Mostly Unschooling-- Our First Week Trying it Out

While I was feeling like we hadn't done much of anything worth sharing this week as I began to write this post I was struck by the amount of schoolwork my kids managed to cover completely on their own!

As our first week of mostly unschooling, it was a huge success!

Alec has  read over three chapter book this week and I have watched him reading while sitting in the sand in the sun twice this week, reading while eating breakfast, reading while walking around the house, while brushing his teeth, while shopping at Target and the grocery store; He's been reading up a storm!

He is in the midst of two different book series-- as well as reading Dragonbreath, he's also been reading the Genius Files by Dan Gutman.

The other boys have been reading too, just not as much as Alec.  Ian and I finished Frindle and he read one of his Weird School books this week as well as a book called Skyscraper.

He called me into his room and was showing me how long the pages were and all the big words that were on them in the book Skyscraper.  He has worked hard to read the whole book to himself and by himself.  He even showed me on one of the back pages a world map outlining where all the supplies to build the skyscraper came from and we talked a bit about the different countries and their exports.

 Evan and I have been reading one of his small mini books each day and he's been listening to a few of the Weird School books at night.  He's also started pointing out a lot of environmental print and trying to decode different signs and things.

We haven't done anything with sight words since Monday and he's started asking me if we could.

All three of the boys have been begging me to read Harry Potter at lunch (and even a few dinners when my husband was not around) this week.  We're more than half- way through the book and Alec, in particular, is trying very hard to learn all the spells.

The boys were yelling and cheering as we headed to the library last night to pick up The House of Hades and they made us listen to it in the car on the way to and from the grocery store. I had no idea we were so immersed in literature.  I had been feeling like we hardly read at all this week but it looks like I was wrong!

Evan does a lot of math in the morning as he's playing and planning his day.  He spent one morning making cubes and rectangular prisms out of all our magna blocks.  I told him the names of each shape as he created them and we talked about the difference between the two shapes.  He asked me how to spell the word 6 when he realized he used 6 blocks.  He also came up to me one morning and told me that since we do school 5 days and it was day 2 he only had 3 days left of school this week.  Simple addition, subtraction, number sense kind of things that he makes personal to him shows me that he applies math to everyday life even when I'm not aware of it.

Ian has been working in his math workbook since he's a few pages behind Alec, but has taken a break from the book now and then while doing math in real life.   He had a coin jar he got from one of his great grand parents and wanted to know how much money was inside.  He asked me to bring him to the bank so he could use the coin machine to count it up and exchange it for dollars but I told him to count it first and make sure it was worth going.  He added up all the change, added it to the existing money he had, and then sat down to plan out what he wanted to spend it on. 

While at the bank and the store all three boys talked a lot about money:

  • They compared costs of different things they wanted to buy.  
  • They added up costs (and in Ian's case even tried to figure out how much he had left to spend).   
  • They noticed that Lego sets are a lot more money than Magna Blocks and having sets of both they know they are fairy similar; funny how when it's their own money they think it's silly to pay more for Lego.  
Alec also spent a lot of time at the store reading; he found labels on many of the stuffed animals that told the stuffed animals name and had a small poem about each one.  He wanted to read them all!  One of the animals was unfamiliar to me and so Alec went on to tell me all about the animal in great scientific detail;  "the shy and elusive small, forest dwelling tarsier."  (Yep, he really speaks like that!)

I've caught the boys doing other subjects this week too;

  • Some writing as Alec was making up a list of all the Pok√©mon he had and all the ones he'd still like to get.  
  • Geography as they talk about places we've been, places they'd like to go and all the places Alec has been reading about in his genius Files books.   
  • They've been catching fish and inspecting them, feeling them, watching them and observing them.  They've taught me a bit about a few different fish; especially the one that I thought had died since it was floating upside down.  They showed me that if you shake the bucket or touch the fish his fins, flippers and gills start moving again.  They think the fish plays dead so that he can trick them into being released back into the wild.  
  • We caught a tadpole too and observed it for a while.  The kids feed the fish in the bucket, change the water to keep it a comfortable temperature and eventually release the fish back into the lake by night fall. 

Ian does so well catching fish and things with
 his net!
They've ridden bikes and scooters, swam in the lake,  played on the swing set and the playground, and met up with all their homeschooling friends (at what turned out to be an indoor playgroup) yesterday.

Flying away!
They've built elaborate contraptions with all sorts of blocks.  Ian used the magnetic blocks to build a house, a green house, a two story house, a three story house, a car, a double decker car and a motor home.  Evan also worked on making a car as well as an ax and some brass knuckles (though I have no idea where he learned about them).  Ian build a garage for some of his small trucks out of K'nex blocks and worked on building another truck, excavator and trailer out of his Legos.  In other words-- they've been playing like kids do and learning as they go along.

Ian's motor home; complete with awning. 

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  1. Popping in from the homeschool unschooling bloggers page on face book :)

    I often feel the same about what we are learning. I started our blog as a family journal when I found I had no time to scrapbook so it is now my digital scrapbook. I try to be faithful to it and hate falling behind and missing chunks of our lives in it.

    I also find myself saying this would be great for the blog etc but I look at it from a different perspective...this makes me a better mother and teacher. It makes me push my own limits to dig deeper, facilitate more and pick up on all the little things in life we take for granted if we (me) do not think about them as blog worthy :)

    We deschooled last June to Sept, homeschooled from Sept to Dec and then quickly changed to unschooling in mid December and we LOVE it! We learn as we go and expand on our interests and I learn just as much along side my children everyday. I do wonder some days am I doing the right thing, can I do it better a different way, what on earth did we learn while raking leaves today? But then I sit and think about it...really think about all the little things we learn all day long and I know we are doing what is right for our family...and you need to do what is right for yours. If you like blogging do it, if you find it a burden stop...follow your intuition as it won't lead you astray if you can stop and really hear what it is telling you. There is no right and wrong...there is only right now :)

    I've signed up for your posts by email and look forward to following along on your journey.

    1. Wow! Brooke, thanks for subscribing! I hope you enjoy reading about our journey. We sometimes unschool and sometimes homeschool depending on our mood of the day (or my mood of the day). I tend to blog the same way I guess and I don't hold much of anything back. :) Thanks for the thoughts!


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