Reading Challenge Book 11 – What is Unschooling?

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 11 of 50

What is Unschooling? Living and Learning without School – written by Pam Laricchia. In the fall of 2020 I came across a video on YouTube that had the word Unschooling. I have never heard this word before and I was curious enough to see what it was all about. I listened to the almost hour video of a husband and wife explaining what Unschooling was and how they implement it in their daily life with 9 children. I LOVED the concept and realize on some level I have been doing this very concept with my own kids but none of them were school age. I wanted to to hold out telling my husband about this concept until I have done some more reading. I got a few different books but reading them have not worked out. I started to read this book in Feb 2021 and I am just finishing it April 2022. The kicker is the book was not that long and it was a pretty simple read.

I will say that this book is a good introduction about the concept of Unschooling. The author has a few more books that is considered a series and I have another one in my queue on the book app. According to the app I am 14% into that book. I honestly do not remember starting it so I will have to restart it if I decide to read it. I ended up sharing the idea to my husband before I did a lot of reading on my own. We have agreed to homeschool our kids for years and after the last two years he is on board 110%. He works from home so he can play a role in our kids homeschooling experience.

The other morning he was showing our oldest how adding an e to the end of the word changes the vowel sound in certain words. Example: Cap – a is a short vowel but when adding e the a is now a long vowel.

I do love the idea of unschooling the thing is I do not agree with allowing your child to set his/her own bedtime and only eating what they want to eat. I feel there is a line that has to be drawn because if we let our 3-year-old go to bed when he wants and get up when he wants he would get only a few hours of sleep. Then we would only get a few hours asleep which would not work for our family. He just does not sleep and I have no idea why. He will sleep for a few hours and be up for a few hours and then go back to sleep mostly because he is bored. My oldest would only eat bread if he was given the choice and that isn’t going to be good for him over all. The video I watch actually shared that they do have set expectation and they do have a routine for the kids. It would be pure chaos if they let all nine kids do what they wanted at all times.

My husband is not on board with unschooling and since he is a present father I will not go against what he wants. I say all that because people who are true follower of this method will tell you how you are not a true unschooler. I know on some level I won’t be a typical homeschool mom but I also know that I need guidance to help me stay focus. Now that is a topic for another post – if you want to get a general idea what Unschooling is I would say pick up this book. I still plan on reading a few more books but since my husband is not open to the idea I will honor him, but I do plan trying to apply some of the concepts to our schooling experience.

Reading Challenge Book 8 – Love Without Borders

2022 GoodRead Challenge – Book 8 of 50

Love Without Borders – written by Angela Braniff. When I found out I was expecting twins I was feeling overwhelmed that I was going to have six kids. I started to look for other families who have multiple kids. I came across a vlog titled The Gathered Nest. I began to watch some of her videos and I enjoyed listening to her and seeing her family. It took me a while before I subscribed to both her channels. YouTube will suggest you to watch older videos of people you subscribe too and I started to watch older videos. I began to watch her homeschooling videos because I officially have to register our son in the fall and I like hearing other people stories. She suggests different resources she has used over the years. It didn’t take long to see videos of her talking about writing a book. I did not watch the videos in order so I would see one video from 4 years ago and another video that was only 9 months old.

The more I watched her videos and listen to the stories of how her family came together I wanted to read her book. I couldn’t find it on Libby and I knew getting a paper copy would mean it would sit on my shelf for awhile. I finally got it on Audible and listened to it in one day. I typically listen to audiobooks with a higher speed but with books like these I typically keep them at normal speed. Angela the author also did the voice for the audio. I enjoy listening to her when I am cleaning and doing stuff around the house it was easy to listen to her tell her story. She is a woman of great faith and I believe she is only a year older then me and our birthday is a day apart. I know that when we share our lives on social media we can show what we we want about ourselves. I really like her and there are things she says and does that makes me think of me. I shared in another post that I have found inspiration thought watching vloggers on YouTube. She is a big one at this time in my life.

The book is her sharing her story about how her family became a family. You learn more details about the journey. It is inspiring and if you are family who have adopted or considering adopting I would say check her book out. I like how they had different types of adoptions. I have known a handful of people who have adopted and once upon a time I thought I wanted to adopt. I later discovered I like the idea of adopting but I personally do not believe that is apart of our story. I am not saying never but what I do know that God would have to do some moving to make everyone in our home open to the idea. I also have learned about embryo adoption. I did not know that was a thing until I heard her story about the twins. I am currently pregnant with twins so of course I am curious about her journey. She posted videos of the girls and how everything was going in the first year of their life. I am currently watching them because any advice or suggestion is going to be helpful. I am personally struggling in general with my walk but hearing her talk about how God is in the details has been a reminder of all the times God has done the same thing in my life. I am thankful she has taken the time to share because she has been helpful for me in this seasons of life.

