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Every single day in our house is different. I know that’s hard for those who have no idea what homeschooling is about to comprehend. Hopefully, after you see how things change and progress naturally, you will understand. Thursday was a perfect example of how one thing just flows into the other and how learning is integrated into our lives.
The week had already begun a little off because I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold so I had to cancel daytime visits with friends. This is one of the days that we had to cancel so we were home all day. If we classically homeschooled, meaning "school at home" style, it would look like a schedule, with a list of tasks completed. I will warn you this is long, because it ISN’T a schedule and, if you are an unschooler, this won’t surprise you.
My day began at 7:15am, which is earlier than normal, but I wanted to be up to see our 13 year old, Jody, off to his homeschool Movie Club. They are right in the middle of their 12 hour per day, 10 day shoot. The kids have been involved in every single part of the process of making a movie. From deciding the theme, writing and re-writing the script, auditioning for parts, costumes, sets, directing, videography, sound, lighting, directing, etc, etc, and using real equipment, each of the kids get a chance to be involved in every single job beginning to end. I am SO very grateful for this club because Jody's passion is acting!
After Jody was off, I got myself ready for the day just in time for our other three who also decided to get up a little earlier than usual, at 8:00. Colin, our 10 year old, jumped right into playing his MMOG game, Lego Universe. Up until its release date, he was a Lego Universe Beta tester and has discovered more glitches. Ethan, our 8 year old, was hanging out with him playing with his Bionicles. And Keira, who is 4, decided it was a Dora The Explorer morning.
After a breakfast of multigrain toast, cantaloupe, and home-made lemonade, Ethan asked if we could make a new drink recipe. If you have been following my blog long enough, you will remember that I released a book at the end of last year called The Herbal Beverage Book and the kids were my taste testers. Ethan pulled out the rooibos and nettles and decided those were the two he wanted to use. We measured the herbs and pure stevia (a natural sweetener); this is where I took the obvious opportunity to use this as a fun fractions lesson. Ethan even named it – Bouncy Tea!
As soon as we were done with that, Keira noticed the teardrop crystal prism we have hanging in the window was sending rainbows all over the kitchen. The kids made a game of finding as many rainbow pieces as they could. Ethan wanted to know how the crystal did that so we talked about refraction and visited this website – Explain That Stuff!
By now Ethan wanted to get Colin off the computer so he decided to draw a bunch of arrows on pieces of orange paper that led from where Colin was, all the way downstairs to where he would hide. When Colin found him they all played hide and seek. While the boys did that, Keira brought me one of those learning dolls that have buttons, snaps, zippers and ties and asked me to show her how to tie the shoe again. She’s getting it really quickly!
By now it’s about 10:00 and the kids are hungry again. They all agreed on peanut butter and jelly! (Organic, peanuts only and the same for the fruit spread. No extra oils, sugars, etc.) I have to say that this was a rare food day. They normally do not all pick the same thing to eat!
After they were done, Keira was absolutely thrilled to receive her first piece of mail! She got a Thank You card from her friend Zoe! Keira had me buy a duplicate of a stuffed animal she wanted from the store to give to her. This turned into a discussion about how great getting a Thank You makes you feel, even when the person thanked you at the time they received the gift. This reminded Ethan that he needed to send some for his birthday party gifts. He decided it would be a good day to work on them.
After that the kids wanted to make some popsicles with the lemonade we had. We found some frozen raspberries and filled the molds for a snack for later.
Since we seemed to be in a cooking mode already, Colin suggested that we take one of the raw snack recipes we had tried the week before and change the ingredients. We made almond, peanut, cranberry, oat balls; which included more measuring, dividing fractions and figuring out the right combinations for the right consistency for the substituted ingredients. The recipe included oats, shredded in the food processor, peanut butter, almond butter, raw honey and dried cranberries. We put them in the fridge to set and the kids picked at them the rest of the day.
Colin had to run back upstairs to take screenshots of the glitches he found in Lego Universe so we could compose emails for each one a little later. Since I wasn’t feeling very well, we watched Spongebob for a bit in front of the fire and the kids made comments about how Squidward was not very nice and Mr. Krabs was so cheap, even to his own daughter. They like Spongebob and silly Patrick though.
After the episode was over, I decided to pull out the book Stone Soup since it has been a while since I had read it to them. We read it and the kids asked about any words they didn’t know – like scholar, famine, seamstress and merchant. When I had started to read it I had pointed out the picture of the Great Wall of China in the illustration. Colin asked more about it. How long is it? Where exactly is it on the map? And the questions kept coming so I grabbed my netbook and we visited these websites: Kidspast.com, Google images search for the Great Wall of China and Ancient China for Kids.
12:30 Lunch! The kids decided on pasta, Bouncy Tea and the popsicles they had made. Right after we were done eating, we picked a movie. By now my throat and ears weren’t doing too well so I needed downtime! The kids picked one of our favorites – Shark Boy and Lava Girl!
After the movie, I told the kids we needed to finish planning our vegetable garden and get a final decision on what we are going to grow so we can order the seeds. We went back through the catalogs. Then I opened my gardening books, since they have fantastic illustrations, to talk to them about how we need to plant everything. I showed them what crop rotation and companion planting was about and the kids helped figure out where we need to put the seeds this year.
Next Keira wanted some one on one time with me so we played with her stuffed Care Bears while Ethan and Colin went back up to play Lego Universe together. They both have accounts and wanted to help each other do something in the game. After about an hour, I asked the kids if they wanted me to show them how to do watercolor painting like the illustrations in Stone Soup.
By now the kids were hungry, again!, and asked for pizza. So we made pizza!
Keira then decided she wanted to watch Team Umizoomi and Ethan said he’d watch it with her. Colin wanted me to show him how to use YouTube on the old iPhone dad gave him for Christmas; to use as an iTouch. He wanted to be able to listen to Metroid music he could only find on YouTube.
By now I wanted to get the kids outside for some air even though it was pretty cold. We bundled up, I grabbed the drill, tree taps and buckets and we went out to tap maple trees. After doing that and playing outside for a while, the kids were getting cold and hungry so we went in for dinner. My husband had left by now to go pick up Jody from Movie Club, so I just fed the three of them. Tonight they asked for spaghetti tacos.
After dinner, I sat down with Colin and we emailed those screenshots over to my computer so we could compose emails to the Lego Universe tech support team. (We are very happy to say that the glitches were fixed by the next morning!) The other two watched Avatar - The Last Airbender, the tv series, while we did that.
The kids were getting sleepy around 9;00 and so, after their typical giggling and messing around for a half hour, I made sure they had brushed their teeth. In the meantime, I put on some dinner for John and I, and put some extra on for Jody even though I knew John had brought him a pizza on his way to the shoot tonight. Just as the kids were getting settled down, at 9:45, Jody gets home with John. Keira fell asleep on the couch while we ate.
I got to talk to Jody for a little while after that since I had to remove his movie make up; using my moisturizer because I keep forgetting to get remover. We also had to do a little costume repair because he was acting again the next day. He got to bed at 11pm and John and I very soon after.
There you have it. No two days are ever the same and this day was a perfect example of how the kids are always learning. And in case I get the question from someone who really thinks it matters, they do close to 100% on their year-end standardized testing. But we ALL know those tests don't measure ANY of the learning the kids really did. That's a topic for another day!
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.