Today was a super laid back, low-key day. I really needed a day like that too. I’ve been exhausted, husband’s been working late, kids were sick, depression was flaring, and the burnout was real. I haven’t felt at my best, and I certainly haven’t been as present and mindful as I hope to be. These past few weeks have just felt like so much work. I don’t want life, but especially life with my family, to feel that way. It’s almost always a sign that I’m running on empty and need some extra love and support.So back to our low-key day. We started with breakfast and chatting. The baby slept in (which is rare) until breakfast was ready. After eating, the boys started building with blocks.Neon woke up and mentioned she was craving scones. She ate a bowl of cereal as a snack, and Winter and I baked up a batch of scones.We all snacked on the scones. Neon and Elijah started playing roblox. I turned on some kid friendly scary Netflix shows. Winter and I watched one. A week or so ago, Winter saw a video talking about how popcorn comes from corn. He was fascinated. I had picked up this popping corn cob from Trader Joe’s to show him. We popped it up and examined the corn that was still on the cob. It was so fascinating to the kids. The popcorn tasted different than it too.We watched some more Halloween specials. Winter wanted to tell spooky stories next. The big kids role played some more on various games. Then the two yougest painted with water, while I did a few dishes.It was dinner time before long. After dinner the oldest went to watch videos on the projector, taking turns picking one each. Papa worked on painting our door a bit more while I laid the youngest down. That about sums it up.
It’s the first day of autumn! This is the majority of my household’s favorite season, so lots of excitement here today. We are ready for the weather to cool off, leaves to change, and fall traditions to start. I decided today would be a good day to share what our unschooling day looks like.
First thing this morning Elijah wanted to show Winter how to play a game on the Switch. Winter doesn’t quite get it yet, but he’s learning and having fun trying.
We had breakfast while watching some YouTube. The boys played a game that got a little rough, so we had some cuddles. Then I read a book to them. The baby started giving hugs on demand, which was pretty cute.
We headed outside for some fresh air and they did some chalk drawing.
They drew on themselves, pretending it was wounds from bites and scratches delivered by jungle animals.
Back inside for snack while I laued down the baby for a nap. Elijah played some Roblox, Winter watxhed some more YouTube, and I started waking up Neon. While I get her breakfast ready, I clean up a bit.
We made Naan pizzas for lunch. Winter asked to play with the magnet shapes while we ate. Elijah started playing with them too.
I laid next to Neon for a bit while she showed me some funny videos se liked. She then joined in on the magnet shape play too. They played for a couple of hours making up their own games with th shapes too.
We read this book the other day about witches making bone soup. They wanted to make the recipe in the back. I got the ingredients at the store this weekend so we could. We reread the book together.
The boys were so excited to help make it. They chopped veggies with me.
They took turns adding the ingredients to the pot, while we all some the phrases from the group. We pretended to add dragon wings, flies, and earthworms to the pot.
I whipped up some pumpkin and cauldron shaped biscuits to serve wth our soup. We ate it up. Two kids loved it, one said it was okay, and the last was satisfied with the tastes of each ingredient and a snack plate.
The rest of our night will probably be chatting and relaxing, maybe reading some books before bed.
How was your day?
I’m in local and not at all local unschooling groups. A question that I often get asked, or see others ask is “How will they learn math?”. Those of us who have been through the school system, oftentimes see math as this scary thing. We can easily carry these feelings into adulthood.
We don’t seperate life into subjects. We learn from living, and it cannot be divided into “math” or “history”. Everything just sort of interweaves together. Many times, I can’t always see the connections, but they are there.
Back to math and numbers. My 6 year old has taken an interest in many things numbers this year. He is the kid that keeps a countdown of days until payday (minecraft map money time!) or the next birthday. If you say Grandma will be here in 15 minutes then he’s watching the clock and counting down the time. He wants to know how much things cost and how much money he needs, and why numbers are rounded up. $4.99 is called $5.
Last night, while laying in bed next to me he starts adding numbers again. “Mom, 5+5=10, 50+50=100, 500+500=1000, 5,000+5,000=10,000, 50,000+50,000=100,000, 500,000+500,000= 1,000,000, 50,000,000+50,000,000=100,000,000, 500,000,000+500,000,000=1,000,000,000.
We don’t call it math. It’s treated like every other interest. He loves figuring this stuff out. It’s on his timeline. It wouldn’t matter if he was 6 or 10 or however old. It might look like this, or it might be totally behind the scenes and I couldn’t “see” it. Each kid is different really. My 9 year old didn’t approach math this way. He isn’t approaching reading the same way she did. These journey’s are as unique as they are.
