My March Unschooling Fun & Resources

by ChristinaPilkington on April 7, 2012 · 14 comments

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As March came to an end, I wondered why I felt so tired. Then I looked at this list!

Really, though, it was an incredible month for my family. We learned so many new things, went to so many new places and just enjoyed spending time together.

I’m hoping some of the resources or activities we’ve done will help spark some ideas for you as well. The links here are for your convenience in checking out the resources. They are not affiliate links.

 

                                                                                    Books

The Little House on the Prairie – I loved reading this at night with the kids! Even Steve looked forwards to sitting in the bedroom and reading it with us. Can’t wait to start watching the TV series!

Life as a Ninja: An Interactive History Adventure –Do you remember the old Choose Your Own Adventure series? Well, I found this wonderful series of books (we have at least 35 in our interlibrary loan system). We love them! It lets kids be a character in a historical fiction story. It’s exciting, full of adventure and there are great history lessons in there, too! They have books that range from German immigrants to America & The Wild West to Life as a Viking and Ancient Greece. 

Castle of Darkness: A Choose your adventure book

Island of Doom : A Choose your adventure book

Your Grandparents are Zombies: A Choose Your Adventure Book

Return to the Haunted House: A Choose Your Adventure Book

Season of the Sandstorms: A Magic Treehouse Adventure

The House of Wisdom

Night of the New Magicians: A Magic Treehouse Adventure

E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet

The Value of Creativity: The Story of Thomas Edison (A ValueTale book)  The ValueTale books are an incredible series! I found the entire series at a thrift store for $5. On e-bay they go for about $120. If you can get copies of these books, please check them out!

The Value of Self-Discipline: The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (A ValueTale book)

The Very Windy Day

The Gates of the Wind

Iva Dunnit & The Big Wind

Sugaring Time

Really Spring

My Spring Robin

In for Winter, Out for Spring

Spring

The Blues Go Birding Across America

The Blues Go Birding at Wild American Shores

A Place for Birds

Louis Pasteur and Pasteurization

Everything Birds: What Kids Really Want to Know About Birds

Barefoot Books World Atlas

Fancy Nancy

Fancy Nancy, Explorer Extraordinaire!

Bonjour, Butterfly! (A Fancy Nancy Book)

I’m going to list all the Eric Carle books we re-read before attending a play based on  Eric Carle’s stories: Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? ,  The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Hungry Caterpillar , Little Cloud, The Greedy Python, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, Mister Seahorse, My Apron: A Story From My Childhood, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?,  & The Very Quiet Cricket

 

                                                             TV/DVDS

The Legend of White Fang (A 10 episode animated series – very cute!)

White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf

Caillou (I downloaded several seasons from Netflix)

The Thief & the Cobbler

Numbers Around the World

Flight of the Navigator – This was one of my favorite movies when it came out (1986). I was so excited to share it with my kids!

How It’s Made: We watched episodes (there’s 4 items per episode) on aluminum foil, cheese, CDs, bread, pantyhose, contact lenses

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman – This was the only DVD like this. We were so disappointed!

Episodes of Jackie Chan Adventures

A Wrinkle in Time

Wild Kratts: Creature Adventures  Both this series and Be the Creature are amazing! Any animal lover needs to watch them. I don’t even like watching animal shows that much and I was fascinated by them.

Be the Creature: The Complete First Season  (the episode on the lions is really graphic- I’d avoid watching that one)

Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga’Hoole

Madeline: Meet Me in Paris

Thomas Edison and the Electric Light

Alexander Graham Bell

American Idol

Thumbelina

Little House of the Prairie – The Pilot Movie   So exciting to finally watch this with the kids!

Peter Pan

Treasure Buddies

 

            CDs

Song Birds – This is a collection of different bird songs.

Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine’s Turn the Beat Around, The Rhythm is Gonna Get  You  & Conga – MP3 files downloaded to the Kindle. Jared just had to have these songs downloaded after watching Jessica Sanchez perform on American Idol. 

                                                 Magazines

Highlights Hidden Pictures Playground– Both kids are very into finding hidden pictures, so this is the perfect magazine for them since that’s what the entire magazine is about!

High Five

At Home Fun

Building forts in the living room, Legos, Setting up the Mouse Trap Game and playing with it, Lots of pretend games, baking cookies and cake, mazes, coloring, having a silly string fight,

Jared decided to write a little book. He sat in my lap and I typed out his story….which turned out to be five typed pages….in one sitting. I was pretty tired afterward!  It was filled with lots of inappropriate references to bodily functions, but he was very proud of himself when he was finished.

