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27 November 2013

New Journal Cards

I got my Journal Cards done! They were fun to make, and I'm excited to share them with you. Come and have a look:

Don't forget to pin them - and make sure you follow my shop on Etsy or my Facebook page, so that you get notified when I finish new things: I'm working on a set of Hippos for Christmas, and I can't wait to show it to you!

21 November 2013


I see a lot of people worrying about lesson plans, but I admit that I'm doing that less and less lately. I still use my planning guide, but the way I use it has been morphing. Lately, I've had the feeling that Hero's need for "white space" is higher than it has been. And there's been more time where the boys play together than there ever has been, and I love the way their relationship is developing. I have waited school more than once because I didn't want to mess up the good things they were doing together.

My Hero is very mathy, and I have yet to successfully plan math more than a week or two in advance, if that. I suspect that Dragon is also going to do quite well with numbers, and we're starting him right out in Miquon, rather than Math Expressions. Anyway. I'll think I've got a good pace, but then Hero sponges it up and gets bored, so we move on. Fast. So I just roll with it. Lately, I've been asking him, "Do you want to do fractions or multiplication today?" I just got some graph paper, and I'm going to see if I can interest him in some of Vihart's doodle games. We'll see.

Our science is very un-schooly. It has been for a long time now. I hated the animal encyclopedia that TWTM recomended for the 1st grade animal study: too basic. Oh. And the boy had eyes only for birds of prey. We spent nearly the whole time on birds of prey. Dissected an owl pellet. Went out to the local eagle's nest. He's never really stopped loving the birds of prey, and they come up as a topic from time to time still. We were interested in astronomy, so we tried to do astronomy after the animals (he didn't care about bodies or anything else from the 1st grade year, so I figured we'd come back later). And kind of we did, but you'd never know it to look at my lesson plans, LOL! When I did come back around the to human body, thinking that we'd do a section on that, it turned out that our conversations we had - the baby was in the NICU with a collapsed lung, so we talked about lungs, and another time we talked about how skin works, and the interactions of muscles and bones... how intestines work. We hit enough stuff in just conversation that the body encyclopedia that TWTM recommended was too simple. Lately, he's discovered Bill Nye the Science Guy and he can't get enough of him. He'll watch episode after episode, for hours. And want more the next day. Real science kick. It's really cool to watch. But I didn't plan it. I don't even remember why it is that I introduced him to Bill Nye. They've had 4 or 5 tonight. They're "looking" for the one on the water cycle, but they haven't found it yet today. They've watched it several times now, and it spawned an experiment this morning predicting and observing water condensation, all Hero's idea. I just helped him structure his experiment a little, and took notes for him. He's got another one that he wants to do. I'm helping him do the scientific method process. One of these days I need to introduce him to the term "the scientific method."

Anyway. Anything you buy a curriculum for --in our case that includes Story of the World, All About Spelling, Rod n Staff grammar -- you just open to the next page. Anything you are doing in an interest lead kind of way, you ask the kid what they want to learn and then figure out how to make it happen. That's my process at this point, and I have yet to get it to plan nicely. When I pre-plan and write it all down, I open the book and make a note of what's next, and I try to predict the pace he'll want to go, and guess at the rabbit trails we might enjoy. Other times, I track what we did do as much as what I think we'll do. We hit most things most days, and I don't sweat it if we have a day - or even a series of days - where we miss the same subject. We'll get back around to it. I've learned that interest is cyclical: this week Hero is inhaling science and he can't concentrate on language arts. But when the intense need for one kind of information is satisfied there will be room for other kinds. One time he wanted a whole week of math. Later he was reading so much that there wasn't room for much else. There were a couple days where he wanted tons of Japanese. Now he wants science. That other stuff will come back around again, and I don't want to spoil the joy of learning by breaking his Zone. Other times we'll buzz along, hitting everything nearly every day for a couple weeks or even a month or two. And both "schedules" are ok.

The child is obsessed with....

I think children learn differently from adults. They often go at One Thing hammer and tongs for an extended period of time, exhaust it, then move on. Heck, they even eat this way. "He only eats pb&j right now." This makes adults anxious and controlling because we think they'll be that way forever. Nope. This is what children do. No need to correct unless it's dangerous. They outgrow it. Don't let it make you nuts. Just roll with it, stay observant, give additional wholesome choices, and be patient. This passes.

The Libertarian Homeschooler

All that means that more and more, I'm tracking, rather than planning. I think it's going to end up being a balance thing. Maybe some things will need more planning, and other topics will work better with tracking. After all, this homeschooling thing is a work in progress.

P.S. I'm so glad you stopped by to read about the adventures at our house! If you want more, "Like" my blog on Facebook to get posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

The Poop Parts

"Look! It's the poop parts!"
"Yep. Those are called intestines, and they make poop."

He digs around in the body some. 

"Look! More poop parts!"
"Well, actually, those are pee parts. They're called kidneys."

Gotta love spontaneous science!

18 November 2013

Giveaway Winner!

Addie!! You are the big winner! Email me at BabySteps . Blogger @ gmail . com (take out the spaces) and I'll send you your templates!

Meanwhile, I've been working on a set of journal cards to coordinate with these templates, and it's been a crazy week, so they're not as done as I'd like, but I thought I'd offer a sneak preview of what *is* done. If you haven't done it already, like my shop's page to get a note when I do finish them. I'll be sure to post a link when they're ready!

