Almost Unschooling Grama Weekly Wrap-Up | December 2, 2016


Hope you all have had a terrific week! The grandkids got home from Pennsylvania so I got to play with them for a few days. So much fun! I’ll be doing some blog posts about the things we did soon. Now I’m off to Iowa to help my folks out for a couple of months. My mom is having surgery next week, so please pray for a speedy recovery!

If you are new to this blog, each week I try to categorize all the posts I do on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you can easily find the ones that fit your family. Subscribe in the upper the right-hand corner to get this blog in your e-mail so you don’t miss out!


Every year when my kids were growing up, I declared the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas “ART MONTH”! We cut our formal lessons to the bare minimum and concentrated on making presents. A major activity was making cookies and treats for everyone we knew. I would buy tins at garage sales throughout the year and during “ART MONTH” we would fill them with mouth-watering treats. Are you celebrating “ART MONTH”?



This is geared towards groups, but my kids would have loved doing this right at home. What about your kids? You could use this for review with any book or lesson!



Do you know all of your neighbors? Have a baking day with your kids and then take goodies to them!






King Josiah lesson




Get some party noisemakers and reenact the story of Jericho! If you don’t have any, you can use this link to order some and you can help me out at the same time! I get a small commission.








Your child may exhibit these signs when he/she is preschool age, but if he/she doesn’t, don’t worry! The average age for a child to be physically and mentally ready to read is 4 -12. Don’t push it!

Ready to Read – Reading Readiness Signs and Checklist




Have your kids write a paragraph about how they would want to be decorated if they were a Christmas tree.




Make paper ornaments with vocab words written on the backs. Put them on the tree. Then have your kids pick one or two each day and look up what it means.




Ask your kids what they would do if Santa were stuck in a chimney.  Have them draw pictures and write a story.




Name your elves. Then talk about what kinds of characteristics they have. Are they shy? athletic? What kinds of things are they interested in? Woodworking? electronics? Then write a story about a day in their lives.

If you don’t have any elves, you can buy some through this link and it will help support this page!




Middle School – High School


Make a crossword puzzle from words in a Christmas song and let your kids guess which song the puzzle is about. Then challenge them to make one for you!














Make a Christmas tree from construction paper or felt. Then make several cards with numbers on them on different colored construction paper. Place these in a bowl. Have your little one draw out one and decorate the tree by putting that number of sequins, beads or pom-poms of that color on the tree. Older kids can pull two and add them together.






How to Play Dice War (Subtraction) Good Math Games


Middleschool and Up

Can’t say enough good about this game! It was a favorite at my house for years! If you don’t have it in your house, please consider buying it through this link and help support this page!







Is there a National Guard or a military base near you? Call to see if you can get a tour! Great field trip! Find out about how it came to being and where those stationed at that base have served.






Free music therory course!



Have your child pick his/her favorite piece of art you have in your home. It can be a painting, a craft, a figurine, quilt, or whatever they love. Then have him/her describe the piece. What is the medium? What do you like about the lines, colors, textures, etc.? Where is it in your home? What makes that place a good place to display it? And anything else they can think of to describe it. This could make a great dinner time discussion or a blog post for older kids!




Something fun to do with all those broken crayons!





Sensory Crawl Infant and Toddler Activity {Huggies Little Movers}




Ask Jeanne: Do Homeschoolers Get a Diploma?





More parents taking kids’ learning into their own hands



God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Fort Larned, Kansas | A Go-There Field Trip!

Over the weekend, Grampa Tom had some time off so we took off for Dodge, Kansas to go to a farm show. It was interesting, saw some equipment we hadn’t seen before and even picked up a nifty cloud chart so I can unschool myself about one of my favorite activities, cloud watching. But, this post isn’t about that, I just wanted to be able to tell you all that we decided to “get out of Dodge”! 😉

We headed for Larned (where we had spied an old fort on our way down) so Grampa Tom could unschool himself about one of his favorite subjects, military life! Just because our kids are all grown doesn’t mean we’ve stopped homeschooling!


Fort Larned was established in 1859 as one of several military posts set up to protect the Santa Fe Trail. We’ve been to several old forts but this was the first one that didn’t have a huge wall and moat around it. Most of the buildings faced inward, but there was no outer wall. Surprise attacks were probably pretty uncommon in this part of Kansas where you can see for miles!


At other times of the year, there’s a lot going on here, but the day we went, there were only two park rangers and us so, we got to take a leisurely tour! The first buildings we toured were the officers quarters. If an officer had a family, they were given two rooms, one for sleeping and one for a living area. My pictures aren’t the best because of the lighting, but you can see how plain the quarters were.



