What our Unschooling Looks Like

Most of you that know me, know that we’ve been Homeschooling forever. Actually, I’m on the tail end of this wonderful adventure…having one college grad & an upcoming college senior & sophomore this fall. That leaves with me with just two at home….an upcoming high school senior & sophomre. We have grown & morphed so much over these past almost 20 years now. I went from doing school at home to where we are now with what alot of folks would label as Unschooling……but even that title still bothers me because it has the feeling of following a specific curriculm in a specific time frame….just very relaxed. I gave in for a long time….just because it was easier….to say, ‘yes, we’re done with school for the summer.’ Or, ‘yes, we will be starting back in August after I get my college kids settled in.’ But honestly, that’s NOT the case. We don’t put the books aside & quit learning for these summer months. We’ve been learning TONS these past few months. I decided that I wanted to just TRY & keep a little list scribbled down of the learning that takes place around here at any given time & I want to try & just touch a little on what we’ve been learning this summer.

*We did a quick study of blood types–this came about by a comment Ashley made about blood types that she had learned in her Biology class this past semester. And the fact that Jon had given blood twice at school & received a card from the American Red Cross stating his blood type as A+.

*Golf is our PE of choice these days. Having a membership at Winton Country Club so the boys can play as much as they want this year. Plus signing Michael up for lessons with the golf pro there at Winton. And he’s already played in his first ever golf tournament last week at Poplar Grove in Amherst. He scored right up there with the other two boys he played with which were both on the golf teams at their respective high schools. Besides tournaments scheduled for the rest of the summer, we’re going to see about Golf Camp at Liberty University in July. Best field trip ever….Michael & Clay just got back from two days in Pinehurst, NC watching the pros at the U.S. Open.

*Alli’s new musical passion is a band called Rend Collective– a Northern Irish Christian folk/rock band. She loves listening to & learning to play their music. I’m sure we’ll be right there ringing in the new year at Winterfest as I just found out yesterday that they will be there this year. She also loves the cool musical instrument they play called the Jingling Johnny –she’s hoping she can enlist the help of her brother & the two them can actually build their own Jingling Johnny.

*We’ve learned about lentils since Ashley’s been home. She helps us with our nutrition as she eats a vegetarian diet. She even did Vegan for one week. She has lots of different smoothie/juice recipes & makes them & gets us to taste them. She’s put in her request for a juicer as her graduation present.

*Also thanks to Ashley, we learned about Agave Nectar & succulant plants. One of the boys even pointed out that they thought succulant meant that something was delicious—-which I said was very true—-thus the difference between succulant the noun & succulant the adjective.

*After Clay’s work trip to Hershey, PA–we did some study of the Amish people. Old order Amish & Mennonites too.

*We’ve had several studying Driver’s Ed here lately. Jon has put in many hours of driving practice since coming home from school & is now the proud owner of a VA driver’s license. Ashley still needs to get her actual license–Jon went first because he needed it for work. Michael & Alli both are studying the manual now.

*Jon is working at Frito Lay this summer & has spent three weeks training to be a packer there. This past week was his first real shift. Lots of learning involved there.

*watching behind the scenes & the making of Titanic.

*Ashley read to us about the huge tortoise at the Pittsburgh Zoo. We learned how big they can grow, how much they weigh & how long they live,etc.

*Alli was really fascinated with the weather we were having here last week. Lots of thunderstorms & even a tornado warning here one afternoon. So, she googled about tornadoes that might happen here in VA as opposed to ones that happen out in the midwest.

*Alli is doing what I like to call her own little ‘mission’s trip’/community service project this week. She is helping out at Vacation Bible School at Thomas Road this week. Since I wouldn’t be able to be there each night, she is staying with Maw this week & doing VBS with Sarah, Ella & their kids. I love that the teen-agers are eager to help & be volunteers. Alli & Cori are helping out each night in the craft room with the preschoolers & having a blast from what I can tell.


So, there ya have it. Just the the high points from my little scribbled notes with just SOME of what all we’ve been learning these past few months ‘since school’s been out.’ I much prefer to think about our way of learning as a lifestyle. So, let the learning continue. Leave me a comment & tell me what you’ve been learning here lately.


Alfresco Art

Another gorgeous Spring day. Too beautiful to stay inside & so Alli & I both spent a little time arting in the great outdoors!



She’s playing with some brand new oil paints. This is a new adventure for her. She’s only used water colors & acrylics before, so she’s been excited to get at it.