Games: Mancala, Memory

Salt Clay Sculptures

Made a Counting Ball – We got this idea from the book The Secret Life of Math.

Outside Fun (because it was so gorgeous the last half of the month!) hide-and-seek, chase, flips on the swing set, sandbox play, swimming in the little pool,

Out of the House Activities

Maple Sugaring Days at the Fullersburg Woods – I was so excited to see this! I’ve always wanted to see the process of extracting sap from the trees and watching how it’s turned into maple syrup.

On the first day we walked out carrying a bucket and were an assigned to check three trees. Then we dipped some little cups into the sap and drank it directly from the tree. The day before we saw this we had finished reading the two chapters in Little House in the Big Woods about how Grandpa and Grandma make their own maple sugar.

The second day we went with Steve and watched them cook the sap outside over a kettle in a fireplace, and we also tasted some finished syrup.

Library visits & Swimming Lessons

Monday Homeschool Co-op Days (played the board game Number Ninjas, which Jared really liked, learned about Binocular Vision, someone from a nature museum visited and brought in a Great Horned Owl.

3 Birthday Parties (including one at a children’s museum)

Watched a Theater Performance of Eric Carle’s Stories at the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center

Watched a Theater Performance of Fancy Nancy & Other Stories at the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center

Bike Rides

Park Days – One with Grammy and one by ourselves.

A Zoo Day with new friends.

A Day Out with Grammy -

Visited with Grandma and Granddad who came back from a two week trip to Israel. We looked at all their pictures while they talked about what they had seen and done. We also looked at Israeli money.    

                                              At the Conference

We went to a homeschool conference the third weekend in March for two full days. Steve went with the kids to their eight workshops while I attended my own workshops. We met for all meals and also had time to explore the exhibitor hall where we bought new books.

Here’s a list of the workshops the kids attended:

1.  Messy Fun – shaving cream, face paint, drawing

2. Play-Well Lego Engineering Workshop

3.  Light and Sound

4. The Captivating Chemistry Show

5.  Musical Theater: Fairy Tales

6.  Buildings and Structures

7. Mystery and Intrigue with Sherlock Holmes – This was a storytelling session with the wonderful Jim Weiss.

8.  Reptiles: The Four Modern Families – This was the kids’ favorite workshop. They got to pet a baby alligator, and hold a python and corn snake in their laps for 5 minutes!

 

            On the Computer, Kindle or I-Phone

 

Kindle: Angry Birds, of course. Jared and Steve work together to win different levels and earn eggs and stars.

Computer: www.pbskids.org, www.nationalgeographic.com, www.wikipedia.org, (Alexa has a big coffee table style book that she got for her 5th birthday called Extreme Birds. She likes to look up a bird in the book and then read about it on Wikipedia.), Animal Planet (Alexa was on this for an hour one day telling me about dozens of breeds of dogs), Moneyville,

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge – I can’t tell you how much fun we had playing this game together. I learned so much more about geography, and it was so much fun! We’d sit together for two hours at a time playing this game.

Zoo Tychoon 2. I admit to getting a little addicted to this game, too! Alexa saved up her allowance and bought this herself.  Jared saved up his money and bought a new Star Wars Lego set. It was over 300 pieces and he put it together mostly by himself in about an hour and a half.

 

Photo Credit: gordsam

What had been your family’s favorite resource or activity this past month?

 

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  • http://profiles.google.com/kacagle Karen Terry Cagle

    No wonder you are tired…I am tired reading it. But what a great list. As usual!

    I would love to go to a Maple Sugaring Day!! And I love all the theater you do. ;) Great list of goodies. Jotting a few of them down.

    • christinapilkington

      Karen,

      We love theater! I would go every week if I had the chance. I try to find at least one theater performance each month for us to go to.

      I like how you can still get some ideas and resources from me even though my kids are much younger. I think we do a lot of things that are really ageless anyway. I love going to your blog, too, because I can find a lot of things that we find fun to do,too. We just watched the Turtle: The Incredible Journey from Netflix yesterday after I learned about it from you. We really, really loved it. It took a long time to watch it, though, because we kept pausing it to ask and answer questions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1309381530 Krista English

    Wow, look how much you guys do! And so fun for the kids to learn this way. Congratulations on breaking out of the traps most parents fall into when they let fear rule and control take over! (I haven’t figured out disqus yet for commenting – but my FB page is https://www.facebook.com/kristaenglishconsulting rather than kristapedia now that I’m trying to keep my personal page and my business page separate.)

