Unschooling: Our July 2015 adventures

If last month had a theme, it would Arnold Schwarzenegger. Which is cool, because his birthday was in July. Sarah wants to do a celebrity birthday post about him, but we didn’t quite there before his birthday, so it’ll come… eventually.

But we also did some other cool stuff, like heading to a local wildlife preserve, finishing a huge jigsaw puzzle, getting ready for the 4-H fair and more.

We took one of our tiny owls, Meego, to Isaac's for dinner. And made him a set of skis from some straws and toothpicks. And then, at right, we went to Lake Tobias and fed real-life goats.

We took one of our tiny owls, Meego, to Isaac’s for dinner. And made him a set of skis from some straws and toothpicks. And then, at right, we went to Lake Tobias and fed real-life goats.

(If this is your first time catching our month-in-review posts, welcome! Check out our archive of previous wrapups here for some more info on why we take this approach to documenting some of our unschooling learning adventures.)

We went to the King of Prussia Mall, a huge mall about two hours away. In it, we found this McLaren. You know, a car that costs a mortgage? Sarah wanted it.

We went to the King of Prussia Mall, a huge mall about two hours away. In it, we found this McLaren. You know, a car that costs a mortgage? Sarah wanted it.

Books

In addition to teaching Scoops the Giant Penguin some geometry, we're teaching her to drive. This is why we can't have a McLaren.

In addition to teaching Scoops the Giant Penguin some geometry, we’re teaching her to drive. This is why we can’t have a McLaren.

Disclosure: This post has some affiliate links. I only link to things we legitimately use and recommend, so if you see such a link, it’s because we really do believe in the book or item!

A fun note about that last item: We’re actually teaching our gigantic stuffed penguin, Scoops, geometry.

You might have noticed in previous posts that we are all about our stuffed friends.

Each friend has a specialty; some are chefs, some are web developers, some are huggers, and for whatever reason, Sarah decided Scoops was a Geometry Penguin.

So we’re reading the penguin a geometry book at night in which she and her fellow stuffed friends act out concepts like point, line, plane, collinearity and more.

Don’t you wish your family had a two-foot-tall Geometry Penguin? You know you do.

And, side side note, while Life of Fred is described as a Christian series, we are a secular homeschooling family and haven’t had any problems using the fairly few spiritual references we’ve found as talking points about what different people believe, which we like to do anyway.

Of note this month: It's gearing up for county fair and 4-H fair time, so lots of alpaca practice. This is Sarah with Coal, this year's project animal, working on showmanship with Teresa, one of the club's awesome leaders.

Of note this month: It’s gearing up for county fair and 4-H fair time, so lots of alpaca practice. This is Sarah with Coal, this year’s project animal, working on showmanship with Teresa, one of the club’s awesome leaders.

Movies and TV

Sarah and I got red hair. Hers redder than mine.

Sarah and I got red hair. Hers redder than mine.

Video, board and card games

  • Star Fluxx
  • A chess app that Sarah found for her iPod Touch; this may have been sparked by watching Searching for Bobby Fischer, as I noted above!
  • A homemade game called Terminator Attack (made from combining dominoes, Lego Heroica and Minotaurus, and poker chips); making our own games is kind of a hobby of ours and this was a fun one!
  • MLB 15: The Show
  • FIFA 2015
Also at Lake Tobias, on the safari tour: Sarah and Dan got a visit from an elk.

Also at Lake Tobias, on the safari tour: Sarah and Dan got a visit from an elk.

Places, projects and odds and ends

Sadness from Inside Out found the perfect job: Lamenting my puzzle piece Situation.

Sadness from Inside Out found the perfect job: Lamenting my puzzle piece Situation.

