Friday, August 22, 2014

Unschooling Update

While our friends who are enrolled in independent study charter schools are diving back into their homeschool studies for the school year, things are not much different than the summer time has been for my family. This year we are filing independently and I am allowing the kids absolute freedom to pursue what interests them.

For G-pie (the 12 year old) this means make-up tutorials on YouTube and a recent blossoming desire to become a YouTube personality. Her favorite is Yesterday we spent the better part of an hour watching snippets she had selected to share her passion with me. Last week I asked her to give me an overview of all the channels she is subscribed to and what she likes about them so we can start planning her channel. She worked for several hours and filled 6 notebook pages and then came and said we'd have to split up the footage she wanted to show you in our next 5 one-on-one's. She had 5 hours of YouTube videos to share with me. I am really excited to share this journey with her. She also wants to learn to play the violin and join a rockclimbing class. She is excited about the first board meeting of the year with our 4-H Club. She is the Recreation Leader.

My 6 year old, J-cakes, has decided she needs to know how to read. So we are starting a fun weekly class with a few of her friends to explore reading in playful and low pressure ways. She is also interested but withholding judgment about the Magic Tree House book club I am running for Learning Barefoot, my homeschool enrichment program. She mostly wants to do make-up with big sister, but I see her most often drifting away after the make-up is applied to play pretend, talking to herself and including her little siblings as players in her highly imaginative dramas.

Processing a little mama guilt over not being able to do any one-on-one's with her in a couple weeks, but at least Sugar Daddy got his in while G-pie and I were seeing The Giver on a double mommy/daughter date. She loves the beach, so we have undertaken a big project- to walk the OC coastline (not all at once). We started in Seal Beach a couple weeks ago- we didn't make it very far.

The older girls have been watching several episodes of Full House daily as well, it makes me nostalgic and surprised at what great parenting those men modeled. They will also be attending yoga and continuing their fabulous Herbal Studies class.

{Insert deep breath} My 4 year old, C-dough, is into Rabbids Invasion, Spongebob Squarepants, Wallykazaam, Wild Kratts and Octonaughts. He loves cereal and would eat it at every meal if we could keep it in stock. He loves sandplay and dirt and seeing friends. He wants to make playdough or goop or oobleck every day. He has always allowed his bigger sisters to apply make-up (sometimes monster faces) and dress him up and he is starting to act a little silly and embarrassed when he comes to show me. I am curious about this. He is learning to recognize how his emotions make him react physically (especially to his baby sister).

C-Dough knows his alphabet and can count to 20. He loves and plays daily for 20-60 minutes. I am trying to find more time to sit with him to enjoy his interests and hoping to find a way for him to do what he keeps asking to do- build a robot. And just now he came running in to tell me the new Dora and Friends was on and he was super excited to watch it. He is also getting very good at pretend play, even directing the show with M-cube when she allows it. {I am aware that many believe that the effects of so much media on a child this age is detrimental, I am trusting that the large amount of outside play and sibling interaction he gets throughout the day is balancing that.}

The middles are enjoying the "busy bags" I have been making them for when I am trying to get work done. They both approach them so differently and usually end up working together to make them even more interesting than I imagined.

Lastly, my baby girl, M-cube. She is the picture of a perfect two year old. She is completely adorable and totally "terrible"- often in the same moment. She screams piteously when her baby doll won't sit up the way she wants her to. She laughs gleefully when I do "This Little Piggie" and she always says, "other one, mama". She sings little made up songs all day. She loves to snuggle mama. She is fearless and courageous on the tallest of play structures. She is independent and explores to the furthest boundaries she can when we are out and about. She sleeps erratically and hates to nap. She can count to 10 and has a HUGE vocabulary. She has finally accepted another grown up into her circle, and I am so grateful to me dear friend mrscave08. I am hoping to get more involved in Signing Time with her, she really loves the music and knows a lot of signs.

Then there is me. How am I "unschooling" myself, you ask? Well I will tell you- I am Learning Barefoot, as always. Just keeping on moving in the direction that feels right. An incredible balancing act and something that requires much yoga.

This coming "school year" (while we are choosing to unschool, my kids enjoy the traditions and milestone markers that we weave in, both seasonal observances and cultural happenings). I am feeling like my work is pulling me away from my kids, I am exploring options and letting go of what doesn't work with ease and gratitude. I plan to deepen my practice of yoga and keep working on my other passion - food management, preservation and cooking with my CSA basket from

As a family we are learning much about how to compromise and collaborate, it naturally follows respectful communication and honoring each other's desires and feelings; allowing each of our 6 family members the space and support they need to process their growth spurts, as they develop through phases and stages.

We are blessed to have our happy little magical cottage to call home. We are grateful for our community of family style learners. We are ecstatic to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and to be exposed to so many opportunities to explore the world. This is going to be our best homeschool year ever.

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