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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

School Dayz

These short and sweet "school days" are really working out for us. I was really afraid for not having time to be spontaneous, but we actually have plenty of time. We did 3 days this week. Mostly because DH was out of town over the weekend. And here is what we were able to accomplish. Monday: We took our bikes out first thing in the morning. We had a nice ride. The weather is nicer and I am having a much easier time getting around and doing things. Granted, I still didn't make it super far. But my wheel is warped and that had a lot to do with it too. So I walked the last half mile and then S played on the playground. Went to lunch. Yes, I know, that isn't school. But everybody eats lunch, even at school. Then we went to the Battlefield National Park, set up out hammocks, and read. (We had planned to bird watch, but forgot the binoculars at home. So instead, when we were done reading, S explored the monuments and read the inscriptions while I talked to DH on his trip home.) It was a successful day. We were in two books, John James Audubon biography and Paddle to the Sea. Those both encompass so much history and science. And really, S reads completely on her own now, so we don't really focus on learning to read anymore. John James Audubon's biography was a requirement for the birding badge S wanted to earn, so not necessarily on the reading list, but a good, living book anyhow. And at the rate we read, we will have plenty of time to add in books to our list. (The classic, Peter Pan, is one of those, as we are going to see the play soon. We attempted Treasure Island since she will be assisting back stage with it this Summer, but it is too above her level and I refuse to read her a watered down version of it. Luckily, S has never seen the Disney versions of the plays we go see.) Anywho, another day we did our reading from home in the morning before co-op. Then she played a bit. Then we left. They made some homemade shampoos and body washes for co-op. And afterward, of course, played. Next year, however, we will be at the Center regularly, every other Wednesday. So we will do co-op only on the weeks we aren't at the Center. We planned out our year. Together with the girls we will read some of the literature books that aren't chronological. Things like Aesops Fables and daily poems. To expose them, give them a chance to learn together, and have a different "teacher" but if they lose concentration or if 2 weeks is too long between meetings, they won't be lost. We may also do some math games with them. Today we had a lot to do, but I was determined to get that reading in. So, as our morning ritual usually goes, we read as soon as S woke up, while she ate breakfast. Then we left to run errands. While errand running, we stopped at a close by thrift store. S counted out change, which made her want to review counting change. So we did, the entire ride to the bike shop and then to the grocery store. After a few tries,she was flawless in her adding up change. We came home for food and rest and played some board games. She got a new brain game from a yardsale and really enjoyed it. We were supposed to go to the nature trail/tennis court by the house to do a nature study and play tennis, but it began storming. So we did a nature study/badge requirement in the house using You Tube videos. She drew and labeled a bird and them we listened to bird calls and tried to identify them. (She had a good ear!) And that got us started on another book on our reading list called Burgess Bird Book for Children. Cute tales about birds that teach about their behaviors and conservations, etc. Since we had extra time, I was going to let her play on her Kindle. You know, educational games. ;) But she fell asleep in less than 5 minutes. I guess I wore her out. These days don't feel like school days. They feel like they did before. Of course, with less guilt. Not that I think total unschooling is bad. I LOVE IT! All we did was add in literature with a plethora of information, always optional. And now I feel like we are getting more done! And just as the "school year" is ending for everyone else, we are starting something new. Tomorrow we leave for Mother/Daughter camp with AHG. ❤ We will do safety training, hike, go bike riding, play board games, have a fire-with s'mores of course, and just be. Together. She will get to play with friends. I will talk with moms. And at night we get to snuggle up in our hammock together to sleep-probably for one of the last times before I grow to the size of a whale. What we will accomplish by next year: A weekly nature study. Rotations between birds (current), Summer (random discovers in the Summer, mammals (winter), wildflowers (next spring). Bi-weekly artist studies. And on the weeks we don't have those, it will be composer studies. Charlotte Mason's Geography Book Part 1 and 2. Books: Paddle to the Sea (RICH with Science and Geography) John James Audubon (History) Burgess Bird Book for Children (Science) Trial and Triumph (Church History. Next year starts books based on chronological history.) An Island Story (England History) Peter Pan (Unit Study/Suggested Extra Reading) Co-Op-Literature: Aesop's Fables Parables of Nature Blue Fairy Book (Fair Tale Classics, Before Disney) A Children's Garden of Verses (Daily Poems) I'm sure she will add more as well as her independent books. She usually reads Animal Ark or Boxcar Children. She is a mystery lover. Math: We will also assess where she is with math at 8 and maybe begin a regular math time if she needs it. If she doesn't, we will continue to do math games weekly. She seems to be grasping math concepts easier. My only goals for her math wise is to learn borrowing, learn to multiply single digits, divide easy problems, and go a little more into fractions. If I can familiarize her with that, I'm happy. Activities: AHG (even through the Summer they have events, Summer Camp, "Slip, Slide, and Slaw," and a few other small events) And she will choose a few badges to work on from home once they decide which ones they are doing in class next year. They also have tons of new service projects coming up. Swim (most likely) Center (She will get to assist in the opening of our new Center and will have lots to work on there.) And of course our annual "unit studies" about traditional holidays, boats-we are still slowly restoring ours, home repair-there is always plenty of that going around, and the best unit study of ALL, ADDING A NEW FAMILY MEMBER!!! There will be a lot of adjusting and learning and connecting when the baby comes. In fact, there already is. Next year will be so great. And the best part is, "next year" is already here. :)

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