  • One of our biggest accomplishments in July was planning for 10th grade; we’ll see what comes of that plan as the year progresses!
  • Sarah and I both got red hair.
  • Sarah, Dan and I spent a Sunday at Lake Tobias, a wildlife park about an hour and a half from home that offers safari tours, a great reptile show and more.
  • Sarah also took part in a Lego robotics camp where she used Robot C to program a Lego NXT robot to do cool stuff. This camp was HARD – but she stuck with it, which made us super-proud.
  • We finished a 1,000-piece paint can jigsaw puzzle (which ended up having two of one piece and none of another piece, grr!) and a 2,000-piece America jigsaw puzzle.

So what’s new with your family this month? Drop me a comment! I love hearing from all my “blog friends!”

7 thoughts on “Unschooling: Our July 2015 adventures

  1. Your family has a rich and beautiful life. Lake Tobias Animal Park attracted my attention, not only because we love animals, but because my youngest, Quentin’s middle name is Tobias. I am putting it on my list for next year’s summer adventure. (I would put it on this summer’s but it is already full.) So good to see a post from y’all.

  2. I LOVE the giant geometry penguin, so I had to post for the first time. My name is Hannah Reimers. I’m 23 years old and a kidney transplant survivor- but that’s a story for another time… well, sort of. πŸ™‚ I’ve been reading about your unschooling adventures for quite some time now. I was diagnosed with a severe chronic illness called FSGS in 2007 when I was 15, so I missed most of high school. I was enrolled in a public school through it, but only because my family and I had never heard of un-schooling and weren’t sure how to start homeschooling! Had we, I’m sure I would have spent my last two years in high school as an unschooler- because though I did do my homework, that’s pretty much what I was. An unschooler who taught myself had to write! (Even though this post is very poorly written…) Anyway, since then, I’ve become a self-studied advocate for chronically ill children, and in doing so, I’ve taught myself about education alternatives (since attending school is almost impossible when you’re vomiting 2+ times a day for months)… and eventually, I stumbled on your site. SO cool! I had to say hello because of the stuffed animals! πŸ™‚ My brother and I were always incredibly imaginative kids. We created an entire imaginary world. Many of our characters were stuffed animals, but some were “invisible” imaginary friends. I wrote down our stories. I didn’t give this up until I was fourteen or so, and only because I thought it was dumb. Sixteen and literally dying, I found the stories under my bed. I started reading them again. I got out my stuffed animals, and I started writing again. I gave one of the human characters kidney disease, too, so I wasn’t alone. I got a transplant at 18, and while kidney transplantation is NOT a cure (in my case, I’m still disabled, although I appear to be perfectly healthy), I’ve been doing MUCH better and am no longer dying! Anyway, all those stories I wrote? Well, they are being woven together with a fictionalized version of my real story… and now I’m an author! Self-published and e-books only for now, but still. The e-books are available on Amazon, and they are FILLED with stuffed animals with personalities. I would love to send them for free to Sarah if she is interested- they are YA fiction (half medical, half fantasy- and lots of plush penguins!), and I love interacting with fans! (If not, no problem.) These are definitely books about being yourself, and from what I’ve been told, they are well-written and professional. (A few people I’ve never met claim they are their favorite books- not to brag, just to say they are legible.) If you’re interested, feel free to email me (if you can see my email- not sure how this works!) or send me a private message via https://www.facebook.com/ThePfaABookForKidsWithKidneyDisease. There are currently six books (novellas) published and six to come over the next two years! Anyway, thanks for reading this too-long and unedited message! (And no, it is not ridiculous Sarah’s plush buddies have proficiency certificates- Pepper the Cat has her own toy box, and I’m 23.)

  3. We are watching “classic” movies this summer (Gone with the wind, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, etc). But here are a few suggestions for Sara–my husband shows them in his German classes: Sophie Scholl, White Rose, Sonnen Alle, Baron Von Munchausen (and yep, the syndrome got its name from the character!)

  4. I don’t know how serious your request was to join us in our Medieval Feast, but I am serious with my answer, which is yes, if you are willing to make the trip, you are welcome to come to our feast. I will assign you guys parts to play, however. If you are serious, just email me and we can work out the details. ( bergenholtzfamily@gmail.com )

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