Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Taliesin has been so proud of himself lately for his reading. His reading endeavors began with Peter Rabbit. Here lately, he has been reading a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine books and even some readers (all his choice, of course). I always considered him more of a sight word reader. Phonics has never been his thing. That is, until he discovered alphabet cookie cutters and Playdoh.

I bought a big box of cookie cutters to use with Playdoh a few days ago - 110 cookie cutters that includes the alphabet, numbers, shapes, sports themes, flowers, you name it. Taliesin discovered his love of making words with the alphabet Playdoh creations. He is getting to be quite the pro at sounding out words that he has not memorized by sight. Nathanael is even getting in on the action by making his own words. It's amazing what a little Playdoh can do.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Planting Snapdragons

A couple of days ago, our neighbor was riding her bike and we were outside planting our flower garden in our front yard. Taliesin, the night before, had picked some snapdragons to plant; and Nathanael had picked some petunias. We also planted rose bushes, a wild flower mixture, forget-me-nots (another of Taliesin's favorites), zinnias, and morning glories (another of Nathanael's favorites). As our young neighbor rode past our house, she stopped to talk; and she proudly told me, "Kandy, I got an A and a B!" I, of course, told her that I was proud of her. Taliesin, without missing a beat, told her, "I got snapdragons!"
Maybe it sounds crazy, but that made me so proud of him. Those two statements just epitomized the difference between the school mindset and the unschool mindset. What most kids are striving for is a letter grade - that "A." That is what they know. I have school-age children in childcare who, it seems, only talk about what grade level in reading they are at. It has been pounded into their heads since they were old enough to think that what they live for is going to school and getting good grades and staying ahead of the rest of the kids in their grade.
I am almost finished with my education degree. In fact, other than a couple of core classes for my religion degree, some gen. ed. classes, and scholarly writing for teachers and my practicum; I have taken all of the required education classes. And, don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed them all and have learned a lot. I'm glad it was something I pursued. But the more I learn about the education system, the stronger I believe in unschooling. I just cannot wrap my mind around a child's whole educational existence being based upon standardized testing and grade level. When Taliesin does something more academic - like reading to me or making pictures and putting sticker letters at the top to title the picture - I do not place him at grade level. Half of the lapbooks that he does are, according to the front, at fourth or fifth grade level. I don't care! What I care about is he enjoys what he is doing. That is the important thing to me. He plantssnapdragons. What more could I ask for?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pre-Easter Fun

I love Easter! We have been having so much fun with pre-Easter traditions - Easter egg hunts, coloring Easter eggs, making Easter art. This year, Taliesin and Nathanael have also been working on Resurrection lapbooks. And, of course, tonight they'll be leaving carrots and vegetable juice for Easter bunny. Tomorrow, we have church. And then the fun will continue on Monday evening with a BBQ (Kelsey was unable to get off of work tomorrow; so we had to postpone our BBQ for Monday).
I have to admit these monster Easter eggs turned out very cute! And I cannot believe how many Easter eggs Nathanael gathered at the Easter egg hunt this morning. He was working hard! I think tomorrow after church, we will use the Resurrection eggs (one of Nathanael's favorites) and watch an animated DVD about the crucifixion and resurrection (one of Taliesin's favorites). I am very proud of Taliesin and Nathanael. They enjoy the fun stuff; but they truly understand the spiritual meaning of the holiday as well.