Tag Archives: art

Unschooling Fair

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A couple of months ago I read a brilliant post by  the blog Happiness is Here. If you haven’t read her work I suggest you head over right away because everything is spot on.  Anyway, she describes how her kids participated in an unschooling fair and market. When I read the idea I just knew it would be something that Hailey would love. She is always trying to sell her art and trinkets. She even opened a store in her bedroom.

I mulled over the idea in my head, and then decided to share it in my local unschooling group. The other parents in the group loved the idea as well. We wanted to do it, but I have never organized anything like this for a group and honestly was a bit intimidated. I knew if I didn’t at least try, then I would regret it. I made a poll post asking for good dates, and a friend reserved a room at a local library. The planning had begun!

I explained how it worked to the kids, and let them know they could work on artwork, jewelry, trinkets, or whatever they wanted to sell anytime. We had planned it for 6 weeks out so we had plenty of time. I went to the store and bought a bunch of supplies they might be inspired by. I figured whatever they didn’t use now would just restock our art and craft closet.

As the day grew closer, I continued to talk with the kids and remind them when the fair was. I was getting a bit nervous, because neither one had really made much. I set out the art supplies on the table in the morning sometimes, or at the toddlers nap time, strewing the idea.  I will admit that this was a trust fall for me some. I had organized this whole event, and my kids might not even bring anything. I wanted this to be enjoyable, and I knew telling them they had to make things wasn’t an option. I had to do some breathing on more than one occasion when Hailey made some beautiful artwork that she let me know was NOT for the fair.

However, as the fair was only days away, a little bit of this and that added up and they were each happy with what they were bringing. The morning of the fair I helped them make their signs and price their items. We packed up and headed out. When we got their all the kids set up their table.

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Hailey had Pokeballs and she was making more while we were there as well. They were a big hit. She also had a clay fish, some art work, some creations made out of pipe cleaners (my favorite was a Pikachu), and a decorative ball she called a “compass eye”.

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Elijah had clay eyes, a clay shark, some painted balls (one had different landscapes, one was a triple colorful ball, and one he said was a bouncy ball), and shaved ice cups which had decorated pretend shave ice inside.

The kids dug right in talking to each other and shopping. They looked around and bought treasures from each other.

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Elijah shopping

They would shop and then run back to their booth when they had a customer.

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Hailey loved her necklace

When they had a customer, they would help them figure out the cost of the item. If they needed my help figuring out change or anything I was right there to assist.

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One of Elijah’s favorite booths was the face painting. He paid a dollar and became a tiger!

While we were cleaning up and putting away our leftover things, Hailey decided she didn’t want to take home her leftover items, so she went and offered each kid something that was left. Other kids joined in and offered some of their leftover stuff too. It was so sweet. The fair was a success. The kids had fun, practiced so many real life skills, and met some new people.

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Unschooling Today October 3, 2017

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We had a slow morning with breakfast, Netflix, and chatting. Elijah asked to practice riding his bike, something he hasn’t done since the beginning of the summer at our old house. The boys and I went outside and they took turns riding with my help. By the end, Elijah had made such great improvement. He was getting 15 feet or so on his own, and being able to start himself when he stopped some. He was very proud of himself.

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After I laid the toddler down for a nap, I invited the other two to help me bake cupcakes for my youngest 2nd birthday tomorrow. He asked for a pumpkin cake, so we mixed a batch up. I made lunch and the kids watched some more TV.

I wasn’t feeling the greatest, so I rested on the couch while Winter played with Lego’s on the floor. Hailey and Elijah were doing some arts and crafts stuff for a long while. Then they were playing games with their crafts. At some point they switched to playing with Lego’s  in water.

They decided it would be fun to create a mud puddle, so they dumped water in a spot in the backyard. They all jumped around in it with their boots on. They made a mess and had fun. Then they went off to play on the swing set.

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We are going to figure out dinner soon, then they usually play on their tablets for a wind down before stories and bed.

