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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Issue #17 March 1, 2001


Nurturing our children in the freedom of Christ
Issue #17, March 1, 2001
Sr. Editor & Publisher: Elissa Wahl
Assistant Editor: Teri Brown
Contributing Editor: Angel Dyke


1. Welcome from the Editor
2. Unschooling Through Winter, by Teri Brown
3. What IS Unschooling, and WHY Do You Want To Do It? by Angela Shaw
4. Test of the Tribal Challenge, by Shel Arensen; Book Review by
Elissa Wahl
5. Links on Africa
6. Cool Contest!!! Healthy Recipes?!
7. More articles by Teri Brown (links)
8. Closing letter from the editor
9. Subscription Information
10. Reprint Information

1. Welcome from the editor

Hi all, hope this newsletter is received in the manner it was
sent ... in love and through God!

Time flies!!! Well...for those of you who may not know, or maybe
forgot, or maybe I didn't mention....I am about VERY pregnant. This
has been a wonderful time for our family....we have learned so much
about child development, and talked extensively about God'd plans for
marriage, love and sex. I am "due" this time next month, AND am
moving in two weeks (yes, I need prayer; no, I'm not nuts!!), so
April's issue may be late. It really depends upon when Elias (yup,
it's a boy!) decides to bless us with his presence.

Here's a cool link we use often in exploring the baby's development. It takes awhile to load, but is SO
worth it! Maybe a following issue can be devoted to babies, their
growth, births, etc....write in!! Share with us some of your favorite
links, books, and your stories!

Please read on, and we pray you are blessed!

2. Unschooling Through Winter
Teri Brown

Spanish Club, Math Club, Dance, Art, River Ecology. These are all
activities that fill our winter weeks. What would be far too much in
the summer is perfect for the winter. Why? Because during the summer,
outdoor activities command the bulk of our attention, leaving us
little time for such pursuits. But when the rain starts to fall we
head for our classes and clubs ready for intellectual stimulation and
social activities.

Some of these clubs I've founded with my children to help us better
pursue an interest. Others are classes I actively seek out and pay
for, with the same goal in mind. Still others are volunteer
opportunities and as such, are filled with learning.

To keep from becoming overwhelmed, I consider the following:

Long-term interests.
My son is passionate about rivers, biology, animal science, fishing
and hatcheries. Every winter I try to find an activity or class that
will continue his education along those lines. This year we have
volunteered for a local watershed watch dog group, which not only
gives him an outlet for his passion, but also offers classes in
biology as it relates to the rivers.

Short-term interests
My daughter's short-term interest this year is dance. While she has
always loved to dance freestyle, she has shown a greater interest in
dance as it relates to her long-term interest, art. She might
possibly fall in love with dance making it a long-term interest, but
for right now she is taking ballet for fun and exploration.

Common interests
Whenever possible I try to find an activity that covers common
interests. Spanish club was created this way. All of us were
interested in learning this language and found a teacher to instruct
us … if we had a small group. So after contacting my states email
lists I put together a Spanish club. Math club was created in much
the same way.

Long and Short-term commitments
Spanish club is a long-term commitment. We are committing to learn
the Spanish language and we have committed ourselves to both the
teacher and the rest of the club. Math club is more of a short-term
commitment. It is made up of close friends; no main "teacher" and we
agreed to be very flexible. Football is a fall activity which is,
though time consuming, a short-term commitment. In planning out the
year I try to balance both my long term and short-term commitments,
which I reevaluate on a continual basis. I try to leave enough leeway
that we can add on both social and intellectual activities without
killing ourselves.

As the days get shorter and our outdoor activities become more
limited, we look forward to our busier, more intensive, activities …
which leave us looking forward, once more, to the quieter days of

3. What IS Unschooling, and WHY Do You Want To Do It? by Angela Shaw

This question was asked to Angela, and the article, is her response!

>>Hi Angela,
I'm curious about unschooling and what is so different about it? We
start teaching in the fall and I'm still undecided about many things
but I guess I really don't understand why anyone would want to
unschool. I don't mean to sound nosey. I'm just curious.

