My February Unschooling Fun & Resources

by ChristinaPilkington on February 29, 2012 · 16 comments

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After a month of unexpected bumps in the road, like our two car accidents, my asthma attack and taking my son to the ER at 2 in the morning, it felt like we were really out of our groove this month.

It didn’t really feel like we had done that much, but I was a little shocked when I looked over our monthly resource and fun list to remember all the things we did do.  

I don’t have to write down the things we do or the resources we use, but it’s something I really like to do and is fun to look back at over the years. It also helps to remind me of how much we’re learning all the time, even during days that seem difficult in the moment.

Also, in sharing our month with you, I hope you can take away some ideas that will inspire your own learning, too.

(* There are no affiliate links in this post. I’ve included the links to make it easier for you to quickly check out the resources if they seem interesting to you.)

Books Read


Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story of Africa

Planting the Trees of Kenya

World’s Largest Plants: A Book about Trees

Winter Trees

Groundhog at Evergreen Road

Groundhog Gets a Say

Summer of the Sea Serpent (A Magic Treehouse Book)

Winter of the Ice Wizard (A Magic Treehouse Book)

Carnival at Candlelight (A Magic Treehouse book)

Gabriella’s Song

This is Venice

Little House in the Big Woods – I was so excited to introduce this series of books that I loved so much as a little girl. I knew Alexa would like the books, but I’ve been so surprised at how much Jared is loving them too!

A String of Beads

The Tale of Jack Frost

Math Fables

Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day: Stories and Poems

The Earth is Painted Green: A garden of poems about our planet

The Empty Lot

Over in the Meadow

500 Places to Take Your Kids before they grow Up (Alexa likes reading through different listings in this book)

White Fang (I do most of the reading out loud to the kids, but this was one book that the kids read exclusively with my husband – I wasn’t even in the room while they were reading it! It was such a great time for the kids to cuddle up with dad and read this book over several weeks)

You Wouldn’t Want to be a Ninja – If anyone has a child who loves ninjas, this is an excellent book! I learned so much about the ninja life and hierarchy.

Tales of the Shimmering Sky: ten global folktales with activities – Excellent book!

The Moon’s the North Wind’s Cooky: night poems

Aligay Saves the Stars

Many Moons

Batman: Gotham’s Villains Unleashed!

Superman and the Mayhem of Metallo

Riddle me This!


Activity Books/Kits

The Secret Life of Math – We did a lot of fun activities from this book this month including: made tally marks on chicken bones, played an ancient hand counting game called Morra,

Scientific Explorer’s Magic Science Kit

Scientific Explorer’s Mind Blowing Science Kit – Both this kit and the Magic Science Kit are really fun kits that are pretty inexpensive. We had bought them for Christmas. A lot of the experiments have to do with acids and bases and experimenting with color.

Magic School Bus: The Secrets of Space Kit



Born to Explore – Episodes on Australia’s Rainbow Serpent legend, Uganda: Gorilla’s & Pygmy’s.

American Idol

Ironman:  an animated series

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown

How to Tame Your Dragon

Travel the World with Kids volume 1 (This is a great series of DVDs. It’s produced by a couple who take their two young sons on many adventures with them around the world – great for ideas and resources about travelling).

LeapFrog: Phonics Farm

Wonders of Africa: African Trade Networks

The True Story of Puss N Boots

White Fang (1991 Disney version)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated series)

The Secret of Moonacre

Mr. Rice’s Secret


Out of the House Adventures

Attended a Japanese Festival (made an origami heart, watched a traditional drum performance, watched people dress up in sumo costumes and wrestle each other, played with Japanese toys)

Attended a performance of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Went to a Valentine’s Day Party with a homeschool group – (played bags and ping pong ball toss, decorated cookies, played Valentine Bingo, decorated a bag, did several crafts)

Wonder Works Children’s Museum – Alexa found stencils which she loved (don’t know why we hadn’t used them before!)

Open Gymnastics at Flying High Gym

Swimming Lessons

Library Visits & Monday Homeschool Co-op

Adler Planetarium – We saw the IMAX movie Earth, Moon, Sun – really nice for young kids – and visited several exhibits including one on telescopes and Astronomy in Culture.

Lake View Nature Center – We visited their annual winter exhibit. This year’s theme is nocturnal animals.

