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What did your unschooler do today? (Feb 2013 version)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Good day? Bad day? Crazy day? Chill day? 


What's engaging your child(ren) lately?



post #2 of 16

Good day! Actually, since you posted the question yesterday, two good days. A very low-key and unscheduled weekend, which was nice after a rather busy couple of weeks. Yesterday featured an epic eight hour playdate- my boy and a friend had a great day with Minecraft, Lego, building wooden marble towers, reading Foxtrot comics etc. He spent the evening with his grandmother watching the Mythbusters disprove the old adage that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." And today my son spent the morning with an engineering mentor, and had a blast learning more computer stuff and trying to figure out how to make his own Minecraft mods. 

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Today for my unschooler. 


She made breakfast for the family. Cinnamon scones, apple slices with Nutella dip, and Earl Grey tea. She had to get up early with her alarm in order to have the scones baked in time, and she managed.


Then we hiked to the van and drove to meet a friend and then out to the ski trails. She had a 2-hour XC ski class. Did her first timed sprints and was pleased to earn her way through three levels based on her first trials. (She's new to XC skiing, but the sprint levels are for 8 to 12-year-olds, and she's just turned 10, so she's older than some of the kids.) They did some games and relays, and worked on jump-glide ("modern") double-poling. 


We drove home, dropped our friend off, had lunch.


She chilled out watching TV on the computer part of the afternoon. 


She practiced violin for 45 minutes. Then she did some music-reading stuff on the iPad: an app called "Note Hitter" where you have to play note-pitches shown on a staff before your time runs out, and then an app for rhythm sight reading. She moved up to a new level in both today.


She had a super long bath: she's been XC skiing lots this week: six hours in the past four days, plus a day of downhill skiing in the middle, so her body was sore and tired. 


Supper. I read aloud to her for a while. She reviewed a bit of Spanish on DuoLingo. Now she's playing Snap! with her dad. I'll read again to her later. We're in the middle of "Penrose the Mathematical Cat" by Theoni Pappas, Volume 1 of "The Story of Science" by Joy Hakim and "Surviving the Applewhites" by Stephanie Tolan. She's reading "Under the Root" by Zilpha Keatley Snider on her own.



post #4 of 16

I liked "Surviving the Applewhites" and it'd be an interesting read for an unschooled kid. What does she think of it so far?


Oh- and I forgot, we spent the afternoon in Chinatown drinking bubble tea, watching the dancers and listening to the drums... Happy Chinese New Year!

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

We're only five chapters into the Applewhites. She's noticed similarities between herself and the female protaganist E.D. (a desire to be self-structured and organized in an unschooling environment), her next-older sister and the sister, and her brother and the older brother. And a lot of the hippie-ish-ness of the Applewhites is stuff that's just normal around here ... if not at our house then at friends' and neighbours'. Pesky goats, noisy creativity, green smoothies .... 



post #6 of 16

We finally watched Bill Nye for the first time today.  The girls loved it.  We watched "buoyancy" and as soon as it ended dd5 begged for clay and we made boats and tested the bouyancy of other things in the water...that was their bath time.


It was rainy today and although I didn't want to I let the girls stay outside playing in the rain for quite a while and we went for a walk around the block when we checked the mail.  We played with wet tennis balls on a wet tennis court.  Back inside they played on their keyboard and the newness has worn down because I heard actual playing and experimenting, rather than banging and chaos.  Which I suppose is experimenting too, just in a more impulsive rather than thoughtful way.


I found a movie for them to watch before bed based on the Ramayana.  I really wanted to watch a new show I like to watch and it is inappropriate for them, but I think I will not do that again next week.  I'll have to find out when the show is on during the day or after they go to sleep because I don't like the energy coming off dd5 when she watches things so close to bedtime. 


We took a nice break earlier this month/end of last month...we spent most of the time at my Grandma's house, which was really, really great and now we are just starting to get back into the habit of living here(which has never been easy to begin with).  Things were so perfect at my Grandma's house...there was no yelling, no fits...  The plan is to go back this week once I get all the stuff I need to get done here.  


We have a bunch of state books/maps right now.  I need to organize them and order some more.  I think we have the first 8 or so states(U.S) right now.  The girls love maps. 


DD5 has been sleeping in her own bed for the past couple of nights.  I think this is something we need to stick with.  I'm happy with her joining me and dd2 in bed in the morning but she needs to fall asleep on her own.  The rest I'll have to write in another thread.  


