what are your must-have's for unschooling a Kindergartner? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 08-29-2003, 02:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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we're officially starting unschooling our dd, almost 5. We are working w/a HS charter and have some funds left over....around 20-40 most likely. What would you recommend as a must have? We have most basic art supplies and are rec'ing some books etc from the school....

What did your 5 yr old enjoy? I'm looking for ideas. This money is burning a hole in my pocket!
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#2 of 11 Old 08-29-2003, 03:32 PM
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Do you have to spend it now? Can you wait to see what she likes, or will there be field trips and things offered later?

I'd get some nice pattern blocks, if you dont already have them, and maybe a small set of cuisenaire blocks - all useful for block play and explaining mathematical concepts, if she's the type who likes things explained that way. Also maybe a scale of some kid, like a bucket balance, very fun. Oh, can you get one of those Butterfly Houses, where you get the Painted Lady caterpillars and watch them as they make a chrysalis and then hatch into butterflies, and then release them? It may be the wrong time of year now, but you can order it and you get the certificate and send for the caterpillars when you want them. Those are very cool. Rain says a ladybug house, which is the same idea...

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#3 of 11 Old 08-29-2003, 07:52 PM
 
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a sketch book or two for nature journals, color pencils, and www.insectlore.com catalog
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#4 of 11 Old 08-29-2003, 10:40 PM
 
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A membership to a local museum can be nice, as can classes. We couldn't manage without games like Set and Uno in this house.

I am curious about this HS charter that actually let's you unschool. Can you tell us more? Doesn't it have requirements? If you explained this in another thread, feel free to point me in that direction.
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#5 of 11 Old 08-30-2003, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hydrangea--
well, we'll see, won't we!!

Well they do have requirements but advertise on their web site that they "allow" unschooling. (www.eaglespeak.org) I have no idea how this will work in reality but we're giving it a shot, mostly because we have NO money for anything like gymnastic classes w/o it. (that's what we're spending the majority of the money on from her fund that can go towards anything) Luckily, dd is very "student-like" and is interested in learning math, reading, writing, etc. so it won't be as challenging as if dd was less traditional. We may end up doing something more like "eclectic" HSing, but we're just beginning this whole process and I figure if it doesn't work for us, we won't continue, KWIM?

A woman visits us once a month, I will show her (w/actual work, pictures, dictation, etc) what we've done and she'll take two pieces of work w/her. I hope it works out--we'll see

_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*__*_*_*
And THANK YOU everyone else for the great suggestions. I'm going to look around on-line to see what we can find. I knew there must be some fun stuff that I wasn't thinking of!
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#6 of 11 Old 08-30-2003, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dar--I'm curious what you mean by pattern blocks? Is there a link where I could see them? Thanks!
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#7 of 11 Old 08-30-2003, 03:12 AM
 
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Quote:
I am curious about this HS charter that actually let's you unschool. Can you tell us more? Doesn't it have requirements?
I would be cautious of that too, but when we started we with Clonlara which is more of an unbrella school. They incourage unschooling, or at least Pat Montgomery did 10 and 15 years ago. I haven't had contact with them in years but we had and excellent experience with Clonlara and learned a lot about the unschooling mindset from their conferences and newsletters.

I wish you luck. I agree that pattern blocks are a good investment. You can find them at places like Holcombs, and better toy stores. I also agree that bug boxes of all kinds are niffty and museum memberships are a must if you like to get out of the house. Some other good items to have are clay and paint. 5 year olds love to create!
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#8 of 11 Old 08-30-2003, 03:19 PM
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Here's one photo of pattern blocks: http://www.mypolkadots.com/33003.html
If you search on the words you'll find more. They're flat wooden blocks in different colors, in 6 different shapes, and it's impossible not to create some sort of patterned design if you dump them out on the table, at least I think so. Later, you can use them to explain fractions, algebra, lots of stuff...

Clonlara is still an excellent program, and Pat Montgomery is still a huge advocate of unschooling. However, they're a private school, and charter schools are public schools, with all the rules and regs that entails. If your kid tends to naturally do the kinds of things the schools value, you can unschool using them, and it's much easier with a young child than with an older one.

I worked for two years for a charter school that "allowed" unschooling, at least when I started there they did... things changed, and the last year was really difficult for me to try to be loyal to my families and still meet the school's requirements. They did shut down a year after I quit.

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#9 of 11 Old 08-31-2003, 12:57 AM
 
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Indigolilybear, it sounds like you have a great understanding of your child and what is best for her and will be able to continue to evaluate this charter school situation as it goes on. I will be curious to hear how things go as the year progresses. Please let us know!
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#10 of 11 Old 08-31-2003, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the support. I am starting to get really nervous, as already I can see the effects on *me*. BUT if it doesn't effect us too much, it will be worth it for the $$. Wish that wasn't a factor. I think it's always hardest right before you jump in, KWIM? I think the pattern blocks sound great. Thanks for the idea/recommendation.

I am willing to drop the "school" element very quickly though if it doesn't work for us. So far, DD is very excited about the "stuff" we've rec'd.

I will LYK how it goes and again, thank you very much for the support. It made me feel not so alone on this scary part of the journey!
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#11 of 11 Old 08-31-2003, 01:44 PM
 
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Hi, I noticed the charter you mentioned is Eagles Peak. I know some families who are in EP who also attend our park days. We participate in a very unschooling friendly park day in Riverside if you are anywhere near you are welcome to join us. Oh and I just picked up a wood colored magnetic cube things at natomatrading.com. They are listed under handmade toys, puzzles etc., on the second page. $20. Very cool. My kids age 6-10 all enjoyed playing with it.
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