Post image for Our August 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

After a hectic first two months of summer, this month was wonderfully lazy in comparison. We hung around the house a lot and didn’t travel at all. September looks to be the same way, too, so far. It was a month of both wrapping up old projects like our Minecraft Homeschool class and diving deeper into ones we started a few months ago like our History of Chicago unit. We also spent a lot of time with family.

Highlights from the month: A week of climbing camp at an indoor climbing facility near our home, going to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair exhibit at the Field Museum, reading thorough many of the Series of Unfortunate Events books with Alexa and speculating on the mystery, countless hours of epic Star Wars Lego battles, and getting in as much pool time, bike riding and park play as we could during these last few weeks of summer.

Books – Together

 The Story of Jean Baptiste du Sable

Jolliet and Marquette: Explorers of the Mississippi River

The French and Indian War

Read more sections from Chicago History for Kids

The Gathering Blue – ( a Giver series book)

David’s Adventure at the Chicago World’s Fair


Alexa’s Reading List

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Bk #5 The Wide Window

#6 The Ersatz Elevator

#7 The Vile Village

#8 The Hostile Hospital

#9 The Carnivorous Carnival 

Jared’s Reading List

Ranger’s Apprentice Bk 1: The Ruins of Gorlan still reading this with me out loud

Skimmed through pages of The Lego Book and The Lego Playbook



Connecting Worlds: The Story of the Chicago Portage – this is only about 2 miles from our house- a place where we often bike -so it was very interesting and relevant for us to learn about this

The Era of Colonization by Schlessinger Media

The Last of the Mohicans – A Children’s Animated Classic DVD

Episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Spent lots of time watching this with Steve

Episodes of Master Chef

Episodes of So You Think You Can Dance? 

Episodes of Sherlock (The PBS show) Fantastic show BTW!

Daddy Daycare

Tarzan and Jane

Tarzan II


Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Games/Puzzles/Kits/Activity Books

Minecraft Homeschool– 7 Wonders of the World -ended during the third week of this month

This month we started by studying the art of sculpture, looking at its ancient beginnings and observing and discussing several famous sculptures from Egyptian time until now.

Then the kids had to create a sculpture in the Minecraft environment that looked exactly like the skin of their Minecraft character in the game. They also voted, one vote per day for a week, for their favorite Minecraft sculpture of pixel art entered in the Minecraft Artprize contest.

We had been going strong with this class for most of the summer, but the last two weeks we basically skipped. The class was 12 weeks long and a lot of work to do in the midst of a very busy summer filled with other activities, including trying to spend as much time as we could with friends and family who attend school and won’t have as much time to be with us after the middle of August.

It was a good introduction to Minecraft, and the kids said they’d like to take a Minecraft class again in the future. But since it’s a lot of work and there are several other things we’d like to do instead in the fall that will take up quite a bit of our time, we’ve decided not to sign up for a fall class.


Sequential Spelling Book 1 Lessons 101-111

Editor in Chief series by The Critical Thinking Co – Beginning 1– and did Mini Review Lesson 3-4, Review Lessons 1-4, Lessons 5-6, Mini Review 5-6, Lessons 7-8, Mini Review 7-8, Review 5-8, Review Lessons 1-8, and Lesson 9


Marvelous Math 

Life of Fred: Jelly Beans Lesson 6-16

I noticed the kids were having some problems with remembering the steps in 3 by 3 digit multiplication and long division since we never do worksheets for these problems, so I asked if they would just do one example of each problem before we do our chapter of Fred.

There was some balking at first, and I said they didn’t have to do this, but I explained how in any type of work there is a certain amount of practice needed to reinforce skills so they become second nature. How that by practicing until something becomes second nature allows your brain to work on more difficult concepts. They went with me on this and wound up saying that doing the practice problems wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be.

At Home Fun

Inside: Lots of jumping and flipping on the bed, wrestling games

Jared loves his pretend play and will do this for hours by himself sometimes. He’s also spent countless hours with Steve this month setting up dozens of Lego sets in the garage and having “epic battles.”

Had a resurgence of puzzle play this month. The kids said they want to put together all the puzzles we have in the house.

Steve helped the kids make parachutes with thick napkins, yarn and Jared’s soldiers. Then they’d drop the soldiers from the second floor window. Sometimes Alexa would drop the solider and Jared would try to hit it with his nerd rifle on the way down.

One night when I was sick Steve and the kids made a frozen pie with vanilla yogurt and lemonade concentrate.

Sculpting with Sculpty Clay and Playdough 

Outside: Pretend games in the sandbox, nerf gun sniper riffle, chase with Jessy


Out of the House Activities

Weekly: Library Visits, Grocery Shopping, Church, Gymnastics

Several vet, dentist and orthodontist appointments -I’m going to get Invisalign, so while I was getting my impressions taken, the kids went up with Steve to his office (dentist office is in the same building), and hung out with him there for awhile. We took a short trip to see the coy fish, too, in the building’s lobby.

Pool with Grammy – last outdoor pool day of the year 🙁 But they just constructed an Olympic sized pool at my Mom’s work in the rebuilt fitness center, so I’m hoping the kids can go there once a month during the winter months.

Centennial Beach in Naperville with my sister and her family, and my mom – This pool was created out of a quarry, so it’s like a beach in that the water level gradually deepens from the “shore” line.

The kids spent time swimming (Jared was the only one to go down the water slide) and playing in the sand. Of course they talked my mom into buying them an Icee afterwards!

Took a walk with Jessy to several parks where she swam in a creek for the first time

BBQ at Steve’s boss’s house – Steve’s boss has an annual BBQ at his house each summer. He has it catered by Famous Dave’s. When we first started going to these BBQ’s our kids were the youngest kids there. Now they’re becoming the oldest! But Jared and Alexa played a little bit with the 2 and 3 year olds and also enjoyed playing with the dog,too.

A week of Climbing Camp at Vertical Endeavors- The kids LOVED this camp! They went for one week from 9-1 each day and played games, climbed walls-often climbing over 30 times in a day- and had a special pizza party the last day. They even gave each camper a tee-shirt when it was over. Both kids want to do this again next year. Of course until then they’ll have their monthly homeschool climbing day to look forward to.

Field Museum – I took the kids to see the latest exhibit at the Field Museum -The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It was fantastic! We learned so much about the origins of the Field Museum, saw exhibits originally displayed at the fair and had been placed in storage until now, and played with some fun interactive exhibits.

Family bike rides and walks – We rode to a park close to home one evening  and played tag for awhile. Of course the kids often enjoy short rides with Steve after dinner while I clean up. One afternoon this month when I was sick, Steve also took the kids to a small nearby splash pad.

 A Brookfield Zoo day with friends- We try to get in as many zoo days as we can before the cold weather, so we often meet up with friends there.

Family Night at my mom’s work – I think this was the 4th or 5th year we’ve gone to Family Night at the college where my Mom works. My 96 year old grandma was there, too, along with  two of my nephews who were spending the night at my mom’s. It was pouring rain that day, so the bouncy houses were set up inside as well as several carnival type games such as ping pong toss, make the basket and ring toss.

Morning at park playing hide and seek – This was supposed to be a homeschool park day, but everyone else cancelled out because of the heat, so the kids and I had an hour long hide and seek game throughout the entire park. I don’t usually like playing hide and seek, but even I had fun! And afterwards both kids said it was one of the “best moments of our lives.” You can’t beat that!

Evening at Grandma and Granddad’s – Date night for Steve and I so the kids spent the evening with grandparents playing the game Survivor, going out to eat, visiting the climbing park, and picking out something from the “grandma store.”

Weekend with family – One Saturday evening we had Steve’s sister and her husband over for dinner. It was a really relaxing, enjoyable time spent talking, roasting marshmallows over the fire pit (until the mosquitoes came out in full force), Alexa and her aunt playing Final Fantasy together, Steve, Jared and his uncle playing frisbee in the back and trying to keep the frisbee away from Jessy and ending the evening watching funny dog videos on YouTube.

