adventures in unschooling


P is for Paris

A much loved christmas present from Aunty Tara

A much loved Christmas present from Auntie Tara

Paris is now three and a half. He is still taking things apart, but has developed a new obsession as well: The Alphabet

When I first put on for him he couldn’t figure out how to use the mouse – but by two weeks later he had figured out not only how to turn the computer on himself, find starfall, work all the controls, and dump my hard drive into the trash – and he also managed to learn his alphabet too. I was a little worried about how much time he spent watching it – but had to admit his interest was high and he was learning super fast all on his own volition.

Just to make myself feel better I pulled out all the letterĀ  puzzles, cards & magnets, that every unschooler has at the back of their closet. We started doing the puzzles together and reading the books and he is thrilled. I am amazed about how much somebody can talk about letters. He talks about them non-stop.

Paris asks me to put my finger under the word I am reading in his Dr.Suess books.

Paris has added the Cat in The Hat to his beloved list of cats.

Paris has added the Cat in The Hat to his beloved list of cats.

He is also interested in counting and has developed a very interesting strategy . He orders me the count things in a chant at the same time as him over and over again. He’ll count up to four then make the rest up but I can tell this is his way of figuring it all out.

Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic

Cassius: “I think all the characters are awsome. It’s a really good adventure story and most of the drawings are amazing. I like Bone’s cousins, Smiley Bone and Phoney Bone. They are funny.

The story is about Fone Bone and his two cousins, who get chased out of Boneville and get sepperated in the middle of the desert. Fone Bone meets a young girl named Thorn, who tries to help him find his cousins and get back to Boneville. They go on crazy adventures till they find his cousins. But when they find his cousins, his cousin Phoney Bone gets them into a lot more trouble. Then they have to save the valley as well as themselves.”


Artemis Fowl

Cassius and I are really enjoying the Artemis Fowl books. Cassius’ interest started by listening to a few of the audio books and now he wants to read the books himself. He’ll have to wait until I’m done the Opal Deception before he can read it though!

The First Artemis Fowl Book

The First Artemis Fowl Book

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Cassius and I fell in love with this story told in pictures and words. We both read in a 24 hour period, separately, fighting over it.

Before turning the page into part two Cassius exclaimed, “Oh I got a that excited feeling in my heart – when I know I’m going to find out the answer to the mystery when I turn the page!” He turned the page and his eyes lit up. Then he turned the page again, “Oh I got that feeling in my heart again, all has been revealed to me!”

I don’t want to give away any of the story, except to say much of it is based on fact. We spent the week watching old black and white movies featured in the book and researching automatons.

Our Ultimate Tree Fort

our ulitimate treefort design

our ultimate tree fort design

We have a very rickety tree fort in our back yard that we we have dreams of rebuilding. Cassius was telling me his good ideas and Paris brought me a pen and paper and told me to draw it. So we all sat down and decided what we wanted together. This is a very rough design obviously. We know we want a drawbridge, trap door, two levels, zip line, a pulley lift, a ball run, a catapult & a sandbox.

We found some great books on the web and ordered them from the library.



Our present bedtime story is Eragon by Christopher Paolini. It is a story of good verses evil. We are finding it a little slow, but are still enjoying it. We were excited to find out that Christopher was homeschooled. He started thinking about the plot of Eragon when he was ten and wrote the first draft when he fifteen!

Murderous Maths

Cassius’ wonderful learning consultant forwarded us this message from another Self Design Parent:

“Murderous Maths – we have them all, and my son LOVES them. He does not understand all the concepts as they are quite sophisticated, but he enjoys reading the cartoons and jokes and he is getting the basic ideas behind the concepts as a result. When I purchased these, it was mainly for my own interest and I did not expect my 7-year-old would look at them, let alone walk around for days on end giggling whilst reading them. But he has – and I feel that some huge step has been taken for making Math fun and interesting and not about worksheets, or “boring sums” as per the back of each book (i.e. no boring sums are in these books).

The actual math in each book is clearly explained on this site: You’ll need to scroll a little. You’ll see why this is not Math for a 7-year-old – but he is getting the idea.

For some bizarre reason, these books are only published and distributed in the U.K. You can get them through Fun Books in the states.”

Since Cassius loves the horrible histories and I know he learns through humour I thought we’d try them out. They are wonderful! I’ve been up to midnight every night this week because I can’t put them down. Cassius has been reading all the cartoons and we’re half way through reading the first book together.

We actually can’t stop ourselves from working out the problems. In the first book Colonel Cancel needs to buy back his men’s clothes from Thag the Mathemagician. He has 13 pieces of clothes buy back. He can either pay a penny for the first and and double the amount for each following item (1 cent , then 2 cents, then 4 cents and so on), or he can pay one dollar for the first and one dollar more per item ($1 , then $2, then $3 etc.). Which way do you think would be the smartest way to pay?

These books aren’t just funny, they are intelligent. They really make math seem interesting and amazing. If Cassius reads all these books he’ll know more than I ever learned in school about math, even if he never does one boring sum.