M is Moving (Mini Series – Post 9)

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This post is talking about the possibility of moving by July:

Moving is a topic that we have been throwing around lately and yesterday we contacted my aunt to figure out if one of the plans we have is even possible. She has to talk to someone but until she does the plan is up in the air. Our end goal is to move down south but the timeline is up in the air. We currently live in the middle of no where and have no services we can use for having a big family. I mean food delivery services which I will need when I’m home alone with six kids. My husband who is in the military will be leaving for extended period of time. The closet family member who is actually actively in our life is 4 hours away. We have limited help and honestly I have learned to not rely on other people to help.

We have a lot of older generation who believe that no one should need help from anyone else especially since they didn’t have help. I am not a fan of this mindset but I understand why they feel this way due to their life. I have always been the type of person to help other people and would do what I could for friends and family. One of our hopes is we will have a positive relationships with our kids. I know our kids will leave the nest but hopefully we will invest to a point we have kids who want to see us during the holidays. Now getting back to the topic of moving. What are the pros and cons of moving? That is something I have been thinking about a lot because there is a lot to take into consideration when it comes too moving.

Staying Pros:
We are already settled
Rent is cheap (compared to a lot of places)
The kids get a break with moving
We have our own space
Landlords are great
Landlords take care of lawn
Kids have rooms that work for their ages
Still close to my mother to see on occasions

Staying Cons:
No delivery services
No help
No church to attend
Have to take all kids to any doctors appointments
Cost of oil for heat
Stricter homeschooling laws
Temporary living arrangements
Sleeping on sleeper sofa

Moving Pros:
Moving down south (FINALLY!)
Being closet to my aunt (possibly staying with her)
Having access to more possible help
Warmer weather
Delivery services
My own bedroom (if we get our own place)

Moving Cons:
Losing own personal space
Packing (after having twins)
Getting rid of everything we aren’t taking
Figuring out how to move what we plan to keep
Less stricter homeschooling laws
Higher rent (if we get our own place)
Possible lawn maintenance
Temporary living
Sharing room with the twins for a year
Only seeing my mother once a year maybe twice
Unknown landlords (we had one that made us very wiry of privately own landlords but we have had two since then that was great).

I started this post on Sunday morning but couldn’t finish it and I spent most of the day thinking about moving. I am really unsure what to do because I kept thinking throughout the day how nice it would be just to stay here because I have my own space. It’s hard living with other people no matter how accommodating they are willing to be. It’s not your space and you have to be considerate. Our home is set up for our kids. We don’t care how they treat the couches and if they draw on the wall it’s not a big deal. Our landlords decided to not paint since they know they will need to do it once they stop renting the space and we were fine with that since we have young kids. We currently have three bedrooms and one room is being used as an office. Due to my husband leaving we can take his stuff out and put the twins in that room. I am 100% ok with sleeping downstairs on the couch. I actually prefer it at this time in my life.

If I am totally honest I am hoping by the time my husband returns we will be in a place we can apply for a loan and when we go to move it will be our last move for a LONG TIME. We still plan on heading down south and it will be our first place we look when we go to move. I think that is a big factor in why I may choose to stay. Then again nothing has gone the way we thought with a project my husband is apart of so I don’t know if that would work out. It would also give me time to do stuff over time to get ready to move. If we move by July I only have a few months to prepare and I know I can do it. If you read my other post you know that is the case. I really have no idea what we will end up doing.

Cue music:
Should I stay or should I go now?

YouTube Inspired

I have started to follow a handful of YouTubers over the last year and I shared some of my favorites on an old post called To Vlog or Not To Vlog. One of the ladies I follow has two channels one is for her family/farm and the other one is a more personal one on one vlog. I have been watching random videos but she has posted a few homeschooling inspired videos. She reminds me of the person I used to be and still want to be on some level. I know I have to get to a point where I am taking steps to get myself in order.

The first step I plan to take is start getting up earlier and starting my day off with some me time. I am finding by the time I get the kids up and downstairs I’m cranky and hungry. Then I have little people demanding food and my attention while I try to get my own stuff together. This morning my daughter woke up around 4:30 talking to herself. She wasn’t crying but it was the first time she woke up so I knew it was only a matter of time before she wanted a cup. I took one up and when I went to go back to sleep I was awake. I set my alarm for 6 but couldn’t managed to go back to sleep.

Then at 5:30 my husband and I tried to catch the mouse he could hear (living in the middle of no where, 120 year old farm house, and kids that sneak food into the sunroom) we managed to trap it behind the kids cubbies but we learned they could climb brick walls. We ended up giving up and putting something for it to eat to take care of the issue later. I finally made my way into the kitchen, made my breakfast, and turned the pot of coffee on earlier than the delay brew. I decided I wanted to work on some activities I wanted to do with the kids. I am going to start working on Spring themes in a few weeks so I wanted to at least attempt one winter theme lesson.

