Google The Unplanned Homeschooler

Thursday, March 17, 2016

An unplanned St. Patrick's Day adventure

We had a field trip scheduled this morning in downtown Tulsa, and I remembered late last night that today was St. Patrick's Day, a day when some folks do a little more to celebrate than just put on green and look for someone to pinch. So I got online to see if anything would be going on downtown, and whether that might affect the parking situation.


Sure enough, a St. Patrick's Day party was just a couple of blocks from where we would be, and a parade was scheduled to begin within half an hour after our field trip was set to end. So we decided to check it out.

Just before the parade, some women stopped us, and asked my older daughter to join the Ginger Brigade and march in the parade. She wasn't sure about that, but I encouraged her to go for it, and assured her we'd be right there to wave at her as she went by.


Once the parade began, as you can see, my daughter was all smiles. It was her first time to be in a parade, and what fun to have been kidnapped by a bunch of fellow redheads and taken on yet another unplanned adventure! 


I hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day, too!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I have so much more to learn about history

Tonight I watched a video called "The Fallen of World War II" that has been going viral on Facebook. It explains in great detail how many people were killed, both military and civilians, in every country involved in the war. It shows the deaths in relation to one another, and spread along a timeline, and even has links where you can interact with the data to learn more.

As I watched the video, I was stunned at the sheer number of deaths, and more than that, at how little I knew about various aspects of the war. I have so much to learn.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1085605


I studied history in high school and college, and was an excellent student. But when I started homeschooling my own children, and learning alongside them, I was ashamed and embarrassed by how little I had even been exposed to in the classes I took. To say that the depth of knowledge presented was shallow would be an understatement. My classes barely skimmed the surfaces of the topics that were covered, and so many topics were left as untouched as pristine, shimmering, newly fallen snow.

In recent years, I have dived into long documentaries by Ken Burns and other filmmakers. I have read biographies, autobiographies, and historical accounts of Marines who faced unthinkable horrors in the Pacific, a bomber crew that was shot down behind enemy lines and then beaten to death by a German civilian mob, children who lived through the war on both sides, and more. But I have so much yet to learn.



Watching the video tonight, I realized that I know next to nothing about the war on the eastern European front, where the vast majority of casualties occurred. Is it because I grew up in the Cold War, during which any sympathetic reference to the Russians would have been taboo? I don't know. But I want to know. I want to know more about the siege of Leningrad and the mass casualties in the Battle of Stalingrad. I want to know what effect the loss of so many millions of young fighting men and civilians had on the Russian people, and what that means for them and for us today.

I feel blessed to be a homeschooling mom. This summer, my kids will be reading both "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "On Hitler's Mountain" - the first written by a young Jewish girl who died during the war and the other written by a woman who spent her childhood just down the hill from Hitler's compound, living in a Nazi family with limited access to any news unapproved by the Nazi regime, but still silently questioning why things were happening the way they were. We'll be watching the Ken Burns documentary, "The War."
We've visited our local World War II memorial, dedicated to the men who perished on submarines, and were privileged to meet and talk with a veteran of the war. We've also recently seen FiFi, the last flying B-29 bomber. I don't know what else we might do to study World War II, but I think it is important that we continue to learn, and that my kids realize at a much younger age than I did how much there is to learn about this war that truly changed the world.

You can watch the video here, and hopefully be inspired to learn more, too.

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A review of 'Nellie Nova Takes Flight'

Earlier this month, I received a review copy of the new book by Stephenie Peterson, "Nellie Nova Takes Flight." This book, about a nine-year-old, crazy-haired, glasses-wearing, homeschooled genius with high aspirations sounded like a fun selection to read with my own precocious, crazy-haired, glasses-wearing, homeschooled eight-year-old daughter.


Nellie Nova is quite the little girl. From the very beginning of the novel, the author makes it clear just how brilliant Nellie is. She's not just smart, and she's not just a regular genius. She's so far beyond, I actually began to worry that the character would not be relatable as I began reading the book aloud to my daughter at bedtime.

