2021 Homeschool Week 3 | January 18

As I write this, I’m recovering. It takes an annoying amount of time when you have all these other ideas of what you’d rather be doing if you were okay…but you’re not okay…because you got pushed to a full shutdown and you don’t just “snap out of it.” You come out cautiously and you hope you don’t get pushed right back in.  

I’ve been teetering on the edge of overwhelm, balancing and juggling the best I can. Aware of keeping it moving while not pushing too hard. Benefiting my future by not giving up, but without destroying my path to it by doing more than I can do. I think it’s fair to acknowledge this is relevant to general life stressors, parenthood, single parent life, having lots of moving parts, etc. and I know people will tell me such any time I mention my feelings.    

In knowing those are factors, let’s not overlook a major one I deal with that IS relevant – and honestly is the most relevant to this for me, in my experience that I’m sharing. 

I deal with this beyond “normal” factors, so please listen instead of minimizing. 

I am extra sensitive to everything around me. Some days this seems like a gift, when I can tap in and use all my senses and my ability to observe and recognize patterns to simplify and then create magic from it all. In stressful times, it’s my downfall. 

When I’m too empty or too overwhelmed, stress will shut me down completely. I try not to let myself get to this point. I know how much harder it is to recover. I know it isn’t good for myself or anyone around me for me to fall apart completely because I pushed too hard. I’ve learned this over time. Sometimes external factors surprise us or we don’t get the time to put ourselves back together before the next thing hits. 

I’d like to talk about my experience with meltdowns and shutdowns here, but I don’t have the emotional resources. I may edit them in later, but you can also find experiences from actually autistic people who have already shared. Steer away from anything using puzzle pieces or talking about curing autistics. We don’t really appreciate that kind of thinking nor trust the opinions attached to such.

In these recovery moments, I don’t know what to do. Everything feels draining, and I just need to recuperate. 

Thinking, planning, and then doing is just way too much. 

Realizing that, I’m intentionally making a list of things that I CAN do if I feel like it so i don’t have to further strain my brain to think. So I can work through those in stages and then DO later when I feel like doing.  

My ability to DO is often stopped by my need to THINK first. It can be overwhelming.

I’ve already made a list of activities for the kiddo so decisions don’t always have to be made. I’d like to share more about this soon. 

My lists seem to be ever-changing. I have seeds to start, containers to wash, dogs to bathe, even my dryer stopped working in the midst of this. If I put them on a “can do” list, I can review it and do something if it doesn’t seem too overwhelming at the time, instead of just forgetting about it or putting it off until “I’m better” and can focus on things again.  

I make and keep lists when I feel like it. I also often forget about my lists or know they’re there when I want them. I no longer attach guilt to not using them. Sometimes just making the list is what I needed. I got to brain dump and move forward. It was a tool. When you assume the list was to have the list later, that’s when not using it later is “bad”. 

I constantly have to work to reframe neurotypical values that create ableist shame.

This is tiring in itself, and it puts me one step closer to a meltdown, so on top of my challenges to exist in this world’s structure, I’m also challenged to always keep myself at least a step away from breaking at all times too. 

It’s exhausting, and I require more rest, whether that is physical rest or mental. It’s why I’ve created the structure I’ve been explaining lately. It keeps me going without using further mental load to propel myself forward. I don’t have to stop and get depressed, and I don’t have to push and get burnt out. It’s a challenging balance, and I’m also grateful to have become aware enough of my needs to attempt to keep finding it. 

Normally, I’d write about our week here, and I may come back and update it. 

Today I need to be nice to myself.

2021 Homeschool Week 2 | January 11

Remember last week when I said this isn’t how every week looks? We don’t always do this much?

I found myself procrastinating getting started on this post. Last week was so full; this week we didn’t do much. Last week, I expressed myself so well; this week I don’t have as much to give. Last week it was good enough to share and start putting myself out there; this week…maybe it wouldn’t be.

Expectations. Why do I continue to pick them up? I know they only create dissonance between reality and my emotions. 