Of course, my ‘art’ is in the form of crochet…but I was creating nonetheless. Making progress on the ‘Boyfriend’ blanket. Will do a ‘Ta-Dah’ post when I’m done.


Counting My Blessings:

* A brand new month * mocking bird with a nest in our Mock Orange bush * Bare feet on the wet rainy grass * lunch with all 3 of my college kiddos (yes, I claim Brendan too) celebrating the ending of another school year * hearing lawn mowers going in the distance * blue skies & white puffy clouds * hearing the cows moo * butterfly flitting by * yellow buttercups & dandelions in the yard * sweet tea in a mason jar * hearing Alli play the piano–Matt Redman’s ‘10,000 Reasons’ * Bumble bees buzzing all around *

Hooky Projects & Art Journaling

Yesterday was such a beautiful spring day & I totally enjoyed spending some time outside soaking up the sun & hooking some Granny Triangles. I had started these a while back & then set them aside as I worked on more urgent projects….probably like Christmas gifts at the time. But got to thinking the other day how I wanted something new to hang in my dining room window. That’s when I remembered these triangles. So…..I dug them out & set to work on making some more. I’m thinking I’ll need/want about 10-12 of them to go across my double window…..We’ll see how it goes.


Besides the crocheting, I’ve really been enjoying my art journal these days. Especially the Journal52 prompts that come out each week. Here are a few of my latest creations.




Counting My Blessings:

*Birds snitching dog food from the pan outside * Finding Golf shirts at Good Will for my men * a mocking bird on my clothesline * Clean sheets straight off the line * Lilac blossoms on my kitchen table * watching the field grass blow in the breeze * White cheddar popcorn * FREE chick-fil-a sandwich * getting to watch church streaming when you can’t be there * hearing the frogs outside at night*


What are you thankful for today?


Easter Weekend

We were blessed to be able to have our college kids (including Brendan) home for the Easter weekend since they didn’t have any classes on Easter Monday. I picked them up after classes on Friday afternoon & the celebrating began that evening when Brendan treated everyone to ice cream at the Dairy Isle. Saturday was a restful day for the kids, while I played catch-up with all that laundry they brought home with them. In the afternoon, the kids took Brendan on a walk down the creek path.
Alli dipping her toes in the creek.
Easter Sunday found us over at Maw’s house again for another cook-out. And after lunch the kids had an egg hunt in the back yard. Such fun memories were made!
Monday morning found the guys up & at ’em early as they had an 8:30am tee time at Winton. Brendan decided that he’d go along as the official photographer of the day.
 After golf the kids decided to take the 4-wheeler out into the front field for some fun…..

We wrapped up our weekend by ordering Vitos pizza for supper & then Alli & I took the kids back to school later that evening. Now, the count-down is on……classes finish up this week & then finals! The end is in sight.

The Camo Blanket

Thought I’d share a little ‘Ta-Dah’ post with y’all today. I finished up the Camo Blanket & it has been given to it’s new owner.


Jesse’s birthday was this past week, but we celebrated with him on Easter Sunday. Judging by the expression on his face, I think it’s safe to say the blanket was a hit. I used good ole Red Heart Super Saver yarn for this blanket. The colors are as follows:

Coffee, Fall, Cafe Latte, Light Sage, Aran Fleck, Medium Thyme, Aspen Print & Pumpkin.

A total of 24 squares & I’m not certain about the dimensions…silly me, forogt to measure the finished project before I gave it away.


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Closer shot of the contrast on the back.

Closer shot of the contrast on the back.

Close-up of the border.

Close-up of the border.

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Wonderful Wednesday

What a gorgeous sunny day it is after the rainy day we had yesterday. I finished up some Easter cards that I had been working on & took them down to the mailbox to send them on their way.


What better way to spend a rainy afternoon than playing with paints & paper!


You can tell that Spring has finally sprung around here. Everything is SO green. I love it!


I stopped to say ‘Hi’ to the Ladies.


The dandelions look so ‘spring-y’ & cheerful…..


Even my mint has come back to life. Clay was getting worried that it wasn’t going to come back this time around, but it’s alive & well and looking very spring-like in my big ole black pots out on the patio.


I finished up another hooky project, but I can’t share all my ‘Ta-dah’ pictures with you just yet…..you’ll just have to make do with this little sneaky peek for now.



