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.

Learning Resources Want List

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

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.

Sign Language – One Card A Day

I was given a large set of sign language flash cards. I have always had an interest in sign language but never taken a class. I had a friend who took a class in collage and later on the college adopted a deaf program that was at another college that shut down. I know that learning words in only a small steps to actually speaking the language. I think the reason why I have always had an interest is not because of my slight hearing lost but when I was a child it was the one thing I taught myself on my own. My grandmother had one of those kids plastic plate mats and it had the ABC’s in sign language. I remember sitting upstairs and teaching myself the alphabet.

I have exposed my kids to a video done by Jack Hartmann on YouTube called “See It, Say It, Sign It”. I chose that video when my oldest started to show interest in reading at 3. He learned the letter sounds but he also learned the sign – just like I did. Even now my second born will tell me letters using his hand. It’s cute to watch my 2-yr-old because he tries so hard to do them but hasn’t fully gotten it at this time. It’s cute to watch him try while the song is on. Now each day we do a new word and we hang it on the wall. It’s fun because they will review them on their own and tell their dad. We are currently working on fruit words and once we complete the list I’ll put away the cards and begin a new pile.

I taught all our kids when they were babies the sign for please, thank you, more, eat, all done, and milk. I am in the process of teaching our daughter since she is only saying some sounds. Going back to Jack Hartmann if you want some other videos that teach basic sign language you should check out “Sign the Colors” and “Animal Signs”. My kids love these videos but my 3-yr-old is the one who seems to be drawn to those videos even more then the other two. He used to do the color signs but we all need a refresher.

What are small things you do daily to help your kids learn something new?
What was the first thing you remember teaching yourself as a child?
What other words do you teach your baby to help them communicate before they have words?


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.

Counting with Apples

One of the benefits of being home with my kids I get to do activities like these with the kids. My favorite part was that my oldest helped lay down the apples for his siblings. I put together a chart and I found my third born looking at the apple pictures on multiple occasions. Even the second born liked looking at the numbers and pictures.

The kids LOVE apples but I learn they do not like just any apples – Gala is their choice of apples. There are so many activities you can do with apples. Counting, stacking, size compares, taste, and where we can get apples are a just a few ideas.

What activities have you you done with apples?

Free Books!

Party Win!

A few weeks ago I participated in an online book event through Usborne. It was a mega party give away – the large group was giving away $150 dollars in book scholarship for two winners and two $50 dollars book scholarship. This is the second party I participated and won free books. I’ll post another post with the pictures from that hall. I LOVE books and I love providing LOTS of books for my kids. I created this short video of opening the box of free books. I got to chose which books I wanted and I tired to pick out titles that my kids would enjoy now. I am so excited to share them with my kids.

If you have never participated in an Usborne party you may not know that to win a prize you have to participate in a variety of ways. Now the downsize is if you don’t do a few of the big participation to get larger amount of points you may not get enough to win the prize. I decided I wanted those free books so I did everything to get ALL the points. I participated in a party over the summer and won another set of free books worth $100. The only thing I didn’t do in that party was become a consultant. I am now once again a Usborne consultant. I signed up June 2020 but did nothing with it because our world came crashing down around us and I went into survival mode. I wasn’t even in a place where I could take advantage of the discount you can get without actually participating in the business.

I just hosted another party and managed to get some sales and I’m about to get some more books through the party. I’m not going to go into details to how that all works. The books can seem pretty pricey over all but there are a lot of books you can’t really find in the stores. Trust me I buy my kids books ALL the time. I rarely come across a lot of the interactive books that Usborne offers. I could take time to share which books are my kids favorites but I’ll saved that for another post. Hosting a party really isn’t hard and can be fun if people understand how they work. One thing I did with this last party was I made sure to go through ALL THE POST and responded in some way. Overall it didn’t take me long to participate and rack up the points. I did the same thing for the summer party and won the grand prize.

Now the biggest downsize I have found is that I can’t leave most of the books out for the kids to look through without supervising. My kids are still pretty young so they don’t understand that if they ripe off the tap it ruins the book. I have a lot of great plans for these books and I already have a handful of more books I plan to get soon.

If you have brought books from Usborne what are a few of your favorites? I’m not sure when another party will launch for a large amount of free books but I do know there are benefits of hosting a party because you do receive some bonuses if you reach a certain amount of sales. Honestly it’s not hard to do even if a handful of people buy one book.

Pumpkins and Acorns Activities

I LOVE making activities for my kids and this morning I FINALLY took ten minutes and put these together. I brought the plastic pumpkins and acorns at the Dollar Tree. They come in a pack of 12 with three different colors. I thought this could be a fun themed activity for my boys (little girl is to young). I feel that we too often hinder ourselves from doing things because what we create isn’t “perfect” and it’s not pin worthy. I am a perfectionist at heart but I have learned over the years that there are plenty of times that just doing is better then not.

Pumpkin Activity:
Pumpkin Patch Counting – add pumpkins to the vines and count. Create a pattern with the three colors on the vines.

Straw Bale Sorting – three color straw bales the kids can sort by colors matching them to the page.

Acorn Activity:
Hanging Counting Acorns – add the acorns to the tree and count to 12.
Squirrel Acorn Hiding – match the acorn to the same color opening in the tree trunk.

I am not a great drawer and I had to look up a clipart picture of a squirrel to even attempt to draw a squirrel face onto the paper. I created two activity page that I laminated right after I drew the picture. I pulled out paper and crayons once the kids were done eating breakfast. They played and I created as I was finishing my breakfast sandwich. It’s nothing fancy but I can sit with each child to help them with counting, sorting, matching, and patterns.

Don’t let the fear of not creating something perfect keep you from being creative and providing resources for your kids. Check out other post of past creations because it took me a long time to get to a place of being ok with sharing items that are not pin worthy but I hope it’s inspirational.

Disclaimer: There are things I have done over time that I have taken my time and strived to make it as close to “perfect”. There is a time and place for those items but it’s not alway the end goal.

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