That Applewhite's book sounds really cool.  I attempted to try a sparkle stories sample today but I didn't want to sample it and have dd5 get upset if it was a really short sample.  I need to put some money into my account so I can actually get a subscription because there are some stories there that really sound like a really good idea for us.  

post #7 of 16

This post is more about what's been happening in general.


We've still been struggling with getting along, playing together, not "throwing your grumps around" when you get angry, giving mama time-outs to keep calm when everyone, having gotten upset, turns their neediness on *her*.  This is *not* cool they do this but we are working on it.


DD2 has been hit by a cold pretty hard, and that's given dd1 a chance to do a few things without her.  Sunday we went to our 4-H meeting and, joy of joys, she received a first-year pin for having completed 4 out of 8 requirements (public presentation, showing, community service and good atttendence at club meetings).  She's starting to listen and be more actively interested in all 4-H has to offer-- I think she wants to make sure she gets her 2nd year pin!  I asked her if she wanted to do the public presentations for spring, and she said yes.  She's decided to do one on What Makes Her Chicken A Good Fair Chicken.  Last year, a 6yo boy did one on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--you can do it on anything!  I'm sure I'll help her organize this project with her, keep her mindful of the dates as they come up, etc.  She also started writing in her Record Books, which 4-H emphasizes.  That's one requirement for getting a pin. She has always been highly motivated by rewards of this kind, so I'm glad to see her taking the initiative.  (I'm also thrilled to see how much her writing has improved since last year's attempt at record book keeping!)  We've also talked about what she wants to present and show at the fair.  We are doing chickens again, and ducks for the first time.  DD1 wants to do a cupcake-making demonstration and enter a decorated cake.  I am enrolling her in the Creative Arts project so she can enter crafts if she wants to.  


Monday she got to have an entire riding lesson all to herself.  We talked about what gloating was and why not to do it because if she made a big deal of it I was going to let dd2 have the next riding lesson to herself, which would only be fair.  DD1 piped down.  We did enjoy the car ride and the time alone together.  The next day was gym and finally dd2 was feeling better enough to fuss when I said I wouldn't take her along.  Oh, the tears!  We decided to do a trip into town today to do all the things we had planned.  They had both been excited to spend their allowance and I think that was mainly the issue with her, though she is going stir crazy.  But I absolutely did not want to drive all that way with gymnastics at the end of it and have her run out of steam and then have the long ride home. She stayed home with dh and played TakeOff!


So, this has been such a treat for dd1.  I only wish I could say she has gotten more generous with her sister, but it isn't noticeable.


Yesterday dd1 picked up a Valentine crafts book from the library and make 2 after she got home.  This was entirely on her own because gym night is always late and I don't want to be involved in starting a project that late.  Now we have 2 heart-garlands on the window and some heart flowers that just need some ribbon to tie them up.


To keep the girls mindful of how much their treats and snacks cost, I have given them each $10 every week to spend as they wish.  $5 can be for treats, the rest or all of it on snacks.  Some things seem to straddle the two, so we talk about what makes something what.  The remainder (if any) goes into the FUNfund for extra swim or gym trips.  Yesterday I decided to add craft and art supplies to the list of things we can buy with the money after a special request from dd1.  I am also counting all the coins to put in there (if *they* count the coins for the roll, they get a percentage that they can add to their allowance jars, but amazingly they are not always motivated.)  This has been a good process, and the girls are starting to notice their spending and they are doing more planning.  I get to say "yes" more often and still have a handle on how much goes into expensive snacks and treats.  


We all slept well last night, so I am looking forward to today.  Today we have no obligations, so if we start getting tired, we can just go home whenever we need to.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm currently sitting in a café while dd10 is writing standardized tests at the school. Sigh. Three weeks ago I got an email from the teacher who oversees our homeschooling program saying "those tests are coming up, and I'm supposed to let you know, and of course you are free to opt your child out." But darned if my dd didn't *want* to do the tests. She was excited to experience school-style testing, and a classroom academic format, and to learn what was expected of 10-year-olds in our school system. The homeschooling program's "principal" offered to do some sessions with any homeschooled kids taking the testinng to familiarize them with the format and the expectations. Dd declined. Her comment: "I want to do the tests to find out what testing is like. If I already know what it'll be like, that'll take all the fun out of the it."

