Oranges - bounty

Taking a Time Out

Time out for…
  • God
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Me

Friends, I feel that God is leading me towards taking a break from the online world for the time being in order to focus more completely on the offline world – ie this thing we call Real Life.

In the meantime, you can browse my archives, and I will still be replying to comments as well as to emails {but don’t expect to see me on FB or Twitter} – however, I will be taking a break from blogging for a while.

If you want to be one of the first to know when I come back, be sure to use the form in the right sidebar to sign up for email updates – then, you’ll be in the loop when I return.

I am confident that I will have lots of stories and experiences to share – because when we follow God’s direction, we are truly blessed!

My people will be filled with my bounty. Jeremiah 31:14


hammock tracks

Who Homeschools?

Ever wonder how other mothers (and fathers) come to the decision to homeschool? How does homeschooling look in other homes?

Well, my friend Savannah over at Hammock Tracks has started a project to answer just those types of questions, and I was honored when she asked me to participate in her weekly questionnaire, Who Homeschools?

So, follow me over there to find out our story – how we came to homeschooling, how we plan to continue, and what a typical day looks like.

While you’re there, don’t miss the other interviews – I don’t know about you, but I always like finding out how others are doing it. I just might get inspired to try something new – and, I always feel camaraderie because the great thing about homeschooling is that although every family culture looks different, there are also areas of overlap where we feel a sense of kinship with each other.

And, while you are there, definitely fill out her Who Homeschools? questionnaire – I know that I would love to find out what homeschooling looks like in your family!


Mystery of History

Mystery of History Review

If you’ve been following our adventures lately, you know that we have made the switch to unschool. So you’re probably wondering why an unschooler would be doing a review of a curriculum product.

Well, I will be honest with you – I was offered the opportunity to review Mystery of History before we made the switch, and we did start using it before then. I will also tell you that Mystery of History is the only curriculum that we are still using – even as unschoolers.

The great thing about the textbook is that you really can personalize it to fit your family and your goals.

Each week begins with a Pre-Test designed to give your kids confidence. My kids always enjoy seeing how much they already know. We just do this orally as a group.

What we especially LOVE: Easy one to two page summaries of a time period that usually focuses in on one person {three a week}. If this summary ignites an interest, then I find us a more in-depth biography, historical fiction, or other non-fiction resource. If not, then we appreciate the glimpse into another life, another culture and then move on.

After each summary, there are Exercises offered for further exploration – usually 3 to 4 options – that are divided into appropriate age range suggestions.

There is also a review activity for each week – and every other week, this review is a quiz that reviews ALL of the material from the beginning of the semester.

One of my favorite features of the program is the Memory Cards. Each child makes one card to represent each chapter that are then put into index card binders. In this way, you have a mobile time line that a quick flip through will remind you of the order of events. {And, if your family enjoys more time line work, there are suggestions each week for building onto a more elaborate time line).

I also really appreciate that there are only TWELVE dates that are recommended for memorization. I love that the author shares my belief that it is much more important to enjoy the flow of history rather than learn a lot of dates.

This book could easily be used on its own for a year or longer as your history resource.

If you combine it with Illuminations, you will have an amazing powerhouse that will cover your history, literature, and Bible readings seamlessly (pretty much everything except math). This could easily fit into any Classical, Charlotte Mason, or Unit Studies program.

When I first read the product description of Illuminations, I thought that it was only a schedule and book list. Boy was I wrong! Also included in this superb resource are the Study Guides to go along with all of the literature selections. Wow!

It also includes copywork, a spelling curriculum, AND more graphic organizers than you can imagine. (You will need to purchase other textbooks to be able to use the other parts of the program.) What’s great is that the graphic organizers are used for the literature assignments which makes a great jumping off point to learn how to use them effectively.

If your family is looking for a new history program (or one to get started), then I highly recommend Mystery of History. I am looking forward to enjoying their products for many years to come.