One of my favorite things about our unschooling days has to be the chats that evolve into unexpectedly deep conversations. We have the time to let one topic naturally lead into another, and end up on a rabbit trail that leads to new discoveries. I never know when this is going to happen; it isn’t something that can be contrived.
After one of these talks, it is interesting to reflect on what topics we touched. How can we start out talking about tea and end up exploring religion, geography, morality, drug addiction and thoughts on the afterlife? I come away from these conversations, not only with new ideas for me to consider, but with a greater understanding of the people my children are blossoming into.
This very thing happened today. I sat around the table drinking tea with the kids. One chat flowing into the next, almost seemlessly. I’m not directing it here, I have no agenda. I love seeing where this goes. I find it amazing to learn more about the values and opinions the children are developing. The topic of heaven and hell gets brought up, which religions believe this, what differences are there in each belief? What do you believe? Good and bad people? What makes someone good or bad? I watch as new ideas form as they talk through it. What starts out as black and white becomes more gray as they explore the possibilities outloud.
My oldest remembers an app that gives backstories of people and we are to sort them into heaven or hell. How do we decide? One person killed their countries leader, but that leader was a genocidal madman….not so simple. This person has lived a fairly simple life, but has battled drug addiction. “Mom why is it an addiction? Are you a bad person if you are on drugs?” I don’t present as having all the answers, just my own experiences. Each person from a different country, bringing up questions about where that is, or what’s going on there because that might influence the final decision.
I couldn’t have predicted this afternoon’s tea time would include these important conversations. I can’t even know all the learning and connections that were made, or what connections will be made in the future because of this one afternoon. What I can do is create a life that prioritizes the free time to have these spontaneous discussions. I can hold a non-judgmental attitude, encouraging my kids to examine their own thoughts around these ideas. I can let go of expectations of how these conversations will develop, letting them flow where they may. I can keep my own mind open, because I walk away from the chat processing new thoughts too.
We’ve been busy living life and enjoying our summer. The reality hit me today, while watching my kids run around in the sprinkler, that summer is ending for many kids in just a few short weeks. I’m so thankful, and feel so privileged to be able to continue living this life without school.
I wanted to update with some things we’ve been up to latley. If you want to see more follow me on Instagram.
I had my interview with Pam Laricchia, and we dived into my deschooling journey. It was so fun and I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to do it.
We’ve don’t lots of hiking and exploring this summer. My oldest has taken an interest in insects, and they a love animals, so we’ve been looking out for critters and creatures.
We’ve explored so many new (to us) trails.
Got inside a little cave.
And had to hike back in the rain one time. The kids laughed and pretended it was a in real life roblox game.
We’ve spent many days at home. One of my kids has really needed more home time this season. That has meant many days of YouTube videos discovering new channels, lots of roblox & minecraft, movie days, Sims 4, and Pokémon. Deviant art has been a favorite pass time for Neon.
All that time at home also means days of slime, homemade Playdoh, baking cookies, flipping pancakes, building legos, and paint.
It’s also meant finding creative ways to burn energy. I’ve been diving into tons of research on creating a sensory diet for my kids that need it. My 3 year old needs a lot of movement. Today we piled up blankets and pillows to cannonball off the couch 🤣.
We’ve done lots of running around our own back yard catching fireflies, a playing in the sprinkler, and hours of pretend play.
We adopted two kittens from the animal shelter. They have quickly become part of our family.
Our days out of the house have often been spent at the pool. The kids are learning how to swim. We usually go with friends so that adds an extra layer of fun.
We’ve had a few meetups with our local unschoolers group. I love watching the kids get lost in play with friends.
I think that covers most of what we’ve been doing. Summer isn’t nearly over here, and when it is, all that means for us is less crowded outings and cooler weather.
Imagine a scene for a minute. A few kids are playing at the park. One kid keeps having some big feelings, maybe arguing with the others, raising their voice, and overall having a tough time. Their parent is nearby says “do you want to go home?”. What do you picture? Maybe, like me, you usually imagine the parent saying it in a frustrated tone. It may have a thinly veiled tone of threat, sending the message “I will make you go home if you don’t stop”.
This is not an uncommon scene at all. In fact, something happened around here today. Being in public when your child is having some problems isn’t easy. You feel the pressure of the people around you watching. The pressure to be “a good parent”, whatever that means. Maybe even the pressure to attempt to control their behavior to make or more socially acceptable. I will admit that these thoughts still cross my mind.
