Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

great talk by woman who was unschooled

I really enjoyed this talk. I have to admit, that i love the fact that this formerly unschooled woman is brilliant! more importantly, though, it really reminded me to let go of this idea that attending a prestigious university is the ultimate goal. i was still hanging on to the notion that this was the ideal and even use examples of homeschooled kids attending ivy leagues to defend my choice to unschool. when i started to consider homeschooling, i thought that, of course, my kids will attend college! now, i see it as a choice, not a good or bad one. i just want them to follow their passions and be happy. but for me, it's all about the deschooling, baby!

Friday, February 5, 2010

how do you know they are learning?

i just realized that i have almost completely forgotten my need to prove that my kids are learning. now it seems so silly to even consider them not learning. i can't stop them! it does still amaze me to think about all that they do in a day. i love watching them freely choose activities and watching their flow.

for the past week patrick has been doing a puzzle of the united states that his grandparents sent. he does it while he waits for me to get ready for an outing, while i make breakfast, or at any other transition period during the day. during these times, he will also stand at our map of the united states and call out, "give me a state!" when i can't see what state he points to as his answer, he spells it for me. he came up with this game on his own.

i never really had any major fears about my kids learning what they "need" to learn because there is no school subject they do need to learn. it's pretty simple. i get a tad bit angry when i think about all of the useless information i crammed into my brain. what a waste. why not use that brain power for something you are passionate about learning?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

patrick and liam sing tomorrow

our first ever you tube videos! i just had to get them singing this song. after a month of annie, they seem to be heading back to a star wars phase, though. yesterday, they were dressed up as obi wan and darth vader fighting with lightsabers while singing annie songs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

our afternoon

thought i would post some pictures from this afternoon since i got some fun ones. i am still trying to figure out how to format pictures on blogger so please be patient with me.

we spent several hours outside, our first sunny day in a long time! we played with the chickens and goats and dug for a lost sock in the muck. early last week, the kids took a mud bath in a puddle by the driveway and liam lost a sock. they got all of their shovels from the barn in order to dig around for the sock. i thought it was a lost cause, but amazingly, they found it in about 10 minutes! 

i also took some photos of our rental house and property. i feel so grateful to be here! it's a gorgeous spot!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a day in the life

part of the deschooling process for me has been to let go of  this fear that i am not doing unschooling right or that i should be doing something more structured or perhaps more meaningful during the day with my kids. my experience of life before unschooling was that much of my day was planned for me. this gave me the false sense of purpose. all of this free time now is making me a bit nervous!

today i thought i would share "a day in the life" of the mcconnell family. got this idea from my boulder homeschooling yahoo group. i love reading about the days of other unschooling families so i thought i would post mine here as a regular feature.

8:00 am- wake up. cuddle in bed, make beds, boys get dressed

8:30am-downstairs to make breakfast. bacon, eggs, toast, coffee, and kombucha. the boys help with breakfast.

9:45am-outside to take care of the chickens. we play in the rain and the muck for a while and then head back inside.

10:30am-make our "chicken books" on snapfish. the boys got a camera for their birthdays, and we have been working on a project compiling pictures and information about chickens. we had been reading a few books about chickens, plus looking up information online. we all decided that we wanted to create our own "chicken book!" each of the boys made their own book selecting photos from the hundreds we had taken.

noon- make lunch, boys sword fighting

12:30pm-eat ham and cheese sandwiches, raw milk and egg smoothies, apples

1-2pm--clean up a bit around the house while kids play marble whacker. we then put together foam airplanes and paint them with acrylic paints.

2pm-nurse claire to sleep. can't believe she has not slept at all yet!

2pm-4pm- boys and i play dominoes, drink tea, have snacks. i go up to claire 2x while she sleeps to nurse her back to sleep! while i am upstairs with her, the boys make their own snacks. then they decorate the house with toilet paper rolls hanging from the string on the blinds. plus they have toilet paper roll fights. i read and nap a bit!

4pm- we play pirates.

4:30pm-start making dinner. chicken soup w/ veggies. liam and patrick help.

5:20pm-we all go outside to lock up the coop.

5:30-6:30pm-liam and i do an activity book while patrick plays with claire.  matt comes home.