Our Unschooling Week

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I’m going to be completely honest and upfront with the fact that we had a rough week. There was plenty of fun, connecting, and learning moments; There was also lots of tears and fighting. I’m not sure why, but the kids were just out of sync this week. So we had lots of breathing, conflict resolution, and sometimes just some siblings separation.

Monday, we started the day out with breakfast and books. Hailey then watched some Pokémon while Elijah watched YouTube videos with me. The kids played on their tablets a bit. The boys played dress up. 

The kids did their own separate art projects. Hailey made pokeballs and Elijah painted. 

                                      Crafts and chaos 🙂

The kids played outside for a while. Elijah found a praying mantis. The checked him out for a little while.

Tuesday started out with some porch time. Winter played with Playdoh out there. 

The day was spent mostly switching from playing Pokémon, and watching TV. Hailey and I took a wall in the evening.

Wednesday, I asked the kids I’d they wanted to check out a new park. We spent a few hours having fun on the gravity rail, and snacking too. 


Hailey had Kung fu classes that evening. There was tablet time and TV too.

Thursday, Papa caught a cicada for the kids to observe. 


Grandma came over for a visit. The kids love when she comes. They each worked on their own projects for a bit. The boys taped yarn to paper. Hailey wrote cards to each of us. We had fun writing to each other for a few hours. 

Her first notes to me


When Papa got home he had a Pokémon card battle with Hailey. We read books, and played tablets.

Friday, we watched a movie with popcorn during the afternoon. Elijah built with Lego’s for quite a while. Hailey played her DS.

Today we had a big family breakfast. Then we went to watch remote control airplanes fly and do tricks. We finished out afternoon with a quick grocery trip, and then back home to relax. 

Our Unschooling Day 7/11/2017

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Our Unschooling Day 7/11/2017

Unschooling happens year around. It is not defined by semesters, or days of the week, so figured I would continue the series regardless of month. I also thought it would be great to document a stay around the house day.

The joys woke up with me. They wanted to get dressed right away. Elijah (4.5), picked out his new Superman shirt and dressed himself. As I went to dress Winter (21 months), he was quite insistent that Elijah be the one to dress him. Elijah found this hilarious, and gladly helped.

We headed to the kitchen to get breakfast ready. Elijah played with Lego’s while I’m prepared food. I have been listening to Unschooling podcasts in the morning while I go about the morning. I’d stop occasionally to help Elijah find a certain Lego.

Winter got a few of the big Lego’s and tried to figure out how they go together, asking me to snap them together every 15 seconds or so haha.

Hailey (7) has been having a tough time falling asleep lately, so she’s been up later and later. It has been tough on her and the rest of us in some ways. She asked for help shifting her sleep routine. So I headed up with Winter to wake up Hailey while Elijah watched paw patrol. Hailey wanted to wake up in her room for a bit so I turned on a show for her.

I headed outside with Winter and my beloved coffee. We sit on the porch most mornings while I drink my coffee. He loves throwing everything off the porch, spotting birds, and looking for the neighborhood cat. 

Elijah then asked for a bath with toys. So he and Winter got in and played for a bit. He stayed in for a while longer after Winter got out. I thought Hailey might be getting hungry so I made her a snack played and got her some water and brought it to her. She was very happy about it.

The kids went off upstairs to play. After a while, they appeared back downstairs. Hailey said they were playing school and she was the teacher. It’s always ammusing seeing their version of what typical school must look like. She said it was art time, and Elijah asked to paint. So we got stuff out and they had fun.

They showed me their artwork when they we’re finished.

Elijah’s

Even Winter exlprored the paint.

Of course the younger two needed another bath. While they got cleaned up, Ms. Hailey said it was snack time and she made them snack plates.

After snack, Hailey asked to okay the Wii. They both wanted to go first in picking the game, so we had to sit down and figure out a solution that worked. The settles on Hailey picked first, but Elijah’s turn was longer.

I had to leave for a La Leche League meeting and I took Winter with me. We had a good meeting. When I got home Hailey was reading a book to Elijah in his bed. Papa took Winter for his night time walk. We brushed teeth, and cuddled while Hailey told a story. 