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Mystery of History 1 from Bright Ideas Press to facilitate this review. All opinions are my honest and unbiased review. I also participated in a BETA test of Illuminations for which I did receive a gift for my feedback. The links within the post are affiliate links. If you purchase products through them, I will receive a small commission.

Monkey with College Catalog

Motivation towards College

Your teenager wants to go to college – but they have no interest whatsover in studying science – of any kind. How do you motivate your teenager to want to study those things that are necessary in order to attend college – those subject that colleges expect to see.

Today I’m sharing how I am motivating my college bound teenager over at The Homeschool Post – see you there!


Serving sizes for Math Lesson

Handi-Skill Spotlight: Serving Sizes

I don’t know how things work in your house, but on the rare occasion that I bring home fun cereal, it disappears at the speed of light. Invariably, one (or both) children feel like they didn’t get their fair share.

This past week, Momma wised up and came up with a solution. It’s so easy that I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier. Dividing it into serving sizes!

Serving sizes for Math Lesson

As I began to look at the side of the box, I realized – what am I doing?!? “Hey, Rex, come here. How much is a serving size of this cereal?” To which he replied, “About a bowl.” So, we had a lesson on serving sizes. Think of how many skills are used in order to divide up a box of cereal!

  • How to find the serving size using the information on the box (3/4 cup).
  • Look at the number of servings in the box (12).
  • Divide that number by the number in our family (4) to come up with how many servings he got to have (3).
  • Figure out how much cereal he should put in his zip bag by multiplying his servings by the serving size (2 1/4 cup).
  • Find the correct size measuring cup to most easily use for a situation (3/4 cup in our house) and how many scoops are necessary (3). {Of course, if he had realized that there was a 3/4 cup scoop, he could have cut out some of the other stuff – but, I didn’t let that cat out of the bag.}

After he finished the exercise, I called out “Monkey, come here,” and started the process all over again. So, in about 5 – 10 minutes, they worked easily {and naturally} with fractions, multiplication, division, and algebraall to earn some breakfast cereal. {We’ll get to the health side of the issue later.}

Dividing Cereal to Practice Math

If the goals are real, then the motivation is natural, and math doesn’t need to be scary at all. {My friend, Bon, over at Math Four would be so proud of me!} Have you found easy ways to practice math in everyday life? Won’t you share them in the comments {or, just tell me hi – I’d love to hear from you}!


grocery shopping for learning consumer math - unschooling

Handi-Skill Spotlight: Surviving the Grocery Store

Not sure what a Handi-Skill is? Perhaps a better name for this series would be Real World or Real Life Skills.

As we start out on our unschooling journey, I’ve had my eyes {and mind} open to finding unschool opportunities for those basic skills that I feel are necessary. I would say that Consumer Math is probably one of the most important to learn before going out on their own, and going to the grocery store has to be the most natural real world math experience there can be!

grocery shopping for learning consumer math - unschooling

I know it’s easier to go to the grocery store without the kids. Oh, boy do I know it! But, if they don’t go, they are missing out on a valuable learning opportunity. Or, maybe you always take your kids, and you are looking for ways to occupy their attention so that you can get the real work done. I want to suggest that perhaps they can be a bigger help than you realize – especially if they are school-age.

First, a couple of warnings:

  1. Do not attempt this when your kids are hungry, tired, or sick. You will both leave frustrated.
  2. Do not attempt this when YOU are hungry, tired, or sick.

In Christian Unschooling by Teri J Brown (p32), she shares how she encouraged her children to practice consumer math. She handed them each $10, and they were to buy their lunches for a week – and that they should be healthy. {I kind of forgot that last part – oops!} This could even be used with younger children – perhaps giving them $5 to choose their snacks for the week.