So she was in last week for two sessions: short written combined with reading comprehension, and longer written (a 2-3 page story). She really enjoyed the story writing and was proud of what she did. The reading comp was laughably easy for her. This week she's doing the math, and it's been enlightening for her to learn what 10-year-olds are expected to be able to do.

Although the teacher of the 4th/5th/6th grade classroom is incredibly gifted, and an old and dear family friend, my dd really dislikes the social environment. There are a lot of challenging kids in the class, and the teacher does a lot of innovative things to channel the problematic stuff appropriately, but to my dd it's all just an aggravation that gets in the way of efficient work and efficient learning. She's had a few experiences in school amongst this class and has tried to take the good and leave the bad. The testing, though, has involved only the eight 4th-graders, and a separate proctor in a testing environment, and she's been happy not to have been troubled by the social/behavioural garbage.

This is all important stuff to her right now because she really would like to attend school half- or two-thirds time if she could find herself an appropriate learning environment. And the testing has made it clear to her that she would not be happy academically in 4th grade, nor would she be happy socially with the 4/5/6 group. This wasn't really any surprise to her, but it's been disappointing to have it confirmed. The school is not terribly agreeable to grade-skips since a new principal took over three years ago, and certainly would not easily entertain the idea of the kind of radical grade-skipping my dd would want.

However, the Spanish teacher is allowing her to be part of the beginning Spanish course for 7th through 10th graders, and that's working out well. She attends school for 2 hours on Monday and 1 hour on Friday, and is enjoying that. So perhaps we'll be able to satisfy her desire for school in a piecemeal way, course by course, avoiding the messy business of declaring her "in" any particular grade. And she'll be able to continue doing the majority of her learning in unschooled ways.

Later today we'll go for a run or a xc ski, then she'll do some of her 8th grade math, attend violin group class, and bake some cookies for Saturday's XC ski festival.

post #9 of 16

We had a up and down day, all-in-all prety.


I started the morning with breakfast and some computer time while the girls watched Pirates of the Caribbean.  I joined DD1 on the couch with my coffee, and we watched the rest while dd2 immersed herself in her game at the window:  she had taped some string and lace to the windows , added pipe cleaner hearts, tied on strands of Valentine-colored rick-rack and had her paper dolls "man the ropes" and had them perched all over her contraption and keeping up with the story on screen.


I brushed teeth, let the "chick-a-boodies" out of the coop and started mixing the bread for today's baking.  10:30.  Melt down time.  Like clockwork, their game together broke down.  I sit down to read Richard III from Marcia William's Shakespeare book (I LOVE these books!)  Finished kneading bread.  Started my daily yoga-- I've been doing it in the living room instead of the bedroom to monitor the girls (sigh.....)  DD1, who has been languishing all morning, decides she wants to do an old yoga video with me, so we set that up and do our yoga together.  We pause to help dd2 clean up the colossal bead mess she just made--her plastic dragonflies want to play in the pretty container of beads, of course!  Finish yoga, eat lunch.  Get dressed out of my jammies.  It is 1:30!


It is so beautiful and sunny this afternoon.  The girls go outside to toughen up their "hobbit feet".  They collect eggs.  We set aside our bantam cochin's eggs to put in the basement, just in case she is due to go broody we decided it would be fun to let her sit on them.  The rooster is an easter egger--bantam as well--and I think the cross would be wonderful.


The girls work briefly in their 4-H record books, recording today's egg collecting.  They start another game--this one lasts a long time while I clean the kitchen and bedroom.  DH comes home and the girls play outside for a long time with him.  I pop the bread in the oven.  The windows have been open all day.  The girls come in while I head out.  DD1 is settling on the couch to work on her animal sticker book.  Then they both color in their horse coloring books.  I am lying down on the ground looking up at the golden sunlight lighting up the grey trunks of alders, set against the blue sky.  So beautiful!  A few birds are chirping.


I come back in.  DD2 is yelling at me because I ate the last biscuit and I won't make yet more bread tonight.  We talk.  She screams.  I am done with this and ask her to stop.  She keeps yelling and won't quit, so I walk out the door for a time-out.  Well, she's not giving it to me, so she follows me down the road crying and yelling until she finally stops and we turn around together.  It's not over.  More yelling.  The girl just will not stop!  Finally, after sitting on the chair outside, she is done and asks for a video--Imagineering "Gravity".  I get her a snack.  I hate these moments.  When I have had enough, I need space and quiet to calm back and I cannot get it the way I need.  Luckily, I did not lose it this time.