Then Elijah told a story. As I shares in my Facebook page, it was about a cat who ate so much pizza that the doctor had to shock her heart and told her she can’t eat pizza anymore after, so she ran from the doctor 😂😂😂 .

Hailey went to her room and watched Netflix, while I laid with Elijah. He was asleep in minutes! I then went upstairs so Hailey could read me a book and I read her one. She then listened to some audio books whole I went downstairs to get ready for bed. Winter woke up to nurse, so we played a little musical beds to get everyone settled. I laid with Hailey and Winter until they were both asleep. Then I headed to my bed.

Feel free to share about your day in the comments.

Unschooling Today 4/24/17

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Today is my Mom’s birthday, The kids woke up excited to celebrate her. After breakfast, the kids got to work on cards for Grandma. Hailey decided to turn her card into a book. She taped paper together and got to work. She wrote the first three pages on her own, trying her best to sound out the words and spell them on her own, and drawing pictures to go with it. Her hand grew tired, so she asked if I could write the rest while she told me what to write. When it was finished, it was a great book with a thoughtful story about a bee celebrating his birthday. My favorite part is when he went to a restaurant and ate pollen pizza pockets.

 

Next it was time to bake a cake. I knew I had the ingredients to bake a chocolate cake, but I had to figure out how to make it vegan and come up with a vegan frosting. My youngest is intolerant to both, and while we hope he grows out of it, we wanted him to enjoy cake today! So we looked up some recipes and got to work. Elijah loves to help me in the kitchen and quickly took his place as sous chef. We got the cake bake, and tweaked a frosting recipe to make it more to Grandma’s liking.

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We are in the process of buying a house, so I am starting to pack little by little. While the kids played, I packed a box and went through some junk drawers.

Papa came home shortly after. While I was outside drawing with chalk with Winter, Grandma arrived. The kids ran to show her the gifts they had made. Hailey was so excited for Grandma to read her book. Elijah explained his birthday picture he drew. Then we all went inside to sing happy birthday and eat cake! The cake turned out rich and chocolaty.

After Grandma left, I got dinner in the oven. Elijah was playing on his tablet and Hailey was looking for something to do. I asked her if she would like to help me with dishes and I got a excited “sure!”. I washed, she rinsed and dried. She said she was pretending we worked in a restaurant and we were the dishwashers.  She took on a Texan accent and complained about the boss. We got all the dishes washed together.

After dinner, Papa was studying, so I took the kids into the bedroom to read some new library books. I read one, then Hailey asked to read the next, and then she read the last one, while Elijah repeated the words so he felt like he was reading too. Then teeth got brushed and the littles ready for bed.

How was your day?

Unschooling today 10/22/16

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Today we got out the door a bit smoother than usual. I think that was because Hailey woke up much earlier than usual. She said her dream woke her up. I had made a pot of oatmeal at Elijah’s request, so we all ate and headed out the door.

We went to a super neat event. It was called Human2fest. It focused on meditation, mindfulness, yoga, art, wellness, and holistic care in general. This is right up my alley! We mostly hung out in the kid’s area. The kids made some art pieces. Elijah worked on painting the outline of his hand, for a project the art coordinator is going to make. It will be a collaboration of all the kids hands who made one.

They had a kid’s yoga class. This was so much fun. Hailey loves yoga and often watches yoga YouTube videos. The teacher of the class was laid back, gentle, silly, and patient. Some parts I even did right with them. They did yoga, a yoga story, all crawled through a downward dog tunnel, and said positive affirmations about themselves.

 

We walked around and checked out the booths. Hailey asked to have a sample at the Indian Food truck. This is a big girl for my girl. She has always had trouble trying new things, and has been intimidated by foods that do not look just right. But she really enjoyed her sample so we bought a plate for her and Elijah to share. They played at the playground area for a few and then we headed out.

We let the baby nap in the car on the way to meet up with a group to do a pumpkin themed activity. We read a pumpkin story, had a snack, and then took a short walk to find little pumpkins hid throughout the trail.

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On the way out of the trail, Papa and Elijah threw some leaves off the bridge into the river and watched them float down the stream.

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We then headed home. The kids took a bath. We might do a movie night before bed.

