all the hard rock concerts I've been to), I actually like taking my kids there. Every game is one token, which is great because 20 tokens each goes a long way and I always go to their website and print out coupons. Most of the time, we go after we eat and I just buy them a drink there, which they get free refills on. It's definitely worth it and of course, the kids love it. :-)

We had some of our homeschooling friends here yesterday....there were (including us) 5 mothers and 16 kids ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years old. :-) Everybody had a great time and they're all coming back next Tuesday. :-)

I bought an oregano plant a few weeks ago and just cut some of it back. After many attempts, this is the first time any plant has made it this far, they usually die soon after I buy them. I've been drying the cuttings in the laundry room since Sunday. I also bought parsley and basil....again. Maybe this will be my season. :-)

They say you should learn something new everyday and today I did. I learned what caused the Big bang theory and how it happened. Who taught me? My seven year old, of course! I've learned lots of things about space and the solar system from her. :-)

If you have young kids, then you know how much they love pretend play. Both my younger two love playing teacher and office. Those are their two favorite. But today there was a new one. Jacqueline was playing "publisher". :-) I love that kid. :-)


Day 130 (Cheers & Jeers)

The girls & I went shopping today for arts & crafts suppplies. I wanted to pick up some colored card stock, metallic or paint markers and some stickers for the Artist Trading Cards we've been making and trading. Jacqueline also wanted to see if she could get a felt tip pen for drawing.
I have an educators discount card from joanns craft store, (open to all homeschoolers) although I had haven't been in the store yet to shop. I also had two 40% off coupons for Michaels craft store, each coupon only good for one item.
We went to Michaels first because I wanted to ask if they have a educators discount program also. Jacqueline found her pens and used one of my coupons to buy them. When I asked about the card, the cashier said no, that they didn't offer one and she added that she didn't understand why...with joanns being so close you would think they would try to get the teachers and homeschoolers to shop there.
I decided to buy one item at Michaels and use my other 40% off coupon and buy all the other items in joanns.

Shopping in joanns was a breeze. The staff was very helpful and friendly and I found everything I needed. They had tons of stuff on clearance and the cashier used my discount on everything, not just the regular priced stuff.

So, cheers to joanns craft store for giving a discount to homeschoolers. You can apply online and even use your discount for online purchases.

In the end, I spent $5.27 in Michaels and $34.78 in joanns. :-)


Day 129 (Unschooling Voices podcast)

Queana has posted Unschooling Voices in podcast format. Click that link to "hear" installment one of Unschooling Voices. How exciting! Thanks Queana!

If you haven't sent it in yet, don't forget to send in a blog post for the next Unschooling Voices.
Here's the information. Remember, you don't have to answer the question of the month...I only write them for those who choose to answer them. All unschooling posts will be accepted. :-)

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Day 128

Some cute Jacqueline-isms that I wanted to share (and remember):

Billy came home from work one evening last week and Jacquline was on playstation. He started playing with her but then pooped out soon after. When she saw him putting his control down and get up to change out of his work clothes, she said "Dad, I'll play an easier game with you if you want".

....how sweet... :-) My seven year old takes it easy on dear old daddy.

The other day I was getting a video ready for Shawna while she was getting the mail and I couldn't get it working. Shawna came back in and saw me having trouble but didn't know what was wrong. The video was in, the tv was on I was pressing "play" on the remote, but nothing was happening. We shut everything off and turned it back on again and still nothing!
In walks Jacqueline, looks at me, looks at the tv and then the remote and says "Mommy, you're using the wrong remote. Do you want me to do it for you?"

Gotta love her. :-)

Reminder: We're taking submissions for the second installment of
Unschooling Voices
That link will give you all the details plus July's installment.
Someone e-mailed me and in case anyone else has the same question....your blog doesn't have to be an unschooling blog, just the post you send in. Not every unschooler has unschooling as the main focus of their blog.

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Controlling what a child eats

I started a discussion on the forums at Forever Parents about a specific issue with Shawna and some interesting thoughts came out about controlling what a child eats, body awareness and emotional eating. I'm going to repost my comments here for anyone who may find themselves in a simular situation.

"I disagree with the information you were given by the dietician. I would never control what Jacqueline eats. She eats healthier than most adults I know. On her own, Jacqueline will choose grapes or cheese over ice cream or cake. She has free access to her candy yet her Easter candy still sits in the cabinet. Given the freedom to choose has allowed her to make good choices on her own.

Just because I say I don't control her food, doesn't mean I let them make choices blindly or let them figure things out for themselves. I've given Jacqueline (and Shawna) lots of information on nutrition (in the way of discussions, books, videos, etc) and we discuss the choices they make. Children need us to help them and give them accurate information. We have experiences to draw on, that they don't have and we have the benefit of having lived longer.

Yes, sometimes they make wrong choices (or what I would think is wrong-maybe not wrong for them) but that's part of learning and is part of living. Making mistakes is a way to learn, not something to be avoided. "

...And then later on in the discussion...

