An Unschooling Day- Our Way

Since I’ve been writing so much recently about our homeschooling philosophy, I thought I’d write about our day today to give you an idea of what we do. My husband had a vacation day today, and it was over 60 degrees outside (finally!), so this will be a little more exciting than what we’ve been doing the last couple of months, which has basically consisted of crafts, reading, and complaining about the snow.

This morning Luke approached me and said,
“Mom, I haven’t done my bookth (not a typo- he has a lisp) in a long time. Where are my bookth?”
“They’re in the basket with the other workbooks. Do you want to do them?”
“Yeth.”
He decided that he was going to work on math today, so after about 3 pages of math- very basic addition and subtraction- he went on his merry way playing his boyish games around the house. I have to add that, despite his lisp, his voice is very husky, so it sounds really comical.

Anyway…Ireland saw him doing his workbook, so she wanted to do her “school work.” I printed out some free letter printables, and she worked on those for a while. Ireland is the oldest child that’s never been formally taught, (she’s 4) and she whizzed through these papers before I could even tell her what to do. She really loves doing worksheets, so I’ve bookmarked the website because I have a feeling I’ll be visiting it a lot.

Soon after, we all ate a quick breakfast (sausage corn dogs for the kids, a banana nut muffin for me) and did our chores so we could get ready to go to the trout nursery, our field trip for the day.

It was so sunny and warm outside, I felt like doing cartwheels, but I held back because I didn’t want to have an aneurysm. We really had a great time, and I took lots of pictures.

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It really is beautiful there, and the contrast between seeing the snow on the ground, and the warm weather was unbelievable. There’s some fabulous wildlife there, also. Every time we go there, Devin and I have always talked about the time we saw an enormous crane in a tree. It seriously looked like a pterodactyl. Well, there are a lot of information boards throughout the nursery, and we actually discovered from reading one today that the “crane” we saw was actually a herron. We also saw a poor fish swimming around that had its entire back ripped open, possibly by a herron. Poor thing. I’m sorry to say that I’ve never noticed these information boards before. Maybe they’re new. Regardless, we learned a lot from them, like how to tell different types of trout apart. Caollin, for some reason, has always called the yellow ones “Goldilocks,” but today we found out that they’re actually called “Golden Rainbow Trout.” I think she’ll still call them Goldilocks. 🙂 We also never knew that the little hatchlings are called fisherlings.

On the way home, there was much discussion about fish. Devin hopes to one day have a koi pond. Dillon wants a piranha pond, of course. Dillon quizzed us on the types of trout and then told us which kinds he’s caught while fishing.

Afterwards, we stopped at the shopping center. Shawn took Devin, Dillon, Caollin, London, Luke, and Kenzie into Family Dollar with him, while I had Arianna, Bailey, Ireland, and Summer with me into Dollar Tree. Even though Shawn had two more kids than I did, he told me that the cashier complimented their good behavior, while my cashier, on the other hand, told me I have my hands full after witnessing Ireland crying because she couldn’t find anything to buy with her penny and Summer taking it upon herself to grab a Snickers bar off of the counter and open it (which I then had to buy). Then she tried the same thing with Skittles and so on and so on. Sigh…Why are kids always better behaved for their dads? I really want to know!

We came home and had spaghettios for lunch, then straightened up again because the house gets messy that fast. Since Shawn was home, I let Dillon and Devin play World of Warcraft with him, while the other kids played for a while. Arianna kept herself busy doing theatrical makeup again. Today she made herself a pumpkin.

After a while Devin came downstairs, and I reminded her about the shooting assignments she hasn’t done for her photography class. It turns out that she didn’t know how to work the manual settings on her camera, so I took her over to Dan’s Camera, where she got a 30 minute lesson on how to work her camera. They gave her so much information that she was even taking notes. It was definitely worth the trip because I honestly just expected them to spend 3 minutes telling her where everything was, and that was it. I even started to get worried after a while because I know they give photography lessons there, and the man was being so thorough, that I started thinking um…am I going to get charged for this? My fears were unfounded, and the only thing I ended up paying for was an SD card for Arianna’s camera.

We came home, and I made dinner- homemade hoagies and Checker’s fries. The kids did their prospective Life of Fred math books. Then, Devin came down and took a Greek mythology quiz from last week, and we went over her algebra self-test together.

