Unschooling: Our November/December 2015 adventures

Here we all are! Dan, me (Joan), my mom (also Joan), Chris, and, of course, Sarah!

Here we all are! Dan, me (Joan), my mom (also Joan), Chris, and, of course, Sarah!

Happy 2016! I am so thankful that we are finishing – and starting – yet another year unschooling, living and learning together. Looking back, I really didn’t do nearly as much as I would have liked to on this blog in 2015, but I am grateful to those of you who have read and commented as we share some snippets from our journey.

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

I’d like to do more short, “moment from our unschooling life” posts in 2016. I used to write almost every day about the odds and ends of our lives, and while I probably can’t keep up with that pace, I am hoping to share a bit more. That’s where you come in: If you’re reading this, what would you like to hear more about? The things we talk about? Our current favorite movies/books/TV shows/games? Places we go? Unschooling philosophy? I can certainly do my best to oblige, and to keep wrapping up some of what we do in these monthly posts.

(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.)

You have to watch out for those tiny zombies. Really.

You have to watch out for those tiny zombies. Really.

Books

Sarah got a bunch of new books for Christmas that have added a ton to our reading experiences! Meanwhile, I just realized that I rarely share on here what I’m reading, but you can keep up with me on Goodreads, where I am diligent about listing my selections.

Sarah has not one but two Lovely Yetis, the larger one acquired at Christmas and the smaller one in Arizona earlier this year. Their names are A-Bomb (Abominable), and H-Bomb (Huge Abominable). Because of course.

Sarah has not one but two Lovely Yetis, the larger one acquired at Christmas and the smaller one in Arizona earlier this year. Their names are A-Bomb (Abominable), and H-Bomb (Huge Abominable). Because of course.

Movies and TV

Let me be honest: The holidays aren’t nearly as fun here as our photos make it look. Honestly, Sarah and I both get REALLY stressed out around this time of year, and anxiety is a constant companion. So the week between Christmas and New Year’s was basically spent sitting on the couch, watching movies and TV.

One of Sarah's random projects recently was sorting some stamps she received for free from an organization called Stamps Teach Plus. (Click this photo to check them out!)

One of Sarah’s random projects recently was sorting some stamps she received for free from an organization called Stamps Teach Plus. (Click this photo to check them out!)

I surprised Sarah and Dan with a Giant Penguin. His name is Hoogerheide. (We kind of have A Lot of Penguins. Click this photo to see more of them.)

I surprised Sarah and Dan with a Giant Penguin. His name is Hoogerheide. (We kind of have A Lot of Penguins. Click this photo to see more of them.)

Video, board and card games

Fall Sarah was hanging out at Pinchot Park, one of our favorite places.

Fall Sarah was hanging out at Pinchot Park, one of our favorite places.

Sarah engaged in some birthday cheek-smooshing with her dad, Chris, on his birthday.

Sarah engaged in some birthday cheek-smooshing with her dad, Chris, on his birthday.

Places, projects and odds and ends

Sarah's Christmas portrait.

Sarah’s Christmas portrait.

  • We went to a Hershey Bears game. They almost won.
  • Mom, Sarah, one of my mom’s friends and I went to tea in Hershey, then on New Year’s Day (I know, that’s technically January), Mom, Chris, Dan, Sarah and I went out for tea at our favorite tea room in York County.
  • Sarah, Dan and I saw the Chinese National Acrobats at the Strand, a local theater, with friends, then went out for pizza afterward.
  • We acquired a giant teddy bear that we named Einstein. Later, we acquired a giant penguin that we named Hoogerheide.
  • Unfortunately, on Veterans Day, we had to say goodbye to our amazing polydactyl cat Mitts, who had been sick for a while.
  • In happier cat news, we scared a different one of our cats with a cucumber.
  • Sarah sorted her Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. She has a few.

    Sarah sorted her Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. She has a few.

  • We talked about a giant salamander found in a cave in China.
  • Sarah enjoyed listening to music from and watching several performances of The Nutcracker. First, she saw it in Harrisburg with her grandparents, then she, Dan and I went to see three friends of hers dance in COBALT Dance Company’s Nutcracker in Lancaster! (And we watched the movie version, mentioned above.)
  • My best friend Nina came over and took great family photos of us right after Christmas.
  • In 4-H, Sarah did some really cool research about the migration habits of bats, and the alpaca club celebrated the holidays with a laser tag and bowling party, in which, in one laser tag game, the kids proudly beat the adults.

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

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12 thoughts on “Unschooling: Our November/December 2015 adventures

  1. I am afraid that I can’t help you to decide what kind of posts to write as I like all of your posts. You all are such fun people. We understand about anxiety, as one of my children is being treated for it.

    • Anxiety is NOT FUN. I will certainly send good thoughts to your family as you deal with it too. I am so glad you are here and reading. It ALWAYS makes my day to get your comments.

  2. Hi Joan – all of the above! I get a lot out of your posts, but mostly ideas – for how to tackle unschooling and document learning from everyday life. So perhaps the discussions you have, the trips you take and, well… all of the above! Thanks again for your posts and sharing your experiences. Happy New Year!

  3. I would like to see more about your lessons,materials you use and how you keep written records of what you did.I have a 15 yr old with severe anxiety and am having problems connecting with him on any thing.

    • Marybeth, I feel you there! I will certainly see what I can do about those topics. Regarding written records, if you haven’t already seen them, I’d point you toward some free resources we include for our email subscribers, which include things like our high school transcript (describing how we give credits, etc.) If you have any trouble getting those, certainly let me know, but that’s one place to start as you wait for me to get around to my promised writings! ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep your head up. Anxiety is no fun.

  4. Hi Joan! I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog. I’m just starting to homeschool my preschooler, and although we’re doing more of a mix, I am inspired by the world of unschooling and all things hands-on. We’re also from PA (Lehigh, formerly Lancaster), and you have given me some great info to ponder as we get closer to the age of requirement. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Could you possibly write a post about explaining apps used on a college transcript? (I.e. Making it sound more professional and worthwhile then say a actual textbook?)

    • I can certainly talk more about how we do our transcripts! Generally you don’t need anything as specific as the materials used in your transcript, though – so you don’t need to say what textbook or app specifically! For instance, Sarah earned half a credit for “Concepts of Algebra” last year with the description “Foundational study in equation-based thinking, conceptual math and problem-solving.” That was largely from discussions and app-based learning, not a textbook. I hope that’s a quick help while I work on a larger post!

  6. I just love reading about your life and being reassured that it’s possible to live unconventionally but still successfully! Sarah might like to know that for my birthday next week, we’re going trekking with alpacas and we’ve been instructed to bring snacks for the alpacas. My girlfriend suggested “remember the alpaca snacks” should be our motto for life!

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