Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nathanael!

Today is Nathanael's birthday, and he got snow! He enjoyed playing in the snow. We made "Happy Birthday" banners and posters (Taliesin made one especially for Nathanael back on his birthday and gave it to him today). Then I went to the DAV and got Nathanael a bag of toys (his request). He's still a little down today and has tried to find "Flower" once. We talked about how "Flower" is somewhere in this house, but he's hiding from us. I told him it's okay to miss "Flower," and we'll find him eventually. Until then, it's okay to play with his other toys. I also showed him the new kitty he'll be getting in the mail. He asked who is sending it to him. I told him that it's someone named Penny. So he told me he's going to name the new kitty "Penny." I told him that sounds good. Now he's in the kitchen playing with some stacking cardboard blocks.

I am feeling more and more confident that "Flower" was lost in the house somewhere - somewhere that we haven't thought to look yet. Because of the cold weather, Kelsey delivered The Buyer's Guide route alone and he asked at the other houses that I had not gotten to yet if they had seen a gray and black striped stuffed cat. No one had. He also asked several of the kids on the route, and none of them had seen him, either. The people on this route are really, really nice. They're the type of people who gave us bottles of water this summer when we were delivering. So I am confident that if someone had found "Flower," they would have said they did and probably realized who it belonged to. And I just know Nathanael was playing with him here on Wednesday morning. The trick is finding him - and keeping Nathanael from being too sad until we do. I'll be glad when "Penny" gets here. :^)


Monday, January 26, 2009

Angels Among Us

Thank you all for the prayers! I really do appreciate them and feel them! Nathanael's stuffed cat "Flower" has been missing officially since Wednesday. I honestly thought he was somewhere around the house. It still seems like I saw him playing with him on Wednesday morning. By Wedesday evening, he couldn't find him. If he isn't in the house (which I'm realy praying he is), he may have been lost on The Buyer's Guide route on Tuesday. I've gone back to the route twice and talked with many of the people in the houses on the street Nathanael helped deliver. None of them have seen Flower. They were so sweet, though; and many told me they would keep an eye out for him because they know how much stuffed animals mean to the little ones. That really means a lot. Then Penny at CCU was so sweet. We found a new Flower (very, very similar to the old one) on Nathanael said he would like to have a new one (but still find the old one, too, of course). There were only two left in stock, and we do not get paid until Friday. So Penny ordered it and had it shipped to us, and I will pay her back on Friday. Between your prayers, Penny's help, and the people on the newspaper route just saying they will watch; I honestly feel so blessed. I'm one that hates to ask for help. But you are all the best!

God bless.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Please Pray

We have been enjoying several activities over the past few days - and I have some fun pictures to post. I would just like to pause, however, and ask you to please pray over our family. We have been facing a few trials. Even Nathanael has been facing a trial as one of his favorite toys is missing. Please pray. :^)

Thank you. God bless.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Unschooling Lifestyle


The Writing...

Above you will see some projects that Taliesin and Nathanael are currently working on. They are designing their own books. They're really simple - just fold a few pieces of posterboard in half and use their imagination! I actually got this idea from my textbook in my education class. I showed it to Taliesin and Nathanael this morning and asked if they wanted to try it. They definitely did! They're not finished yet. We're taking our time. They're enjoying it.
Other than their books today, we have played with their toy recycling trucks. Then they wanted to read Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. Well, those went well together. The Lorax led into a few pages of Barbara Holland's and Hazel Lucas' Caring for Planet Earth. Now they're playing with their toy recycling trucks again as I type.
My college studies and other events have really made me think about unschooling as a lifestyle. I've always known unschooling - really, homeschooling, in general, is a lifestyle. But I guess I never realized how much it is a lifestyle. I think what really made it sink in is the Women of Passions conference that I am working on. One of segments of the conference is a Passion for Family. I can honestly say that I could not speak about a Passion for Family without speaking about homeschooling - in particular, unschooling. Our life is so intertwined with our unschooling adventures, there is really no way to separate them. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not unschool. Oh, sure, I'm tempted to sometimes ship Taliesin and Nathanael off to school. LOL Not really, but sometimes I feel that way. LOL. But I don't think I could do that. I honestly do not. Life would just not be the same. When I look back through this blog - just the past few months even; I can see how our lives were enriched because our unschooling. It is honestly amazing to me. As I've been reading in my textbook about education philosophies and the importance of reading and various ideas and theories; I still come back to unschooling. I come back to the fact that if learning is truly a delight-driven, interest-led, natural process for a child; there really is no way to separate learning from life.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Core Beliefs about Reading

I just posted this in a discussion board for my education class - a class on reading and learning to read. Each of us were to post our core beliefs about reading. I thought some of you may be interested in this.

