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I hope no one minds me posting on this forum- my 6 y.o. ds is in public school but we do lots of enrichment activities at home, and what I have in mind is something that only homeschoolers/unschoolers could really understand. We are about to embark on a one-year major remodel of our home. I'm looking for ideas of how to use this experience as a hands-on educational opportunity for my son. For example, have him keep a photo journal of the project, practice estimation and measurement, etc. Any ideas?
 

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I have a friend who just built a rammed-earth home with her kids. It was totally educational all the way through. I would suggest buying a tooolkit that includes his own tools, measuring tape, a notebook, digital camera, etc. This should be a fun, interactive, adventure.<br><br>
Good luck!<br><br>
Lucie
 

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I would suggest pulling him in anytime you see an opportunity. I loved wonderactivist's ideas. A tape recorder might be fun as well. He can do a audio documentary, talking about what is happening around him. Sometimes video is too easy, as in, he wont have to describe anything because it's all there on camera. Video will push him to use descriptive words to explain the visuals he is witnessing. He can interview you along the way. The sounds of the tools would be fun to capture as well.<br><br>
Anyway, I like your way of thinking. Rather than thinking of the kids being a burden and getting in the way, it's so nice to hear you wanting to make the most of it and draw him in to the experience. Have fun!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm looking for ideas of how to use this experience as a hands-on educational opportunity for my son. For example, have him keep a photo journal of the project, practice estimation and measurement, etc. Any ideas?</div>
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<span>What a wonderful opportunity - lots of great suggestions made in other posts. I think everything's a lot more meaningful and educational when a child is participating in real ways. You might really enjoy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0446514896%2Fref%3Dnosim" target="_blank">Hard Times in Paradise:</a> An American Family's Struggle to Carve Out a Homestead in California's Redwood Mountains. It tells the <i>real</i> story of the Colfax family, authors of Homeschooling for Excellence. Most people picture them working on their homestead in an orderly, suburban sort of fashion and sitting at a table with their kids "homeschooling" much of the time - but they were actually all working and struggling together to get work done and many problems solved. The kids were a vital part of the problem solving part of the project.<br><br>
Enjoy! Sounds like fun. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Lillian</span>
 

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Not there yet... but dh and I are planning... in a year or five... to buy fixer-upper type homes and fix them up, of course, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> and sell them and move on.. it's just something we enjoy doing, and I'm looking forward to it most of all I think for the opportunity it will provide our kids with. We'll be hs'ing from the get-go, so they'll be participating in anything and everything they can.<br><br>
I think the digital camera and voice recorder ideas are great.. I think the "notebooking" concept would work really well, with a big 2" binder and some page protectors, and you can just toss in pictures, tapes, a quick journal entry, maybe some of the materials used that day (small samples of whatever)... we could do it for each child, or just make a sort of family scrapbook of it as we go. I think keeping a record of it regardless of how you're schooling is a great idea. I know building your own home can be SO tough, but so edifiying when it all comes together.<br><br>
I just think every part of it will benefit them.. being present when budgeting, choosing and buying materials, dealing with the salespeople, mixing stuff like concrete up is chemistry, painting is art - the different textures and materials in design, possibly soil tests/analysis for science... Pratically the whole thing would be a combination of using math, science, and art.. drafting if you're drawing up the plans, history and architecture go hand in hand so often, logic for so many parts of it, you could get all crazy and research the energy efficiency of different materials, the feng shui (sp?) of the colors, design, landscape.. which could transfer into foreign/spiritual studies, whether or not you actually believe in it personally, to say nothing of just ethical/moral issues.. committing to a project, doing what you say you'll do, when you say you'll do it (either the child or others involved), following a schedule and a plan (they pour the foundation this day, or it costs more for this, etc), a strong work ethic, the satisfaction of doing something right the first time, especially if they have to re-do something because they tried a shortcut.. just interacting with everyone on the project is social studies, being a part of getting the paperwork together, permits you need, there's got to be some civics involved there..<br><br>
Sorry, got a little carried away. Since your ds is in public school, maybe you could take an area (if there is one) that he struggles with, or just doesn't like, and focus primarily on that to show him how it IS important, how it CAN translate into real life, WHY you want him to give it his best effort, and the practice of seeing it utilized and hopefully utilizing it himself would turn his experience with and attitude towards that subject around? If he's just totally into school, maybe just let him pick something that you can involve him in from start to finnish?<br><br>
I think it's great that you're planning on including him! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> (if you didn't guess <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">)<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br>
lizzie
 

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Blueprint reading.<br><br>
You could draw a floorplan of his new room (or of the whole house, but just his room might be more understandable and less overwhelming). Measure his furniture (bed, dresser, etc) and cut out shapes representing each piece. Then let him play with the shapes to figure out how he wants his furniture placed in his new room.<br><br>
This might start with a drawing of his current room, and show how the furniture is placed now. That might make the leap of understanding that a floorplan represents the room easier.<br><br>
Map Reading.<br><br>
Get a map of the new neighborhood (Mapquest.com might be a good source). Walk from the new house to the nearest park or other point of interest, marking your path on the map. Then have him (with help if needed) direct the walk home, using the map to find the way. Depending on his level of understanding, the walk home could be a different path than the trip to the park.
 

