Tag Archives: Unschooling

Dance Pants

We love music in this house. We sing almost everything from “where’s the milk” to “time for bed.”

It is perfectly delightful.

And at some point on almost every day we blast the techno. DJ Tiesto is a household name–Weasley even asks for it. Wiggles shakes her booty in a flurry of smiles and giggles and flailing limbs. In my eyes, nothing is more wonderful.

I was a dancer until I had children, my husband and I met ice skating and we love to go dancing on our nights out. Movement and music is part of us. And as such, it is part of our children.

In the parenting trend of Baby Einstein and The Mozart Effect, I diverge.

I spent Weasley’s babyhood immersing him in classical music and exposing him to every composer that would supposedly boost his intelligence. And you know what? Baby Einstein taught him how to sit in front of the TV and listening to Mozart pretty much bored him (except for Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca–that made him dance his funny little toddler pants off).

As a music major in college, I was convinced that classical music truly had the ability to “organize one’s brain.” But what I came to learn as a parent is that is just doesn’t matter. I honestly don’t have any control over my children’s intelligence level. And why would I want to control it anyway? We live in a society so full of messages that your kids don’t fit in a particular box. They move too much, they talk too much, they read too late, they walk too soon… It’s never just “your child is so good at who they are.”

Now, I am not saying I don’t have an appreciation for classical music. I spent my entire childhood dancing ballet to classical composers and went on to study music in college. I have a great amount of classical music education under my belt but I really feel that kids need a variety of music in their education.

Something that made me realize classical music isn’t the only thing your child should listen to is Kindermusik. I got my Kindermusik teaching license when Weasley was still a toddler. And I was shocked when I realized there were very few classical music pieces in the Kindermusik lessons. In fact, most of their music depended on what age the child was and how to get them interacting. Music + movement! This got me thinking. It doesn’t matter what music the kids are listening to as long it makes them move and smile.

For us, that’s techno.

And let me tell you, the kids love it!

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He’s A Big Kid Now

My Weasley is growing up. I just had a glimpse of him being his own person and living his own life–discovering and experiencing things as only he will.

He was playing outside in the spring sunshine and came running into the house whispering,

“Mom! I have a surprise!”

There was a sweetness and gentleness in his tone that made me completely attentive. The first thing that ran through my mind?

“Oh no, this is it, he has found some sort of wild pet and he is bringing it in the house.”

It was just something in his tone. It sounded very caring and tender. Next thought I had was

“Is it a mouse? A bird? A rabbit??”

He walked gently around the corner with his hands cupped together.

“Ok brace yourself,” I thought.

“Look mom! I found a caterpillar!!”

“Whew. Ok. Oh how cool, honey!”

I don’t know why I was so terrified of what he was delivering to me but the thought of a mouse or bird getting loose in the house was, well, ew. Then I realized that it was inevitable. He is finally a big kid–and a boy none the less. Creatures will find their way into my house. And that’s ok. When I was a six, I would bring newts and snakes into my mom’s house. (Maybe that’s why I was nervous!)

But what I really realized in the whole scene was that he is living his own life. He is discovering his own experiences with the world. I am not guiding him like I used to. Things like caterpillars weren’t a surprise before because I was there. I was guiding him in his play. We’d discover things like that together. In a way I miss it. I miss searching for ants and caterpillars and seeing the look on his face when we found one. But I am so thankful for having those moments with him. And I am thankful for him experiencing them on his own and for him growing up and having his own experiences. And I am thankful for him still wanting to share them with me.

I love being a mom!

Slime

Today we made slime.

Squishy, bouncy, stretchy, well, slimy slime.

It.

Is.

Wonderful.

I’m going to tag this as the best craft ever–after all who doesn’t want to make a craft you can play with???

Here’s how to make it:

1 cup glue
3/4 a cup warm water
Food dye
4 teaspoons borax
1 1/3 cups warm water

Mix together the 1 cup of glue and the 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Add whatever color food dye you want the slime to be and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the 4 teaspoons borax and the 1 1/3 cups warm water. Now pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. Do not stir. Leave it for one minute and then mix it together. It will have become a thick gel-like substance at this point. (The water and gel will not fully mix together)

Pull the gel-like portion out of the mixture and put it in a plastic bag. Close the bag and kneed the gel until it is one consistency. Now take it out of the bag and play with it! (This is where I got super excited about this awesome new creation and had a difficult time handing it over to Weasley.)