Realization: 

This week was different. My sweet boy turned 8, we had a birthday party, our focuses shifted due to intentional choices, and we made time for fun together. 

Sometimes I feel disconnected…even when I feel like I should be present or there’s “no reason” to be. 

If anything, I’m missing fluidity. I don’t always know how I feel, especially when things aren’t “normal”. I also hate being bored, so normal is just my baseline for knowing how far my feelings extend from my natural, comfortable state of being. It’s not my goal, it’s my place of neutrality. 

I’ve noticed I have a tendency to dissociate** when: things are different, there are new expectations, I have to go somewhere, something goes “wrong”, I haven’t slept enough, or I haven’t prepared myself mentally (which helps me center myself in the newness). 

I hadn’t really prepared myself for what the new week would bring, and I felt a bit frazzled going into it, honestly. I knew my focus was on helping the kiddo have a fantastic birthday week and being as available for it as I could be. This week needed to be more about him and less about my goals. 

Also, if I’m being honest, the week was fine, I was not, (and really, that was only in my mind). I just wasn’t able to be as present as I prefer for a number of reasons – and no they are not excuses. I respond to real stimuli in real life, and I’m not making it up. 

If you have any advice for this that starts with “just…” or “have you tried…” please don’t. Awareness of emotional states is extremely important, and every moment doesn’t have to meet some predetermined standard of perfection. Despite my awareness, I still have to keep my expectations in check. Despite my unlearning of harmful and ableist tropes, I still have to make sure I’m not holding myself to them. 

Keep in mind, ADHD Autistic here. These concepts are the very culture our shared experiences are built around. We grew up shamed into internalizing ableism that harmed us, and many of us still repeat what we were taught about ourselves because we were eventually broken down enough to accept it. In moments of dissociation, I’m much more likely to default to those outdated internalizations than I am when I’m fully present. 

**Dissociation is a break in how your mind handles information. You may feel disconnected from your thoughts, feelings, memories, and surroundings. It can affect your sense of identity and your perception of time. Source: WebMD

Now that I’ve been honest about the behind the scenes feelings, I can confidently say:

We had a beautiful week, filled with birthday celebrations, fun moments, and lots of learning opportunities. 

Myles took more classes again instead of us having as much focused time learning together, we connected over games of Exploding Kittens, and there were times I read while he was playing video games. 

(Exploding Kittens Card Game – Party Pack for Up to 10 Players – Family-Friendly Party Games – Card Games for Adults, Teens & Kids* is a super fun, easy to play card game that matches our style with open, creative play instead of restrictive rules.)

He continued choosing typing lessons and Khan Academy math sections to go through on his own. I think he enjoys the sense of fulfilled responsibility and having some control over choosing in the moment. Overall, his learning goals were chosen in an interactive process between the two of us and not just dictated to him. Still, he seems to really enjoy this freedom. 

He also played a multiplayer board game by himself, played outside, and found new games on PBS kids including weather and sketching. 

He pursued more interests on his own this week, and I will always support that more than trying to cling to a norm. It’s rewarding seeing him fill up the spaces of free time when I’m otherwise occupied, or even just because he wants to. I always want to give him the space to trust himself.

Photo of Myles’ digital sketch

He started a new class this week with Varsity Tutors and chose his own creative path forward there as well. In Recycled Art Masterpieces, the class put together journals with recycled cardboard for the front and back covers and paper cut to size to fit inside. Myles heard acrylic paint was on the list of supplies they would eventually be needing, and he ended up just painting while watching the instructor teach the course. Really, there was no reason for him to create the journal if he preferred to paint.

The next class session, they learned that they could print a template of the back of a postcard and attach it to a piece of cardboard, while decorating the front. The instructor cut images from a magazine and showed them how to collage the front. Myles cut photos from our seed catalogue to use for his collage, and we may finish up his postcards this next week. 

He continued with Fables and Tall Tales class, discussing the stories and their morals; started Jurassic Class: All About Dinosaurs; and he also got to participate in a single class of the Science of Slime, which took place after he left for his dad’s house, so I haven’t heard about it yet. I may update next week, if he shares anything with me that’s worth mentioning.

