don’t blink

Project based homeschooling continued
January 28, 2013, 10:44 pm
Filed under: teach

So after the other day I have been trying to slowly transition back into the project based method. Things are going okay. There really isn’t much to report. I have been at my crabbiest which hasn’t helped but I feel like the method just feels right. The last couple of days have been a kind of mash-up, part traditional and part Project based with the majority of the time in Project Based mode. I asked the kids what they wanted to study and got the following responses:
Alice: Princesses, Princes and Sheep
Finley: Knights, Ninjas and Samurai

We are going with a princess and sheep mash-up for Alice and an overall warrior theme for Finley…right now we are knee-deep in knights. As mentioned in my previous post I am loving reading Lori Pickert’s book about project based homeschooling. Unfortunately I’ve hit a section that has taken some wind out of my sails. I knew it was coming and it’s me not the book. It is the part in every smart educational theory that speaks about the space and materials. The idea that you should provide the best materials for your kids to use for their learning and lots of space with easy accessibility to the materials.

People. I live in a one bedroom apartment, so while I would love to have a dedicated, beautiful, sunlit like this, I have to be honest and know that just isn’t going to happen. Now as a former art student I totally understand the argument for good materials. The problem is…again one of having champagne taste and beer money, and when I say beer I mean Milwaukee’s Best beer. Yup. My husband and I are freelancers which is a career choice that has afforded us lots of flexibility (like the flexibility to homeschool) but sadly sometimes not much in the way of money or rather extra money. So while I want the beautiful wax crayons for the kids, sadly more often than not I end up with the box of crayola. Now I know it isn’t a big deal, I know it is about getting the best that you can afford but it is still a bummer. It makes me feel like I will forever not be doing it “right”. And while the logical part of my brain says “silly girl, you know there isn’t a right way to do this thing…” The type A part of me is sad every time she has to get on her hands and knees to dig around the dark closet where most of our homeschooling stuff is kept, to find the poor quality watercolor paints. Sigh. Like I said I know it is me and I have decided not to get all freaked out and give up but to just suck it up and figure it out. Simple homeschooling has a great post written by Renee Tougas about small space homeschooling here. My favorite quote from the post:

“Just as important as the right tools is your mindset – how you view your circumstances and living situation.

Having the right mindset has the power to change your life. This relates to small space homeschooling as much as anything else.”

So it is time to suck it up and make a plan and not wait on the 3 bedroom apartment with rent equal to a studio, and an extra room for crafting and homeschooling to fall in my lap, Sometimes good enough really has to be good enough. So with some deep breathing and a mantra not to get overwhelmed we are going to try to make some changes for the better. Is there anyone else out there homeschooling in small spaces? Any suggestions on how to get better quality supplies without robbing a bank?


Ninjago saves the homeschooling day!
January 21, 2013, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This morning I woke up to a very unhappy 7 year old.

He was disappointed because he had lost his Ninjago guy. Somewhere between Ohio and NYC, Mr. Ninjago had gone missing. So instead of being a sensitive mother and comforting him in all the ways the books tell you to (get down at his level, make eye contact, tell him xyz…) I asked him what he was going to do about it, and suggested that he figure out how to buy another one if he was so upset.

I know mothering at its finest right?

But what happened next was awesome. He figured it out. He asked some questions, decided to count his saved cash…DID MATH with a little help but WITHOUT HAVING TO BE WRESTLED INTO SUBMISSION and he figured it the frack out!

An hour later after deciding his budget, comparing other Ninjago guys and their DELIVERY DATES (!) he made his first two ebay purchases!

Did you notice I said two purchases? He wanted to be sure Mr. Ninjago had swords, during his research he saw that some people were selling just the swords. So Mr. Smartypants 7 year old decides that he would rather purchase the Mr. Ninjago that fits within his $10 budget (using his paper money) and then if he had enough in change, he will spring for the swords. SO why is this blog worthy…why on earth after not blogging for months and months did I make this my first new entry?

I have been struggling a bit with homeschooling. I will be honest…I have been struggling a little with everything. I know it is just the time of year. I always get a little cranky during part of the winter. SO I have been searching for something to remind me why in the heck I do what I do. To get some inspired I started reading the awesome, awesome book: Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori McWilliam Pickert. I have long been a fan of Lori’s blog and of project based homeschooling but somewhere I lost my way. Which is how we ended up where we are now with our homeschooling. Me telling them what they need to do and them trying to do it as quickly as possible so they can do what they actually want to do.

Not. very. fun.