I know me that I am the type of person who needs to plan ahead and get all my resources together. In one of the videos I watched she talked about an idea she heard through another lady called morning basket. I loved the idea behind it that I decided that I need to prepare stuff for a week and put as much of the resources in a basket. I had one that was sitting empty so I grabbed that once I was done with my prepping. I planned to do all this the night before but the night got away from me and only did a few things. I did managed to come up with 13 weekly themes for the next three months.

I find myself being inspired by the people I listen to on YouTube. It’s easy to compare your life to theirs but I’m trying to remind myself we are all in different stages in our lives. I started to watch the one lady because she has 8 kids and I will have 6. The big difference is her kids are spaced out so she has teenagers and I think the youngest is 2. It’s a little easier because she doesn’t have to be on top of all the kids all the time. My kids are all young and they fight over everything these days. They want to be doing what the other one is doing but they are not all at the same level. I am trying to come up with things that I can do together but make it age appropriate.

I am hoping to do this again tomorrow – especially since I have a doctors appointment but I still want to get in a routine of waking up early and focusing on things to help me be a better mom, a better woman, and a better Christian. We will be spending time with family after tomorrow so our week won’t look the same but I am planning on still working on stuff for next week. I also pulled out a dot grid notebook I brought last year to use but ended up only using a few pages. I know I do better when I use this system and it gives me a place to keep my thoughts together. I am all over the place – the fact that I got any prepping done today is a miracle because I squirreled a few times before sitting down.

I know it seems silly and maybe foolish that I have allowed myself to get caught up in YouTube but we are suppose to surround ourselves around people who inspire us. There is a lot of things at play but I don’t have a community right now. I don’t have friends that I see on a regular basis and we live in nowhereville so finding people who have kids close to my age is hard. Then let’s face it the older we get the harder is it for most people to build those relationships. We are very cautious and it may take a lot longer time to get to a point where you trust people and open up. I say all this because the people I listen to often inspire me to be a better mom, a better person, and rethink how I see myself as a woman. I will never meet them and I often don’t even respond to their post but I feel on some level I am surrounding myself with women who are empowering.

What/who inspires you to be a better person?
What does your morning routine look like?
What are you doing to help yourself to be a better person?

Learning Resources Want List

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I think if I would go for a master degree I might focus on curriculum because I have enjoyed creating lesson plans while I was working toward my associate degree. I loved creating the weekly lesson plans for my preschool class. I have been putting a lot of thought into creating lessons plans for my kids the thing is I want to get to a place where I can create a general theme and create multiple levels of learning since I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 2-year-old. It’s hard to do one lesson without the other ones being right there wanting to be apart of the lesson. I am also thinking about the future and trying to plan ahead. We have two more kids coming and I will start to officially start homeschooling my oldest in the fall.

I am starting to watch videos of other parents who are using a variety of curriculum/resources to help to teach their kids. I like the idea of not following a curriculum but I also found that I do better having resources to read. If I had extra money I would be investing in a variety of resources mostly because I like having a large selection and I know that just because one resource works for my oldest it may not work for my youngest.

I am currently using this book with my 5-year-old. It’s definitely an older book and it gives you step by step instruction for each lesson. We are currently on lesson 33 and I find we get through the lesson a little quicker because he has picked up on the words pretty quickly. I don’t always read everything to a T because some of it is repetitive and he doesn’t need that for most of the lessons. My 3-yr-old has asked to do some lessons and he is able to follow along during the first few lessons but what I have found is he has a hard time combining the sounds together. He knows all the letters upper and lower case, he can write the letters, and he knows the sounds. I have a feeling he is going to need lessons that are not traditional and outside the box of school. Which is why I’m homeschooling all the kids.

When I have extra money this is the first resource I am going to invest in for the my younger two boys. I think they would benefit from this program but I won’t truly know until I have it in my procession. The deluxe package is $144.95 before taxes and shipping.

This is another resource I would like to get my hands on. I may pick this up because it’s only $18.95 on Amazon (at the time of me writing this blog). If I have a variety of resources I could combine and use what I feel will work for each child.

This set is found on the Usborne Books & More website. This is on my wishlist for my oldest since he really wants to read. I love sets and since I’m big fan of this book company I hope to invest in this set. I am a book consultant but I am not really working the business at this time.