So far we’ve participated in the free, large group classes provided by Varsity Tutors. If you use our referral link, we both receive 3 free hours that can be used toward tutoring or small group classes. 

When I was editing last week’s blog post, Myles had me look on YouTube for the second part of the series on Native Americans that he had started the week before. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the second or third parts. We settled for another video on the same topic, but he said it wasn’t as interesting. 

After reading about mixtures in our Science: A Visual Encyclopedia* last week, I had saved several YouTube videos comparing mixtures and solutions. We watched those during our lunch break, and they nicely bridged the conversation to our next page in the encyclopedia on solutions and solvents.  

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

We resumed our Atlas Crate, placing the remaining stickers on the globe and reading the Atlas cards for Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. Once those were finished, we completed the globe stand and assembled the Adventure Book for the Atlas cards.

Myles showing off his globe and Adventure Book

If you use our link for Kiwi Co to sign up for the Atlas Crate or one of their other crates (we have also gotten Kiwi Crate), we both get a $10 credit. Thanks for the support!

I mentioned it was birthday week, and that was worth celebrating multiple times throughout the week. We spent one evening roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, and another night having a pizza party with our closest family.

We baked his traditional birthday cupcake, and this weekend, I found pictures of that tradition starting with a birthday gift. 4 year old Myles needed that cake pan more than he wanted any toys at the time. 

Myles receiving his cupcake pan for his 4th birthday

Really, we didn’t have as many fillers this week because we had an overarching birthday theme that had our attention instead. In the moments we may have picked up a magazine or sat down with our manga, we were playing games, baking a cake, or having an intentional celebration. I’m grateful I’m able to look back on it and realize I played the role I intended in keeping things running smoothly to support him this week, and I’m sure others will relate to the disconnect in keeping it going versus feeling present within the moments. I’m looking forward to connecting back in this week now that I’ve explored all of those feelings and realized I’m okay and mentally caught up. 

With that, I encourage you to lean into your feelings and identify what you need instead of being upset that you have emotions that don’t match your expectations. 

Encouraging Curiosity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

2021 Homeschool Week 1 | January 4

Welcome to our 2021 Homeschool!

Without other obligations or distractions, we really leapt back in and created a full week of exploration, learning, and fun. If this is your first post to read through, know that not every week looks like this. We let our weeks flow and embrace what comes, with some intentions and direction in mind on my part, beforehand. Honestly, the only reason I try to have an idea of where I’ll lead us in advance is so that I’m prepared if my executive functioning revolts, as usual. Did I mention we’re a neurodiverse household? I’m autistic with ADHD, and the kiddo has ADHD as well as dyslexia and dyscalculia. 

Because of our neurotypes, we don’t follow standard curriculum the typical way or force ourselves to fit into learning methods that weren’t created with us in mind. Instead, we adapt, we explore, we feel things out, and we continue to pursue information with creativity, intention, and balance. I’ll explain what that means to me, and you’ll see examples of it weekly, woven throughout our experiences.

It’s significant for me to have our life, including our homeschooling and all other endeavors, flow smoothly, not being interrupted by arbitrary “should do’s”. I’ve woken up to enough alarms, forced myself to do enough work, pushed myself past my basic needs, and reached burn out enough times in my life. If I don’t absolutely have to, why would I do that anymore? Why would I choose it intentionally? And if I wouldn’t, then what would I choose instead? What do I actually need? 

And that’s what inspires our daily homeschool and life, with our goals and lifestyle intertwined. We meet our needs, seek our goals, learn to trust our intuition while creating a strong inner guidance system, and we reevaluate and make sure it all makes sense anytime we feel a need for a new balance. 

As I’ve mentioned before, we thrive in a loose structure that’s open instead of restrictive. It allows our needs to be met while giving us the freedom to be who and how we are and for that to look the same or different any days in a row. We don’t feel the same every day, and we don’t adhere to arbitrary rules about when meals should be served or when classes or materials have to be completed. While we don’t have strict bedtimes, we consider factors that may matter to us like daylight, pet needs, and interaction with other family members; and we set intentions around supporting those. 