    • christinapilkington

      I love how each week is totally different from the week before, and yet we still have some constants in our lives that we can look forward to as well. You’re right….fear is one of the biggest obstacles for parents to get over. But I really think if more parents gave this lifestyle of learning a chance, they would see the amazing amounts of learning that take place when you look for lots of learning opportunitites that your kids will enjoy. That’s one of the reasons why I love keeping this monthly list. I can look back and see all the wonderful fun things we did together and see how much learning takes place all the time. Hopefully the lists will be inspiration for others who are considering this lifestyle, too, even though each interest-led learners life will look different from anyone else.

  • http://momto3feistykids.com/ Steph

    I really enjoy these monthly summary posts, especially your family’s reading list. My older kids enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure stories when they were younger, and for years they’d tell each other “Choose It Yourself” stories that they’d invent as they were going along. That’s such a great memory. :-) My younger kid and I are also reading Little House.

    • christinapilkington

      I love that idea of making your own Choose It Yourself stories! That would be a great thing to do in a long car ride together. We’re definitely going to do that :)

  • http://learningwithmouse.blogspot.com/ Natalie

    My head is spinning just reading through the list. I have to look for ValueTales… and for Carmen game. I remember playing it long-long ago…

    • christinapilkington

      The Valueoks Tales books are so great! It can be hard to find them sometimes, though. And we just finished the Treasure of Knowledge Carmen game. I really, really liked it! I just got the Where in the US is Carmen Sandiego and have to see if it will work on our computer. We also played the Junior Edition board game.

  • http://www.sattvicfamily.net/ Elizabeth

    Thank you for these Chris!!! I really hope you one day make an ebook out of all your resources. I would love to have that on hand!

    • christinapilkington

      You’re welcome! I’d love to do that sometime. I’m working on a summer activity e-book now. Hopefully I can get it done before summer is over :)

  • http://thegettys.blogspot.com Susan

    Super list! I didn’t realize there were so many of the Interactive History Adventure series…I did know about them, though. I need to investigate! We have read one of the ValueTales books, about Louis Pasteur. The girls enjoyed it.

    • christinapilkington

      I was really suprised, too, about the Interactive History series. They’re such great conversation starters, too!

  • http://creatingtreasures.blogspot.com/ Tereza Crump

    hey Christina, we had a pretty busy month too. You can check out my learning log inspired by yours on my blog.

    I think my favorite activity was starting my first garden ever!!! i am so excited and I will be posting photos of my seedlings and veggies as they grow.

    For my kids, they loved the farm visit and the horseback riding. We also got to dissect an earthworm and a grasshopper. We did so much stuff!!! They loved it all!!

    Ps… as a Christian how do you deal with all the New Age and other philosophies in cartoons like Jackie Chan? My children watched the whole series last year and they loved it and would love to watch again and again. But I was not comfortable with all the hypnosis and spirit entering bodies and other stuff, so I haven’t allowed them to watch it again. I made a point to explain to them what the Bible says about those things. And for the most part, my DD9 knew what was wrong or right about the situations portrayed. But for DD4 and DS6, I thought they were too young to be exposed to that stuff. What do you think of this?

    http://creatingtreasures.blogspot.com

    • christinapilkington

      You know, it’s a really tricky thing about what to let kids watch on TV and what not too. I think it’s something that can really never be black or white….it depends on the kids and on the rest of the family. As a Christian, there are quite a few things I don’t believe in that the show promotes, but I’ve seen that a lot of times in those situations, it’s been a great tool for talking about those types of things with the kids and sharing with them why I believe the things I believe in. I grew up in a very conservative Christian home and a very, very strict Christian school until I was 15 years old. So many people tried to make me believe in things instead of letting me make up my own mind that were about 10 years or so that I hardly even went into a church. I had to come back to my faith in my own time and make it my own faith…not something I was doing for my parents. Now, with my kids, I’m very, very aware to let them make up their own minds about what is right or wrong. They do go to church with us because they are still young, but I want to make it their choice when they get older. I also feel that by me living out my faith and values in the best way I know how, that’s the best way I can share with them why I believe the way they do. Also, I really feel my kids are ready and can have good conversations about certain things. Again, I think you are the only one to know when you’re kids are ready to make ccertain judgements for themselves. There really is no right or wrong age.

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