You can keep it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh but it seems more pliable when warm.

Do not let this get on the carpet or clothing–it sticks to most fibrous materials.

Have fun!

Reading Time

This picture brings me happiness. A six year old boy sitting on the stairs fully immersed in a book. He is engaged in another world. Images that he is creating in unison with the words on the pages make his experience and this written world unique to him and his mind. What could be better?

There is so much knowledge to be had in the written world. There are so many books that share insight and ideas into the world we live in. Books help form a child’s character. Fictional heroes can show a child how to act and behave toward others.

A few years ago we turned off the TV. We still watch things on Netflix and Hulu but at least I can limit the content to documentaries or selected educational kids programs. There is just something about having my kids stare at flashing light for hours on end that offends me. Especially when it comes to cable television, my kids are being forced media’s endless, pointless and in some cases harmful messages. TV seems to have the power to turn your conscious mind off and just be fed whatever is on the screen. Books are different in that matter as I think they actually turn your conscious mind on. There are very few books I have read that I have not thought about, considered or that haven’t changed my knowledge about something in some way.

Now I understand that there are, well, not so great books out there. But there are a wealth of books out there. Why read a poorly written one? Or one that doesn’t interest you? You aren’t fed anything when you read a book–you have to read it. It isn’t in front of you talking to you, you have to go to the effort to get the information off the page. You have to take the initiative to learn from what you are reading.

Yes, I love books. And yes, I love that without TV, my six year old is at a fourth grade reading level and sits on the stairs riveted in his latest book.

Saint Louis

Last week we took a family trip to Saint Louis. I spent my teen years there and it was like going home. Went to my best friend’s wedding, got to see old friends and childhood haunts. It was a great time. Here are some pictures I took of the Arch. It was fun seeing my kids enjoy places I did as a kid.


Looking straight down from inside the top of the arch


Tug boats are awesome!


That’s a lot of stairs!


At the top!


Bridge over the Mississippi River


Saint Louis has a lot of really amazing old buildings that are abandoned. Fun photo ops for sure.

Coffee Filter Hearts

I love coffee. I mean I LOVE coffee. And I love coffee filters. You can do so much with them and painting them is my all time favorite coffee filter craft. I love how the paint mixes and flows. It’s just so pretty.

For Valentine’s day the kids and I made coffee filter hearts. Here’s how:

Fold coffee filter in half

Cut it out in the shape of a heart

Yay! A heart!

Now be creative. Fold them back up or fold them several times over like you would when making a paper snowflake. Cut shapes into the heart. Then unfold and see what you created!

Make lots of ’em!

Put something under the cut out heart coffee filter and paint with watercolors.

Even Wiggles was able to make a few!

Weasley and Wiggles both had a lot of fun making these. (So did I!)

When they were finished we pasted them to the window with a glue stick. So pretty!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Valentine’s Day Soap

We did some crafts today which was super fun. Here’s how we made some Valentine’s Day heart soaps.

(Cause there’s nothing more loving than handing your best friend a heart shaped soap and saying “I love you, now go take a shower!) 😉

What you need to get start: Glycerin soap blocks, a nice smelling bar of hard soap (we used some almond soap from the dollar store), food coloring (obviously it must be red since we are making hearts!), glitter, a grater, a bowl, and some sort of scent (we used cooking almond to flavor the glycerin since our hard soap was almond.)

Now you’re going to grate the hard soap bar. My handy dandy helper, Weasley did this step. His hands are getting big!

Finished! Let’s move on…

Put about 4-5 glycerin blocks into a bowl and microwave until liquid. The soap gets REALLY hot so be careful.

Next put some drops of food coloring in the liquid glycerin until it is as dark or light as you’d like, add your chosen scent, and sprinkle some glitter in it.

(There is a break in photos here as I was attempting to keep two small children from burning their fingers on the soap.)

Pour the glycerin mixture in the heart shaped muffin pan. Let stand until a thin crust forms on top then put a thin layer of the soap shavings on each heart. Then you are going to pour the remainder of the glycerin mixture over the soap shavings to seal them in. (Make sure the shavings are fully covered by the glycerin.)

Let the soap sit until fully cooled and hardened. (I put them in the snow to cool)

When they are cooled, pop them out of the muffin tin and look at your pretty, glittery, yummy smelling creations!