DD1 is being such a sport about all this.   She arranges the dinner table for me, we have some dinner.  They plug in a favorite nature video, "Madagascar" with Richard Attenborough.  DD2 starts giving herself spelling challenges out of Usbourne's "First Thousand Words".  We have several of these in different languages, but this is the English version, and dd2 is starting to read and it's giving her a fun challenge.  I started reading a Hercules Poirot book to dd1 meanwhile.  She's been enjoying the movies, and also Sherlock Holmes (Encyclopedia Brown and Nate the Great!) so we'll see if she likes these.  ?? 


Bedtime stories-- oops!  Are they done already??  Crap.



post #10 of 16

man what a crazy hectic day! I remember those days, and I just want to let you know that all your patience WILL pay off!!!! And I won't even give you a concrete idea of how long it takes, cause I remember how much that knowledge used to undermine my resolve. lol


A realtor showed the house we were renting while we were out of town this weekend. Of itself, only a minor annoyance...only, she left the front door unlocked, back door locked but hanging open, and the cat locked in our room without food or water or a litter box for the whole weekend. =/ It was monumental. We were reimbursed for damages with a minimum of fuss, but I kind of suspect there will be some backlash drama. So, we've started putting the feelers out for other rentals (or even rent to own situations) through individuals instead of one of the 2 agencies involved in our fiasco. The cat is fine, btw. He was a neurotic mess the first day, but is getting pretty much back to normal. He's only a year old so he's resilient. If our old lady had been the trapped one, she probably would have figured out how to hold it all weekend and been asleep at the foot of our bed when we got home. lol 


Anyway, my day started when Crash came into his room (he has a full size bed. we've kicked him to the couch until our new mattress arrives). I've recently stopped hormone treatments for a hormone disorder, because they were causing severe anxiety. Going off them has actually made it worse. So, I didn't actually get out of bed. Beast did though. I was supposed to start a new prescription yesterday, but there was a mix up that didn't get straightened out before business closed yesterday. So, Beast started hunting down all the right people and finally had my meds by about 11am. By then, I had dragged myself out of bed and Crash had gone downtown to do some birthday gift shopping with a friend. Actually, by then I think he was at the bowling alley, playing pool with his buddy's sister....who will be turning 17 next week. She's such a sweet girl and the only interests he's had so far that I actually approve of....but the ages! He's not even at 14 and a half yet....And of course, his buddy is 14 and has a crush on my almost 12 yr old...at least that one isn't reciprocated. And they're both very innocent (for their ages) and respectful. I don't worry about them doing anything unwanted or pressuring my kids in any way. They mostly hang out at our house with us as a family and enjoy spending time doing family things with Beast and I and the kids, just as much as hanging out with the kids. All 4 kids love hanging out together. Both of mine are going to her bday party next week. Then, she's going to have a sleepover at our house with Spritely. They're both artists so they'll do some girly stuff like hair and makeup and nails, but probably mostly lay around watching chick flicks and drawing things.


Spritely spent today planning for the sleepover and for her bday party. She wants a Zombie Apocalypse party. Beast immediately sold her on a zombie head pinata. *foreheadslap* We don't always do parties, but when we do...they are events to be remembered. I was kind of hoping for something a little less wild, but she's pretty set on the idea. Then she rode her bike around town for a bit. She was home in time to say goodbye to the boys. Beast works nights, and Crash has a packed night on Wed. He had his Leatherworkers club from 3:30 - 4:30, Welding club from 5 - 7. His ride picks him up a bit early from that, to get him to scouts by 7. Scouts should end at 8:30, assuming it doesn't run late. I expect him home by 9 though. He might have a bite to eat when he gets home, but I'm doing good if he's out of his shoes and uniform before he's asleep.  

post #11 of 16

Just wanted to share a picture of one of the things we did today: harvesting nettles!




We made a vegetable soup with chicken broth, leeks, celery, carrots and baby nettles.  It was really good!  DD1 ate hers, dd2 couldn't quite but tried the raw leeks and celery.  DD1 spent a good amount of time helping me chop veggies and stir.  


