Searching for Learning in an Unschooling Day

Oftentimes I think the hardest part about unschooling is noticing that learning is taking place.  It's not always easy to see the value in what my boys are doing or take note of the learning opportunities that appear throughout the day.

Early yesterday morning,  the boys decided to go play outside, in their jammies, with their sweatshirts on.  They played outside for a good hour running and jumping and swinging.

It was 11:30 before I knew it and I stopped to think "what did we do today?!"  I was feeling guilty that we hadn't done any schoolwork yet  I didn't want to take time out of our day to plan, implement and cajole the boys into doing any lessons either.  

They were busy, they were happy and they were getting along.  Once they were hungry and preparing their lunches  I wondered "where did the day go?"

As they were getting ready for bed and I thought "was today just another day off?"  Maybe....

Here is a look at our day yesterday and all the ways my boys were learning when I wasn't looking:

But we did read a chapter in Harry Potter together and we listened to a few more chapters in our Heroes of Olympus book on CD.

Ian started writing a story in his notebook about a big rig that was carrying supplies from Connecticut to Texas to build a mansion. I'll admit the spelling was horrible but the story had a good start and I told him to just focus on getting his words down for now.

Alec and Ian read to themselves at bedtime for a good half- hour too.

Evan was reading signs at the grocery store telling me he was good at playing the game Deal or No Deal; when asked what made him think of that he pointed at a sale sign and said it says Deal right here.

We stopped at the library to pick up even more books for another day and I love seeing how excited they get over new books; even if we don't always have time to read them all. 
Evan had pulled his Star Wars books off the shelf at some point during the day and had worked on three pages in his math book (one on dividing shapes into quarters and two others on place value) and two pages in his phonics book learning about the letters x and z!

I noticed while he was working on his math page that he was using mental math to help him figure out how many ones were in the ones column rather than counting them all.  He counted up 5 stars on one side and told me that both sides would have been 10 but that he really had one less than 10 so he only had 9.  He did the same thing in figuring out 7 too.  "If they both had 4 that would be 8 but this side has one less so I have 7."

He practiced writing his numbers too and put the numbers in the tens columns and ones columns together to make up the double digit numbers, saying them all out loud as he wrote them. 

All the boys were busy drawing, coloring and working on loom bracelets throughout the day.

Alec made another starburst bracelet and then Evan tried making one as well.  He looped all the bands where they needed to go, following along with the video and even managed to use the hooks to loop most of the bands together but he did ask for help about half- way through.

Alec has almost finished up his samurai picture for karate and Ian drew and colored a few more construction trucks for a booklet he's started making.

We went to visit my grandmother, who had just gotten out of the hospital, and we ran some errands for her.  While at the grocery store we ran into another grandmother of the boys and they helped her bag her groceries.  I love watching them pitch in and help out.

They're very polite to all the workers in the stores we go to and I love when I see them smile and say "have a nice day!" to whomever they see.  Most people are so surprised, especially when the boys go out of their way to say that. 

The boys listened patiently to their great grandmother's stories (even when they tended to be the same stories over and over again).  They talked to her about homeschooling and impressed her with their knowledge.

She had been reading parts of the newspaper out loud and talked about St. Louis.  I asked where that was located and Alec told me that the St. Louis Arch was in St. Louis so that was in Missouri.
We exercise as a family every night and have been for at least a week straight.  We do 25 push ups, sit ups and then either some jumping jacks or (what the boys karate class calls) star jumps.  Add to that all the hard work the boys put in at karate and they got quite a workout yesterday!

They also learned about ninja weapons and each got to try a few new weapons out.  All three boys used nun chucks, Alec also tried out a Bo and Evan and Ian got to try out Kali sticks.  Evan's focus was so great that he earned extra tickets towards their summer fun raffle.  He was beaming with pride! 
Ian watched a lot of non- fiction shows on TV yesterday like Ice Road Truckers and Mountain Men.  He loves shows like this and I think it's so funny that his favorite shows all include hard work.  He watched men that work from sun up 'til sundown, giving their jobs their all. 

Not bad for a day of "doing nothing!"  We managed to cover language arts, math, a bit of geography, social skills, physical education and art! 


  1. Wow! You did cover a lot today! They sound like caring and disciplined young men, too :) I bet you're so proud of them!


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