I’ll be honest, the idea of my kids holding up a line at the grocery store makes me VERY uncomfortable. I don’t like it. I want to take the money right out of their hands and do it for them. But… they won’t learn anything that way. So, I decided that this might be worth a try. {Plus, knowing that they really would only have one or two bills to work with on this first try made it a little easier to let go.}

When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself. Jean Piaget

This might seem like a simple exercise, but let’s break down all of the thinking skills necessary to make this a successful outing.

Price Comparisons

We had a few instances where they had to decide which package was a better price – which meant dividing it out and determining how much it was per ounce {or per item}. Then, even if it was cheaper for the larger one, you have to determine if it is enough cheaper to warrant getting it. For example, Monkey decided to get Pork & Beans. She could get the larger can for about a penny less per ounce, but that was not enough of a savings to warrant having to open a large can when she only needed a small one.

In the breakfast aisle, there was a particularly unusual case. Due to an extra savings that we were eligible for, the larger box of Pop-tarts was actually cheaper than the clearanced smaller package. Four extra pop-tarts? Score!

Kid learn which is the better buy

Clearance normally indicates a rock bottom price, but you should always check.

Making Tough Choices

Monkey also wanted to get some frozen pizzas. So, we looked at one brand {which is not her favorite} and determined that 5 pizzas {with coupons} would be $4ish, and she divided it out to be 81 cents per pizza. Then we looked at the french bread pizzas {which she prefers}, and she determined that it came out to $1.75 per pizza. So, I asked her – does eating 1 french bread pizza fill you up twice as much as the other kind? She decided that it was not worth the extra cost.

Rex’s hardest decision was a little more cut and dry – logically, albeit not emotionally. He desperately wanted some powdered sugar donuts.

learning about tough choices - consumer math

But, at $3 a bag, that put him over the $10 budget. He immediately saw that it was not a good option to put back his corn dogs, but he wanted me to allow him to pull $1 from his own money. Let me tell you – he was so angry at me when I told him no – that the exercise was in making decisions and making the purchases fit inside the $10.

Working Together

They both wanted to get Pop-tarts, and the best choice was definitely the 12 count box. But, they both wanted to have more than one kind, so we suggested that they might want to work together and swap some packages when we got home.

This thought had never even occurred to them! But, once suggested, they eagerly agreed that made sense. {Although I do not hold any allusions that will last for an extended length of time.}

Planning Ahead

What they purchased had to last a week – a whole week. Now, yes, they know that mom and dad have back-up food {ie PB & J and Rice}, but they needed to plan out how long what they were purchasing would last them.

Rex knew that he needed to plan on 2 corn dogs for a meal because 1 just does not fill him up. So that had to be accounted for when he was deciding how much to get.

I anticipate being able to help them learn the coupon process in the future as well – that way they will be able to stretch their money even further.


They kept a running total as they went to make sure that they didn’t go over their $10. They knew that we would make them put something back instead of rushing in to the rescue. {And, I am happy to say that they both came in under with a little bit of change left over.}

Working with Money

Not only did they need to have an idea of how much everything should cost {so that they knew if it all rang up correctly, they also needed to have an idea of how much their change should be – and count it to make sure that they got back the right amount.

By practicing {and Mom not stepping in}, they will get faster and less trepidation when trying to give the money to the cashier. This was probably the most stressful part of the trip for me.

People Skills

Oh, could this be where those social skills come in? We chose to go through a real lane instead of the self-checkout lane so that they could get practice handing the money to a person {ie not balled up in a bunch but lying flat and straight} and receiving change from a real person. This way human error was a possibility – necessitating counting the change. :)

For this to work, Mom {and Dad}, you have to be willing to let them make a mistake. You have to be willing to let them experience the consequences of their actions. Definitely guide, but it has to be their decision. For example, had Rex chosen to get the donuts, we were going to let him – then he would have been missing his “real food” in about two days. And, on the flip side, it also makes any successes their own!

