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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Well, I Didn’t See This One Coming!

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So here I’ve been the past several weeks, happily typing away about the freedom of unschooling. Imagine my surprise today, then, when Dillon approached me and said, “Mom, I want to start doing unit studies again.” Huh?? I was shocked, and I did a poor job of hiding it when I blurted out, “Why???” Apparently, he’s bored. Bored. I immediately pointed out all the cool stuff I bought in lieu of curriculum this year. I did my speech about how he’s so lucky to have the freedom to learn about what he wants to learn when he wants to learn it. Still no change. I told him that if he’s absolutely sure that he wants to do unit studies, we’ll do that. His reply? “I’m not sure. I’m just bored.”

Okay…I know that I need to get to the bottom of this- and fast.. First of all, I’m hesitant to pick up where we left off because I know that as soon as the weather warms up, he’ll want to be outside all the time studying creepy crawlies like he always does, and the unit studies will be forgotten. I know firsthand that the cold weather can make me feel like a total slug, so I’m guessing it’s taking its toll on him.

One thing that I know is going to have to change for now is our screen-free period. As it stands now, the kids aren’t allowed to do anything involving electronics- at all- during this time. I thought it was a good idea, but I’m seeing now that it’s a little too strict. My kids love to research. And how do they research the most? While we do go to the library quite a bit, the majority of their research happens on the computer using either search engines or YouTube videos. As good as my intentions were, I think this rule has been hindering their creativity and motivation because, while they may get tons of ideas during the screen-free time, they have no access to the computer. My answer, up until now, has always been, “That’s a good idea. You’ll have to look that up after 4,” after which, the idea is completely forgotten, and instead I see a lot of glum faces trying to come up with something else.

Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, for now, I’m going to compromise. Instead of this time of day being an all-encompassing ban on electronics, I am going to allow these devices to be used for research purposes. In the best of circumstances, when the weather gets warmer, this won’t even be an issue at all. In the worst of circumstances, this will continue through the spring and summer, but my kids will still be learning, and that’s not such a bad thing.

And if Dillon or another of the kids is still bored after this change? Then I’ll do the unit studies. Part of unschooling is giving children the freedom to learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it and how they want to learn. As another blogging friend once said- homeschoolers are freedom scholars. And we’ll use that freedom to the best of our ability.

Random 5 Friday- Snowed In!

#snowedin

Our area got record- breaking snow accumulation yesterday- at least 20 inches.

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This means that we’ll be stuck in the house for a while, so creativity is going to be key. Here are five things we’ve done since being snowed in.

1. We made good use of DVDs. American Girl DVDs, Ponyo, and The Emperor’s New Groove have been hits.

2. We’ve done lots and lots of crafting- painting rocks, Chinese lanterns, Sharpie art, and clay creations.

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3. Lots of learning has been happening through silly and gross facts books, solar system games, and Egyptian treasures kits.

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4. Minecraft, as usual, is occupying much of the big kids’ time.

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5. Lastly, my personal favorite, random silliness has been rampant.

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What are your favorite homebound activities??

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Making Your Home Sing Monday

Five Random Things from Our Homeschool This Week

Five random things

I’m linking up with Random 5 on Friday over at The Pebble Pond today. Enjoy!

1.
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My kids have been teaching themselves how to sew because I can’t sew a lick!

2.
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We made a really cool fake lung, thanks to Dot-to-Dot Connections.

3.
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My kids made an underwater mural. They all love to draw.

4.
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Dillon just finished Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and has now started Cryptid Hunters, which he bought at the library bookstore. It’s actually really good; I read it while he was at his grandma’s.

5.
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I’m teaching Devin how to cook…sort of. Hey, you have to start somewhere!

What are five random things you’ve been up to?

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