An Unschooling Novice’s Approach to, Well, Unschooling

Our typical unschooled day

image

     Are you one of those people, like me, who loves to read about how other people homeschool? Maybe you’re someone who loves to talk about your approach to homeschooling, also like me. Today I’m writing about our approach to our latest journey, unschooling.
     As I’m sure you know, every day is different, and, especially since we’ve just transitioned from eclectic homeschooling to self-directed learning, we’re still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Our Typical Unschooled Day

8:00- Breakfast- usually something simple; I’ll be the first to admit that our meals are more about convenience. I honestly don’t have the time or energy to cook something from scratch everyday for twelve people.

9:00- Chores- Since we do these a few times a day, it only takes about 20 minutes to get things done.

9:20- From this point on until lunchtime, the children are free to do what they want. Like my husband, my children are all technology fanatics, so our morning looks something like this-

image

image

At first this really bothered me, but after I stopped stressing about it and actually paid attention to what they were doing, I realized that they’re learning far more than I ever imagined.

Minecraft- geometry, logic, learning step-by-step how such things as glass and steel are made

Ruzzle- spelling, vocabulary

Scribblenaut- spelling, vocabulary, science, history

-Leap Pad Learning Tablets- well, that’s kind of obvious

They will sometimes do other activities during this time, such as their math. I know many unschoolers don’t formally teach math, but living within PA homeschool laws makes me too nervous to skip it. My younger kids- 8 yrs. old on down have a choice about whether or not they’ll do it. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. At this age, it’s very easy to incorporate math into everyday learning.

image

image

image

My 9, 12, &, 13 year-olds are all required to do their math everyday at their own pace. Incidentally, besides my 14 year-old, these are the children who must be evaluated every year, so the documentation is so important.

12:00- Lunch- again, usually something simple

image

1:00- Family reading

image

Starting at 1:00, we have what I call ”Media Blackout”. Until 4:00, no electronics are permitted, unless they’re researching something or watching tutorials. While they do learn through media, I think it’s so important to do hands-on activities. During this time is when you’ll see what I consider the good stuff.

image

image

image

image

image

image

3:00- Chores

4:00- Supper

6:30- Bathtimes

8:00- Bedtime and Bible story for the kids 6 & under
       – Bible reading with the older children followed by silent reading

9:00- 8 & 9 year olds go to bed; my three oldest go to bed whenever they want, as long as they’re quiet.

You may have noticed I didn’t address my 14 yr. old much. This is because her approach is different, again, because of compliance with homeschool laws, and, honestly, by her own choice. I’ll address this in a later post.

What’s your day like?

Linking up with
image

http://ourbusyhomeschool.com/in-my-homeschool-sharing-what-works-linky-week-7/#comment-9403

Unschooling- Week 1 Photo Review

Here’s a recap of our week in photos.

     Our first week of unschooling after five years of either traditional or eclectic homeschool has ended. So what did we do? Here’s a recap of our week in photos.

image

Lots of modeling clay and playdough creations

image

Puzzles galore!

image

Some new hair colors

image

Painting

image

Making baking clay

image

image

image

Lots of science experiments- the first picture shows a static electricity experiment in which you rub a plastic spoon on your hair and use it to attract pepper on a plate; the second and third were egg experiments my son got off YouTube (although we had done the second one before). In the second egg experiment, you light a piece of paper on fire, drop it into a bottle, then quickly put a peeled, hard-boiled egg on top. The flame creates a vacuum which sucks the egg in.

image

That’s Devin hiding behind Lifepac Science!

image

And lots of this!

What have you done this week?

Linking up with:

http://www.amamasstory.com/search/label/Our%20Days%20Homeschool%20Link-up

http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/

Weekend Review: Our First Week of Unschooling

Baby steps. Trust. They will learn.

image

     We’ve officially completed our first full week of unschooling, and I’ll tell you what… John Holt wasn’t kidding when he said you’ve got to trust that your kids will learn because,honestly, it’s not so apparent.
     If I could give anyone considering unschooling advice, even though we’re new at it, I would tell them not to compare themselves to those phenomenal examples of unschoolers right from the get-go. It’s going to take time for your kids to get used to the fact that they’re in charge of their education. Chances are, your children will not build a rocket with parts from the junkyard, fueled with cow manure. They will not write and professionally publish a novel while painting a portrait that would put Da Vinci to shame. At least, not right away. 🙂
     Progress will happen in baby steps, and sometimes you may wonder if they’re learning at all, but, believe me. They are. I’m going to be honest and say that I’m writing this as much to myself as to you. Trust me, I’ve had my doubts this week. I’ve seen a lot of Minecraft activity and Ruzzle this week- more than I expected. Just when I started to stress over this fact, I overheard my son, Dillon, talking about how glass is formed. I asked him where he learned that, and he replied, ”Minecraft.” as if it should have been obvious to me. Minecraft,, duh!  That alleviated my fears a little bit and reminded me. Trust.
     Admittedly, I did end up giving them a little nudge, explaining to them what they already knew- that they will be evaluated at the end of the year, and while I know they’re learning, the school district may not look upon pure Minecraft learning too kindly.
     So what did we accomplish this week, besides lots of Minecraft?? Actually, more than it seemed. Lots of clay and play dough creations graced our home this week.

image

Dillon made baking clay and made a volcano, which he plans to paint and erupt. He may also research volcanoes- how they’re formed or where they’re most abundant. We did several science experiments involving the big bang theory, static electricity,

image

light waves, carbon dioxide, and even eggs!

image

image

Arianna made a lapbook on makeup- she’s been studying theatrical makeup. She also interviewed me and graced us with her cooking the other day. Caollin and London have spent time making play money and using their toy cash register/calculator to play store, and all the little ones from Caollin on down enjoy playing ”Little House on the Prairie”, our current family readaloud. We all also read independently everyday.
     My oldest daughter, Devin, has opted to continue on with her textbooks because she’s not too keen on change. That’s fine. I told her that unschooling is about child-directed learning- not a ban on textbooks. She does do other activities, as well. She loves star gazing and planet watching, she’s taking a flash animation class at the art school, and she’s just an extraordinarily creative girl.

image

Devin’s latest hair color-just dyed yesterday

     All in all, I would consider this week a success. We didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped, but I keep reminding myself. Baby steps. Trust. They will learn.

image

How was your week?

Carnival of Homeschooling