Hi Wendy,
I don't mind the question at all. That is what is great about these
lists (referring to email loops) is that we can learn from each
other. What I want most for my children is for them to never lose
their love of learning. If you have never heard the definition of
unschooling, it is primarily child-led learning. I hope I can do
justice to unschooling in answering this question. It was a journey
in my mind to get to where I am now.(as an unschooler) I read every
book I could find on the subject and they really spoke to me.

"Unschooling isn't a method of instruction, it's a different way of
looking at learning." -Linda Wyatt

Unschooling to us is a whole way of life, it is not how we do
school. We do not sit down at the table for certain hours each day
to learn. We do not separate hours of learning from hours of play.
I think any child can be unschooled but it takes an adult with an
open mind to be a good unschooling facilitator for their child. You
have to be able to see a *lesson* in everyday things. I think the
best way for me to explain this would be to tell you about some of
our daily activities.

Today was a very productive day education wise. I read aloud a LOT.
We began and finished "The Pizza Mystery." It is a book from the
Boxcar Children series. We have read about 15 of them now. Leigh
read several paragraphs out of the book. She also read an easy
reader to me. She is a very bright child and is probably reading on a
4th grade level now. (That is probably an underestimate) When she
wanted to learn to read, I bought some books to teach me how to teach
her and we progressed at her own pace. We also read some of Meet Kit,
an American Girl.

Lilly *read* to me too, making up a story from a Scooby Doo chapter
book as she looked at the pictures. She has an extensive vocabulary
for a 4 year old as she has been read to a ton. We read several
other books that we got from the library yesterday. We average 20-40
books each time we go to the library (every two weeks) and we usually
read them all at least once, and the ones we like, many times. (all
at the children's request)

The kids spent quite awhile playing felt people and lots of pretend
play. We looked up where Costa Rica is on the globe because a friend
of my husbands asked if we had ever been there. My 6 yo knows where
hundreds of countries are on the map because *every* time we read
about a place we look it up to see where it is. She has a great
understanding of the world as a whole. She takes joy in finding
places and having me ask her where places are to see how quickly she
can find them. We have a US and a world map as place-mats on our
table. I cringe to think about how little geography I knew upon
graduating from high school and college.

We also play a lot of board games. Today Leigh and I played Scrabble
Jr. on the more difficult side while waiting for Lilly to wake up.
(spelling) When Lilly woke up we all played Monopoly Jr. together.
(math and reading) We made bread together. (math/ fractions) We fed
the goats and cleaned the chicken coop. We discussed chickens mating
and fertilized eggs vs. non-fertilized eggs. "Mom, why is the
rooster hanging on the hens head?" LOL. Other games that we have
that we play often are Life (making change up to 100,000 dollars),
Mastermind, Yatzee, A geography game (can't remember the name), Bingo
with letters, and many that we make up ourselves. We also play
mailman and write each other notes and put them into each others mail
box. Lilly (4) tells me what hers say. We also have a lot of craft
items available at all times for the kids. They can make whatever
they want to.

I had a nap while the kids watched Arthur. I was completely wiped
out and sore after sledding at Mt. Tom yesterday! We usually watch
no more than 1 hour of television a day and often none at all.

Tonight we went to a homeschoolers potluck and contra dance. The
kids and dh and I had a blast socializing our butts off. We attend
church on a regular basis and visit with some elderly people. We are
part of two homeschool groups and go to many field trips.

But most of all, we enjoy each others company and we LOVE to learn
together. I can't tell you how much I have learned while answering my
children's millions of questions. Another thing, we have always
taken our children's questions seriously. We don't blow them off
thinking that the answer might be too difficult for them.

Learning is as natural as breathing. At age 5 it need not become
something distained or separated from real life. Learning is a joy
at all ages and my children are in a household where they see us
pursue our own passions.

Unschooling isn't related to lack of discipline. It has nothing to do
with religion. It is just a way of looking at the world and
learning. I hope this answers your questions. Some great books on
unschooling that I would recommend if you want to know more
are "Teach Your Own" by John Holt, "The Unschooling Handbook" by
Griffiths, "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" by Grace Llewellyn (a
great resource book). I also really like the UL unschooling- and the RUL (radical unschoolers list)


Angela (Unschooling mother in Maine to Leigh, 6 and Lilly, 4.)
"Play is our brain's favorite way to learn."

