If you're curious about the name, well, I have my son to thank for that.. My son is spectrum (Einstein's syndrome) and the two things he's most fascinated with would be water and pine cones. There are pine cones all over my house since there's a small pine tree outside my front door that drops them each year and my son collects them. Pine cones have become a staple in our home and many of our first lessons in counting and basic mathematics involved the use of those pine cones since they were so plentiful. It seemed only fitting to name this blog after those early experiences with my son.
First, I should state I am not much of a blogger. I've tried this a few times but never found anything interesting to write about. I mean, we're an average family who live less than average lives. Even my parents get bored when I give them updates on what we've been doing because really, it's pretty mundane. We live on a military base out in the middle of nowhere, there's nothing to do and our days primarily consist of staying at home. We eat homecooked meals as there's really nowhere to go out to eat at within a 30 mile radius and our entertainment consists of television and the occasional board games as there's nothing to do here. We are basically John Q Public, only even less exciting.
|Learning about the Renaissance with Thaddeus the Dentist|
The only thing that makes our family a bit different from the typical modern family is that we have chosen to homeschool our children. There's an elementary school less than 3 blocks away from our home but we instead chose to be in charge of two of our children's education. Our oldest daughter who is a 9th grader in High School does attend public schools but our two youngest are learning while sitting in their pajamas (or in my son's case, shirtless as he has sensory issues) in the comfort of our home. Originally this decision was one of necessity: our son is special needs and sitting in a traditional classroom setting really wasn't an option. To make matters worse, the school did not offer a special education program and wanted to bus our son 45 minutes one way to the closest school that did offer special education. This was something we did not feel comfortable with and instead opted to keep our son out of school and instead teach him in a home environment.
One year later and we were debating sending our youngest off to the nearby school for Kindergarten. California, however, seems to have a shortage of qualified teachers and we learned that classes were being combined (Kindergarten with 1st Grade, 2nd with 3rd) with one teacher trying to teach both grades. My husband and I discussed this and finally decided that public education just wasn't appropriate for either of our children and I added full time teacher to the list of many other titles that I currently have.
|Observing birds from eggs to fledgelings|
|Learning about Butterflies|
|Origami while studying China|
I've been asked many times if I expect my children to get as quality of an education at home as they would in a traditional school environment. I answer this question honestly. No, I don't. I have little faith in public schools after having a teenage daughter who has been in the system for 10 years now. Schools today are too worried about standardized testing that results in money from the state. They teach the tests and really nothing more. My oldest daughter is in high school and cannot tell you where the state of New York is located. She cannot look at a non-digital clock and tell you the time. She has never learned to write in cursive and even her printing is hard to read. There is no longer any home economic classes like when I was in school where students learned basic cooking, cleaning and sewing skills. There's no challenge in her school so long as she can pass the yearly test the State
|Even momma bobcats need a break from time to time.|
|Garrett browning meat|
Which brings me to the purpose of this blog. As said before, I've tried to blog thing before but had no clue what to talk about. I blogged about our move from Michigan to California when my husband was stationed here by the Air Force but beyond that, I had nothing to really write about. However, today on a facebook group I am a part of for Unschooling, someone mentioned blogging what we do each day in order to keep record of what we learn. I never considered doing it, but the idea is awesome. So that's what I'm going to do... I'll use this blog to document our studies and our activities. I'm starting this late in our school year (although, our school "year" is 24/7/365 instead of just from August to May like traditional schooling) which is sad for me as this year we covered the development of butterflies from caterpillars, the pyramids of Egypt, volcanoes and many other really fun units. It would have been nice to document them better for posterity. Now, I can. And who knows, maybe someone just starting homeschooling or unschooling who is in the same position I was in, getting frustrated and at their breaking point because the standard model of education doesn't fit their child, well, maybe they will find this blog and realize that it doesn't have to be that way.
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