"When my kids came to us from foster care, they had been limited and controlled in every area of their life. They had no "real life" skills because they were never given the chance to choose for themselves.
It reminded me of when I used to have my dance & exercise studio. I used to have clients ask me to plan out a diet for them to follow for a couple of months, so they could lose 25 pounds. I always asked them what they planned to do when the diet was finished and the couple of months had passed. They never had any idea. I tried to show them how making changes in their everyday life, changes they could live with forever, would help them better in the long term and that once the diet is over, they'll probably go back to the way they've always done things. They're not learning anything by being on a diet.

It's the same way with kids. If someone is always controlling their food, how will they learn to self-monitor? When they're an adult? Isn't it better for them to do it while they're young and have a parent there, by their side, helping them and giving them the information they need to make informed decisions? Yes, sometimes they make, what I would consider a wrong choice. That's part of it. That's part of how they learn what feels right. If they're never given a choice, how can they choose what's right? This was a slow realization for me that didn't start until I actually had kids of my own.

I've done this with Jacqueline since the day she moved in.....slowly giving her more freedom to make her own food choices...little by little. All the while, we talk about what feels good and what makes us feel yukky. After almost four years, she's at the point where she eats what she wants, when she wants and how much she wants. "

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Jan Hunt

If you haven't read Jan Hunts website, The Natural Child Project, I highly recommend it. I enjoyed reading "22 Alternatatives to Losing it", "Deschooing a Parent" and "What do Children Want"?

I also wanted to share some of Jan Hunt's words that someone posted on an unschooling e-mail list.

"Empathic parenting, to put it simply, is beleiving what we in our hearts to be true. If we follow our hearts, we trust the child in these ways:
*We understand that all children are doing the very best they can at every given moment.
*We trust that though children maybe small in size, they deserve to have their needs taken seriously.
*We know that it is unrealistic to expect a child to behave perfectly at all times.
*We recognize that "bad behavior" is the child's attempt to communicate an important need in the best way she can.
*We learn to look beneath the child's outward behavior to understand what he is thinking and feeling.
*We see that in a very beautiful way, our child teches us what love is."
"The educator John Holt once said that everything he wrote could be summed up in two words: "trust children". This the most precious gift we can give as parents."

If you like what Jan has to say, she has a book that you may want to get. Here's the link:

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Day 125 (Visitor Geography)

I've blogged before about how my kids use a blog tracker to see which countries our visitors come from. Then they (mostly Jacqueline) likes to find them on our world map. Here's the latest stats.

United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand
Hong Kong
Virgin Islands, U.S.
United Arab Emirates
South Africa
Korea, Republic of
Czech Republic
Puerto Rico
Russian Federation
Costa Rica

Thank you for visiting. :-)


Day 124 (submission reminder)

If you haven't sent it in yet, don't forget to send in a blog post for the next Unschooling Voices. Here's the informations. Remember, you don't have to answer the question of the month...I only write them for those who choose to answer them. All unschooling posts will be accepted. :-)

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In other news...
I seemed to have gained a child overnight. :-) Jacqueline's friend Jazmine slept over and they girls are happily watching Bratz cartoons (Winx is next) on TV and eating a breakfast of pancakes and bacon that daddy made. :-)

We've been getting together with our homeschool group a lot lately. Instead of going to the park, like we usually do, we've been getting together at someone house. Last week was our house. :-) We had 11 kids and 5 adults here. The kids swam in the pool, jumped on the trampoline, played on the playset and then played playstation inside when it started thundering. I love this group because there are so many boys Cimions age and they all love yu-gi-oh as much as he does. :-)


Everyday Blessings

I've blogged about Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting before. It's one of my favorite parenting books and although I don't own a copy (yet), I borrow it from the library often.

In the back of the book, they list 12 exercises for mindful parenting. I wrote about the first two of them in my other post. The third one is:

Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. See if you can stay mindful of their sovereignty from moment to moment, and work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.

I've been trying to remember this when dealing with Shawna. There are areas that I find myself getting frustrated with her about and I sometimes will snap at her when I think she should understand something. :-(
I read a quote by Maya Angelou that I try to keep in mind when it comes to Shawna; "You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better."

I need to keep this reminder here.

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Naomi Aldort

I've been reading the parenting articles on Naomi Aldort's site this past week. I found some useful information there and wanted to share the link.

Also a while back somebody posted this on a message board I visited.

Naomi's Declaration of Complete Confidence in Children:
1. Adult-like behavior matures by the time we are adults.
2. No expectations means no disappointments for us, and no damaging pressures for our children.
3. Children respond best to modeling and leadership, not control.
4. Trust... and wait.
5. Choose between your momentary convenience and your long-term goal for your child's sense of self.
6. Enjoy your child for who he is, not for who you would like him to be - he will never be this age again.
7. Distinguish between your emotional needs and what your child feels and needs. Act toward your child in harmony with her needs; take care of your emotional needs elsewhere.
8. Celebrate your child's uniqueness as well as your own.

