Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring Nature Studies

Being able to spend LOTS of time is nature is one of my FAVORITE parts of Homeschooling. Nature studies are a BIG part of Samantha's learning in the Spring/Summer months. (I would like to find more to do in the winter, but Spring and Summer are so BURSTING with life, that we just can't help but be outside.)

Here are some things we would like to do this Spring/Summer:

1. We will continue to explore outside and draw in her nature journal. I am hoping this year to take a closer look at a spider web since Sam is a lot more careful than she used to be.

2. Nature Art. Samantha Loves making nature art out of sticks, rocks, leaves , acorns and anything else she can find in our yard. Sometimes she will make "nests." Other times she will make different shapes or animals.

3. We will go to the creek and do habitat studies. (One of my favorites. We tried when she was younger, but this year she will be older and better able to understand.) We could even do land habitat studies.

4. Make nature water bottles.

5. Plant a Butterfly Garden. Learn more about picking the appropriate plants, caring for them, and give her a refresher on the life cycle of a butterfly.

6. Expand her current and earlier unit studies by observing butterflies more closely. And the crazy summer weather!

7. Camping and Beach Exploration (We spend many of our weekends in the warmer months camping and going to the beach. There are endless possibilities from shells, sand, water to dirt, trees, plants, fire, etc. We could even stretch it further and show her the link between these things and the weather, like sand and lightening!)

8. I would also like for us to make a bird feeder and observe the birds.

9. Cloud watch and look at the stars.

10. Use instruments such as a magnifying class to get a closer look at nature. Or a compass to find out way around, instead of a GPS!

11. Observe the ants! (One of our favorites.)

12. Take a close look at a tree or other plants, talk more in depth about the moss and bark, roots, limbs, and leaves.

I am not sure what else we will do yet, but we are really looking forward to the warmer months. So much learning to be done!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learning All The Time

What an amazing book for homeschoolers! I found it on Amazon and it was always sold out for the first several months. I wondered why. Was it that good? 

Well, we finally got our hands on a copy, and I can answer that question, Yes it is! 

My daughter LOVES this book! She is at the age now where all her friends are starting school and she is still at home, doing the same things she has always done. She has asked questions about why she is homeschooled and they aren't and her friends have asked her why she doesn't go to school. 

This book gave her a better way to answer the question, one that satisfies her friends' curiosity, right now anyway. And it made her feel special, as a homeschooler. You don't see many books about homeschooled children. But you see tons about the first day of school or school troubles. 

The book is definitely worth adding to your home library. It has given my daughter real confidence. 

Also, a side note, I love that it does not put down children in school. Just because school is not right for our family, doesn't mean it doesn't work for others, and I really want her to know that it doesn't make us any better or worse than anybody else.

The book has an "unschoolish" feel to it...I assume because the author of the book unschools her children. That works for us though since we unschool. I like how it repeats that they are "Learning all the Time."  Just a great book all around! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

First Day of Sam's Weather Study

Long story short, the planetarium was closed-again, due to "sickness" on Superbowl Sunday, so we all know what that means. Even thought it won't be open to the public again until the beginning of March, we decided to take her then, and move on to weather for now.

I have been busily preparing for it, making a list of experiments and activities so that we can look over the list and pick whatever strikes us as interesting at the time. Most of the stuff we need is either stuff around the house or cheap to go pick up last minute.

I reserved several weather books online and picked a few off the shelves at the library last Wednesday. We have been flipping through those. And then yesterday we went to a used book store and Sam got to pick several books that she can keep around the house permanently. (We are slowly building our home library. Just have to find a place for it! I need another closet!)

Today was our first day really diving into weather. I let Sam pick out a weather journal and we wrote in it. She wrote the date by herself, the temperature, what the weather was like outside-she wrote and drew a picture, and then what kind of clouds there were in the sky, because we have touched a little on cloud types while flipping through her new books. It was raining today, so we sat and watched the rain. (Watching and listening will teach you more than you could ever learn just talking about it.) We sat there forever and we discussed how, when the rain fell harder and faster, it was louder. We talked about the sounds we heard, the wind, and the birds, the rain. We wrote down all our observations. Then we came inside and looked online at what the weather channel says, vs. what we saw outside and what the thermometer said.

It was a great experience. I can't wait to get more into our lessons and see what else we can learn. I am sure she will learn a lot from this unit and so will I!