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<span>While reading suggestions here, memories of our last remodeling project started coming back to me, and I want to add that everyone should try to keep in mind that it's not going to be all peaches and cream. And that's part of the learning experience as well!<br><br>
There will be some toxic materials you'll need to take precautions with - wearing dust masks, staying away from areas where materials are gassing out, keeping bare hands out of concrete products and other toxic materials that can get into the pores, staying away when paints are drying and awhile afterward, etc.<br><br>
You'll also need to be dealing with floor coverings, and that's a whole subject in itself - the better a synthetic carpet is, for instance - uncrushable, stain resistant, and all that - the more chance of it being loaded with things you don't want to have to breath. I don't mean to sound like a nutcase - but we finally discovered that a beautiful new carpet in a room where we had our computer was what was giving everyone splitting headaches and crankiness. I consulted a natural flooring store in town and they told me we could gas out the carpet by getting the temperature in there up to a certain level for 2 or 3 days (you could research that if you need to know more) - it involved full time use of a woodstove and two space heaters in there. And the plastic based coatings for wood floors can be pretty toxic - you want to stay away while they're drying. If you're going to use wool, you need to make sure that pesticides haven't been used in the wool - and that can definitely be checked. I knew someone who was sick for years, moved to a new house, pulled a sample of her old carpet out of a bag, broke into the symptoms on the spot, and finally realized she'd been reacting to the carpet all those years. It made no sense to her until she found out wool is often treated by pesticides as it's being stored for later carpet production. But you can now get pesticide-free wool carpets!<br><br>
The new fabricated wood products that are good for sparing the forests can also be toxic - probably because of adhesives used in them - and you need to stay away or have good masks on when the cutting is being done. My understanding is that once they're sealed with paint they're fine - but I was subjected to a lot of inhalation during the remodel that made me feel bad - it hung in the air - and if I had to do it over again, I'd have had the crew set their saw horses up farther from where we spent much of our time.<br><br>
So there's a lot to research - and your son will be learning a lot just in watching and listening.<br><br>
Stress. You might want to plan ahead to deal with this so that it doesn't sneak up on you. Know that some things will go wrong, and figure out how you're going to be good to yourselves when this happens. Agree that you're all going to stick together and keep things centered and positive when/if surprises or conflicts come along - especially with workers who are there for various projects. Little things can build up and make for unnecessary stress. We had to deal with nastiness, for instance, between the otherwise nice carpenters and otherwise nice painters that almost escalated to blows, and they kept getting us in the middle. Same thing happened on another project between the tapers and the painters.<br><br>
People can also try to play you and your husband against one another. I don't mean to make this sound like utter chaos - it wasn't at all. And the people who worked for us were actually very nice people - but stress can bring out some odd stuff in everyone concerned. If something slows things down, for instance, and a subcontractor already has another job lined up at a certain time, it puts him in a pinch. But I can see in hindsight that you can avoid a lot of it by planning ahead to take care of yourselves and put your health first - like something as simple as planning how you can keep your meals relaxed, healthy, and satisfying when working against deadlines - and your son will benefit from seeing how all that can work under pressure. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

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Wow, Lillian, thanks for your post. You've got a lot info in there I wasn't aware of even regardless of whether we do remodeling or not! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
lizzie
 

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Your idea is so cool!<br>
When we bought and remodeled(still ongoing!) our 1920's home, we involved dd by letting her pick the color of her room.( I just saw on HGTV that this process makes dc make more confident choices later in life.) Then, dd also helped to pull up all of the "new" carpet,so we could have nice oak floors. The whole experience was educational for her.<br><br>
I *totally* agree with Lillian about toxic materials and exposures. That was a big deal to me, and that was a huge amount of education for dd. She is so aware of toxic smells and artificial wood,etc.<br><br>
Good Luck!!<br><br>
mp
 

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Great idea! My boys LOVE helping Daddy work on projects around the house and office. They know how to use tons of tools and have an amazing understanding of things I didn't expect them to grasp yet. I think seeing this stuff and working hands on helps them grasp a lot of concepts.<br>
A thought-we have a set of soundproof headphones from Home Depot because the boys don't like certain tools, like the hammer drill(?). It's so totally loud it overwhelms them. But with the headphones on they'll stand right next to it and watch.<br>
Have fun!!<br>
Suzy
 
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