I think everyone here is agreement that reading and learning to read is one of the most important things we can teach our children. I 100% agree with our textbook on the subject of early literacy - from birth to school. I remember when my six-year old was a baby - my husband and I would read books to him and show him colorful pictures (he never liked black and white pictures the way most babies do). He would stay entertained for long periods of time with books. Some if his favorites were a set of Sesame Street alphabet board books that we ordered for him. We were so happy and proud that he enjoyed books and reading so much.
Then, along came my almost-four-year old son. He was the total opposite of Taliesin. We tried and tried and tried to read to Nathanael, to show him colorful pictures, black and white pictures - nothing worked. We could not get through more than two pages of a board book with four words on each page - literally. He was a mover and a shaker as a baby. He loved playing with his baby gym and moving around on the floor, but he would not sit still for books or pictures. I can honestly say that he was a year old before he would look at books or would sit still to allow us read a short book to him. However, that did not stop us. We would read to him while he was playing. We would read to him while he was crawling. We would show him pictures and images in books any chance that we had.

Our older son, Taliesin, was diagnosed with a speech delay just before his third birthday. So we took his love for books and used it to aid with his speech skills. Today, he is six-year old and learning to read. We allow him to go at his own pace, and he learns in his own way. Sometimes this takes the form of studying phonics sounds. At other times, it takes the form of reading in whole-word readers. At other times, it's reading his favorites stories. At yet other times, it takes the form of him dictating a story as we write it down and him illustrating it (he is quite the artist). He is also writing his letters very well - both capital and lower case. Our younger son, Nathanael, does enjoy books much more now than he did as a baby. He is, however, still a mover and a shaker. Much of the time, he is playing or building with blocks or Legos as we read to him. But he always seems to comprehend what he has heard. He can answer questions about the stories he hears as he plays. He recognizes most of his alphabet to see it and is learning the sounds that the letters make. There are some books that he loves to read over and over and over. One of his favorites is the Sesame Street book The Monster at the End of this Book. I think he likes it so well because it has so much activity and imagination contained within its pages.

I have learned a lot about reading and literacy from my sons. The one thing I have definitely learned is all children learn differently - that includes learning to read. Where Taliesin loves to sit down and read book after book and story after story; Nathanael has to keep busy as he is read to. But both are learning. I agree with our textbook that literacy and pretend play go hand-in-hand. Children learn best through play. Playing, after all, is what they do best.
Where I part ways with much of traditional education is I truly believe that, even in older years and upper grades; children still learn best naturally. I am a big advocate of child-directed learning. I think children learning something in a forced environment is anything but an enjoyable experience. I believe that children should have a say in what they want to read. If they want to read from a reader, that is fine. If they prefer The Cat in the Hat, Madeline, The Lord of the Rings, or even a comic book; that is fine, too. Reading should be an enjoyable experience. I believe, so many times, children have difficulties learning to read or keeping an interest in reading once they learn; because they are forced to learn a certain way or forced to read things that they are not interested in.

Right now, my sons and I are in the process studying using some Dr. Seuss unit studies we found online. They are having so much fun! Just today, we read about the prejudice Sneetches, about the pride of "Yertle the Turtle," and the bragging of the rabbit and the bear in "The Big Brag." We then talked about how pride can affect us all, and read the Bible story of the Tower of Babel. We then talked about how prejudice is an aweful thing and read in the newspaper about how people celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But it won't stop there. Later today, we are going grocery shopping to purchase supplies to make blueberry pancakes and chocolate chip/oatmeal cookies that they found in their Disney children's cookbook. The key to these studies is they are things that my sons are interested in. They combine literacy and real life. They keep it real. They are definitely child-directed studies.