Knowing that I prefer to ease into my day, gaining clarity or pursuing a personal goal in silence, I’m less likely to melt into the couch until 3am trying to recuperate from a chaotic day. I know my future needs will be supported, so I’m able to relax a bit, go to bed, and start the next day feeling comfortable and ready instead of like I have to cope all over again. I used to live that way too regularly. 

This is that loose structure for me, knowing that I’ve created a system that has all of my needs considered but isn’t restrictive of their variation or unpredictable external demands. This allowance gives me both the grace and freedom I need while supporting me in my challenges. Instead of punishment, there’s room to breathe. Instead of shame, there’s built in space for self-care. If I’m accountable for my life and time, why would I have it any other way?

If you’re neurotypical, wondering why the heck I’m so worried about having my needs met and being comfortable instead of just getting it together and being a grown up, well, I’m autistic and my needs are different than yours. 

If you relate to this strongly, whether you’ve found ways to help yourself overcome your own challenges or still feel like you’re drowning in it, or possibly pulled between what you want and what you think you’re supposed to need…

You’ve got this. 

You’re not alone. 

If I have to figure this out for myself, why then keep it to myself?

I’ve realized I don’t have to be alone either.

We’re in this together, and I’m here to support and encourage you. 

Let’s get into our week. Remember, this was a full week and not necessarily our norm. We had plenty of time to focus and pursue goals without outside distractions or other obligations. We accomplished a lot, which is not how I measure success anymore, and is more a statement of showing awareness that it’s not what I expect from us or others to maintain. 

We started the week off focused and digging into information together. We read magazines, pulled up videos on interests expressed over the last couple weeks, and I offered some new ideas for physical activity and incorporating in fun that there hadn’t yet been extra time for.

I considered our learning goals, which I laid out in this post last year when we chose them together. 

Later in the week, when I hadn’t yet made myself readily available, Myles started some of his goals on his own. He immediately started his day with taking care of his pets and then practicing typing and working through a math section on Khan Academy. I can check his progress and results to see how he’s doing, and he can work through it at his own pace. After those, he found a Cosmic Kids Yoga video and started that on his own as well. 

I try to keep a running mental list of things we will enjoy so I have suggestions to move us forward intentionally but without over-planning. Balance, supported by both preparation and allowing. He’s started to become aware of the same. That in itself is so valuable, learning to live intentionally from a young age and not just by rules or resistance to them. 

We had agreed that writing skills were significant, even though Myles doesn’t always show an interest in practicing. I do my best to keep it as interesting as possible, and I’ve found writing prompts he can print and work on at his own pace. Lately, this includes opinion writing, and he will take the worksheet to his room and use Siri to help spell words – some for confidence and some for words he doesn’t know how to spell yet. I don’t stress over which words he currently knows how to spell. He learns as he wants to know something, and I don’t feel a need to further interfere. 

I make suggestions and offer guidance when it comes to trying new things that he may feel averse to just because he doesn’t have the confidence in his skills yet. I do encourage him not to instantly discredit trying something new, but I also try to be aware of not imposing my desire for him to want to do something on him as well. 

This week, I suggested writing thank you letters to family. Any time we get the chance to use our skills in real life situations versus simulated ones, it’s preferred. He grumbled about why does he have to do that anyway, and I responded that he didn’t have to but it would be kind and it would be a good way to practice writing. Once he started, he got excited about it and drew a picture as well. He was really proud of himself and happy with his effort until I asked him to write a second card. I think it’s significant to be aware that kids budget their energy too, and sometimes it really feels like too much because they gave it all on the first attempt, in this case, creatively. 

Funny I mentioned last week that we unintentionally stopped reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5* because we just picked it up again this week. We didn’t make it too much further, but I love that we’re able to listen to a bit here and there as it fits in. We finished Book 10 of Death Note Complete Box Set: Volumes 1-13 with Premium* and we’re down to the last two books in the story.  

