Unschooling: Our March 2016 adventures

As I finalize this post, it is a 40-degree day in April. At least it didn’t SNOW like it called for today. I can’t even. Thank goodness March was such a great month for unschooling, because the weather was terrible!

That said, we’ve had a ton of fun exploring a bunch of new things, and I’m excited to share. For our family, December, January and February are always our “low” months, it seems like, and when March rolls around, we kind of get our groove back.

Of note in March: Sarah and I got our hair done. We do it about 4 times a year, always in some crazy color and/or style. Sarah has a black and green mohawk; I have green, teal and purple streaks and blonde highlights. We're kind of rockstars.

Of note in March: Sarah and I got our hair done. We do it about 4 times a year, always in some crazy color and/or style. Sarah has a black and green mohawk; I have green, teal and purple streaks and blonde highlights. We’re kind of rockstars.

(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.)

Sarah celebrated her 16th birthday March 24, and what she wanted more than anything was for our extended family to go to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. That's us, minus Dan, who had to take the photo. Also, Texas Roadhouse on a Thursday night? Kind of a zoo and very crowded.

Sarah celebrated her 16th birthday March 24, and what she wanted more than anything was for our extended family to go to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. That’s us, minus Dan, who had to take the photo. Also, Texas Roadhouse on a Thursday night? Kind of a zoo and very crowded.

Movies and TV

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!
  • Band of Brothers – Sarah and Chris are watching this together before bed at night. They started in March and are well into it as we speak. It is amazing the kinds of things they have talked about and fits very well with Sarah’s interest in World War II.
  • Iron Man – As a gift for her 16th birthday (!) Sarah got a huge collection of Marvel movies on DVD.
  • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – I won’t say this was a bad movie – in fact, it was better than I expected – but WHOA IS IT DARK. I cried through, I don’t know, 80% it seemed like. Sarah actually saw it twice, bless her.
  • Friends – Sarah and Chris actually started this in September (and I somehow missed it on my list last month), and they finished it in March. I never really loved Friends even though it was iconic in my generation, but it was one of Chris’ favorite shows and also one of Dan’s, so I spend my days listening to the three of them make Friends references that I totally don’t get. (And I love it.)
An interlude in the long list of movies and TV shows: This banana, which Sarah learned how to do sutures on at Penn State's Pre-Vet Symposium. They got to keep the banana. Sarah loved it, despite having a hard time getting started as a left-hander being instructed by right-handers, which of course is the story of my life.

An interlude in the long list of movies and TV shows: This banana, which Sarah learned how to do sutures on at Penn State’s Pre-Vet Symposium. They got to keep the banana. Sarah loved it, despite having a hard time getting started as a left-hander being instructed by right-handers, which of course is the story of my life.

  • Daredevil Season 2 – Sarah had been DESPERATELY waiting for this, and binge-watched it all in less than a week.
  • Earth 2 – This is what Sarah and her Mommom (my mom) are watching each day when Sarah gets up now, having finished their previous series, which was…
  • Quantum Leap – Sarah and Mom and I all enjoyed this one! I can’t believe how many historical points of interest and social-justice topics came up in this show. I would definitely put it on a must-watch list.
  • Scrubs – Sarah watches this at night to give herself a laugh before bed, or in the morning before she comes downstairs. She thinks it’s hilarious. I have seen a grand total of two episodes ever, but one of them, the Scrubs Musical, is Sarah’s favorite.
  • Contact – This movie actually holds up better than I would’ve expected. Sarah, a sci-fi fan, liked it a lot.
  • Zootopia – Absolutely hilarious. I loved it. So did Sarah and Dan. Tons of great food for thought here, too, about stereotyping especially.
Also participating in the celebration of Sarah's birthday were Some Friends, Mostly Pengins. They had Batman masks and party hats in her honor. (This was all Dan's doing, and she LOVED it.)

Also participating in the celebration of Sarah’s birthday were Some Friends, Mostly Pengins. They had Batman masks and party hats in her honor. (This was all Dan’s doing, and she LOVED it.)