Playground and Feeding Geese at the Pond



High Five – My mom bought this as a present for the kids’ birthday two years ago, and we read it each month together. We especially like the “That’s so silly” and “Hidden Pictures” sections.                                                           


 Mancala  - So much fun!

Magnetic Mosaics Junior

iPhone apps: Stack the States – check this one out! Very cool!; Sky View (thanks so much, Karen, for this idea! It’s amazing!)

Some Kindle Fire apps we’ve been loving – Checkers, Hang-man, Tic-Tac-Toe, Kids Jigsaw, Kids Doodle, Of course there’s always Angry Birds, too!

Some number games – I wrote down numbers 1-100 each on separate index cards and then shuffled the pile. After giving Alexa and Jared their own pile of cards, I flipped over the top card from each pile. Then the kids would say who had the larger or smaller number.

Another game- Take ten index cards. Write tally marks to represent the numbers one through ten, with each index card having its own number, so one index card would have one tally mark, another two tally marks, and so on. Then I’d say a number and the kids would have to find as many ways as they could to combine the cards to come up with the number I said.  So for number 7 they could combine the cards with tally marks 6 and 1, 4 & 3 and 2 &5.

A money game – They kids roll a die. They’re given as many pennies as the number on the die. When they get five pennies, they exchange them for a nickel, a nickel for a dime, and a dime for a quarter. The winner is the first to reach one dollar.

At Home Fun

Lots of Lego & Superhero  & Ninja pretend games, fake tattoos, making up musical patterns on the keyboard, jump roping,  lots of mazes ( Jared asks us to draw our own mazes for him. Steve takes a half hour to draw really intricate mazes which Jared than finishes in one minute), lots of drawing.


On the Computer

Smithsonian Virtual Museum Tour, British Museum Virtual Tour, PopTropica, Starfall (we have the paid membership) and



Photo Credit: gordsam

What was your favorite fun resoure or activity this month?


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  • Steph

    I am sorry about your struggle with asthma and the car accidents. That is a lot to cope with in one month. Your reading list is phenomenal. We just read Little House in the Big Woods, too.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t that book great! We have two chapters left which we’ll probably finish this weekend. That first one was my favorite when I was a little girl.

      I’ve been doing much better this last week. I’ve started on a natural essential oils treatment and am going on a cleansing process. I hope it works. So far it has been great, but I tend to have up and down swings, so I’m not counting on anything yet.

  • Susan

    What a lot of great fun activities and reading! :) We love Stack the States and SkyView, too. We still have just the free version of SkyView, but I can see where you commented to Karen that you feel the paid version is worth it, so I will investigate that.

    • Anonymous

      You should do that! It’s only $2 so I think it’s an awesome bargain. I always wanted to be able to look at the sky and point out the planets. It makes it easier to track their nightly journey across the sky. It’s making me really want to get a high powered telescope!

  • Jessica

    I love these posts. It encourages me to keep a list like this but I find that I have a hard time remembering to record all that we do. I can flip back on my calendar for where we went and what classes we took, but the books, and the videos, it can get overwhelming. Perhaps I will make that a goal for March. See if I can do it for just one month. For me, I find the weekly wrap up easier but I love how an entire month looks on paper. It would be great help in making a middle school transcript as well…..

    • Anonymous

      I start a new document each month on my computer. I also have one on my iPhone so if I think of something when I’m out I can just transfer it over later. Then every three days or do, I just think back to what we did. I know I don’t catch every little thing, but I write down the most important things that way. I use the general columns for two reasons: one is because it’s easier just to write it down by books, what we did at home, outside activities, and so on and two: because I hate to seperate things into specific subjects since there is usually so much overlap.

      It also makes it easier that through my online library account, I have a section called reading history. I can scan through there for the month and it gives me a list of all the materials I’ve check out and the dates. That way I only really need to keep track of other books we have at home and things we’ve watched on TV and Netflix.

      I can totally see the usefulness of this to make transcripts. This is a way to just dump it all out, and then you could go back and try to organize it better into subject headings.