I know that some of you are probably very nervous about handing over $10 to your kids. And, let’s be honest, $10 for a week of lunches at home, really is quite a lot. For us, our grocery budget {for 4} is $70 a week for food, so forking over $20 of that was a little stressful. But, I do think that the skills they will learn from this process is definitely worth the sacrifice. And,  on the plus side, no more complaints about there being nothing “good” to eat – it’s all in their hands.

For some further ideas on how to incorporate math into your unschooling life, I highly recommend Joyce’s article Unschooling Math found, coincidentally enough, on An Unschooling Life.

How have you incorporated math into your everyday life? Or does it just happen naturally? Please share your experiences in the comments!


Unschooling Unmotivated Kids

Motivation for an Unschooler

I had a great question posed on the Back to Unschool post, and when I realized that I was answering with a book of information, I figured that everyone might be better served by a brand new entry. :)

KK asked {in part}: …the highschooler isn’t getting it when I give her permission to follow her interests. she just doesn’t have the motivation and is afraid she wouldn’t be doing school , yet at the same time she struggles to do school. can you make suggestions here.

This is such an area where I have struggled as well – I did a lot of googling on the subject!

Unschooling Unmotivated Kids

One article especially made an impression on me. It asked “Do they sit around all day staring at the ceiling?” Or, do they have motivation to do the things that interest them…. and for me, I realized that I somehow wanted my daughter to have internal motivation to do MY goals – not her own. Unfortunately, I can’t find that article again, but the Homeschool News Network has one about how unschooling leads to self-motivated learning.

After explaining that they would be allowed to use computer time, watch TV, etc… they were both excited. Then my son went to his schedule so that he could finish school and get to those things. So, I realized that I needed to do something that made it clear that things were going to be different – in order to release the pressure, both on them and me (and to stop hubby’s inquiries about what we did for school each day), I made an announcement.

We are on Vacation.

I told them very honestly that I was having trouble with letting go as well, so I decided that we would not be doing anything schoolish at least until after Christmas. I called it an experiment. (The result of that experiment is that we will not be going back to how it was before.) This gave them the freedom to pursue what they were interested in without feeling guilty about not doing school.

{Side note on hubby: he is starting to see that they are accomplishing things on their own – not “schooly” stuff – but amazing stuff, instead!}

Another thing that is helping us is that I am actively pursuing my own interests for a change. For example, I had gotten us a documentary that looked interesting. I asked the kids if they wanted to watch it with me, and I allowed them the freedom to say No. But, here’s where the change kicked in – instead of waiting to watch it until later – until they were ready to watch with me – I watched it MYSELF. I think this also sent the message that I was truly interested in it and not just trying to force them to learn something.

I am also putting books on hold at the library for me again. Books on subjects that I am interested in learning more about: how to be more creative, plays to read, trigger point therapy. And, I am sitting down to read them in the middle of the day – when the kids can see me. I am learning to untangle our interests. It’s ok if we are not intrigued by the same stuff…God made us different from each other.

I’ll be honest, I still watch the time that they are playing games, and I worry: Is it ok that they are on the computer most of the day. But, then I noticed that my daughter is not playing games. She is creating a piece of music – with Japanese lyrics – to be her harmony during the talent show later this year. And, my son plays lots of different games. I stand and watch him occasionally, and there are strategic/logic games, creative games, and historical games – with dates and everything! So, even during deschooling, they are not choosing passive activities – these games make them think!

I’ve even started playing math games to improve my skills in that arena. I am loving Manga High (not just for highschool math) and can easily get sucked in for a long time trying to be the various games.

And, if it turns out that your daughter truly is motivated to do traditional schoolwork, and that is what interests her, then Why not? If that is what she wants to do, it will be her goal; her motivation to accomplish it will be her own. And, she still has the freedom to go off on rabbit trails if she wants to learn more. If she has a great desire to go to college, then she will be motivated from within to get there.

