January in a Nutshell

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” – John Holt

I’m a little behind so I won’t go into too much detail about our Christian Unschooling journey in January but I can say it was a rough start. After the energy (and sugar) rush from the holidays, getting back into a healthy family routine took about half of the month.

I didn’t get many images of the kids playing with their gifts because, well, they didn’t play with them for long. It goes to show you how children need only their imagination, nature, books, relationships and a few treasured toys in which they can be creative with.

There were a few “firsts” this month including our son purchasing a snack of his choosing with his own money (and learning about money and trade in the meantime) as well as making dinner for the family almost entirely by himself. We really celebrated these milestones with him to show how excited we are of his growth as an individual.

He also showed an interest in learning time – something being taught in schools at this age as well – not that this matters but it’s interesting to notate.

We also worked on starting each day with our Devotional again. I try not to do it if the kids aren’t interested or if our morning is “off.” It doesn’t mean I ignore our time with God. I just find other ways to try and incorporate Him into our day (pray, worship, discussion, use our prayer dice (see 3 paragraphs below)…etc.).

What would I be saying if I forced them to sit and listen? I doubt Jesus spoke to those who wasn’t open to his teachings. And I find when they’re fed, the house is clean from breakfast and everyone is in good spirits, the devotional and worship fits right in and everyone enjoys it.

But sometimes sitting down and reading our daily devotional and singing a song and dancing is something I desire more than our kids do, and that’s OK. As long as we go about our day keeping our eyes on Him, I pray He’ll lend us some grace on those tough mornings.

One wonderful gift our son did receive forIMG_5329 Christmas was a prayer dice. If we’re in a bit of a rush, which isn’t very often, we’ll roll the dice and he’ll read the prayer aloud and we’ll pray together as a family. It’s such a cute, effective way to help kids learn how to pray and memorize prayers if they so desire.

 

 

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We really moved into drawing and writing as well as using bad weather days to cozy up and simply read for hours.

In January we read My Father’s Dragon (for the second time), Magic Tree House #35 and the Pirate School series.

His interest ebbs and flows with chapter books. Sometimes he can’t get enough and only wants me to read them (instead of picture books, for example). And sometimes his interest wanes and we move onto other things when we’re halfway through with a book.

But what I love about homeschooling is we have the freedom to be a little finicky together!

He doesn’t have to stick with something if he’s no longer interested in that moment because there’s no harm done and nothing lost. He usually comes back around to it if it’s something he’s genuinely interesting in engaging himself in again. In regards to paid activities, we wait for a little while before signing him up to ensure it’s a passion he’s probably not simply going to give up on – and when he’s asked for a while we know he’s serious about exploring it.

January also brought up a new obsession: creating comic books (I can imagine because he reads them so often). Mom’s been purchasing these blank, do-it-yourself comic books from Powell’s Books and he can’t get enough of them. It’s so fun to watch him sit at the table and furiously focus on finishing them and making them such unique stories.

He’s also been asking about spiders, tornadoes and space quite frequently. So we made a special trip to the library so he could seek out books on these subjects. We then sat together and researched these books in our journals together. As a homeschooling parent, it’s intriguing to sit and learn new things alongside our children. Not only is this to our own personal benefit but our children will always know learning happens every day, at all hours, at any age.

To us, so much of unschooling is uncovering answers together and experiencing the joy of overcoming obstacles and learning answers to the worlds mysteries!

I’m starting to learn and love the DK Smithsonian books, aside from how the world was created… gotta watch out for those sneaky evolution sections!

And although I’m not a great cook, when I’m in the kitchen I try and let the kids either join me and help or “work” on their own creations. Yes, it gets messy. It’s too cute not to let them (and our kitchen) get a little wild. It’s how they learn.

 

Oh! And it snowed only one time, unfortunately for the kids, but mom was happy because it meant we weren’t stranded on the top of the hill we live on! We still spent most hours indoors because it was so cold but we still managed to go on a few excursions and explored nature, and dabbled in a little nature journaling (something I’m really looking forward to exploring more as the children grow).

 

Our son was delighted to continue his drumming lessons (he’s been breaking out his drum sticks often to play along when we worship with our church on YouStream, Athey Creek, and at other random times to play along to music).

And he continued to play with the multiple board games and mind games he received as gifts, finished a few Biblical workbooks (I purchased a few more from Barnes & Noble after he showed interest in completing the ones he received for Christmas). We also learned about Australia this month for our Little Passports activity and dabbled in arts and crafts when mom got inspired to bring out the goods.

And he’s been asking about soccer so we signed him up for a short indoor soccer program to gauge his interest. Unfortunately I find it difficult to find classes during the hours of 9am and 3pm with other kids his age – obviously because they’re all in school. (I’m not a fan of driving him distances during rush hour, a huge bonus of homeschooling). So he’s been joining younger kids in a few activities and as we get more immersed in the homeschool community, there will hopefully be more opportunities for organized activities and sports during the day.

Needless to say this was a bit nostalgic as his mama played collegiate soccer against a few of the girls on the posters in this indoor soccer complex.

And here are a random sampling of images from January I didn’t fit in above… showing our diversified, fun-filled and very active month of January.

The start to 2016 was fruitful, fun and a big learning opportunity for the whole family.

Quote of the month: On a drive my son and I talking about how I wanted to teach myself how to play Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin on the piano (his favorite color is blue so he’s extremely familiar with the song), he said: “You better hurry and learn mom, before you die!”

Better get to it!

With Love.

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