But I couldn’t figure out how the hell to find my way back to what was working before. While reading Lori’s book it all started coming back to me. But then I was faced with how to transition back…and when and blah, blah, blah. Then this morning like a gift from the Lego gods…the Ninjago thing happened! Ahhhhh! YES! I REMEMBER! WIthin this one singular project (we will call it project Ninjago) we covered reading, math, logic, writing, US geography (where is Mr. Ninjago and his swords shipping from), World geography (where is Ninjago the character from) measurement of time and we had a pretty lengthy conversation about what exactly an auction is. Here is the best part. He was engaged, actively participating, motivated and giddy with excitement at the end of it all! I cannot wait to get further in to Lori’s book and reacquaint myself with project based homeschooling.

Project Ninjago reminds me of this. How could I have forgotten!!! Now if I can just keep Mr. Ninjago and the Komodo dragon by my side, we might end this school year on the right foot.

Introducing a year in the making
February 1, 2012, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So I have had this idea rolling around in my brain for a couple of months now…well since just before New Years. I was reflecting on last year and about how I was spending my time. I decided that I spent way too much time wasting time online. On facebook, on pinterest, mindless hours spent wandering the internet, mostly looking for projects and creative inspiration. I decided that I didn’t spend enough of my time doing what all that time was supposed to inspire me to do and that is make stuff. I love making stuff. So my goal this year is to spend 365 days doing what I like best making stuff. Now of course some things will take longer than others…some project will go on for days, weeks, months but my goal is to spend a little time each day working on something handmade. Sometimes due to daily life commitments I will just make dinner but I would like to use this space to document the simple process and art of creating. So with that said, I would love to hear what you are making.

And while this is mainly about making something with your hands. I also enjoy the thoughts that goes in to making things that aren’t necessarily physical. Maybe you made a thoughtful, well thought out decision. Maybe you made a memory. Maybe you made an attempt to make and it failed! I would love it if those were shared to as well. I will go forth and make something and I hope you will too.

Welcome 2012 the year of Trusting your crazy ideas.
January 18, 2012, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello and happy new year! We have already had quite a year and it has only just begun! We had an extended stay back home for Christmas due to the fact that my sister-in-law and family; went to Ethiopia to retrieve there newly adopted 3 children. I offered to stay on and take care of the kids that didn’t go along for the ride. It was a GREAT experience. We did so much, I learned so much and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I was a little intimidated about being in charge of 5 kids (two being mine) but it was really a lot of fun. And the best part besides getting to know my nieces and nephews better…I got to meet the new nieces and nephew all the way from Ethiopia. What a blessing. They  came with really nothing but now they have so so much and to see them smile and just be happy to be part of a family, really gave me an overhaul on what is truly important.

So last year seemed to be the year of doing things I said I would never do. I have a feeling that 2012 will be the year that the Funks decide to trust our crazy ideas…and believe me we have some crazy ideas already. That is all I will say for now. Stay tuned.

A year of doing what I said I would never do…
December 7, 2011, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

What a year it has been! It has indeed been a year do doing so many things that I said I would never do. And the photo above is just one of those things. I took the kids to Macy’s to visit Santa. Commercialism be damned! I did it and honestly it was awesome. Yea, we had to wait in line…not too bad it was a rain weekday. We waited maybe 20 minutes. In the beginning it was everything I didn’t want it to be. Loud and kind of for lack of a better word cheesy…but the further you got in through the line the better the experience got. Then you are there at the gates that lead to “the North Pole Villiage” and “Santa’s helpers” take you down some darker quieter hallways to a little alcove and in the corner of the alcove…the best damn Santa I have ever, EVER seen. It was so sweet. I don’t think he said Ho, Ho, Ho once. Alice skipped over to him arms open! He picked Alice up, bounced her up and down a couple of times and placed her on his knee. He spoke to her quietly, they laughed she was clearly having a really good time. It was so so sweet. Then it was Fin’s turn…he wasn’t as comfortable with the whole sitting on the lap thing but he came around. He asked for a BB gun and a Nerf gun…neither of which he will get and Alice asked for a yellow dress and a doll.

Just a few of the other things that I said I wouldn’t do…train for a marathon ( I ran two half-marathons this year) and we went to see the Thanksgiving day parade, we had a great time.

This year has been a year of never say never.

Facebook ate my blog.
December 7, 2011, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Seriously…it is just SO easy on facebook so that is where I have been but I know it is just a cheap version of my real blog. So here I am again with my tail between my legs hoping to be in this place more than that other. Its been a good year. And maybe I am just feeling optimistic because it is my 13th wedding anniversary (i know!) but it has been a very good year. We are full on, recognized by the state homeschoolers now. Fin is doing well and while I started out the year nervous, anxious and way way way overly ambitious. We are now in a nice little groove. Hope to share much much more very very soon

Reading about Christopher Columbus and listening to Beethovan
February 23, 2011, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

That is what we are doing right now.

I have been writing blog entries in my head for months just need to get to the keyboard.