So…this is what we did today. Who knows what we’ll do tomorrow? Hopefully, the weather will cooperate, and we’ll actually get outside again!

What have you done today?

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Share the Wealth Sunday

Every Week Should Be Break Week

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Looks familiar from last week’s post, right? And the week before…and the week before. I’m telling you, I am so sick of snow. I’m ready to pack up everything and move South. Maybe Louisiana…or Texas…or Australia. We’ve gotten so much snow that our city was completely unprepared. They ran out of salt for the streets, and all the stores ran out of rock salt. Of course we didn’t have any, so I told my husband to sprinkle some cat litter for traction. He did more than sprinkle. He poured so much out front and out back that it looked like we were living on a beach. What a mess. He’s got most of it cleaned up now, and he’s got a plan on how he’ll shovel up the rest. Oy vey.

Anyway…on with the week…

This was our first ever break week since we’ve started unschooling. If you’re questioning why we even needed a break, I wrote about it right here. This entire week has had me pleasantly surprised.
I honestly thought that since I would not be limiting screen time that I would have a bunch of Minecrafting zombies, especially considering the fact that we’ve gotten four new laptops this week. I myself have been spending quite a bit of time on mine. Hey, give me a break. I’ve been doing all my online activity, including writing my blog, on my Android! This is new to me, too!
Looking back on the week, though, I’ve noticed something that did not escape Arianna’s attention either…the kids have been doing more this week than since we started unschooling! This has completely validated my theory that children learn best without expectations.
I found it exceedingly funny that on our second day of break, several of the kids spent hours playing school. IMAG5139 (1) And not just your typical ABC’s stuff, either. I walked into the living room, and Caollin was using our solar system model to quiz the kids on the planets. Then, she had them all sit and listen while she played with the interactive tablet that goes with it. Shortly afterward, I heard music. I looked in on the kids and saw that Caollin had “Fifty Nifty United States” playing on her tablet while the kids sang, and she played guitar! I was so happy, I almost couldn’t contain myself, but I managed to play it cool because I didn’t want to ruin the moment.
If you’ve read my blog before, you probably remember that my kids love arts and crafts, so, of course, these activities played a huge role in our week.
IMAG5145

Yes, she's wearing a bathing suit top in the middle of winter. Choose your battles, right?
Yes, she’s wearing a bathing suit top in the middle of winter. Choose your battles, right?

Summer's always a mess, isn't she?
Summer’s always a mess, isn’t she?

It’s taken the older kids some time to get used to Minecraft on the PC since they’ve always played the pocket edition. They’ve really learned a lot, though, and Dillon has been as diligent as ever in researching mods. He was so excited today because he learned how to make a portal using obsidian and a snowman using a pumpkin. (I have no clue.) IMAG5158
Arianna made her own lipstick with Crayola Crayons (she learned it from a makeup tutorial). She said it worked well, but it was really hard to pour it into the little containers.
I was checking my emails today when I heard Caollin using my phone to learn French on Mango Languages. I’ll tell you, out of everyone, Caollin has surprised me the most this week because she’s the one who’s spent the most time doing nothing but petting the cats. As I alluded to earlier, even Arianna has noticed the difference this week. She mentioned to me last night that we should always have break because everyone’s been so much busier…and happier. A very wise observation, I would say.
I bought my first digital camera today (yes, my 14 year old has a DSLR, but I’ve only been using my Android to take pictures). It’s certainly not a DSLR, but, hopefully, today will be the last day I have to post blurry pictures. I’m really excited about it because when you have a lot of kids, you tend to forget to do things for yourself once in a while…so this is my present to me.
Tomorrow we’re planning on finding a pantry for our kitchen because we just don’t have enough cabinet space. Saturday we’ll be having our first family portrait taken in three years. I was so afraid that Brendan, my 20 year old, would have to work, but he’s coming, too! Afterwards, the 13 of us will be taking my mom to Denny’s for her birthday. (Kids eat free! Ahem. They’ll love us.) I’ve already reserved the entire back room. We only take the kids out to a restaurant about once a year, so they’re usually very well-behaved. We shall see…

What’s your week been like?

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