Saturday, January 17, 2009


Well, Taliesin appears to be over his stomach flu - even though he was extremely tired yesterday afternoon. Nathanael has had it. I'm not sure that he's completely over it yet. I have my assignments for my education class completed for the week. I did that on purpose so I could concentrate specifically on the inductive Bible study the last three days of the week. Wow! This is such an intense class! That's all I can say for it. It's very hermenuetics-based. That is, it's based upon interpretation of Scripture. I love it! The way the textbook describes reading the Bible is like reading a love letter we just received. We read it over and over and over, paying to specific detail. I'm half-way through with the study itself for this week, then I have to type the assignment and submit. With Taliesin and Nathanael being sick, and with college backing up a little; I did not make it to a class I had planned on attending at church today. I feel bad. This is the second time I've missed attending this class. But God is in control. When He's ready for me to attend, the perfect time will be there. Well, back to my studies. Just wanted to update. :^)


Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Dean's List

I'm so excited! I just received an e-mail from Liberty University's Registar letting me know that I made the Dean's List for the fall 2008 semester! I love it! I made the Dean's List last spring as well. I hope this trend keeps up!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Taliesin!

Princess, knowing Taliesin isn't feeling himself...

Nathanael, just relaxing with Riley

Today, Jan. 13, is Taliesin's sixth birthday! And he has the stomach flu. :^( At least his party (along with Nathanael's, whose birthday is Jan. 27) isn't until the end of the month. We always plan a big double party for them. Last year, it was a movie/art party. This year, it's going to be a pizza party. Taliesin's theme will be Wall-E, and Nathanael has decided on Cars, even though he had that theme two years ago. LOL. But that's okay.

For their birthdays themselves, we always try to do something special - decorate the house with Happy Birthday banners, make a cake, etc. Well, earlier this morning Taliesin decided to paint. You may remember a picture of his log cabin he got before Christmas. Well, it sits on our kitchen table, and he was painting in the kitchen. He looked at his log cabin and told me, "That looks like it's made out of Lincoln logs. I would like some Lincoln logs for my birthday." So I told him we would get him some and give them to him at his party. He was satisfied. But today, I decided he also needs some kind of present for today, after all it is his special day. So I took the last $4.75 I have for the week next door to the DAV thrift store. You will never believe what I found. There, on the very back wall, was a big bag of Lincoln logs for $4.29. The total cost came to $4.59 with tax. I know that that bag of Lincoln logs was left there for Taliesin's birthday. They made a sick little birthday boy very happy on his special day. God is good! And, another special thing, Kelsey had put back some camera batteries that I didn't know about. So I was even able to get some birthday pictures today. :^)


Monday, January 12, 2009


Well, Taliesin had his second basketball class tonight. He joined in all of the activities, but he kept asking me if it was time to leave yet. Afterward, he told me it's boring and he doesn't want to go back. So if he changes his mind before the next class, that's fine; if not, that's fine, too. He tried it. He doesn't care for it. Now he knows. Last week Kelsey took him. This week, I did. I agree with Kelsey - I think it's too much public-school like, instructions given, students follow. There is not much room for creativity and imagination, even though the coach is very friendly. That, and I think an hour is too long for kids this young. They would learn a lot more with half-hour classes, IMHO.

But this week I did run into my former supervisor's supervisor at the class. For those who do not know, I left this company for several reasons - one, I did not agree with their ethics and two, they would not work the schedule I was needing for homeschooling. (Yes, I do understand that homeschooling - particularly unschooling - can be done at any time. Learning does not just take place on certain days during certain hours. But at this time, Taliesin was in speech therapy through the public school system. They were asking a lot of questions and implying a lot about homeschooling. So I wanted to be safe and be home during regular "school hours"). Anyway, my former supervisor's supervisor asked if we were still homeschooling. I told her we definitely are - going on three years now. She gave me the typical non-homeschooler reply, "I don't know how you do it!" If I hadn't been so busy with Taliesin and basketball, I would have explained; but I didn't. Oh, well, that's that.

So Taliesin wants to visit a karate studio again that has a special class for six-year olds called "Little Dragons." It sounds like a really neat program. And it's within our budget. So I'm sure we'll start going there on Mondays instead of to basketball.


We're Trendy Now! I hope this link is able to opened. I just received this by e-mail via Parents Magazine. According to this article, it is now trendy for 2009 to homeschool! Parents, according to the article, are realizing that schools are subpar and are themselves able to teach their own children - by homeschooling and unschooling. (Yes, unschooling is mentioned by name!) Wow! I feel so honored that I'm trendy now! Seriously, though, I think this is a step in the right direction. At least people are realizing the value of home education!

