Showing posts from December, 2014

Learning Through Play- It Works for Older Kids too!

I'm loving our laid back week off!  We're not implementing any planned lessons and it's been nice having no set agenda each day.

I enjoy watching my kids engage themselves in learning; also known as unschooling.  

Here's how our typical unschooling day shaped up: 

 Alec had started a load of laundry (life skills).   We piled into the car, the boys played Kindles, and we listened to The Blood of Olympus while driving to do errands (reading).   Once home:
The younger two made their own meals (life skills).  Evan worked on putting together some more Lego guys and vehicles most of the morning though he did play with all his Tenkai Knights figures too.  (construction/ following directions/ imaginative play)Alec started working on a watercolor painting kit. (art)   Ian had a new truck magazine and was busy looking up toy websites from all the magazine ads. (reading/ technology) I tried to watch and participate without really interrupting their flow.  It's not always easy t…

It's Always Time for Learning When You Unschool

 It's always a good time to learn in our house!

Before breakfast my boys spent their time between TV and video games:  

Ian has started watching a new show (or new to him anyway) called Prospectors.  He learned a lot about mining by hand as well as the many types of gems and minerals miners mine for. (self- guided science)

As the boys were making breakfast:

 Evan decided to cook an entire bagel.  I reminded him that he NEVER eats the whole thing.  Ian told him Evan he was going to have to pay me $5 if he didn't eat the whole thing.  I piped up and told him that was a bit ridiculous since the entire package of bagels doesn't cost that much.

Not one to pass up a learning opportunity I asked the older boys if they could tell me how much a bagel would cost if there were 6 bagels in the bag and the bag cost $2.50.  They tried to find a solution on their own for a little bit.  Ian tried .50 cents each then he tried .25 cents each and knew the answer was somewhere in between with the…

Time Off Still Leads to Learning

It's not often that we take a whole week off from school.

With life and schooling so intertwined I don't often consider our "off" time as being an off time either though.

 Even when we're not doing book work or a planned lesson we're still learning.  
Often we're busiest on those days we take off from school.

This week I hadn't planned on doing anything.  Knowing the local schools were all closed and that the kids had all sorts of wonderful new gifts to play with it seemed like a great time to take a break.

Even if I don't always feel like we need a break, I still try to make sure we take one.   So far we've spent our time after Christmas cleaning and organizing the house.  The kids helped organize their rooms and the playroom.  They took down their trees and cleaned up the holiday decorations with me too.  We've played and hung out as a family.

They've kept busy and looking back over our last week or so we've done so much and learne…

Teaching Children to Be Thankful

I've started writing this post several times in my head throughout the past week or so.  I'm having a hard time coming up with a concise way to get my point across.

I'm struggling to come up with answers and suggestions.

 I don't know about any of you but we're having a real hard time this holiday as we try to pair down our celebrations without having a lot of meltdowns (from our children anyway-- OK our two younger children... well, mostly just our youngest).

I'm trying to teach them to be Thankful.

I'm perfectly content to pair our holidays down and would like to do even less next year.  I don't mean seeing less family or going to less parties or even having fewer holiday traditions (though I keep threatening to pull a Krank's Christmas and skip it altogether); I mean less stuff!

I mean: Less gift givingLess giving receivingLess focus on "things" and more focus on family, love and experiences.   I think, for the most part, I find a re…

Last Minute Madness

It's the Monday before Christmas and we're in full- on "company's coming!" mode.  Preparing for the holidays has become a bit harder now that we homeschool.  I don't have those hours that they are in school to accomplish anything on my own and so the boys have to pitch in and help.  We used to take the week off before and after Christmas but it was so hard to get back into a routine after the holidays that this year we decided to try doing things a bit differently.  This year we're going to attempt to homeschool right up until Christmas Eve.  However with Christmas coming up this week and having a houseful of guests coming.... 
That meant it was time to: Do all of our grocery shoppingFinish all of our cleaningBring toys up to their rooms from the playroom (that they don't want to share with all their cousins)Rearrange any furniture so we can all fit in the housePartake in some last minute gift making or wrappingFinish up our last day of school before t…

It's always a balancing act!

Homeschooling often feels like a balancing act.

Well, OK, let's be honest; parenting often feels like a balancing act.

We're all trying to juggle the kids needs with our own personal needs, the housework, possibly a job... it's not easy.  Then we throw homeschooling into the mix and we have even more to juggle and balance.

Today was one of those days where I woke up feeling very overwhelmed with everything on my "to do" list today.  Here's a sampling of the thoughts I had running through my head....

I had tons of laundry to wash, dry and fold.  I had piles of dishes in the sink and, since my dishwasher has been acting up a lot lately, a dishwasher full of should be cleaned dishes that also needed to be washed.  I had several more desserts that I wanted to make for Christmas.  We had a few more last minute crafting things we wanted to try out for this year. The boys and I wanted to make some sort of Christmas gift for the librarians, who feel more like family a…

Unschooling Through the Holiday Season With Baking and Games

Knowing we had a full list of things to complete before the holidays we decided to start our holiday baking today.  We often gift out tins of cookies making sure to have a good assortment of desserts in each.  The boys help too.

The boys and I started our day by baking up some Rice Krispie treats.  We made a whole 13 x 9 pan of treats, let them cool for a bit and then cut them into fun Christmas shapes using our cookie cutters.

We went to decorate them with frosting and realized we needed red food coloring.

 Pretty soon we had a whole list going and so I offered to take a trip to the store if we could stop and hike/nature walk somewhere along the way.

While brisk, these daily walks we've started taking have been wonderful.  It's a great way to unwind from the  Christmas rush, get in some fresh air and exercise, and really connect with one another and nature.  The boys all agreed and we headed upstairs to get ready.

We piled into the car and stopped at the grocery store and…