Friday, September 28, 2012

Schooling, House Hunting, Stuffed Mushrooms

This week in review...We schooled, I worked, Hubbie Worked, We all house hunted and we made some Yummy Vegan Meals! Yes, its been a wonderful family week together!

Well we 'officially' or unofficially started school...we've really been learning all summer and having fun educational experiences and life experiences every day.  But we are all getting settled into a routine where we have some structured time set aside every day to pursue our interests and learning. How curious the children are about everything, how curious we as adults need to be to keep pursuing learning new things and be that example to our children that learning never stops.

I do have traditional school supplies and items but we are pursuing learning non-traditionally as well. This week we delve into volcano's and learned about Pompeii.  Both kids were fascinated as we watched a documentary about Pompeii. Our son found a love for fishing this week as he made 3 trips with Dad and learned to cast, all about lures and what kinds of fish could be found in the Colorado River.  Our daughter baked cupcakes and followed recipes on her own.  We read books, and had many great discussions this week. We've also been learning about Alpaca's this week since we are taking a field trip to an Alpaca farm this weekend.

If I were to write everything down that we talked about and learned, that would be a mighty long story! A few pics...

We also went and saw several homes this week.  Searing for the right home can be exhausting but we know with a little prayer for guidance we'll find the right one for us.

 Front Room of House 1...loving that fireplace!
 The gate to the property is behind me...loving the open view! 
And hubbie standing at the gate- see any neighbors? Yup I like it that way!

On the Veggies Meals front, Hubbie made some awesome stuffed mushrooms:
Stuffed with Spinach, Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese and Eggplant, these were fantastic!

We are excited for the weekend, picking up our veggie/fruit basket from the co-op which is always exciting to plan our meals around the wonderful goodness we receive. We are also venturing to an Alpaca Farm which the kids and us adults are very excited about! They will be having workshops going on about spinning, leather works, wooden bowl making and doll making. It should be a wonderful experience!

Friday, September 21, 2012

All About the County Fair 2012

Our daughter states, “Fair time is the most FUN time of the year”. 

I have to say I’m in complete agreement- it’s busy, at times crazy but there’s something so wonderful about seeing all of those kids show their animals they’ve worked so hard to learn about and raise all year round.  I’m a proud momma to my daughter and son and a proud onlooker to the rest of the children there are well.  Nothing makes my heart happier!

Although our son is too young for 4H showing (he has 2 more years to go till he’s 9) he entered into ‘Open’ in Fair this year that is open to the public to bring their animals to get judged.  He entered his beloved Guinea Pig, ‘Batman’.   Batman WON!  1st Place Blue Ribbon, GRAND CHAMPION and BEST OF SHOW!  It was extremely awesome to see his little face light up when we walked up to the cage and the big ribbons were hanging there.  So used to seeing his sister receive ribbons and trophies it was nice for him to get to participate as well.

 This was our daughter’s 2nd year in 4H, 2nd year in showing Cavy and 1st year in showing Rabbit.  She was quite nervous and excited to show her rabbit she told me- but then more relaxed once they moved onto Cavy.  She did very well- in Showmanship for her knowledge; she received a 1st Place Blue Ribbon in Rabbit and GRAND CHAMPION for Cavy.  The following day was confirmation, judging of the animals- her Rabbit, a Blue Dutch Buck won 2nd Place and her Black Satin Buck won Best Opposite for Best of Breed.  Her Red American Cavy Boar won Best of Breed and Grand Champion and her Marked American Cavy Sow won Best Opposite and Reserve Champion.  She was excited to do so well in Cavy this year!  Her smiles could not make me any happier!  She was beaming from ear to ear! 

Tiring, at times exhausting, fun, exciting, happy, proud, anxious- we had a wonderfully fun week at Fair with our children and can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bathing Guinea Pigs / Cavies, Animals & Music Fun