Now back to our unschooling adventures!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Camera Battery Low

Well, it seems it is time to buy a new camera battery again. I have some fun pictures I want to post - like of a drawing of a robot named Ezfop! that Taliesin created. I guess those will have to wait for now - probably until Friday when Kelsey and I get paid and can buy a new battery.

Things are extremely hectic right now. College officially begins tomorrow for both Kelsey and me, I am currently helping to plan the Women of Passions promotional tour for this area (including working on a speaking part of my own), the unschooling group will be getting back to together after a short hiatus for the holidays this week, I have the first meeting to attend for an exercise/weight loss support group that a friend is starting, and, to top it all off, my work schedule for next week is all messed up! I'm scheduled to close on a day that my availability is only until 9:00; I'm scheduled on another day that I requested off. We're trying to get everything worked out now. Normally, it wouldn't bother me so much; but with this being the first week of new college classes (one of them extremely intense and time-consuming); I really would like to have the extra time off.

So forgive me if I do not post as often on my blog this week as I usually do. I will do my best to keep up!


Friday, January 9, 2009

College Days are Here Again..

Well, our (as in Kelsey's and my) college classes for this eight weeks have been updated onto Liberty's website. We finally got our access today! Kelsey is taking another business class (one about organization behavior or something like that) and an aplogetics class. I am taking an inductive Bible study and a teaching class about teaching children to read. I'm excited! The inductive Bible study is very in-depth. Each week has several chapters of reading and several assignments due, plus an exegetical paper over a Bible Passage at the end of eight weeks. The one on teaching children to read should be interesting, considering Taliesin is learning to read in his own way right now. He, of course, does know the sounds that letters make and recognizes several sight words - both in readers and in regular storybooks; but he's learning to read in his own way and at his own pace. The second week, I have an interesting discussion board in this class in which each of us students is required to write about our educational theory regarding learning to read and teaching to read. Should be interesting. I have to say, as I usually do, all children are different. Some learn to read one way, others a totally different way. I think, again, it all comes down to child-directed learning. Yeah, it should definitely be an interesting discussion. :^)


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Makes Me Thankful for My Education Degree

I received this link on a regional homeschooling discussion list. I am just so thankful God provided a way for me to pursue my secondary degree in education! I definitely know this degree is part of God's plan for my life and for my sons' "education."


colorful moods, lazy birds, rubber eggs, pumpkin cake, and eggshell art

A raw egg placed in vinegar becomes soft and rubbery - much as our teeth

do if we do not keep them brushed - an experiment to coincide with

The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss.

Nathanael's drawing based upon Dr. Seuss's

My Many Colored Days

Taliesin's drawing of a lazy bird, based upon the Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hatches an Egg. (This is the first time he has used his sketchpad and drawing pencils he received for Christmas!)

Taliesin stirring the batter for the cream cheese filling for our pumpkin cake - which, of course,

includes the use of eggs - eggciting study based upon Horton Hatches an Egg.

Making eggshell art...


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas. We can officially begin taking our Christmas decorations down now. LOL. Not that I haven't enjoyed them. I have! I remember when I was little, my mom hated Christmas decorations; she really disliked Christmas in general. She always felt we do not know when Jesus was born, so why celebrate it on Dec. 25. She was content to put the Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve and take it down on Dec. 26 (something we did for much of my teenager-hood). But I remember when I was little always feeling a disappointment that Christmas was over. It felt like a big let-down, to me. We had to wait a whole year to do it again. It wasn't about the toys or presents for me, it was really about the celebration. I don't want Taliesin and Nathanael to feel that way. I want them to enjoy their decorations and the spirit of Christmas - even after Dec. 25. Just this last Sunday, while driving home from church, Taliesin asked me why everyone had taken their decorations down. I explained to him that some people take theirs down earlier than we do. We leave ours up for what is called Epiphany - the day we celebrate the wise men coming to Jesus. I just enjoy Christmas too much, I guess. :^)