One morning, I asked Myles to occupy himself for a bit, so he chose a few books to look through or read on his own: Star Wars ® Journey to Star Wars the Force Awakens Look and Find ®*, Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook: The Need-to-Know Stats and Facts on Over 700 Pokémon*, If You Give a Dog a Donut* I adore his selection here.

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

We read magazines together as well, usually looking through Highlights for Children* and National Geographic Kids* in moments we’re looking for something new to explore or have a few moments to dig into something. Sometimes we read over things like weird facts or Guinness World Records and other times we may read a story or two. Occasionally, we find information that brings up a broader discussion, which happened last week when we read about a Native American tribe and wanted to expand our understanding.  

I had intended to look up information pertaining to the Blackfeet Nation and Blood Tribe but ended up finding an hour and a half long video on Native Americans that caught my  attention. Myles was also interested, and though it started slow, he got hooked and wanted to complete it. I didn’t give it my focus, but Myles was interested enough to ask me to find parts two and three for the future. 

Later in the week, I looked up more videos on the table of elements as I had searched for last week. We had watched the Most Deadly Elements on Earth, and didn’t look any further at the time. So this week, we watched The Genesis of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table; Solving the Puzzle of the Periodic Table; and Crash Course Chemistry’s The Periodic Table.

We also moved onto the section covering mixtures in our Science: A Visual Encyclopedia* and I saved some videos to provide a good explanation of that too. I plan to show those next week before moving on to the next section. I try to provide a mix of reading, talking, and a visual representation to tie it all together.

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

I love when those pieces flow together unintentionally and support what I aim to create better than in the past when I used to try to control every detail. 

This week, our Atlas Crate came in, and we started to slowly explore the parts. It came with a cute story to introduce us to the characters who would take us along on their travels, a globe to assemble and place each country’s sticker on, and an adventure book to assemble and add the included country cards to each month. Because we get them once a month, we’re taking our time with the material. Myles started assembling the globe, and as we put each sticker on, we read the included Atlas Card to talk about the continent and what it included. The first sticker in the book was for Greenland, then moving to North and South Americas. 

The next day, we were reading our Highlights magazine, when the story we came across featured Greenland at a time it was too cold for families and food sources to thrive. Myles held his globe as we talked about it, and he was able to see the country on the flat map with included information in Highlights. Greenland was the only continent that didn’t have its own Atlas Card included so I had intended to find some more information to share to fill in that gap, but we stumbled right into it on our own. This is the magic of allowing. Had we not found it, we could have just as easily sought it out ourselves, but either way I didn’t stress and deplete all my energy over forcing pieces together a certain way. 

We also placed the Europe and Asia sticker on the globe and read the facts from their Atlas Cards. Next week we will finish up with the remaining continents and then assemble the book to hold our cards. I’m very pleased with this crate, what it offers, and how we get to interact with the provided information. I’m already looking forward to our next one. 

We received Kiwi Crates for over a year, and I let quite a few of them pile up, despite how wonderful they were. We were doing a lot of projects around the house, and more pieces being out and unpredictable time and energy needs led to them being put on a shelf for later. Real life, right? The positive side of this is that we have plenty of Kiwi Crates to keep enjoying now as well, even though I’ve switched our subscription over to the Atlas Crate. If you’re interested in signing up for any of their crates, you’re welcome to use our referral link, which gives us each $10 in credit (thank you!)

Last week, Myles finished his Kiwi Crate on puppet engineering, as I showed in our weekly post. We had put together a box theater last year in an online theater class we took with Varsity Tutors**, so we skipped the directions to create one out of our Kiwi Crate box. Myles performed an excellent puppet show, and kept us laughing with his performance. 

Coincidentally, for the first time in months, I checked out which classes Varsity Tutors was currently offering and signed Myles up for the ones that seemed interesting, of course giving him the choice to attend or not. Fables and Tall Tales was available this week, and Myles decided he would check it out. He had taken a section of the same class previously with another instructor and usually enjoyed the stories, though sometimes sitting still through a class becomes a challenge. Really though, we’re at home, and he can find stimmy ways to pay attention to a class and meet his own needs. I rarely attend a Zoom meeting sitting still. Why would I expect him to? 