Books and games

  • Guitar Hero Live – This was my Christmas gift, and Sarah and I love to play it together.(She actually plays it more than me, owing to having much more free time!)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – A new-to-Sarah game she picked up this month. We actually talked about what a real Inquisition is (was).
  • FIFA 16 – This is a big one for Sarah. She has created a ton of characters, all Austrian (like her hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger), and given them all her favorite names, like Wolverine and Jason Bourne. She treats them a little like virtual soccer paper dolls, changing their shoes and socks and uniforms constantly. It’s awesome.
  • Fibbage – We play this as a fivesome and always get a kick out of it. Plus, you end up learning these weird trivia facts. (NOT appropriate for all ages, I’ll warn you, but hilarious for the mid-teen and older set.)
  • Chilling Ghost Short Stories – This was a birthday request of Sarah’s, and her Grandma bought it for her. She loves both the beautiful cover and the stories!
So, two other random things we did this month. That's Sarah's Valentine's Day penguin, Rey, named after the Star Wars heroine. Sarah decided we needed to make her some kind of accessory, so she got an apron. Then, of course, she had to help cook something, so Sarah made mini monkey breads in a muffin pan. Yum!

So, two other random things we did this month. That’s Sarah’s Valentine’s Day penguin, Rey, named after the Star Wars heroine. Sarah decided we needed to make her some kind of accessory, so she got an apron. Then, of course, she had to help cook something, so Sarah made mini monkey breads in a muffin pan. Yum!

Places, projects and odds and ends

WOW was this a busy month. I don’t even know where to start, really, but here are some of the highlights.

  • We talked more about what might be still undiscovered in King Tut’s tomb.
  • Sarah started taking a Coursera philosophy course, Ancient Philosophy: Plato and his Predecessors. This thing is DEEP. She and I are working through it together, along with her stuffed penguin named Plato. Because, obviously. My favorite thing is that there are included quizzes, which Sarah makes “Plato” answer, and “he’s” gotten 100% on every single one. This tickles my unschooling funny bone like crazy.
  • Side view of the above-pictured mohawk. LOVE IT. Sarah doesn't often wear it spiked, usually loose, but it looks amazing both ways.

    Side view of the above-pictured mohawk. LOVE IT. Sarah doesn’t often wear it spiked, usually loose, but it looks amazing both ways.

  • I went scrapbooking and am about 3/4 of the way done my family album for 2015. This is pretty sweet. I have another scrapbooking event planned for May where I should be able to get that book finished up. I also finished up my tae kwon do album through my first-degree black belt test, finished putting together an album for 2013-2014, just about finished the first volume of “family history” info (from my mom’s grandparents through about 1960) and got rid of a TON of scrapping stuff I didn’t really need. Huge win.
  • In 4-H news, one of our favorite people, our County Extension Educator for Wildlife Club, retired in March after many years of service, so we said goodbye to her with a nice cake.
  • We went to see the musical Mary Poppins at my alma mater, Dover Area High School. It was the last show directed by the director who saw me through my own high school musicals there, so at the end, alumni were invited up onto the stage to join the cast and sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. I cried. You’re shocked, right? (Video on Facebook here, if you care to see.
  • Sarah and I discussed how Pepsi got its name, because she was curious.
  • Sarah and her closest friend in our neighborhood, Danny, had some Nerf battles and discussed their plans for a full Walking Dead-themed Nerf weaponry line.
My mom's birthday is the day after Sarah's, and we celebrated with a cake (I baked it myself, from scratch, from Mom's mom's recipe) and some gifts!

My mom’s birthday is the day after Sarah’s, and we celebrated with a cake (I baked it myself, from scratch, from Mom’s mom’s recipe) and some gifts!

  • In more 4-H news, Sarah attended the Pre-Vet Symposium held at Penn State University’s main campus, a couple hours away. During the daylong program, she went to a bunch of talks and participated in lab activities for high-schoolers who might be interested in animal science careers.
  • We also had our county 4-H Auction, which raised a bunch of money that keeps our 4-H center operating in the black. Sarah helped out by presenting the Alpaca Club’s basket of alpaca-themed items.
  • Through Chris’s efforts with Postcrossing, we have long received mail from all around the world. This winter, Chris set it up for Sarah to get some postcards, and she was matched with a 15-year-old girl named Christina who lives in Taiwan. The two have exchanged a bunch of postcards and even email back and forth, and have recently started exchanging longer letters and some gifts. It’s amazing!
  • Speaking of Sarah’s dad, Chris, he went to visit HIS dad and stepmom in Florida in March, driving down and stopping at many places along the way. When he came back, he and Sarah sorted through some of the brochures he’d collected and she made a huge list of places she wants to visit in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the years ahead. I’m hoping we can make them happen!
  • Last but CERTAINLY not least, Sarah celebrated her 16th birthday in March, and my mom also marked a birthday! We had a great time celebrating together.

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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