Monday, January 5, 2009

Today's Activities

Last night, we were invited to my manager's house today to help make the Amish friendship bread. Taliesin and Nathanael had so much fun! I thought they were rather ornery while they were there, by my manager assured me they were just active but were very good. :^) That's always nice to here. After making the bread (or, actually, they were the muffin version), we made a trip to the library to pick up whatever Dr. Seuss books that we do not have for the unit studies and some books on the Amish. While there, we ran into some fellow homeschoolers that we know; so Taliesin and Nathanael played with them in the library's imagination station and then built some cool towers and castles with Legos. After our library visit, Kelsey took Taliesin to basketball while Nathanael and I went home and read two of the Dr. Seuss books - Horton Hears a Who and My Many Colored Days. He loves them both. After reading the latter, he decided to make a colorful picture to describe his moods. (I will post a picture of it when I post other pictures from their Dr. Seuss studies. Taliesin is in such a hurry to start them, but we just did not have time today with everything else). Now, Taliesin and Nathanael are downstairs watching a video of The Little Mermaid (they are still in a fish mood) while I gather some final information for my Messenger conversation with Jeanice from Women of Passions tomorrow morning. :^) Oh, btw, I think Taliesin was a little disappointed in his basketball class. It's through our parks and rec. department of the city offices here, but it is held at a local grade school. I think it's a little too much like regular school for him - a little too structured. He told me he likes it, but he just doesn't seem as excited about it as he does his dance lessons or karate classes. Oh, well. At least he's tried. And he still wants to continue going to them (there are five sessons left), though, so he's determined! That's always good. :^)


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Unschooling Unit Studies?

Well, I am on several online lists for homeschoolers. Most of them are unschooling lists, but there are a few homeschooling ones, too. Usually, I pretty much ignore curriculum conversations unless something specifically catches my eye. Well, I was reading a thread on unit studies on the Homefires discussion board recently (I really like Diane Flynn Keith), and one of the other member submitted this link: I saw some of the unit studies were based on books that Taliesin and Nathanael love - like Dr. Suess books! So I showed them to Taliesin and Nathanael and read them some of the ideas. Taliesin was thrilled! He's been requesting for two days to do our unit studies. So we began one yesterday over A Fish Out of Water. He had so much fun with it. Of course, we did not stick strictly with the unit study. We added our own things to it - like the book The Little Mermaid, which led to a discussion of what must of changed in Ariel to allow her to breath on land rather than underwater once she was made human. Today, we went to PetCo to pick up some crickets for Dorothy (the tree frog), and Taliesin and Nathanael had to look at the animals while were there, of course. Looking at the different types of fish got us into a good discussion about which fish are salt water fish and which are fresh water.
We also got into the discussion of nutrition, per unit study recommendation (and Taliesin's enthusiastic "YES!") about nutrition, which led us to talk about the food pyramid. We made a food pyramid with poster board and gel pens and, per Taliesin's request, hung it beside the fridge - that way we know what category our food falls into when we get it out. Nathanael even got into it with a food picture book he has by naming which category each food in the book goes into.
Needless to say, Taliesin is so excited over the Dr. Suess unit study. And a manager from work is giving me a starter to Amish friendship bread next week, so we had a nice talk about the Amish today. Tomorrow we're going to the library to pick out lots of books - including whatever Dr. Suess ones we do not have in our own library and books about the Amish. I've said it many times, but I think it needs said again - I LOVE UNSCHOOLING!
(Now back to our checkers game).


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful 2008 and that 2009 will be even better! Taliesin and Nathanael tried to stay awake last night to ring in the new year, but they didn't quite make it. They did get to watch part of New Year's Eve in Time Square online before they fell asleep, though. Then this morning, we had our own New Year's celebration - complete with streamers, noisemakers, popping firecrackers, and shiny hats. Then they made posters out of the streamers that emerged from the poppers. After that, we looked online for celebrations of the New Year from various countries. In between times, of course, we built with Legos, played with trains, read books, and played some computer games. Today has been a good beginning to our new year.

My Resolutions for 2009:
To be the best wife and mom I can be, to continue my studies of God's Word, to continue following the call the Lord has placed upon my life, to continue allowing my sons to follow their interests and learn everyday - encouraging them to follow their own dreams and goals, and it would be nice to get in better physical shape.

My Goals for 2009:
Keep working hard in college (passing with all "A"s would definitely be nice), finish the Heath Ledger book for a spring publication, and continue working on my freelance writing (2008 has been a wonderful year for that).