During the first class period, he colored in a simple color by number page, and other times he will have lunch during class. We got out our kinetic sand this week, and Myles spent quite a while playing with it one day. With a little forethought, he could play with something like this during class as well. I may even suggest it today when class continues!

This is similar, but isn’t the exact kit we bought years ago: Kinetic Sand, Sandisfying Set with 2lbs of Sand and 10 Tools, for Kids Aged 3 and up*

**Varsity Tutors offers paid small group classes as well as the large group classes we’ve previously taken. If you use our referral link, we each get three hours of credit. So far, we’ve only participated in the free classes provided, and I’ve shared information on those as we’ve taken them.

Recently, we sparked an interest in karate and decided to look for lessons on YouTube. It’s great to have a physical activity we can do inside this time of year. The weather did clear up a few days and Myles was able to spend some time running around the yard, and we also took a couple of walks around the neighborhood. 

He also found his first egg from his new chicks and our older chickens started laying eggs again….right outside our back door, how thoughtful!

We enjoyed learning some basic karate kicks and punches while also stretching and getting our heart rates elevated. We had mentioned picking up yoga and karate, and found that many of the yoga positions I’ve practiced for years are incorporated in warming up for karate as well. This didn’t deter us from also practicing yoga during the week. In fact, Myles remembered how much he loved Cosmic Kids Yoga and started it several times on his own. 

It feels really good to move again, and sometimes I forget to pursue physical movement. I refuse to do it out of guilt or pressure to incorporate a healthy goal – if it’s healthy, it’s that way emotionally, mentally, and physically. So I embrace the opportunity for awareness that movement can be so helpful, and I’m excited my team is ready to pursue something with interest and not guilt. 

And can you really start taking karate lessons without then having a week of Karate Kid movie nights? Maybe, but why would you? We haven’t started the new Cobra Kai show yet, so this feels like good prep work. 😉

I made a point to intentionally embrace fun this week as well. Sometimes life gets depressing and keeping it rolling while taking all of the needed breaks and doing your best to just stay neutral is all you can manage. If you’ve been reading, I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear me say I was experiencing depression and burnout more than I was letting myself realize. I’m grateful I was able to navigate it so well this time until I got through it. 

I’m sure that relief also has something to do with how much we suddenly accomplished this week and how energetic I was in pursuit of it. Neurodiverse individuals are disproportionately likely to struggle with their mental health, and I want to be open and authentic with all aspects. 

This is why I allow a flow, have loose expectations to guide but not overwhelm, and allow time to do what we need, whether that’s pursuing more interests and filling our time with hyper-focused fun or just sitting back and recuperating when needed. It all flows the best way it can to support our needs as we go. And we get everything we need out of each phase of life. 

Balance isn’t something we achieve once and then hold our breath to maintain. We can learn to be aware of our needs, honor our desires, and support ourselves in pursuit and maintenance of all parts that encompass us. 

We can learn how to breathe life into ourselves instead of draining it while desperately seeking to be refilled, and we can teach our kids how to fill themselves up as well. 

Homeschooling for neurodiversity means I can teach my child academically and also how to navigate life for himself and find balance in each moment and the overall picture so that he doesn’t face as many of the same struggles.

Encouraging Curiosity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Homeschool Weeks 21 & 22 | Wrapping up 2020

Wishing you a Happy New Year while I sum up the past two weeks!

We typically work at our own pace, so some weeks are less inclusive of academic learning, though we never really stop absorbing from our interactions. Interpersonal relationships, communication, appreciation, change of environment or expectations all influence learning about how we fit into this world.

The week after Christmas, we dug into some materials that sparked an interest to pursue them further. Sometimes we dive deep and others we just skip across the surface. The week of Christmas, we indulged in little bits as we had time between other expectations and enjoyments.

We receive Highlights for Children* and National Geographic Kids* magazines monthly. Typically, we sift through the content over the month, but lately, we’re catching up on past issues. We’re still going through the November 2020 edition of Highlights, and we found several articles that brought up deeper conversations and the ability to go further with the information presented.