In waking this morning and enjoying my coffee over an unschooling book I checked out at the library I ran across an awesome quote about schooling at home:
"You do not have to have a formal teaching education, or a master's degree to home school....You MUST have a love and enjoyment for spending an enormous amount of time if not nearly all of your days with your children."   
Bathing Guinea Pigs /Cavies for Fair
With fair quickly approaching my daughter and I together decided to tackle bathing all of the guinea pigs (cavies)...all 4 of them!  She wanted them to get a sort of pre bath then another bath right before fair to ensure they are at their best! So one right after the other, we shampooed, rinsed, dried and combed.  I do have to say they smell and feel great!  We did it in the sink, luke warm water, lathered in shampoo (not on their face of course- use a fragrance free baby wipe to clean their face/nose/ears) then combed them with a nail brush and towel dried them.
We also tackled some major animal cage cleaning- 3 rabbit cages and were hoping to get baths for the three doggies as well but didn't make it. We were bushed by the time the small animals were done!  Zeke, her showmanship bunny had a great time wandering around her bed while we cleaned his area/cage out in her room.
A few fun pics of the pups....
Music Fun!!
Our son was ecstatic when he found during a trip to Walmart a drum set that included a harmonica, kazoo and other musical items.  He has been playing around with his small play guitar and his play drum set and when he visits his grandpa he is all about the keyboard and guitar there....then I just happened to remember that we have a musical basket his grandma had given the kids.  That was it- both kids dug in, turned on one of their favorite CD's and a house band was formed!  Our daughter eventually left the music scene to dive further into her reading but our son carefully laid out his instruments on the couch and sang and played for hours!  He also this past trip at the library checked out a leap pad and the book that is his favorite is one about classical music and composers!  I love to hear him be so creative!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Unschooling, Homeschooling =Learning...Science, Art, Play

Unschooling / Homeschooling / Learning
We figured we'd 'start' if you can even call it that after Fair mid September although that doesn't in the least mean we haven't learned this summer.  Call it what you will- unschooling, homeschooling- we are going to learn in the home and world environment this year.  Free for the children to explore their own interests.

This past week has been an awesome week on the learning front as we get more organized with our supplies.  My goal is to have all the materials easily accessible to the children. So, the kids have been helping in telling me what they want where and helping me in getting supplies into bins, extra tables around the home for space.  Learning can happen..anywhere..not just at a desk or at the kitchen table.

Our son's big interest has been Science, so we set up a table for him under the front window, giving him plenty of light that his microscope needs to focus well.  He spent one day collecting items to view under the microscope- plum skin, string, lettuce, cilantro, sand and celery.  He then took his notebook and carefully wrote each word, drawing a picture of what he saw.  He is very meticulous and careful in his observations. He is 7yrs old. 
He also checked out two science books at the Library.  With my supervision, he read the directions, with my help on the big words, retrieved the needed supplies, measured out the ingredients and made 'Slime' as well as 'Goo'.  Sister wouldn't touch it but did sit and watch him mix it all up and said it was 'cool'.
I would highly recommend these two books- they were very easy and straight forward directions that my 7 yr old could understand.
He also spent one morning engrossed in a History Channel program on the history and making of Monster Trucks! I watched it with him as well.  He always gets up earlier than his sister so when she got up he was very proud to relay that he had learned that Big Foot 5's tires were off of a military truck from the 1950's! She wasn't as impressed, NOT being a truck fan, but it was awesome to see him excited.

Our daughter has a love for reading, art, dance and her animals. There is not much outside of her world beyond that, and that's okay with us. She's branch out, change her mind and explore more as she feels.  She is really into reading her books and drawing then coloring pictures out of them of the characters.  She spends hours a day reading and drawing. I love to see her explore her creativity.
Just because she was interested- she checked out a ballet book and spent hours taking 'notes' and writing down ballet terms and studying them...all on her own, of her own accord- because SHE wanted to learn it...AMAZING stuff.

She also loves, hair accessories, doll clothes, and outfits for her cavies. She designed and sewed this headband just for fun for 4H.
Painting...Both kids love painting, whether it be pictures, wooden figures, clay sculptures or fabric. She recently has found a love for bears and panda bears- she checked out Library books about them and is reading the 'Seeker' series which she is enjoying and decided she wants to learn to draw and paint them better- so she's been working on her skills.

This week they also had fun just playing together...some moon sand and some video game time. I'm not against computer and video games but I do extremely limit it.  They seem to be more attracted to playing games than watching TV so TV has not really ever been an issue, they watch a short program while they slowly wake and we watch a family movie in the evening several times a week. Video/Computer time- they are allowed 30 minutes in the morning and another 30-1hour in the afternoon- they usually choose to spend some if not all of their afternoon time together playing their current favorite, 'Little Big Planet'. And more times than not- our daughter's 'computer' time is spent on researching sewing patterns, baking recipes or animal research!

Every day is a new opportunity to learn even if you don't officially call it 'school'.  We learn best not following anyone elses schedule, plan or day or rules- we learn as a family based on each individual's needs, wants and learning styles so that everyone has fun, enjoys their experience and is curious to pursue further learning.