Here it is:

I'm hoping that I can finish off a last couple for this set and get it in there this week, but we'll have to see. It's a school week, and there's some other stuff going on too, so there's not too much time for designing right now!


13 November 2013

More Skip Counting

Hero needs some practice with his skip counting by 5's. So we're practicing.

There's this worksheet, and we'll make a connection to clocks on this one, since it shows so nicely how you skip over the other numbers, and it goes to 60.

We'll count a pile of 20 nickels again.

I'm going to chop up a 100's chart (and probably laminate it so we can use it for other numbers), give him the multiples of 5, and have him put them in order. Maybe I'll have him color a non-chopped version as well.

What else? What fun things do you do to practice skip counting?

12 November 2013

Skip Counting Songs!

Hero is learning multiplication, so we're playing with some skip counting songs. These are the ones we listened to today.

OK. So it's easy to get distracted. We also watched this verb one. And then I wanted Conjunction Junction... but I found this zero song instead.

We're not done with skip counting, but that's as far as we got today.

PS. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

08 November 2013

Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway!!

It's been a long time, but I've re-opened my Etsy shop, and I've got some digital scrapbooking supplies in there. Not a lot yet, but I'm working on it. I thought that, to celebrate, (and also because they are fun), I'd have a give-away.

So. Up for grabs is a set of four templates for making "pocket" style pages. They're layered .psd files, 12x12 inches, at 300dpi. I use them for making Project Life style pages.

I used the one on the top left to make this page. (You can see the credits for the items I used on this pages that were purchased at DSP here. There are several. The DSP designers are awesome.)


So. Here's how you enter.

1. You can have one entry for a leaving a comment, saying what kind of digital scrapbooking supplies you like best; what you'd most like to see in my shop. (I'm just about ready to list a set of journal cards that coordinate with these templates, but I need a project for after that.)

2. You can have a second entry if you get on Facebook and like my shop's page. If you do that, you'll need to come back and leave a comment letting me know so that I can keep track of things.

3. And, finally, you can have a third entry for sharing on Facebook or posting on your blog - again, leave a comment (and if you do a blog, leave a link).

 The giveaway closes in one week - on 15 November 2013, at midnight. Thanks - and good luck!

07 November 2013

The Choices We Make

My Dragon loves to be outside. He loves to ride his bike. He loves to watch the birds, especially the crows.

He also loves to dump out baskets of toys. 

This time, he dumped out our big bin of Duplos, moments before we were supposed to go outside, and right after he and Hero finished picking them up. Mostly, Hero had picked them up. 

Now, Dragon has to do that great big job. By himself. While Hero rides his bike on the deck.

It's a hard lesson. But a good one. I'm hoping that he'll figure out that dumping the toys isn't a great idea. He's a bright kid. It shouldn't take that many times before he's a bit less into the mess. Natural consequences are good stuff.

Turns out, people have been talking about natural consequences for a good long time. Over at the Mises Institute they've got an article on natural consequences that's a bit older. They've reprinted an article from the 1800's called "On Moral Education." It's pretty good stuff. Talks about natural consequences in a way that I'd never considered:

Now in these and like cases, Nature illustrates to us in the simplest way, the true theory and practice of moral discipline. Observe, in the first place, that in bodily injuries and their penalties we have misconduct and its consequences reduced to their simplest forms. Though according to their popular acceptations, right and wrong are words scarcely applicable to actions that have none but direct bodily effects; yet whoever considers the matter will see that such actions must be as much classifiable under these heads as any other actions. Note, in the second place, the character of the punishments by which these physical transgressions are prevented. Punishments, we call them, in the absence of a better word; for they are not punishments in the literal sense. They are not artificial and unnecessary inflictions of pain; but are simply the beneficent checks to actions that are essentially at variance with bodily welfare — checks in the absence of which life would quickly be destroyed by bodily injuries. It is the peculiarity of these penalties, if we must so call them, that they are nothing more than the unavoidable consequences of the deeds which they follow; they are nothing more than the inevitable reactions entailed by the child’s actions.

Let it be further borne in mind that these painful reactions are proportionate to the degree in which the organic laws have been transgressed. A slight accident brings a slight pain, a more serious one, a greater pain.

So far, so good. When Tigress is exploring, I warn her, but I don't always prevent her from getting minor bumps: that's the stuff of learning, and she'll be better off for having them. Which is not to say that I let her just dive off anything! Still, she's developed the respect for the Edge of things that all babies eventually do.

It's becoming something I'm aware of in my parenting, this business of not getting in the way of natural consequence. That can be hard. Interestingly, it makes me aware of the natural consequences of my own actions. If I don't keep up on my dishes, the kitchen is nasty and unpleasant. And I don't have the things that I need for cooking, and I'm still responsible for making food appear at regular intervals. If I stay up late I suffer in the morning - and my family often suffers with me. Natural consequences don't go away. Bumps don't stop hurting. Short nights always act like short nights. Dirty rooms never are pleasant. Yelling never solves the problem, and in fact, it makes new problems to deal with.

On the other hand, natural consequences can work for us too. Kindness and patience encourages more of the same. Clean spaces are more pleasant to be in -- and they tend to be easier to keep clean too. Reading the scriptures brings peace and stability to our home.

Choice is a remarkable thing.

P.S. I'm so glad you stopped by to read about the adventures at our house! If you want more, "Like" my blog on Facebook to get posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!


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