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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Too Pretty Days

Ah! Things are picking up.  We have left the drear of winter behind us and we are back to more active learning. (Passive learning is okay sometimes, but sometimes it gets old. Reading on the couch during a cold wet day, as she follows along and reads much of it herself. Watching "How To" YouTube videos repetitively - although she can tell you right down to the smallest detail how to make a Grumpy Cat cake. Drawing-constantly- although her skills have improved a lot. Her gallery is coming along slowly.  Looks like it will be Fall when it opens however. S is really enjoying the Spring scenes and wants to paint and draw a lot of what we see while we camp and while we are out on the water this Summer. Wow. I guess we did achieve a lot this Winter.)

But Spring....that's where it is! It has only been about a week or two since the nice,  warm weather hit. And we have done so much!  We ventured out to Lego Land as our last "cold weather" trip. (I say cold weather because it had rained the day before and our was only 50 degrees outside. In combination with the rain and mud it was not a good day to hike.  She learned about how Legos are made. And she built with Legos-the ultimate educational activity.  She saw a 4-D movie and we read about the science of it afterward.  And then she had some good old fashioned playtime fun riding rides and running off with some random kids on the playground. That Wednesday we made last minute plans to drive to our favorite spot in the Battle Field where we climbed the tower-Samantha even climbed it once by herself because nobody was there! She stood at the top and waved at me, looking at me through her binoculars. And looking at the clouds. She asked what kind of stone the tower was made of-good question that nobody seems to know the answer to.  This lead to conversations about bugle boys and the very last battle of the war which was fought in Texas.  She drew pictures.  We read books.  And bird watched together.  Rather, critter watched.  We saw a lot of squirrels. S saw two wrestling and we talked about the importance of play. She learned how to use her binoculars for her upcoming Birding event with CHEA tomorrow. We referenced a field guide,  which she was absolutely giddy about. Last Monday we became Adventure Members at the Chattanooga Nature Center where they have trails and events and animal presentations. A butterfly garden. And best of all, unlimited canoeing for the membership we bought. So we canoed. We all went through orientation.  And learned how to put on our vests and figure out what size oar is best for our body build.  And what strokes to use to make the boat go where you want it. They told us we could go all over the creek until we got to the TN River, which is several miles out,  but if we turn left when we leave we will get to go through an old train tunnel and then at the end we would see a beaver damn. Samantha thought that was the coolest! (I was absolutely beaming because she takes so much interest in this sort of stuff.) We got in the boat and S started using her field guide to identify the bugs she saw.  She learned about displacement.  (Which I doubt she understood so I am working on finding a child's explanation of it since she wants to know why canoes float.) She learned about why beavers build damns and how it can change an entire eco system. (That was Daddy knowledge. Not mine. She learns so much from him! ) Yesterday I spent the morning packing up and we left the house as soon as S was awake and ready. We spent the day with my sister-in-law and niece at a new playground.  I deem this one of the top playgrounds of our area.  It is just so educational and requires creative thinking and imagination. They have a cut and dry section with a few slides and ladders and such.  But the rest of it is just these crazy looking twists and turns of metal.  S decided some parts were money bars-which I guess they were in a way.  Another part they stood in to spin. There was a rock climbing area that lead to the metal, which became their royal tower and sometimes a cliff.  We packed a picnic and were there for 3 hours until we had to leave for gymnastics. We can't wait until it ends in 3 weeks. S agrees it is eating into get pretty weather time and next year her only day activity will be swim which isn't until 3:30. Heritage Girls is a night time activity (6-9 PM) and they spend a lot of time outside anyway learning camping skills and rock climbing and such. Just how she wants to spend her time anyway.  Anywho, we have been fishing every night. Hubby comes home.  I make sure dinner is done. We eat.  I clean while he packs. And off we go.  Last night S brought 2 friends with her. They fished and J taught them about Bream and Cat Fish. He showed them how to hold a fish.  And why.  They studied nesting Geese.  Played in a small creek where they caught menos and picked up alge with a sick so they could "paint" on rocks. The past two weeks we have spent some days outside painting.  (S wanted to paint close up flowers after being inspired by Georgia O'Keefe.) Playing games. Reading books.  (We have started the Kit American Girl series (about the Great Depression) and finished the first book.) Soon we much start our potatoes!  I keep forgetting!!

Yep. Things are picking up. Soon we will take our first Spring hike and boulder again. Next week.  Fish some more. Take out the canoe again on a date. Celebrate Easter.  And before we know it we will be camping and swimming in warm water. S will build sand castles that are way more detailed than years past. She will show off her swim skills she learned from class. She will ask questions about the tide and the sand and the plants in the water. She will learn more about building fires and identify plants in the Appalachian Trail. She will vacation with family.  Go to the aquarium.  Hike in the Smokies again.   She will tube and she white water raft and learn about rapids. Yes. I do believe Spring and Summer are the season for unschoolers.

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