For us, we are still kind of at the beginning of this unschool journey, but I have realized more each day, that it is me who needs to change: my expectations, my worrying, my pushing. I’m a Type A driven person, and I need to be ok with letting my Type B laid back daughter do things in her own time. {My son is much easier to get to go along with anything that I want to do.}

I also do not leave them completely alone either. I find opportunities, and I put books on hold for them. I guess I am participating in Strewing – but I have always done this – the difference is that they have the freedom to accept or reject what is being offered, hopefully without me getting all bent out of shape. I say hopefully because this momma is definitely still a work in progress!

Here are some sites that have helped with my ideas of motivation, self- motivation, and the lack there-of. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in each of these pages, but it has challenged me to pin-point my thoughts – and why I think them.

I have no doubt that I will still become too pushy at times, and I will still worry, but for us, for now, I am happy with how our experiment is developing. I hope you’re able to find these resources helpful in your journey as well.

I would love to hear your stories. How did you deschool? How long did it take? How do you judge success? Please tell me about your experiences in the comments!


Making clothes for Dino

Back to Unschool

When the kids were younger, we had a very laid back learning style. We read books together, checked out books from the library on a multitude of subjects, visited forts and parks, and pursuing self-created projects and experiments {in addition to the ones mom found}.

Monkey was making a dress for her Build-a-Dino.

Over the last few years, however, something very odd began happening. Even though we have been successful – indicated not only by their high test scores {required by the state} but also with their ability to delight others in conversation when we were out and about – I have started sliding into “school at home.” I was trying to schedule all of their subjects and direct what they were supposed to study – I began “teaching to the test” of college admission. And the result of my hard work? The kids gradually losing their innate desire to learn….there has to be a better way!

This was an amazing field trip, but they were pretty much ready to go when we got there.

I started thinking about what has worked in the past, and what caused my change. I realized that is was FEAR. I was afraid that the kids would not be able to succeed after high school, and although I would not have called us unschoolers, I began researching how unschoolers get to college.

I discovered a lot of articles and websites that helped to alleviate my fear and reaffirm that we can continue to pursue our path and have college success – not to mention, the possibility that college is not necessarily a requirement for adult success. Want some examples of what I found?

I also came to the realization that every amazing thing they have accomplished – from tasting all of the spices to committing large chunks of time to art – have been due to their own passions. They have been motivated to learn them – they are unmotivated to learn something just because some arbitrary person says that they need to. But, on the flip side, if it turns out that they do need to learn it in order to accomplish their own goals {ie college}, then I have no doubt that they will succeed.

Sitting and reading with their cousins.

Now I am embracing the Unschool philosophy, and we are in a period of deschooling right now to encourage them to reignite their love of learning for themselves, and it is going pretty well. I’m learning to say “Yes!” more often, and they are learning to be excited by the possibilities again.

But, I’m sure you’re asking, “But, Gidget – what about that beautiful planner you were just telling us about?” Well, I am happy to report that I have found a way to use it for my own record-keeping. Instead of using the squares to write out what I want to do – I am using it to record what they have done. I’m also continuing the lists of books and field trips. This will help me when I write my end of year review {required, once again, by the state} and when I help them create college portfolios….assuming that is the path where God takes them.

I believe that every family has to find the path of homeschooling that fits them best, and I am so happy to have found our way back to ours.


Sept 8 Week in Pictures

Cartwheels, Japanese Mail, and Confidence: Our Week in Pictures

Recently, I have embraced using my phone to capture the moments of our lives. I’m going to try something new  – sharing it with you at the end of each week. (If you’re interested in the stories behind the pictures, scroll on down.)

While the kids were in a class, I got to have a few hours to myself strolling the zoo and discovered something that I have overlooked every time. It was fun strolling through the tall grasses – and it struck me how much my children would not enjoy this little peaceful interlude – which is probably why I normally walk on by without even noticing.

