"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Monday, January 5, 2015

Unschooling and Words, Words, Words

Welcome to the first week of the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair!  I am thrilled to be participating again this year, as it's one of my very favorite bloggy events.  I love taking a virtual peek into other's homeschools, especially at this time of year when we are gearing back up after an extended holiday season.  Starting fresh with a new year tends to make me want to re-evaluate everything and anything.  Reading about what others are doing in their homes gives me fresh ideas and helps me get excited about starting up again.  This week, the VCF is being hosted by my friends Susan, at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds, and Chareen, at Every Bed of Roses.

This week's topic is Playing With Words, and will encompass all things language related.

Here is the part where I put my disclaimer in:

 **We have officially started our unschooling journey. The great plans I had for this school year back in August, with my nicely scheduled curriculum, have been ceremoniously tossed out the window, and we are still trying to figure it all out.**

So, not exactly the best time to tell you exactly how we play with words, UNLESS you want me to do it in a very real way.  Because, right now, in our house, homeschooling is messy.  Life is messy, and my Type A, control-freak personality is incredibly "messy" over it all!

However, I do believe in keeping things REAL.  And I also believe that I'm not the only one carrying on through the messes right now.  And so, without further excuses or stalling, here is how we are playing with words--this week.

We read.  And read and read and read.  I am blessed with voracious readers.  My younger two children (the ones at home with me currently) read through breakfast and lunch and snacks and complain when we have a family dinner because they can't read.

They take books with them in the car when it's a fifteen minute ride.  There are forever books on the bathroom floors from reading in the tub or on the--well, you know.  We had to get library cards for the next county over so that we could take out enough books to get us through the week before they wanted more.

And trust me when I tell you that I thank God every day for my readers.  I know that is sometimes a rare thing in homeschools, and I know I had very little to do with their ability to read.  Although, I do like to think I was a pretty good role model for their enjoyment of reading.

And, also truthfully, their love of reading has helped make the transition to unschooling a little less anxiety producing for me.  I feel like as long as they are reading, they are learning.  (And I know that this is not truly an unschooling mindset.  Remember, we're beginners here!)

But what else do we do for Language Arts-type stuff?  

Well, we write thank you notes, especially with all of the Christmas and birthday gifts that have happened here recently.

We write letters to our sponsored child.  (Mental note:  not as much as we should.  Put that on this week's list...)

My youngest (age 8 and extremely anti-writing of any kind), will spend time making a list of his Hot Wheels cars and which place they are in in his races.  His lists look a lot like the first letter of the name of the car and a number.  He'll get there.

We read classics out loud--I try to aim for every day, but at least three times a week.  We are slowly, slowly, slowly making our way through the Chronicles of Narnia.

My daughter (just turned 12) just got a phone for Christmas.  Now she texts me, her dad, and her sister.  Sometimes spell check is a good thing.

My daughter also keeps a journal of famous quotes or sayings.  She looks them up on the computer, finds the ones she likes, and either prints them out for her book or copies them into her book.

We play games.  Hedbanz is a favorite, along with Apples to Apples.  Both help with problem-solving and with vocabulary.

My daughter is working on a blog.

Thanks to reviews last year, we've dabbled in some foreign language learning with Mango Languages and Spanish for You.

And those are just some of the ideas I've had (with my non-creative self).  When I talked to my kiddos about writing this post, they came up with several more in just a few minutes...

"If you want me to write a letter, I could write it in the sandbox with my cars."  

"I could do Language Arts with virtual school."

"I could have a race to spell.  If I had two cars, I could move them forward after I make a racetrack.  You could ask me a question.  If I got it wrong, you could move your car a little.  If I got it right, I could move my car a little.  Whoever gets there first wins."

"We could try to find action words in a book when you are reading it."  (which, by the way, then led my son to ask, "What are action words?"  So we told him.  And now he's learned verbs.)

You can see that, although we have (for now) moved away from our All About Spelling, our Institute for Excellence in Writing, and our Rod and Staff grammar, we are still surrounding ourselves with words.  All day, every day.  Language immersion, let's call it.

For now, it's working.  And it's fun.  So we're sticking with it.

Until we're not.

Maybe that will be a post for next year's Virtual Curriculum Fair.

Take some time to look around at what some of my other friends are using in their homes.  You can find them below:

Building a Foundation of Words by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Language Arts for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Bible-Based Language Arts Resources by Tauna M @ Proverbial Homemaker
Loving Books and Words by Sarah@Delivering Grace
5 Language Arts Resources We Love by Becky @ Milo & Oats
Teaching Reading at Home: A Tale of 5 Readers by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
A More Simplistic Approach to 7th Grade Language Arts by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Language Arts Reading for Delight-Directed Learning by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
How To: Spelling Dictation by Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity
The World of Words in our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Unschooling and Words, Words, Words by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Learning With Literature and Language Arts Resources by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Words and More Words! by Michele @ FamilyFaithandFridays
Language Arts in Our Homeschool (2014 � 2015) by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Our curriculum choices ~ Language Arts by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
A Renewed Focus on Reading Aloud by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
A Sentence a Day Teaches Grammar the Fun Way by Amy A @ One Blessed Mamma
Tackling Language Arts by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
The Great Grammar Discovery by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

And don't forget to check back in next week.  We'll be talking about Discovering Patterns:  Mathematics, Logic, and Science.

How do you approach Language Arts and / or Foreign Languages in your homeschool?


  1. Thanks Nicole for a reminder to read, read, and read. After traveling so much over the holidays, we got out of our habit of reading before bed. Now that we're back, we need to get back into our routine. I love how your kiddos have a passion for reading. Also, I love "Bug's" glove. It's awesome.

    1. LOL! I hadn't noticed the glove--evidently it's become quite a fixture around here!

  2. We're relaxed homeschoolers, and I can see us eventually falling more towards unschooling. I love the term Language Immersion that you used. We have a baby due any day, and my plans for the next several weeks is to pick a theme, and fill our book basket with picture books, chapter books, poetry, history readers, and anything related to that theme--and immersing ourselves in those books.

    1. Ooh, that sounds so wonderful! Especially with the cold weather (even here in Sunny Florida!), we just love to snuggle up and read. Too bad that pesky math stuff gets in the way sometimes!



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