4. Test of the Tribal Challenge, by Shel Arensen; Book Review by
Elissa Wahl

Let me preface this with: I LOVE reviewing books!!! It is so great to
be offered the chance to read books which might interest others, and
then share with you all my thoughts!! Here is what the author wrote

"I''ve written a series of seven children's books about four
missionary kids growing up in Kenya. I grew up in Kenya as a
missionary kid and I work there now with Africa Inland Mission, an
evangelical mission board, starting churches among an unreached tribe
called the Dorobo. The first six were originally published by
Multnomah Books, but I've just had them reprinted by an online
publisher, The books, which are easy to read, fast-
paced adventures set in Kenya, do more than tell a story. They also
paint a picture of what it's like to live in another country. Many
families have used the books to read together."

This book is good! Guess you want me to expand on that a bit, huh?
Well, the basis is about four missionary boys who have formed a club,
the Rugendo Rhinos. They seem to have many adventures at their
mission station in Kenya. In this book, they simultaneously solve a
rash of break-ins, and explore the road to "manhood".

The main character's (Dean) father, when questioned about a tribal
tradition of circumcising boys at age 12, devised a plan of 12 tests
for his son to complete, in order to "become a man." I found
the "tests" to be so wonderfully thought out....they each carried a
goal that would bring Dean closer to understanding himself and God's
plan for him.

This book carried me straight into the Kenyan beauty, talking
descriptively about the animals, the made me want to
explore the topic and people more!! I think the story line was
captivating on many levels...the intrigue, the introduction to a
country that is probably not familiar to most of us, and the
examination of puberty.

I encourage others to read this book, and the series (I must place an
order ) and to use it as a tool for conversation within your
own homes. As life-learners, unschoolers, etc...we DO use
whatever "tools" come into our lives, and books are sure at the top
of that list in my home! In my most humble opinion, this book is
worthy of a great many conversation starters.


5. Links: Africa

I figured this would be a great topic after my reading of the book,
previously reviewed!!


AFRO-Americ@: Kids Zone

Welcome to Flags Of The World

Current Feature Exhibit

Africa Online | Kids Only

PBS Kids' Africa

African Field Trips

6. Cool Contest!!! Healthy Recipes?!

Have any irresistible yet healthy recipes? We are looking for recipes
that will not only build our children's bodies, but whet their
appetite. If you have a recipe that meets these qualifications send
to or If your recipe is chosen
(tested by our own fussy tasters) you will receive Leanne Ely's New
book, Healthy Foods: An Irreverent Guide to Understanding Nutrition
and Feeding Your Family Well. Also included with the book is a unit
study that will help teach your children about nutrition. Contest
open from March 1st to April15th. Winners announced on May 1st. Good

7. More articles by Teri Brown

Smoothies have changed the way our family lives... OK, maybe not the
way we live, but certainly the way we eat breakfast!
Ode To The Smoothie

Want your children to love science? I didn't! But it didn't matter,
Nature study the Charlotte Mason way assured my children a life-long
love of anything scientifical!
Nature and Science... the CM Way

8. Closing Letter

This month, there is no article from our contributing editor, Angel.
She is having some medical problems and is taking at least this month
off. We miss her greatly, and encourage you to pray for her with us.

The book, The far as we know, the pre-order special-value
price is not available after today, March 1st...but the website will
still be able to take
orders... and of will be widely available on the shelves in May.

Also, this month, check back with our website...we are updating the
front page along with the constant additions to the links!

In the meantime, please keep sending in submissions!! This e-zine
would be nothing without you all! Kisses.

Until next time,
Be blessed you all!

Elissa Wahl
Teri Brown
Angel Dyke

9. Subscription Information

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10. Reprint Information

Individual authors herein retain their own copyrights. You may
freely copy this entire newsletter or material from this newsletter
in other nonprofit publications (unless otherwise marked in the
article), but you MUST include the author's name and this entire

"Reprinted with permission of Elissa Wahl from Seedling, a
Christian Unschooling E-Zine. For a free subscription, send
any e-mail message to or visit

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