Locks of Love by Avy

This is what my hair looked like 2 days ago.

(This is my baby cousin Holden and my Aunt Debra. We both have long straight blond hair.)

Now this is what it looks like. Yesterday my mom cut off 12 inches of my hair.

After that we sent it into Locks of Love  in an envelope.

Now a kid that has cancer will wear my hair as a wig!!!


It was hot and sunny and the wisteria was blooming…

There were mojitos for the mamas,

who kicked back on the patio and watched the kids play.

There was the Children’s Museum, swimming, Lego playing, freshly made bread every day (thanks Jeff!), two train rides, and hiking in the woods.

Asher and Avy adore being the “big” cousins.

Even if they’re worn out by the end of the day.

This kid, I just want to kiss his cheeks!

And I’m adding this to my list of places I might want to live.


Spring Birdhouses

Now if that Spring weather would just come back…


Ms. Ryan

We were so excited to learn that one of our favorite authors, Pam Munoz Ryan, will be the speaker for this years Youth Writer’s Conference at Calvin College.  We have read most of her novels, Raising Naomi Leon, Esperanza Rising, Riding Freedom, and The Dreamer, and a few of her picture books.

In preparation for hearing her speak, I got on the library’s website to see what books of hers they had,that we hadn’t yet read.  The picture book When Marian Sings is a true story of an African American opera singer from the 1930’s.  We fell in love with her story and the beautiful pictures from Brian Selznick.  After reading the book, we put on a CD and listened to her sing.  And boy, could she sing!





Unschooling (Interest Led Learning)

From Wikipedia: Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children  to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Unschooling differs from conventional schooling principally in the thesis that standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child.

We unschool every Wednesday.

The kids decide what they want to learn and on this particular day, it looked like this:

Asher read this book, and then made his own origami Yoda.

Avy balanced our credit card statement.

Asher wrote a few pages of a book that he’s writing.

Avy played some games on a civics website.

Asher worked on his maps and schedules and started reading a new 100 page report that our bus system just released.

Avy helped make pita bread for our falafel dinner.

Asher made cookies.

Avy danced (as she does every day).

In addition there was Mythbusters, geography game playing, Lego building, piano playing, reading about Genghis Khan, and drawing, and so much more.  This is also the day we hit the YMCA for swimming, basketball and racquetball.

I love the ebb and flow of these days.  I love that each Wednesday is completely different from the last.  I love seeing what has sparked an interest and how they go about teaching themselves or finding  someone to teach them.  I love that we all go our separate ways for some things, but always find our way back to each other throughout the day.  A lot of interest led learning happens every day for us, but it’s nice to have a day of the week where we can each focus on whatever we want. For us, a balance of curriculum and unschooling works.


Favorite Family Reads from 2010

A friend asked me for our top ten book list from last year.  Good thing we keep a list of all the books we read that I could go back to!

In no particular order our top ten reads from last year were:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Newbery Winner for 2010)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The Evolution of Calpernia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff

Cicada Summer by Andrew Beatty

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

The Master Puppeteer by Kathleen Paterson

On the Wings of Heros by Richard Peck

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