They are both excited to harvest more and, ummm...., transplant them so we can start our nettle farm.  Do I earn my Unschooling Parent of the Year Badge if I say yes?  They are $5 a bag!  One of these years we need to sell them......

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Brilliant! We have a favourite nettle soup recipe but would love to try yours. Now that we eat meat we can even do the chicken broth. Did you puree yours, or leave the bits floating in broth?



post #13 of 16

We parboiled them briefly, then I simply chopped them into the soup once the other veggies were tender, cooked for a few minutes longer.  I've had bad experiences with strong-tasting nettles ruining dishes, but I think I was being overly cautious.  The nettles were quite mild.  The soup was mostly leeks from the co-op.  I could have put in more nettles with no problem, the ones we harvested were no taller than 6".  No, I didn't puree the soup.  


I love the sound of your soup!  We have many more days of nettle harvesting to come-- the season has just begun.  We also have a patch of chives looking succulent.  I think that's the next recipe on the menu.

post #14 of 16
Today we watched gobs of Digimon. lol We also went to the store and worked out some compromises.....I did quite a bit of reading myself and DD has figured out my cellphone....kinda scary. We played outside for a bit and DS enjoyed splashing in a puddle that came from me washing the easel off which had been in the yard all year. DH experimented with a fried chicken recipe and DD happily ate green beans, mashed potatoes, and tried some of the chicken. I was thrilled! She even wanted a 2nd helping of the vegetables. Sometimes she is so resistant to trying anything new....it's frustrating.
post #15 of 16

Spent a gorgeous afternoon playing outside.  We put up our Christmas slackline and played around with that.  The girls ran off while I worked clearing a patch of Reed Canary grass and blackberries at a snail's pace.  I have no idea what all they were up to.  They climbed around on some leaning trees that are our jungle gym.  They took their chickens for walks.  They found spring's first roly poly


Then out came the bikes!  Miranda, I got this idea from one of your blog posts, adjusted for our skill level.  DH was uncharacteristically cautious and acted like I was setting them up for a wipeout, but as you see, we proved him wrong!




 DD2 did roll off the side, but as you see, no wipe-out!  She does need a bigger bike, doesn't she?


Lots of watching Electric Company again.  Evening now and we are watching Nat'l Geographic's American Serengeti.  


Gearing up for an active week:  gymnastics, our first Girl Scout troop meeting, a morning free swim at the Y followed by helping mommy clean a house (they get paid handsomely!)  The next day an afternoon selling GS cookies.  We were hesitant to jump into the sale this year because we are just starting out, but the sales are going well and we will be able to waive charging dues :)  Hopefully, they won't get burned out on cookie sales, we have one more booth to commit to after this.


ETA: After I posted this, dd1 helped make dinner and set the table :)  Said she was planning on helping make dinner "every night except Wednesday" (?? apparently because Wednesday doesn't share a letter with a horse she knows, maybe??)

Edited by SweetSilver - 3/5/13 at 7:39am
post #16 of 16

Today we woke up really early.  We lounged around a bit and then we did a board puzzle together.  dd5 helped me do that Disney survey listed on the main homeschooling board, so that stirred up a lot of conversation until she got bored with it.  She dressed herself easily and without a fuss because she discovered some clothes last night that I put away like a year ago because they were too big at the time.  She set up an outfit last night and put it on this morning.  


We watched this movie together:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_osOLHjr27w  I heard a lot of "I want that!"


The girls took a bath, then played on their keyboard floor mat.  We went outside and it looked so nice and sunshiny, but it is super cold and windy and dd5 had just changed her clothes to a dress, boots and a jacket, although I told her to put her pants back on.  She was really cold out there and we just stayed out there enough for the girls to sit on a step and eat coconut shavings.  Then dd2 fell and hit her head walking up the stairs so we went back in and she nursed until she fell asleep.


Since then dd5 and I have been talking and now we're eating lunch.  She decided she wants to do "thank you" cards this evening for valentine's and christmas combined.  We started but never mailed them out in January.  We also need to go to the store tonight.


She wants to get on her "new website" which is a website I found that lets her practice spanish.  So I'll help with that after we eat.  She also wants to help me organize this evening(because of the newfound box of clothes) and I definitely need to but I'm a little overwhelmed at where to start. I'm really excited and all of our attitudes are changing for the better because I just figured out our living situation and I told dd about all the fun things we're going to get to do and the things we need to do first, so we're both feeling a lot better and a lot nicer.  

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