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Children & spirituality

A few months ago, I asked (on an unschooling e-mail list) for suggestions on childrens books (mainly non fiction and written for children) about spirituality, postive affirmations, meditations, personal development, etc. Although we haven't read all of them yet, here is the list, along with comments from the members.
If you know of any others that we might like, please let us know by adding a comment. Thanks!

"The Rough-Faced Girl" by ?-a Native American Cinderella
"The Hundred Dresses"--Eleanor Estes-compassion, misunderstandings, assumptions
Circle Round" by Starhawk. It has stories and activities based around the seasons and loving the earth.
The Paper Bag Princess"--wonderful for girls
The Tiger of Turkestan by Hogrogian.
Moonbeam: A Book of Meditations for Children
A Pebble for your pocket
All I see Is part of me
Each Breath a Smile
Kindness: A treasury of Buddist wisdom
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, by Leo Buscaglia
Wayne Dyer has a new children's book: Incredible You! 10 Ways to Be Happy Inside and Out
Old Turtle* by Douglas Wood
Nurturing Spirituality in Children by Peggy J. Jenkins has some fun experiments that bring to life the ideas of spirituality.
One of my favorite writers is Sonia Choquette, she wrote *The WiseChild* A Spiritual Guide to Nurturing Your Child's Intuition. As well as many others, my favorite is *Your Heart's Desire*

Also, from the same conversation....

10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine Through
1. Share the Good
2. Find What You Love
3. You are Filled with Love
4. Find a Quiet Place Inside
5. Make Today Great!
6. Change Your Thoughts to Good
7. Take Care of Yourself
8. Picture What You Want
9. Everyone Is Special, Especially You
10. Good Thoughts Give You Energy

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Linking to Unschooling Voices

Thank you to the following bloggers for helping to get the word out about Unschooling Voices #1.

If you have a link to UV #1 on your blog or site, please comment here so I can add you to the list. I'll continue to edit this post for about a week.

Home Education blog


Why Homeschool


Spunky Homeschool

A Typical Homeschool (where the Unschooling Carnival got it's start)

Doc's Sunrise Rants

Every Waking Hour

Adventures in Living

Here in the Bonny Glen

Green Fields and Open Horizons

Sandra Dodd.com

Throwing Marshmellows

Avec Mes Zebres

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Orlando Science Center

We took a day trip and visited the Orlando Science Center on Saturday. The exhibits were all very "hands on" and encouraged experimenting and we saw a laser show called StarQuest in the cinedome.

**You can click on the pictures to enlarge them**



The best part was seeing Jupiter and the Moon in the Observatory.

I was disapointed with their "science store" though. I went there prepared to buy some cool stuff but nothing seemed worth the money. It was all stuff I could buy elsewhere (science kits, books, videos) for a lot less.

Here's Billy playing around at one of their exhibits:

About halfway through our visit, Jacqueline met a little girl there named Rowan, who was with her grandmother. We ended up with them for the rest of the time and she gave Rowan her e-mail address when they left. :-)

All in all...a great time and a fun day.


Unschooling Voices (#1): How did your family start unschooling?

Welcome to Unschooling Voices (#1)!

The second Unschooling Voices will come out on August 1. If you'd like to participate,
click here for the details. If you post a link to this months installment, please let me know (by leaving a comment here) so I can thank you. :-)

This month there are 16 participants who submitted 18 entries.
As you click the the links that take you to the different blogs, I encourage you to comment on the ones that you particularly enjoy (tell 'em we sent ya!) or maybe offer some words of wisdom to someone at an unschooling crossroads. Everyone who participated is at a different place in their unschooling journey.

The (always optional) monthly question was "How did you and your family come to unschooling?" Some of the bloggers who answered were...

Cher at Adventures in Living

Robin at
Robins Blue Skies

Laura at
Ramblings of an unschooling family

Tammy at
Life without school

Jo at

Shera at
Loving Heart

Willa at
Every Waking Hour who also submitted a follow up

Ivy at
The Tortesian School Marm

Mary at the blog of Home Education Mag

Connie has shared a section of her book,
Homeschooling Reflections (When you get to the file sharing site-click "download/view this file".)

Laura at
Unschooling Maine shares the audio of an interview she did where she discussed homeschool styles and strewing.

Stephanie at Throwing Marshmellows, submitted a post on
being ready where she writes how challenging the assumption that there are things that kids have to learn, can free your thinking so you can better meet their needs.

Math anyone? Jo at Trictomania talks about
unschooling math and Janine at Why Homeschool talks about her daughter asking for math work.

Allan submitted a post on
unstructured learning

Annalea at
Renaissance Mom blogs about her opinion on the role of tv in unschooling.

And last, is my post on
answering people's questions.

Thank you to everyone who participated! Don't forget to bookmark the blogs that you visit, so you can go back and read some of their other posts. :-)

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