Unschooling: Our February 2016 adventures

Welcome to March! It’s finally starting to get warmer here in Pennsylvania, and that and some fun plans we had earlier in the month made February’s wrapup post a little later than I’d like. It was a fun unschooling month filled with animals, friends, ancient Egypt, and a huge milestone. I hope you’ll check it out!

February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

Sarah enjoyed feeding the goats at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. The goat, meanwhile, enjoyed sticking out his tongue.

(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.)

February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

Err, I don’t think they normally have those at the zoo. Here, Chris shows off a replica wolf den.

Books and magazines

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!

We really didn’t do a ton of traditional reading this month – a lot of internet stuff, which I don’t keep track of as closely – but we read a TON from National Geographic History magazine.

We are actually big into magazines in our family, and this one was well worth the subscription. It sends us down a bunch of history- and geography-related rabbit trails every month.

Specifically, both of the last two issues had articles on ancient Egypt. We read about Akhenaten, the pharoah written out of history, as well as more about King Tut, who Sarah had read a lot about during one of our first years homeschooling (cute cameo photo of this here). Even cooler, Sarah remembered, when we picked up the Akhenaten article, that some scholars believe he was Tutenkhamun’s father!

February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

You might know we like stuffed penguins. A LOT. So when the Lehigh Valley Zoo gift shop contained many, many of our favorite Aurora World penguins, Sarah had to show them off.

Movies and TV

February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

Goat tongue, part 2.

  • Quantum Leap – This has been a HUGE HUGE HUGE hit for us this month, thanks as always to Netflix. We have talked about a ton of historical and social justice issues.
  • The I.T. Crowd – Sarah and Dan and I had watched this before, and she rewatched it with my mom this month.
  • Parks and Recreation – Sarah was watching this one on her own, and finished it in February.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Continuing our way through the movies. I finished the books, so now it’s just finding the time to watch the rest!
  • Collateral Damage – What, an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Sarah had not yet seen? Now she has.
  • Another big hit for us this month? Game shows. Specifically The Chase and Family Feud on GSN. If you like trivia, I highly recommend The Chase. We have a ton of fun trying to beat “The Beast.”
  • In the past couple of months, Sarah has also gotten into Saturday Night Live, and February featured Sarah’s future presidential preference, Bernie Sanders, which she loved.
  • Amadeus – This was another Netflix find. I remembered loving this movie and the story of Mozart and Salieri when I was Sarah’s age, so I talked her into watching it. She liked it too, and we had a good time looking up the real story as well.
February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

This is me with some of my art (the three on the left) on display at a gallery called The Rooted in York, PA, in February!

Places, projects and odds and ends

February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

OF COURSE we adopted a new penguin from the Lehigh Valley Zoo. This is Plato. Why Plato? Well, we have a small version of this penguin named Think. Sarah said this penguin was a “Big Thinker,” and she loves philosophy, so… Plato was suggested, courtesy of Chris, and Sarah approved! (Plato is a Philosophy Penguin, too, by the way; he is taking part in a Coursera course with us this month.)

  • The presidential race is pretty much a daily topic of large discussion in our house. I’m so thrilled that Sarah cares about what’s goin on and is forming her own opinions about who she supports and what she wants to see in the coming four years. As it happens, my grad-school class this semester is touching on a lot of related topics, so I try to make sure I talk about those with Sarah too.
  • In 4-H, Sarah made a squirrel feeder and was elected vice president at her Wildlife Club meeting!
  • James Bond got revisited as we worked together on a post about Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig in honor of their March birthdays.
  • New friends went to dinner at the Olive Garden with us, and we all had a great time!
  • The Lehigh Valley Zoo, as seen in many pictures with today’s post, was a hit. Chris and Sarah went there in mid-February on a fairly nice day. We’d been there a few years ago and she was excited to go back!
  • The Secret Garden was performed by our local community theater, and one of Sarah’s friends, Paige, was one of the leads, so we went to check it out. It was great!
  • Art gallery goodness included work by either Sarah or me or both of us on display at three (!!!) downtown York art galleries this month.

A homeschooling milestone

February 29, 2016, marked the four-year anniversary of our Leap-Day Leap into Homeschooling, which we took on February 29, 2012. If you’re interested, here’s our very first blog post, because of course I started writing immediately (I’m such a dork). And here is a look at our first full month homeschooling, when I wrote almost daily!

I’m so excited that we made this leap. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

February 2016 unschooling adventures of the Conciliottoman family

Oh, wait, Sarah saw LIVE (African) penguins too at the zoo. New stuffed penguin Plato also got to watch the penguin show, seeing them eat and learning more about them. Sarah reports that they’re trying to increase the African penguin population thanks to breeding programs at this zoo and others, because of a huge drop-off in population.

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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7 thoughts on “Unschooling: Our February 2016 adventures

        • Haha, Crystal, they’re acrylic inks on a synthetic paper that resists liquid. I love them! I’ve also done watercolor and traditional acrylic, but this is my favorite. I’ve been doing gallery shows for about two years. Sarah had been entering youth shows for maybe 3 years, but about 2 years ago started entering her work in adult juried shows (when they allow it for people under 18) and local galleries, and has been thrilled to be accepted to many!

  1. It’s so nice when the weather finally warms up here in Pennsylvania. We went to our local zoo and our oldest got to enjoy some time outside hiking with friends. I can’t wait to mainly live outdoors again with the kids and go exploring.

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