The next afternoon we had Steve’s parents over for lunch and just hung out talking afterwards for awhile.

On the Computer, Kindle, DS, or Wii

 Kindle: X-Men, Wonder Zoo

PC Games/ Websites:

DS: Final Fantasy ( watching lots of walk through videos on YouTube)

Wii: Lego Star Wars, Super Smash Brothers Brawl 


Photo Credit: gordsam


What were some of your favorite activities from August?


Our June 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

Thumbnail image for Our June 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

It’s finally summer after months of never quite feeling warm most of the day…and I’m posting our June 2014 learning log at the very beginning of July, too!  Things are off to a great start this month 🙂 We had the opportunity to do some more travel again this month. We took a 4 day […]

3 comments Read the full article →

2014 Spring Travel Edition: England, Wales & Ireland

Thumbnail image for 2014 Spring Travel Edition: England, Wales & Ireland

At the beginning of this spring, my family and I were able to take a two and a half week trip to England, Wales and Ireland. Besides Canada and a British territory, we had never been able to travel to a foreign country on our travels, so this was a very big and exciting trip […]

0 comments Read the full article →

A Video Highlight of our 2013-14 Unschooling Adventures

Thumbnail image for A Video Highlight of our 2013-14 Unschooling Adventures

I wanted to share with you the annual DVD I made for the kids’ birthday which highlights some of our favorite memories over the past year. I’ll be back next week to share our April 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities. Enjoy!

3 comments Read the full article →

Our March 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

Thumbnail image for Our March 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

Once again, I’m hopelessly behind in posting our learning logs. As you’ll find out over the next few weeks, we’ve had a heavy travel schedule. Since I am so behind, these next three months learning logs are going to be pretty much bare bones. I’ve listed most of what we’ve accomplished, but I’m not going […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Our February 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

Thumbnail image for Our February 2014 Unschooling Resources & Activities

It seems like I’ve lived in layers of clothes, hats and gloves this February- even inside my house! It’s been a cold, cold month here in Chicagoland. We’ve had snow on the ground nonstop for almost three months now. I’ve never liked the cold anyway, and now I REALLY hate the cold! I’m so ready […]

4 comments Read the full article →

50 Best Unschooling/Self-Directed Learning Posts of 2013

Thumbnail image for 50 Best Unschooling/Self-Directed Learning Posts of 2013

I’m a little late getting this to you, but here is my annual 50 Best Unschooling/Self-Directed Learning Posts of 2013!   Throughout the year while I’m on social media, browsing favorite blogs, or just searching for the latest unschooling news, I keep a list of those posts that inspire, encourage and excite me the most. […]

22 comments Read the full article →

Our January 2014 Unschooling Activities & Resources

Thumbnail image for Our January 2014 Unschooling Activities & Resources

Were you freezing throughout the entire month of January like I was? I just looked at the weather for the next few days and almost cried. Finally next week there will be a day with a high in the 40’s! I never thought I would actually be glad to see temperatures in the 40’s. Despite […]

4 comments Read the full article →

Our Top Ten November & December 2013 Highlights

Thumbnail image for Our Top Ten November & December 2013 Highlights

I’m almost done catching you up on our highlights from 2013. Hopefully by the beginning of next week, I can post what we did in the month of January, and we’ll be all caught up! We started out November with me getting two lower impacted wisdom teeth pulled. Not fun at all! It took at […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Our Top Ten August & September 2013 Highlights (I’m back!)

Thumbnail image for Our Top Ten August & September 2013 Highlights (I’m back!)

  I’m back!!!!!  I feel so bad for how long I’ve been away from my blog. I think it’s been almost 6 months! But one of my goals for this year is to post at least once a week on my blog; I really hope I keep to this goal because sharing what we’re learning […]

4 comments Read the full article →