The netting around this bed was a big luxury! But still, I’m not sure I would have survived on these sleeping on these stringed beds!


For these people, though, I’m sure they were amazing, especially when you compare them to the barracks bedding!


These guys slept two to a bunk. One guy slept with his head one way and the other slept with his head at the other’s feet. Can you imagine? The picture really doesn’t show it, but these bunks are really short, more like a youth bed of today. Grampa Tom kept marveling at how short they were, but I’m thinking that having your bunk mate’s feet hanging over might be a good thing!


After we went through the officer’s quarters and the barracks, we toured the hospital. The beds there were huge, but I suppose they probably had more than one occupant at times.


Gurneys and operating tables were much narrower.


There was this 4 hole privy attached to the hospital room. I’m sure it was necessary for guys that couldn’t get around well, but ewwww! Going to these places always makes me so glad that I live in the United States in the 21st century!


They did know a little about sanitation, though, as evidenced by this sign stressing cleanliness in one of the kitchens.


I loved this big old brick oven! Can you imagine making this much bread every day?

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Fort Larned was an infantry fort so there weren’t extensive barns or corrals, but they did have a blacksmith shop and the ability to work on and repair wagons, cannons, and other horse-drawn vehicles.


This room served as the base schoolhouse/library/ church.

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The block house contained gun powder, an underground passageway, and a well.

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There was also a huge storehouse that contained all the stuff a soldier might need, including caskets. :'(


We didn’t ride the stagecoach across the wooden bridge out of there, but we had fun imagining what it would have been like here in the late 1800’s in Kansas.

What historic tours have you taken lately?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Researching Building History|Unit Study


Do you live in an older home or is there a building in your town that you find intriguing? Hunting down the history of buildings is a great way to learn about the history of your town with lots of fascinating rabbit trails to go down.

To start with, you will need to make a list of questions you would like to know about the building. As you investigate, you will think of more, but try to start off with at least 3-5.  You might want to know:

  1. When was the building was constructed?
  2. Who built the building?
  3. What is the style of architecture?
  4. Has it been remodeled or added on to?
  5. Who was the original owner and how many owners has it had?
  6. Are there any interesting events that happened there?
  7. What was around the building when it was built and how has that changed through the years?
  8. Has the building had different functions through the years?
  9. What was the original cost of the building and how much is it worth now?

There are a variety of resources to help you answer these questions.

  1. Plan a field trip to your local county courthouse and or city municipal building. It’s a great way to familiarize your kids with how local government works. At the courthouse, you will be able to look at the building’s abstract and get property tax records. These will tell you who has owned the building and when it was sold. They often have information on building size and pictures that can help you see how it has changed over the years. Your city municipal building will have information about building permits that will show the changes the building has been through. The people there are very willing to help, but please call first! There are times of the year when they are slow and times when they are drowning in work. You will get a lot more info if you visit during a slow period.
  2. Talk to neighbors and older residents about the building.
  3. Look in newspaper archives for articles about the people who have owned the building. Historical homes and older business buildings will often have articles about them as well. This is a good source for pictures and interesting information.
  4. Look for plat maps and county historical books at your local library.
  5. Try entering the address and or the name of the building online. You may find that someone else has already done some research on it!
  6. Check out City Directories and Census records!
  7.  Your local historical society might also have information.

Have fun and let me know what you find out!



Gardening Buddy at Last! | Barb Bergeman


Yesterday, as I was taking a walk, I ran across this lady out working in her garden. I complimented her on her work and she told me that when she retired, she told everyone that her objective in life from now on would be to have a weed free garden, but that she wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

I jumped at the chance 🙂 “I haven’t had a chance to play in the dirt for months.”, I told her. “Can I help?”

She totally understood my desire and graciously set me up with a tub to throw weeds into! been a long time since I’ve had dirt packed around my nails 🙂


As we worked, Barb told me about her life. She and her husband owned a ranch outside of town until he had some health problems and was unable to continue. So they moved into town.

She worked at the school for a while and then at social services, but neither were her calling. Then she got to know the editor of the town newspaper and wound up owning it. She was the first in the area to use colored ink, and the first to go digital. She ran it until a few years ago and now lives to play in the dirt 🙂

She also told me that her husband had worked the harvest when he was a kid. Back then, there weren’t any campers. The guys brought sleeping bags and just found places to sleep. She said one time they actually stayed in a newly constructed chicken house! I love hearing this kind of history 🙂



She gave me a bunch of rhubarb and several cucumbers. The guys will really enjoy them. I see some pies and cakes in the future!


~God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue