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.
(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.)
Ashar 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.
- The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
- Midnight Marquee Actors Series: Vincent Price, edited by Gary Svehla
- Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry
- Folk and Fairy Tales by Ruth Manning-Sanders
- Sir Green Hat and the Wizard by Ruth Manning-Sanders
- Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen; this is something Chris and Ashar are reading together.
- The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel; this came up because we saw and were really unimpressed by the movie, but really were hoping the book would be better.
- The Guinness Book of World Records 2016; Ashar gets a copy of this every Christmas, and spends every December and early January reading it faithfully!
- Smithsonian History: From the Dawn of Civilization to the Present Day; this was one of Ashar’s two biggest Christmas presents and we have LOVED diving into it together. If you are looking for a legitimately great history overview, I can’t recommend anything much more highly. Well worth the price.
- Smithsonian Wildlife of the World; this is the partner book to the history one above, and also well worth your time and money!
- Lonely Planet The World: A Traveller’s Guide to the Planet; a perfect gift for my culture and geography-lover!
Movies and TV
Let me be honest: The holidays aren’t nearly as fun here as our photos make it look. Honestly, Ashar 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.
- The I.T. Crowd
- We Bare Bears
- Parks and Recreation
- Jingle All the Way; Christmas AND Schwarzenegger, who can beat it?
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- Home; can’t believe it took us this long to see this, but it was amazing!
- Big Hero 6
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens; I don’t really love Star Wars, but this one was pretty good. You can’t beat cute droids. And Ashar saw it a second time in 3-D with her grandparents, which she loved!
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; we spent this season really loving the music and dance of the Nutcracker, so of course I had to show Ashar the movie version with Macaulay Culkin!
Video, board and card games
- MLB 2015: The Show
- FIFA 2015
- LEGO Rock Band
- Cities: Skylines on Steam
- Guitar Hero Live; this was MY big Christmas present from Dan, but of course we got a second guitar and Ashar and I play together! It definitely takes some getting used to, but is super-fun.
Places, projects and odds and ends
- We went to a Hershey Bears game. They almost won.
- Mom, Ashar, 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, Ashar and I went out for tea at our favorite tea room in York County.
- Ashar, 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.
- We talked about a giant salamander found in a cave in China.
- Ashar 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, Ashar 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!”