I currently have four sets of BOB books and I’m working on getting more. I managed to get the four sets I have due to Yard Sales. I love second hand because there are a lot of times when you can find something that was barely used for a fraction of the price. Now I find that isn’t the case using the Marketplace. I am amazed at the prices I have been seeing for used items. Totally off topic but always check online for the item. I have found some things are cheaper in the store then the listing price on Marketplace. I also found that you can get the same item for the same price or less depending on the item. I pulled out the first set a few months ago and my oldest wasn’t really getting it but now that he has been doing the book I listed above I may pull them out again and see if he can do it now. I have also been suggested by other homeschool mom’s to use this resource.

I was watching a video of a mom of 8 talk about the resources she was using for her kids for that school year and she talked about this website a few times. I decided to check it out and found that they are getting ready to launch new resources for the ages I would need so the Level K Primer is no longer available and the new curriculum which will be called Kindergarten Prep will launch in April 2022. They still have Level K available but that is also being discounted and the new materials will be available June 2022. I have not done a lot of research on this but I feel at this point that will need to wait since they have new material coming out.

I will come up with more resources I would like to get my hand on but for now this is my current list. I am going to start looking into math curriculum but I’m not on board with the whole common core concept but this is something my husband and I will talk about over time. Our oldest has started to work on math problems on his own because one of the clear pouches we have for them to use with dry-erase markers has some sample addition and subtraction problems. I plan on adapting any lessons to things that our kids are interested in because my goal is to keep the love of learning alive because a lot of times due to the demands school requirement and testing we create environments that are not enjoyable for kids.

What resources do you use for your kids?
What programs do you feel is beneficial?

Please suggest other resources for me to check out for kids ages 5, 3, and 2.


My oldest is school age but I decided due to the craziness of our life and not being 100% sure if we would be in PA or VA. I decided to hold off making it official for our son to be registered for school. I am hoping we will be in another state by the fall but a lot of things have to fall into place. Disclaimer: PA you don’t have to register until the child is 6. The thing is I am feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering how in the world am I going to do this with my oldest only be 6 when we “officially” start school. I will have a 4-yr-old, 3-yr-old, 1-yr-old, and two newborns. Honestly I’m not worried about the 1-yr-old or the newborns.

I am already doing school like activities and daily lessons with my boys. The thing is they are all on different levels and have such different personalities. I am using a book called “Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” written by Siegfried Engelmann for my oldest to start reading and he is doing really well with the lessons. He sometimes fights me on writing but that’s because he doesn’t like to make mistakes so when he doesn’t do something right he gets frustrated and then does it wrong on purpose. Today my 3-yr-old ask me to do a lesson so I went back to the first lesson which was really short and he did it. He knows the letter sounds and he has been writing a lot. He typically likes to write his numbers but he been working on letters as well. I showed him how to do the two lower case letters and he did them. They took up half the paper but he did it the way I showed him.

The hard part for me is trying to see where one child is when the other ones are around. They all want my attention and my oldest is far ahead. It’s annoying when I’m asking one of the other two to tell me something and my oldest will say it. The other day I pulled out some animal magnetic tiles. I wanted to see how many animals my two younger boys knew, especially my 2-yr-old (X). When it came time to do it with my 3-yr-old (Z) he didn’t want to do it anymore. I know I just have to be patience and thankfully because I’m homeschooling I don’t have to follow a set schedule. I am beginning to start a new schedule during the week where no devices/tv are allowed until 3 in the afternoon. We do use the tv for a short period to do a few “lessons” with my 2-yr-old. When my oldest was 3 I started to work on letter sounds with him and we would watch videos by Jack Hartmann on YouTube. This is how my now 3-yr-old knows all his letter sounds. I really like the See It, Say It, Sign It video because it shows them the sign for each letter and teaches them the sound. I include some videos for the other two. My oldest is beginning to show interest in money and basic math skills. I know that my younger kids will pick up as they watch their older brother learn – hence doing the first lesson with Z.

I guess I’m just nervous when I have to actually report his progress. I have a lot of people in my life who isn’t happy we plan on homeschooling. I am saying we because my husband works from home and he helps with teaching the kids before he heads to work. I LOVE the unschooling mindset but my husband is not on board with it and no matter how much we talk about it he isn’t comfortable with usually the concept fully. I want to respect him and since I get to stay home with the kids I want to honor his wishes.

How do you manage homeschooling with different ages?
What are the age differences?
Do you know of any resources I could check out to help with doing schooling with kids of different ages?
What are some tricks to help your kids let the other kids learn at their own pace?

Pictures: In our dining room I have these three things hanging up to help with everyday learning. The calendar is to get them familiar with the concept but I don’t expect them to learn it until they are older. We have a word wall where I add words that are seasonal, monthly, and holiday related. I break it down quarterly so I will remove this set at the end of February. We also include pictures of family members and their name. We have our immediate and extended family. I was given a large stack of sign language cards and we are doing one card a day. The kids LOVE it and they are picking up on it pretty quickly.

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