Monday, March 18, 2013


Homeschooling has been on my mind as Raccoon gets closer and closer to 4 years old. I found a series called I can't homeschool because... with a variety of reasons/excuses. My two objections, which weren't on the list, would be:
1) My son will miss the other kids.
2) My son doesn't enjoy following my lead.

For number one, we could probably find enough social activities, one way or another. And for number two... unschooling, or child-led learning. This seems to tend towards unit studies and deep investigation into the child's area(s) of interest. For a really great collection of blog posts about unschooling, go here. My favorite one is Laughing at Chaos' concept of StealthSchooling:

"See, he resists being taught something he thinks he already knows, but if he doesn’t already know what is being taught he thinks it’s too hard and shuts down. If I try to teach him, he is not in charge, and thus also shuts down...

So I find us somewhere between school-at-home homeschooling and full unschooling. I call it StealthSchooling; I wish to hell I could Trademark that. I quietly sneak in information in the form of documentaries, books, games, and iPad apps. Just enough pre-learning that he thinks he knows the topic. Then when he actually gets to the topic, he knows just enough to take off running."

I find unschooling appealing because honestly, I get bored with things too. I found this out while we were doing tot school. Only activities with a certain amount of complexity appeal to me to even try to teach to Raccoon. If he's interested, he just gets things. If not, then there's just no way I've found to turn that light on. When he's ready, he goes by leaps and bounds. He doesn't know the alphabet yet, but he knows the difference between an arachnid, a mammal, and an insect. He knows a bunch of snake names and that venomous and poisonous mean the same thing. When he feels like he needs to know the ABCs, he'll just do it.

This fall I might even have a play/school room in our new house in the States. Gasp! My mind is spinning with possibilities already. Home-un-something schooling, here we come!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Alphabet Book

As I've mentioned before, my mom is a preschool teacher, and an awesome one at that. I don't say this just because she's my mom, I know because I've seen her creativity and dedication firsthand. She is designing her own curriculum for her 3 year old class, part of which is an alphabet book. She's seen my blog (we live far, far away, boo hoo), so she sent me the pages to do with Raccoon.

We did A before Robin came, and since then we have done B, C, and D. This is the extent of our Tot School for now, but it makes us both happy to be doing a little bit. I love it because my mom did all the prep so I just have to pull out whichever page is next and the supplies are all right there. Thanks, Mom!

(Note: We don't always put the pages together with the same materials she's used, her class does a variety of things, we mostly just paint each page.)

Aa is for Apple, juicy and sweet.
Aa is for Always, always be kind.
(Look at those curls, sniff sniff.
An unfortunate barber cut them all off when all I wanted was a trim.)

Bb is for Brown Bear, Boots on his feet.
Bb is for Beginning. "In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
When Raccoon saw his baby pictures after Robin was born, he asked, "Where's my big brother?" I told him that he doesn't have one, so he chose this red dog to be his "big brother."
Cc is for Cave where I like to hide.
Cc is for Created. God created me.