But my daughter had no problem relating to Nellie, whose brain was so powerful, she was nearly superhuman. She was excited to see what adventures Nellie would encounter as she traveled through time in her homemade time machine.

Nellie Nova set off in her time machine to meet a woman who changed the world, specifically, the famous pilot, Amelia Earhart. But not everything went according to plan. It's through the twists and turns in the story that you start to see there is a lot more to Nellie Nova than just her big brains. This homeschooled youngster is very close to her family and cares a lot about others, too.

My daughter and I enjoyed this book, and now that she has worked the kinks out of her time machine, I have a feeling there will be more Nellie Nova adventures to come. We look forward to reading them.

Keep up with author, Stephenie Peterson, and all of Nellie Nova's adventures on the Nellie Nova Facebook page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my objective review. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The History of Rock and Roll unit study available now!

Would you like to incorporate music appreciation into your studies this year, but you haven't been able to find a resource that really strikes a chord with you or your kids? Dive into "The History of Rock and Roll" and have fun learning all about this incredibly diverse musical genre that was born in the late 1940s and helped shape the culture of America and the world for decade after decade as it evolved.


I created this unit study based on the co-op class I taught last year. The teens in my class were very engaged and full of questions and comments as we learned all about the birth of rock and roll and explored how it changed and diverged into a myriad of subgenres up through the modern era.



Enjoy samples of great rock and roll music from rhythm and blues and doo wop to psychedelic rock, surf rock, punk rock, southern rock and even metal. This unit study includes relevant musical selections that showcase nearly every facet of rock and roll, and a wide variety of artists. Your kids will come away with a deeper knowledge of the music that has served as the soundtrack of the last three generations, and an appreciation for the roots of the music that they listen to today.

Get the full size printable version of The History of Rock and Roll unit study, or order the Kindle version on Amazon today.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Finding a fabulous prom dress on a budget

I mentioned in my earlier post about getting ready for a homeschool prom that I would let you in on a few great tips for finding a fabulous dress on a budget. With spring formals and proms just around the corner, there's no time to waste in finding that perfect dress.

I'm not much of a girly girl, but I just love this time of year, when my Facebook feed is flooded with photos of dress fittings, and exclamations from moms who can’t believe their babies are so grown up. I love the fanciful prom pics that will be floating across my screen soon, with bright, clean-scrubbed young men and beautiful young ladies in dresses of every sparkling hue. This year, I'll be joining them with pics of my own, as my kids attend their first semi-formal dance, a masquerade ball hosted by our homeschool group.



I bought my daughters' dresses secondhand this year, and saved a bundle. I bought my son's suit secondhand, too, which is great because at 14, he is still growing like a weed. If your kids have a big dance coming up, you can save money, too.Here are some of the best ways you can save a bundle on a beautiful dress for prom or a spring formal.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to prepare for a homeschool prom

https://www.flickr.com/photos/copa41/143827510

Homeschool.

Prom?

Wait a minute.  Do those two words actually go together? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, they do. And no, homeschool prom is really nothing like the clich├ęd depiction you might have seen on TV where one lonely homeschooled girl in a homemade dress dances with her weirded-out, public-schooled date in the basement while her grandma serves punch and her mom takes pictures.

Homeschool proms have actually grown in both size and popularity as homeschooling itself has taken off in recent years. With conservative estimates placing the number of homeschoolers in the United States at well over 2 million and growing, there is no shortage of kids available in every state for a high school prom. If your teens want to attend, you need to prepare early... here's how to do it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to plan the perfect co-op class

If you've been a homeschooler for very long, you might find yourself in the position to teach a class in your local homeschool group or co-op. Although some folks come by this skill naturally, for others, teaching a group of students can be a daunting prospect.


Teaching a homeschool co-op class can be an extremely rewarding and enriching experience, though, and seeing you take on the challenge can inspire your children to tackle opportunities of their own as they get older. So, here are a few simple and easy tips to help you plan the perfect co-op class, your way!