I was happily surprised to find an article on dyslexia, though it didn’t provide a very thorough picture of the challenges. It did include noteworthy individuals and their accomplishments, with encouragement for overcoming challenges to become stronger. We are a household working with learning disabilities including dyslexia and dyscalculia.

Another story brought up the topic of Native Americans, with the featured fashion designer honoring her ancestors and heritage. This lead to a broader discussion of colonization and an interest to learn more about the Blackfeet Nation and Blood Tribe featured, as well as exploring what other tribes may be like. I saved some videos on YouTube for our upcoming weeks.

I would love to provide (and even learn for myself) a more complete picture of Native American life, including cultural and spiritual perspectives and practices, commonalities, and differences. I also believe it’s significant to be aware of the impact humans make on the earth and their interactions with each other.

I try not to add my own judgement so much as present the information, asking as neutral as possible questions, while allowing space for evaluation. This is how we learn to learn, which I believe is much more valuable than specific knowledge.

Another topic we expanded to YouTube from our current default resources had to do with the Periodic Table of Elements. In our Science: A Visual Encyclopedia*, we reached the section on the elements, read through the provided information and examples, and looked at the table with the key.

We thought more examples would be interesting to explore, so I typed in “table of elements” to see what we may find. For fun, we chose the video called Most Deadly Elements on Earth, and saw how reactionary and rare some of the elements can be. As we pursue further pages in our encyclopedia, we will explore particular types of elements, and I expect we will seek out more video explanations to go beyond the surface.

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

Myles continued working independently through math on Khan Academy. He’s able to do this because there are video presentations that explain each concept while giving examples. It takes the pressure off of me to be in the midst of all of his learning while I may need to start a load of laundry or make lunch. If he needs me, he knows I’m nearby to help clarify. On several occasions, I’ve caught him re-watching the video examples before asking for help. Trust breeds confidence!

We sat down together to choose writing prompts from a google image search of his “grade level”. Second grade seems to be a good fit for now, though we don’t limit ourselves to content by grade level. I saved images for printouts he showed interest in and printed out the one he was ready to work on immediately. He worked on this one alone, with the help of Siri to spell when needed, and I really enjoyed his perspective.

Myles’ writing narrative on the steps of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

We dug back into our Kiwi Crate on Puppet Engineering, looking through the science explained in the included catalog and finishing the last project, decorating and assembling talking puppets with a pull handle for the mouth. We also learned about different types of puppets and how they have been used culturally, around the world.

Myles with the puppets he assembled

We took out our Lego Classics set again this week, which was a fantastic gift from Myles’ grandparents last year. LEGO Classic Creative Fun 11005 Building Kit, New 2020 (900 Pieces)*

He built a house with a couch and a lego person enjoying a salad with a carrot, and even included a cake inside the oven. I was impressed with his attention to detail and creativity in designing what he imagined.

Image of Myles’ lego house

Myles listened to more of the The BFG* but we didn’t manage to finish it before it was due again – the downfall to audiobooks from the library, but I put it on hold again and he doesn’t seem to mind. Can’t complain much about free access to books!

We finished book 9 of Death Note Complete Box Set: Volumes 1-13 with Premium*, and decided to wait for a new week before starting the next book. He spends the weekends with his dad, so there is an obvious break in our weeks, influencing how we pursue information and entertainment sometimes.

We’ve unintentionally taken a break from reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5*, but I know we will pick it up again when it fits into our lives better. We purchased it from audible due to the length and value.

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

Holidays are always transitional times as we consider family time, gifts (but can we not?), get-togethers, celebration, and then planning for the new year. I try not to over plan learning and activities that aren’t necessary during this time, instead letting the flow of our other needs allow me to see which spaces we can fill with less overwhelming goals.

This year, I’m attempting to be patient enough with myself and mediated desire for perfectionism to integrate bullet journaling into my creativity, planning, and flow. I think once I master it, I’ll benefit greatly.

Did you set any goals? I’d love to know what they are.

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