  • tereza crump

    I am sorry you had a rough month. I am posting tomorrow my monthly log of what we learned at our home. Like you I am now going beyond just the books we read. thanks for the great idea. :)

    • Anonymous

      I really look forward to reading your post tomorrow. Those are my favorite types of posts to read. I usually get so many great ideas and inspiration :)

  • Karen Terry Cagle

    Even in the midst of a rough month you still accomplish so much! I love reading about all the things you do. It is just so much!! So glad you are liking the app. Isn’t it cool?

    Love that “American Idol” is on your list. We have always watched AI. :) This year we have been so busy with Kei’s play we haven’t had a chance to get into it yet.

    • Anonymous

      I guess it seems like a lot when you look at it on paper, but I know that we don’t do any more than other interest-led learning families :)

      My husband and I were just outside the other night using SkyView. At first I just used the free version, but for $1.99 you can get the version that also points out the planets in the sky and gives way more info. It was so exciting to actually point out Jupiter, Venus and Mars last night!

      It’s funny, but we’ve learned so much through watching American Idol. Just the discussions about how hard it is to work for your dreams is value alone for watching it. We also Tivo it, so we can watch it whenever we want which helps :)

  • Katerina Kolevablisss

    Thank you for all this ideas :)
    I’ve been reading your articles for a while now and to be honest I think that also helped me to finally de-register my son from school. Thank you :) It’s been almost 3 months and we do enjoy it a lot.
    I was wondering what is your personal opinion about video games? My boy who is 5 (almost 6) really loves them, but it seems to me that he gets addicted to them and it’s all he wants to do, talk and play them even offline.

    • Anonymous

      My twins are the same age as your son! It’s such a fun, but highly energetic age.

      I know how you feel about video and computer games. My daughter can easily spend hours and hours on the computer. She loves the immediate interaction and stimulation. My son has just gotten into playing Angry Birds in the last few months and he will do the same thing with this game, too.

      I personally believe kids can learn so many things from computer and video games. I know because I see it personally every day. But I know that my kids are prone to be addicted to them. It’s one thing to play them for hours and be fine when they move on to something else, it’s another thing if they get horribly cranky, ill-tempered and just plain angry after playing them for so long.

      Some people might differ with me, but I do pay attention to how long my kids are watching TV and playing computer games. We don’t have a rule as to how long they can or cannot play. Some days it will be hours. But if they are starting to get frustrated, angry or having a hard time adjusting to something else we need to do, or something they said they wanted to do earlier, than I work with them on taking a break.

      I don’t tell them to immediately get off. I usually look for things I know they’d like to do. I just keep on presenting different options of things to do. Usually they want to play something with me or do something with me. When they play for hours, it’s usually because I needed to take care of other things for awhile, and they were fine to stop playing when they have me to interact with them again.
      If I know we need to go somewhere and do something, then I give them several reminders that we need to leave soon, so they can gradually get used to the idea that they need to stop soon. We’re a family that really likes to get out and do things, so that’s usually the best way that we break up our day. I also make sure I have a lot of new games, activities and other resources on hand that usually is really interesting to them, too.

      For the most part, I hardly ever have conflicts with the kids over computer games, even though we don’t have any rules about them. Actually, now you’ve inspired me to write a post about how we approach media in our home. I think I’ll write about that topic in the next few weeks!

      Also, I’m so glad you took the step to take your son out of school. Some days can be tiring, but I’m sure you can already see how wonderfully joyful it can be to see him learn and have lots of time to grow in your relationship with him.

      • Katerina Kolevablisss

        Thank you for that Christina. Looking forward to reading your post about media in your house.
        Have a great week!

        • christinapilkington

          Thanks! You, too :)

  • Jenn

    Sounds like a rough month! Hope all is well at your house now:) It’s fantastic to see how much was learned even in the midst of all that you had going on!

    I’ve started trying to note some of our learning highlights on a weekly or monthly basis, just so I can look back and remember some of what we did. When I do, I’m amazed at how much the girls have learned from life and pursuing their interests.

    Thanks for all the resources and ideas! Glad to hear y’all are enjoying the Little House books…those are favorites here!!

    • Anonymous

      We’re doing much better now. I’m starting a natural treatment of essential oils, and so far it’s working out great.

      We’re almost done with the Little House in the Big Woods! I’m surprised at how fast we’ve read the first book. After reading LittleHouse on the Prairie, I think we’re going to start watching the TV series at night. I’m really excited about that. It’s such a fun series to watch and there’s so much to learn from it, too!

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