My son taught me that the giraffes follow the palm trees and rest in the shade. Do you see how all but one has arranged themselves squarely in the shade of tree? It sure does space them out nicely for pictures! And, if you look really hard, you’ll notice 4 more giraffes in the background – it was really a lovely photo-op – a close second to my favorite giraffe picture.

My beautiful daughter submitted to having her photo taken with only a minimal amount of resistance – just for me….cause she loves me. :-) You know, she is a teenager now, so I guess they magically decide that they don’t like the camera anymore.

Rex really loves everything about bamboo, so I couldn’t resist this fun picture. I think if he gets his hands on some, one day I am going to find a bamboo forest on the side of our house. I thought about creating one there for him at one time – until I found out how hard it is to get rid of!

After taking this photo from several {dozen} different angles and then having the my initial inspiration turn out the best, I gained confidence to trust my creative juices and took this next photo in one shot. {It’s not in the collage above.}

The only edit done to this is the addition of the text. I’m glad that I didn’t second guess myself and spend too much time on this one.

We had a lively dinner discussion one night about radioactive materials, Chernobyl, and how microwaves work. All inspired because we eat over a world map on our dinner table. Now we have books on hold from the library to learn more.

When unloading the dishwasher one day, my daughter realized that the ice scream scoop was misaligned. I set it aside to “wait for Daddy,” and she asked me if she could fix it. I told her sure. She got it apart, and spent about 15 {ore more} minutes trying to repair it.  She understood what needed to be done, but just couldn’t get it quite there. Then I tried for another 30 minutes or so…. Turned out that the metal was bent – once that was fixed, it works perfectly again.

I love the positions that the gorillas get into. Don’t you just love how she is kicked back without a care in the world? And, those gorilla feet! Who couldn’t like gorilla feet?

I was really digging this one bench and practicing taking self photos. I got a lot of pictures of the ground – and one that was really scary close – but, I think this one turned out ok. Sometimes, it can be fun to visit somewhere by yourself that is usually considered a shared activity {but only sometimes… I wouldn’t want to do it too often}

Monkey has been teaching herself Japanese because she hopes to study art in Japan one day. I surprised her by ordering her the course and university information – and she was thrilled – especially once she realized that, with the exception of the front page, it was all in Japanese!

We almost stepped on this guy as we left the zoo. I was afraid he was dead at first, but he kind of moved a little bit. I would say that he walked, but during my son’s Animal Devotions, we learned that dragonflies don’t walk {they only land}, so either it flew/hopped or this wasn’t a dragonfly. Rex’s theory was that it was drying out, but Monkey thought that it was dying. Funny how much of a difference one little ole letter makes… {I’m hoping Rex was right, so that I wasn’t taking photos of a dying insect.}

Rex asked me to teach him how to do a cartwheel this week, and it took him only a few tries before he was able to get over and land on his feet. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that I could easily do one myself – although we won’t discuss how sore I was the next day! We had a great time, and he feels great knowing that he can do cartwheels like the other boys now. Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a moving boy with a camera phone?

I’m busy reading Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School which, even given the title, is really directed more towards schooled kids, but I am still learning a lot and gaining so many new ideas. This page spoke to me so much that I had to take a picture so that I remembered to share it with hubby when I got back home.

I hope you enjoyed walking through this week of our adventures. What did you do this week? I’d love to hear about your adventures in the comments!


street intersection by Gidget

Dog Phobia Challenges

We, as a family, really need to get more exercise. {Don’t we all, right?} So, I decided that the way to build up our stamina was to park about a quarter of a mile away from the library in order to walk there and back. {I hate walking without a purpose.} And, I would slowly increase the distance that we were walking each time.

Perhaps I should also mention that my son, who has Aspergers, has a severe dog phobia, and anytime we are out {and especially walking} I must scan the area constantly to be sure that we are not going to suddenly have a dog near us. If he sees it before I do, then I have a flight situation on my hands. As you can imagine, this can make for an exhausting experience.