7:30-9pm-treasure hunt, uno, and story time

9:46-? computer time for mama!

good night!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

rainy days

we played indoors most of the week enjoying new toys and games we had gotten for christmas and the boys' birthdays.

liam gave us a lesson on how to use the bow and arrow which was a gift from aimee. he has been quietly practicing with it and teaching himself to use it since christmas and has declared himself an expert. patrick and i are getting better with his guidance and boy does he love guiding us.

we also made gluten free play dough this week with a recipe i found on the internet. so exciting to make such a great dough that is gluten free. here is the recipe i used:

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup organic corn starch (no GMO's here!)
1/2 cup sea salt
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup water
vegetable dyes

for the holidays, my friend who has this business, www.aromaessencesbykarin.com, gave us doughs made with vegetable dyes and essential oils. we all loved them and tried to replicate what she had made for us. they are so wonderful! the colors, scents, and texture. wish i took better photos, but maybe next time.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010


we have been singing songs from Annie, the Musical for about 2 weeks now. liam and patrick watched the movie one or two times, watched a bunch of you tube videos of all sorts of productions of Annie, and have been listening to the soundtrack from the original broadway show. we also have the sound track to the lion king, but they are all about annie. i have really worked hard not to crack up while they are performing for me. they are too cute! and gosh my throat is sore and i can't get those songs out of my head! here are a few photos of patrick singing (he wanted me to take them). video coming shortly.


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Sunday, January 17, 2010

grocery shopping

my kids love to grocery shop. i don't necessarily relish shopping with all three, but it does happen every once in a while--picture me rushing through the store with claire in a back pack for as long as i can keep her there because if she's not in it, she's either standing in the cart or running through the isles grabbing food from the shelves, and the boys hanging off of the cart making lots of loud, happy noises and as always asking a million questions. by the end of most trips, someone tells me, "boy, you have your hands full!" and those customer service oriented Whole Foods clerks are rushing to help me get my food unloaded and packed up as quickly as possible!

matt doesn't mind, though, and often takes them to the store. i try to discourage it because it just seems like it would be boring especially when they could be playing at home or having some one on one time with me:) they don't go for treats either. they went through a phase when they asked for foods we wouldn't normally buy, and we often did experiment with new foods, but now they don't really asks. they love to spend time with matt, like to be out and about, and truly like to help out.

we have always taken them to the store with us. i remember back in minneapolis, matt and the boys would often run out to our local coop which was a few miles away. they went often and had fun together. they would order a green drink from the juice bar and sit in a little kids area that had small tables and play food. so sweet and so nice for mama to have some time to herself!

family movie night

it's so nice not to have much scheduled this weekend. a soccer practice, trip to the farmer's market and a quick open house tour in our search to find the perfect home for our family here in sonoma county.

we had our first family movie night tonight. i have looked forward to having these become a family tradition, but had not wanted to encourage screen time in any form either. liam had asked to watch a video, and I suggested that we find one that everyone would enjoy. we don't have a television, but do have our lap top and a netflix account. there isn't a great selection of kid friendly movies available to play on the computer, but we decided on Air Bud: Golden Retriever. We all huddled together on our tiny couch covered with blankets made my Grandma Melanie. Very cozy. Liam and Patrick were so thrilled to be watching a movie as a family. I stopped scolding myself for introducing the idea as soon as I saw their joy.

I have known how important it was for them to share television shows or movies with me, but honestly, i have always used the minimal amount of time they spend watching to clean the house or cook a meal. I remember as a kid wanting to share my favorite shows with my parents or relatives. i still love "sharing" a show or movie with friends and family. the communal aspect of watching together can be a way to connect doing something that could potentially be a source of disconnection.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

park day

on fridays, we hang out with a group of homeschoolers for several hours at a local park. one nice thing about living in california is that we can do this year round. park days seem to be a common homeschooling activity across the country. we attended them in minnesota and colorado as well. i remember when we first started going, i couldn't believe how long families would stay at the park for our gatherings. i could barely stay longer than an hour. when i was a new mom, i still had the urge to be "productive." ha, ha! as if parenting and forming and building close relationships outside in nature is not productive. now i can stay at a park for hours, chatting with moms and dads and watching my kids play happily with other kids of all ages. it's free play at it's best here in our sebastopol park. the playground equipment is not the draw. it's the sandpit, meadows, and beautiful oaks that call to them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

here goes!

i have been hemming and hawing about what the heck to do with this blog. mostly, i am wanting to write as a creative outlet and as a way to record our lives as unschoolers. i like sharing pictures of our family with friends and extended family, but i guess that's what facebook is for. so i have decided that this blog will be about our family's unschooling journey.