However, I’m trying to reimagine those same words. “Do you want to go home?”. I see it in a different light. Not a threat. Instead, it’s an offer. An offer to help someone leave a situation that isn’t meeting their needs. A check in to see if they are hungry, thirsty, or in need of connecting. An invitation to partner with them in changing the environment to set them up for success.
“Yes, I want to leave”, my child answers. She knows she isn’t being threatened, she’s simply being asked. No undertones, no veiled threat. I put aside the internal thoughts and offered help. This time i remembered to breathe first, see behavior as communication, and remember that leaving a difficult situation shouldn’t be a punishment.
Today was a good day to practice letting go of expectations. We had some fun low key options for play today, but after the kids stayed up super late last night with fireworks and friends, they were all tired and easily irritated today.
A few years ago, I might have felt disappointed that things I had planned or looked forward to were canceled. I’ve learned that peace is the best gift I can try to facilitate in our home. So the pool can wait, we can see friends another day, because today is a day for TV, cuddles, big breaths, and going slow. Not so surprisingly, whenever I accept the situation for what it is, everyone usually starts having a smoother day. They sense my inner acceptance.
Just a quick post about our day. I’m trying to give a good balance of our at home days versus our out of the house adventures.
Today started out with making breakfast while the kids played on their tablets for a bit. Neon (In a previous post I shared that Hailey has asked to go by Neon) played Sims 4 on the computer. Elijah was having a tough morning.
After breakfast, we had a mostly relaxed morning. I laid the baby down for a nap, then the boys played for a bit together. They kept going from playing to fighting, so I had to be right with them.
Winter then wanted to watch a dinosaur video. I used this time to spend some one on one time with Elijah. I told him to pick something to do together. He asked to play roblox with me. We played superhero tycoon for about an hour. We teamed up 😎. I was able to get in some quick cleaning too.
I made lunch. I asked my 3 year old if he’d like to play with Playdoh. My 6 year old joined him and they prentended to make cookies and sell them. I bought many expensive cookies 🤣.
I asked Neon if she wanted to help me out away laundry. She said yes, but her help consisted of tossing clothes at me. I challenged her to a dance battle. She got to pick the music. I say I held my own and got a good cardio workout in 😏.
The kids found an old dart board in the basement and tried to play a game.
We all went outside for a bit and they played in the rain and drew with chalk on the porch.
Neon came up with a pranking game. The premise was simple, siblings teamed up to set up pranks. The more pranks, the more points. There was one unique rule though, you had to dress to represent your favorite country. This was an interesting discussion. She named countries for her brothers to chose from. Then we had to look up some fashion styles and select our clothes. This is an ongoing game and I’m a little afraid to discover the rest of the pranks they have waiting for me 🤪.
We are about to dinner. We will probably read some library book the kids picked too. We have a goal of helping get Neon’s costume for anime convention adjusted tonight.
Feel free to share about your day in the comments if you’d like!
We’ve been up to lots of fun lately. Hailey has asked to be called Neon, and has been very certain of it. We’re doing our best to remember. She celebrated her 9th birthday with a cat themed day.
We’ve gone to our favorite museums within an hour or so drive, in the past month. Lots of fun playing, looking at dinosaurs, dragons, exploring caves and ocean areas and much more.
Neon has enjoyed hiking and nature a lot more these past few months. We’ve used any nice weather days hiking, exploring, and bug spotting.
Our mulberry season began and we’ve all enjoyed picking and snacking on them daily.
We have went creeking a few times this season. I love headed to the creek. You never know what you’re going to find. The kids really enjoyed seeing water snakes and giant tadpoles.
We’ve spent time baking and cooking together. Pancakes, stir fry, and homemade bread. Yum!
Many evenings have been spent hanging around the back yard, catching firefly, eating ice cream, squirting water guns, and swinging/climbing.
Lots of messy play too. We pulled out the kinetic sand for a few hours in the last week. They made edible slime again last week. We made oobleck today.
We’ve had lots of big conversations around here lately. I am loving the topics that get brought up more as the kids grow older. We’ve had lots of conversations about conflict resolution too if you catch my drift 😏. Today we practiced some mindfulness exercises to help us all calm down before talking it out.
As always there have been lots of Minecrafting, youtube watching, dancing, and library books in our weeks too.
A local blogging acquaintance runs a blog that has been publishing a series on the many methods of homeschooling, and she wanted radical unschooling to be represented. She asked if I would write an article explaining what exactly is our “homeschooling style” and what it might look like in practice. This was a challenge! How do you summarize your life philosophy in the span of one blog post?! I did my best to rise to the challenge, but I would say this really is just an introduction.
So come check out my post Whole Life Unschooling with Multiple Ages.