Friday #171

ollie turtle

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Work’s done early!

at Beaver Creek Feb 23, 2015

 

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What is Learning?

What is learning?  How does it happen?  Where does it come from?  These are BIG questions, I know.  But, it’s been on my brain for the past few days.  Interestingly, I went to an education conference almost 10 years ago, called “What is Learning?” and I still have the t-shirt!  It was a conference I flew across the country and spent my own money to attend!  Clearly, this has been on my mind longer than just the last few days.

There’s no question that this is a BIG reason that I wanted to homeschool.  This learning stuff just doesn’t need to be forced, inside brick walls, on a schedule.

Where do you learn?  I learn everyday, but I don’t go to school.

How do you learn?  I learn things that I happen upon, in the newspaper or online, or from other people.  I learn things because I am curious about them and I seek information.

There are skills, I think, that are non-negotiable.  That is, you have to learn them, like math facts and grammar conventions and reading.  You need to know these things so that you can function in the world.  These things come up naturally sometimes, but I do think we need to create opportunities for young children to learn these types of topics.  But, once you have these basics down, the learning can come at a frenzied pace!

WE are blessed with very quick learners.  For me this makes it just that much more important to not get in my kids’ way.  If I step out of Brian’s way and just let him be, he learns all the time.  He read every book he could get his hands on about the Revolutionary War, and ended up knowing so much about it that I couldn’t keep up.  He would have crushed me if we’d had a Revolutionary War trivia match!  15feb 023

Brian doesn’t love writing, so I do have to push that a little bit, but he’s getting better at it everyday.

It seems that periodically, Brian puts up a fight about doing schoolwork.  There are days that he just has his mind set that he’s doing other things and isn’t going to follow the schedule that I put forth.  Those days ARE NOT fun; I won’t lie.  And each time it happens, I question everything that I’m doing with him.  It’s tough to try to have a schedule for homeschooling, but not “get in his way” of learning.  Because I know that if left to his own devises, he’d read  and play LEGOs all day long.

It’s funny.   My husband and I have always fallen on both extremes as parents.  We used cloth diapers, exclusively breast fed, infant potty trained, BUT we also used the BabyWise series!  I know, crazy right?  :)  The balance of the two “extremes” has worked well for us, but it makes it hard to choose ONE path at times.  I won’t just buy a curriculum and follow it, but at the same time, I expect our kiddo to follow a schedule and accomplish a list of varied activities throughout the day.

I think I’m rambling…

What is learning?  In our house, we use the phrase, “Learning all the time.”  We’ve started asking every night at the dinner table, “What did you learn today?”  The answers vary, but we expect an answer every day.  Everyone learns all the time, whether you notice it or not.

What did you learn today?

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Friday #170

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Friday #169

15feb 003

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Friday #168

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Last Camping Trip

October in the mountains is gorgeous.  Our car ride was lovely.  Upon arrival at the campsite, our friends greeted us and we had snacks.  The kids frolicked in the tall grasses around the campsite, playing in the dirt and sand and exploring the trails.  2014September 262

All our boys wanted to do was go fishing.  So a-fishing we did go.  Brian caught a fish and we actually ate it!  Never did that before.  We don’t fish, but our friends do, so they helped the boys.  2014September 261

As always, I was concerned about getting dinner into the boys on time, to avoid meltdowns, so I stayed in camp to cook dinner, while the rest of the crew went for a hike.  They were gone a while, but that was good, because it took me that long to get dinner cooked over the fire.  Clouds were brewing, and the forecast had said, “possible chance for rain.”  Where we live, this means, 10 minutes of rain, and then sunshine…usually.

About 10 bites into our brats, the rain started.  We got our rain coats.  A few minutes later, we were soaked and cold, because it had turned to hail.  We huddled inside our friend’s tent vestibule, with bags of chips in our hands.  The hail kept coming, and now it was coming at us sideways, into the screened-in vestibule.  Our pants were soaked and our coats were no longer keeping us warm.  After about 30 minutes of this, we gave in and put the kids in our friend’s big car.  Eventually, we broke down further and turned on the heat and the DVD player.  The adults hung out under the tailgate, eating, chatting, staring at the weather in disbelief, laughing at the situation.  IMG_4566

As the darkness set in, we began thinking about just calling it a night.  But, what I didn’t tell you is that we had been leery about camping at all on this weekend forecast for “possible rain.”  Our tent had proved before that it wasn’t 100% waterproof any longer.  We were concerned.  And rightfully so, because my husband went to check the tent, and discovered puddles inside, wet pillows, sleeping bags, clothes…

We were camping at over 10,000 feet — it wasn’t going to be a hot and balmy night, no matter the weather, and now with the cold and hail and wet sleeping equipment, we were not hopeful.  We seriously considered packing up and going home, wouldn’t you?

So, I started moving things around in the car, preparing to pack the car, and as I moved around to the different doors of the car, I noticed something and my heart sank — we had an extremely FLAT TIRE.  Did I tell you that we were at least 30 minutes up a dirt road?

No problem, we had 4 adults, who all knew how to change a tire, but it was pouring and dark.  Should we lie down on the wet, muddy ground and change a tire or wait it out?  What to do, what to do…….

We ended up trying to sleep in the car.  The kids fell asleep easily in their car seats, and I didn’t do too badly, since my legs are a bit shorter than my husbands.  But, a few hours into the night, everyone was uncomfortable.  My husband took our littlest one and braved the tent.  We all made it through the night, and expected the sun to be shining in the morning — that’s what it does around here…usually.

It was still raining hard in the morning.  We had no dry clothes left.

The tire was changed, in the mud.

The car was packed, in the rain.

Breakfast was pretty much non-existent, due to lack of fire and lack of motivation.  We had graham crackers in the car, and stopped at a diner a couple HOURS into our drive home.

Just before we high tailed it out of there, well not really, because we were driving on a doughnut and on a dirt road, we packed up the tent.

We collapsed it, balled it up, and tossed it on top of the car, whereupon Niagara Falls came down on both of us!

As we drove out of the campsite, we tossed the tent into a dumpster!  ATT00003

That was the last camping trip of the season.

$800 later, I had 4 brand new tires… = Most expensive camping trip ever!

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You know you live in the sticks when…

Hopefully, I haven’t double posted this, but I had to share…

We went to a mall a while back.  Realizing that my kids have NEVER been to a mall (we live really far away from them, and I have them), I mentioned a little bit of info about what a mall is to them.  To which Brian (6yrs) states: “Yeah, Momma, I know.  I’ve read about malls in books!”

Now there’s something you don’t hear everyday!

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Friday #167

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All Year Long

About 3 years ago I decided it was sad to get rid of all the wonderful photos people send us at Christmastime, so I started a wall of pictures.  As the cards come in, I place them on the wall.  It’s fun to try to fit each one into it’s special place, never knowing what size or how many we will receive!  Andrew calls it “Momma’s Puzzle”.image

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