Unschooling: How Do I know They're Learning?

One of the problems we've always had with unschooling was waiting long enough to see results! Often when we turn to unschooling my boys are begging me to find work for them within just a few short days or I start feeling worried that they're "just playing" and not learning.

Determined to give it a real go this time I've been looking for signs that unschooling is working.... and once I started looking for them there were all sorts of signs that my boys are learning quite a lot!

I spent the morning on our library's website requesting more books at Alec's request.  He read the 4 Pokemon books he checked out yesterday and while he is not ready to return them yet we've finally learned we need to request early in order for the books to be ready on time.

Alec has been flipping between Pokemon books and a "new" series of books he's found all about Life Cycles and discovering Earth's ecosystems.  He's already checked out 5 of the books in the series and Evan noticed that there were three more pictured on the back of the book that we don't have so they both wanted to request those.

Sometimes I think I've created monsters here.  We now have so many library books and movies checked out that they won't all fit in our library bin!

I'll admit we often return many books without ever even reading them (or worse yet, without even opening them!), but I've long since decided that it's not worth lecturing them or harassing them either.  If they want to read the books they will and if not there's no harm in checking out a book that doesn't get read.

This may seem real obvious but it's taken me a long time to come to this point.

I'm just loving how excited all three of the boys are to go to the library and get books.  I love turning around seeing them all reading voraciously (and willingly)!  I'm pretty sure goal one of homeschooling has been achieved.  I have boys that love to read! 

Yesterday I had the added fun of listening to Alec trying to teach Evan to read.  It was great to hear him encouraging Evan and praising him when he got the words right.  Of course, he was no more excited than Evan who then wanted to try even more words.

 If Evan got the word wrong Alec would sound it out drawing out each sound!  As I sit and write the beginning of this entry Alec is trying to coerce Evan into posing for him so he can sketch him!  When that failed he turned to me to be his model.

Unschooling is definitely taking hold in this household!

 Alec also wanted to play a word in his words with friends game this morning.  As he sat at the computer looking at his letters, he came up with a word to play ande then figured out it was only worth 6 points.  He then added that to his score, realized he'd only be ahead of his opponent by 3 points and then asked if he had the letters to make the word hazard.  I told him to try it and see.  He was thrilled to see that he spelled the word right and that it was worth 19 points.

 The look on his face was priceless!  I love seeing how proud they get of themselves and then I know intrinsic rewards are better than anything I could offer. 
While Ian is off skiing with his father today the two younger boys were looking for some fun stuff to do around here.  They decided to have a carpet picnic for breakfast while watching the Magic School Bus.   
Alec counted by 2's to 100 and then by 10's to 1,000.  He told me he could have counted more but was getting tired.  No one asked him to do this, he just thought it would be fun to see how far he could get.  He's learning and following his own path.

The younger two boys sat and read books together, built puzzles and played.  It was time for us to head to our local elementary school for a Jump Rope for Heart event.  It sounded like fun and I hoped that the kids would find many of their old school friends attending this event too.

The boys had so much fun and were sad to see it end over an hour later!  Alec's name got called for a raffle prize and he picked out a jump rope so he could keep practicing at home.  It was great to see them having so much fun.

Evan managed to catch his! He was so proud.

Jumping over a rope snake

Trying his hand at jump roping
Balance boards are fun!

Alec jumped rope over 20 times without making a mistake! 
2 hula hoops (He even tried 3, 4, & 5 at a time

Limbo-- how low can you go?

Evan's version of limbo. 


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