Counting my Blessings:

* eating my cereal out on the front porch * the smell of rain * the mistiness hanging low on the mountain * the beautiful color of ‘Spring Green’ that I see everywhere * watching the tale end of ‘You’ve Got Mail’–love that movie * mailing cards to friends/loved ones * finishing up another Hooky project * Sweet Tart jelly beans *

A Tuesday Adventure

I know, I know….it’s MONDAY, but I’m backing up a tad. I forgot all about some pictures I had on my phone from last week & thought I’d share our fun kind of spur-of-the-moment adventure we had.  For a couple of weeks now, Alli had been wanting to go to the craft stores to buy some more paint & canvases. So, I had the thought of us dropping the guys off to play golf & us girls would hit the craft stores……..didn’t quite work out like I had planned in my mind. (Does it ever?) The guys had an EARLY tee time of 8:30am for golf, but had promised we could go to town when they got done……BUT they wanted to go with us. We weren’t too thrilled with that plan at first…..because we knew they didn’t want to go to the stores we wanted to go to. For some silly reason they prefer Dicks, Play-It-Again-Sports, etc. Turned out we had a really fun FAMILY adventure together & I’m so glad it worked out like it did.

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First stop was the music store. The guys dropped us off here while they went to Harbor Freight & Play-It-Again-Sports.

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Alli enjoyed piddling around on all the different instruments.

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We ended up having a bit of fun together on a baby grand. Alli came across the sheet music to Matt Redman’s ‘10,000 Reasons’ & I commented that it didn’t look too hard. Thus began the discussion of HOW in the world I can look at that & actually ‘READ’ the music. To her it’s like ‘math’….something that hurts her brain. She plays solely by ear & is self-taught. Me, I took lessons for years on end & can read music, but can’t play nearly as well as she can. The music in her is just a gift.  Anyway……I picked out the tune in the right hand while she listened & then joined in with the chords. It was fun!

The guys picked us up when they were done & this time we dropped them off at Dicks while we went to AC Moore & Michaels. At this point everyone was starving & ready to go. Clay surprised us by taking us to supper at Cook-Out. The kids had never been before so it was a nice treat for everyone. Very resonably priced too.



I haven’t done this as yet on my new blog, but I’m going to start adding my ‘Count Your Blessings’ to end of my posts & I’d love it if you’d leave a comment & share some of the things that you are  grateful for today.

Counting My Blessings:


*Daffodils in my kitchen window * listening to Alli’s piano-playing * new yarn for dishcloths * clean clothes hanging out on the line * goodies/snacks from the Frito Lay store * Chocolate ice cream * FREE chargrilled sandwich at CFA * Celebrating Jon’s birthday with the family yesterday * the guys went turkey hunting this morning & called in a turkey—-even though Michael couldn’t get a shot off * watching the Masters with my guys & learning to enjoy golf WITH them.

Railroad Maintainence

This was the scene in front of our house yesterday afternoon. They are replacing the cross ties on the tracks.



What a cool unschooling experience. It’s like having the Field Trip brought to us!

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Here’s a LINK that I found that explains a little bit about the different machines & what exactly they are doing. Pretty cool how it all works.

Also I found some Youtube videos. This one showing how the old ties are removed. And inserting the new ones.



Kitties & Crochet

I had a happy little surprise waiting for me out on the back steps yesterday morning.


Our kitty, Gibbs, had her ktitens a few weeks back in an old hollowed out tree beside the house & yesterday she decided to bring them around to the back patio. This is just one of three…..we have two orange ones & a tortise-colored one. So, if any of you out there would like a new little kitty in a few weeks……(hint, hint)……..just let me know.


Later, after lunch, I could be found sitting out in my favorite ‘Old Green Chair’ under my Dogwood tree with my bag of yarn working on a special crochet project. This is my absolute favorite time of the year. Everything is coming to life again & it’s so nice out, without being too hot. So, I try & take advantage of every spare minute that I can to enjoy my chair & the wonderful warm sunshine.


This blanket is called the Camo Blanket.



Right now, I’m in the process of seaming all the squares together. I’m doing a slip stitch in the back loops only with this contrasting ‘Hunter’ orange. The orange can only be seen from the back side of the blanket & is invisible on the front. Will post some more pictures as I do the border & of course a big ‘Ta-Dah’ post when I’m all finished. Once I’m done, I’ll give you all the particulars of the blanket…..yarn colors, brand, how many squares, final measurements, etc.