On this particular day, we were coming up on an intersection, and all of a sudden Rex says “Dog!” and breaks to run away – INTO THE STREET. I grabbed his arm, stopped him, calmly asked him for his hand, and held on tight. {In my heart, I was anything but calm!}

I looked around, but I couldn’t see where the dog was, so I asked him. He pointed to a vehicle that had just parked, and said that it was in the SUV. He was afraid that the dog was going to be getting out. As it turned out, the gentleman was just dropping something off, and the dog’s feet never even touched the ground.

After we got home, and the event was over, I spoke to him. I said “You have to promise me that you will not run into the street if you see a dog. A dog may bite you, but a car can kill you.” He explained that he couldn’t make me a promise that he might not be able to keep because he couldn’t think when he saw a dog. {You gotta love the honesty even if the situation is heartbreaking.}

My husband and I talked, and we decided that we simply can’t take the chance. We have decided not to take the chance just to take a casual walk down the street because you can never guess when he might try to take off – dogs I can see are one thing, but dogs that are inside of a car?!? – that I can’t be prepared for. The only other option would be to hold his hand at all times, and at 6th grade, I simply can’t see that happening.

Who wouldn’t want to walk down this beautiful sidewalk?

Do you have experience with dog phobias? I’d love to hear what worked for you in the comments – or perhaps just share your challenges with phobias and we can commiserate together – after all, there is strength in numbers, right?


Golden Goblet

Gold Unit Study {also for Tweens and Teens!}

Don’t you just love those happy accidents where several books align and nicely complement each other?

We are currently reading The Golden Goblet as our family read-aloud which has a lot of information about how gold is poured and molded into shapes and used in different ways. Our study guide from Bright Ideas Press has been guiding us through the vocabulary words, so the kids and I have a pretty good grasp on how the gold-working process works.

And, as luck would have it, an audiobook that had been on hold forever finally came into the library. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is about a family that moves out west to take part in the California Gold Rush – from the viewpoint of a girl, no less! So, as we were enthralled with the story, we were being exposed to another facet of gold.

The Golden Goblet also has a lot of great analogies and word play fun {which the study guide also helps point out along the way}, and the imagery in Lucy Whipple is just beautiful. Karen Cushman really has a way with words, and Christina Moore is a fabulous reader – we always enjoy her books!

To wrap up this accidental unit study, we’ve now got Stampede for Gold: The Story of the Klondike Rush on hold from the library. It is supposed to be full of eyewitness accounts of this lesser known gold rush. Maybe too grim for the younger kids, but I’m sure there are other options out there that are a little softer.

I love that through these historical fiction books, we’ve covered three of the most gold focused time periods in history. {Or at least the three that I think of…} And, both Golden Goblet and Lucy Whipple were exciting enough to captivate my 11 and 13 year olds. For younger children, you should be aware that both of these books deal with tough issues. For specifics, please feel free to contact me {via comment, Gmail, twitter, or Facebook}, and I would be happy to help.

What about you – have you had any “accidental unit studies”? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means that should you purchase the product, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support of our homeschool!

banana spider

Unexpected Fun

You know how sometimes when you give a toddler a toy, and all they want to play with is the box? Recently, we had a similar situation at the zoo. Now, don’t get me wrong – some days at the zoo are filled with zoo type activity! But, on this particular day, with all of the zoo animals around, our biggest source of fascination was this Banana Spider – also known as a Golden Orb-Web Spider.

We got to see him (or her) work on the web – taking it down and restringing it. What was really cool {and a little scary} was how quickly he could run up and down the web. Unfortunately, every time I tried to video him, he stopped.

My favorite picture of the day? This one where the spider looks as big as my nephew – gotta love creative photography!

I’m so glad that my sister noticed this guy because we must have stood there and watched him for a good 15 minutes. Do you have any memories of unexpected fun? I would love to hear about it in the comments!


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