Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Been Awhile..

After a short blogging vacation, I can't really say that I missed it all that much. Even so, I thought I would give an update of what's been going on around our house for the past month for those of you who keep up with our life here in Big Tex.

Somehow, the weather went from a couple of weeks of Fall straight into Winter - even before Winter even began. That kinda put a damper on hiking or any outdoor activities - I hibernate when the temps get below 60 degrees.

I have not even pulled out my camera until recently....

The latest news is Summer's 4-H project. She has elected to choose rabbits as her project. This rabbit project has consumed most of our free time..or should I say Toby and Summer's time therefore turning into my time.

They had to build the rabbit cage which took a few mornings and afternoons. I guess you could say that I have an attitude about the rabbit project. It has not been a cheap project money or labor-wise.

Even so, as I look back on it, I can say that it has been a positive experience for Toby and Summer. They have worked side by side for the past few weeks and I think Toby may have sneaked in a little "school"....Oh, school, that is a totally different story....

Although my very sensitive, animal loving daughter has been warned not to get attached to these "meat rabbits" as they are so called, I'm not sure the impact has hit her yet that her rabbits will most likely end up as ummmm.....food for some lucky winner.

Brandi was pretty curious about these new invasions. She is used to having rabbits run from her when she chases them out of the back yard.

Now for the "school" issue. We have taken a dramatic turn in the way we "school" around here. We gave school up like a bad habit. I am white knuckling this concept coined unschooling. If you wonder what in the heck unschooling is you can read about it here.

With traditional schooling and my love of teaching embedded deep in my brain I initially had a very hard time letting things just flow. I also have a very hard time believing that someone can learn something without being "taught"

Well, we are several weeks into my experimental unschooling adventure. These has been my observations of the past several weeks:

Although I have been strewing as instructed by the unschooling veterans, Summer still doesn't seem any more interested in picking up a book than she was when I forced her to read daily. Good news is, somehow she can still read very fluently her National Geographic Kids, the fortune from out of her fortune cookie at the Chinese restaurant, or the recipe instructions for those cookies she wants to eat.

She will contemplate math only when she needs to use it. For instance, she was very good at dividing up our Christmas check from my dad amongst the three of us. She also has no problem counting money.

I even caught her practicing cursive handwriting on her own the other day.

We also have been focusing on real world activities....doing laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, paying bills, chores, etc.

These are just a few examples.

The most important and biggest change has been our relationship. When I was forcing us to sit down and comply to lesson plans and spoon feeding knowledge down her throat it became nothing but a big power struggle. At then end of our school day I was emotionally exhausted and she had turned into a resentful demon with horns.

I also have learned a few things myself. Not every child is academic in nature. I should know, because I certainly never was. Sure, every child should be strongly encouraged to read, write and do basic math but once that is mastered everything else is nothing but "fat" and "useless knowledge" unless you will be using it for a specific purpose.

Instead of focusing on my daughters weaknesses, I have chosen to focus on her strengths which are her physical abilities. For most parents it's always a big ego boost for a parent when their child makes the honor roll. I have been guilty of getting a swollen head myself when my son would come home with A's on his report card.

Summer may not ever make the honor roll or be able to spout off her multiplication tables like a performing monkey but I have seen her perform on our trampoline doing flips, cartwheels, etc. I have also witnessed her trek for miles on a hiking trail with Toby and I without not one complaint of being tired or sore. She is very physically strong and is very at ease with riding a bike, skating, skateboarding, and other physical activities.

Now that we don't "school" anymore I have a closer relationship with my daughter. Once again we laugh together, hang out, cook together, watch T.V, and do ALOT of pretend play. We once again enjoy each other's company without that elephant in the room called "school."

From what I have witnessed that past couple of months, I am confident that she will learn what she needs to learn when she needs to learn it. We can now sit back and enjoy life in the moment of now every day.

My little girl...


  1. Well written momma...now if you were only here so we could be our own little unschooling support group!

    Summer is a beautiful young lady...I have no doubt that she'll accomplish exactly what it is she wants.

    Oh! and HELLO...those are some pretty cute bunnies! Better you then me, (evil laugh).

  2. Good for you and Summer!!! I find that my schooling philosophy changes from month to month, week to week, and even day to day! When we took a few months off of 'school' a while back, I saw Archie really blossom academically.

    By the way...I only use math when I absolutely MUST. Other than that, math sucks.

  3. I am glad it is working for you. I am not sure if I am ready to take that leap of faith yet though.

    About those bunnies are they all the same sex or she about to get more of an education out of this project than you were planning. ha ha

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