 

What did you do today?

Our Unschooling day 8/6/2016

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Today started with breakfast, and coffee for the adults of course. Hailey had an appointment so I took her to that. Meanwhile, Papa stayed home with Elijah and they got the grass mowed.

After cleaning up the house some, I asked Elijah if he wanted to help me make the peanut butter pie for our family reunion tomorrow. Of course he said yes to that. He used his strong muscles to help me crush the graham crackers for the crust, measure out the ingredients, and mix it all up. There was some taste testing in there too.

While we were busy making that, Hailey was drawing pictures and having us guess what they were. She asked me to get her some colored pencils the other day, so she could practice her drawings. I don’t have a picture of today’s but this was the other day before colored pencils.

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The kids had picked me a flower they found in the backyard.

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Papa helped them put it in some water. After a few hours we noticed an interesting phenomena occurring. The stem was splitting in many different directions. We all examined that for a bit.

Hailey and Elijah played for a bit. She helped make him a name tag by doing her best to spell out the names he had picked, and asking for help with the words she couldn’t get all the way.

We headed over to my Dads house for a few minutes. We had picked him up a little treat to help him celebrate his birthday. Hailey showed him her tablet and her games. He showed us in broken leg and talked about his recovery.

We then headed downtown because our city was holding an adventure night that we wanted to check out. We got to see people repel off of a 30 story building, which is an interesting sight.

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We checked out some booths, had some samples, watched people paddle boarding, listened to the band, and watched some martial arts demonstrations. We then walked around the city catching Pokemon. We stopped for a break by the fountains. Elijah loves watching the water and Winter enjoyed it too. Elijah noticed there was money in the fountain so we told him about making a wish, and gave him some pennies. He made some wishes and tossed in some pennies.

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We came home for dinner, books, and bed. It was a good, fun day around here.

 

Our Unschooling Weekend

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We are in the middle of an extreme heat wave with excessive heat warnings out. I don’t handle these types of temperatures well, and neither does my oldest. Considering when we are out and about, I have an already sweaty baby strapped to me, I have not been in a hurry to get out this weekend; Even more so because Papa is working and I don’t have his help chasing after the little’s in this heat. So we have taken this as a sign that we needed some slow down time.

Saturday, Elijah and I started to make strawberry ice cream using yummy local ingredients. I forgot to chill the ice cream maker bucket so we didn’t get to finish it at that time. Winter found some hidden chocolate around the house and had a taste while I wasn’t looking. I had a good laugh about it.

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We watched some videos that a friend put of a baby squirrel she has been taking care of. Then we read some Bird and Squirrel book together. Hailey really likes this series. Elijah had a bath with all the toys to clean up from a bonfire with friends the night before. Hailey wanted to play “school” which was a hilarious take on what she must think public school is like. She quizzed me in math questions, that I got “wrong” and she had to teach me. I also got punished by being sent to kiddie corner. I thought it was interesting that she had an idea what time out might look like since we have never done that. We watched some Pokémon, read some more books, and just relaxed until bed.

Today, has been kind of rough. The kids started out in a fight. I lost my cool for a second, but gained composure and we handled it, and all agreed to start over. Elijah and I have been working all day to make this ice cream without the ice cream maker, since it wasn’t working. We laughed about the idea of learn nothing day. We watched a video of a baby bat.

The kids wanted to get face paint out. So I helped Elijah and Hailey painted herself.

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Pikachu!

We made snack plates. Elijah pretended to be many different things. At one point he was a vet and I was a dog who he was checking up on. At another point, he played dress up.

Captain Judge

Hailey wanted to play a drawing game in which I told her things to draw, and then she had to draw it and create a picture around whatever was the main thing. She made a bunch of drawings. She asked how to spell some words she was putting on her pictures, and sounded out others. She loves art.

 

We finished Bird and Squirrel. That about sums up our unschooling weekend. What has your unschooling days looked like lately?

Supporting their interests

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I try to always support my children’s interests. Whatever they are currently passionate about becomes important to me because it is important to them. It could be a hobby, television show, game, or many other things. Sometimes, it is a challenge for me to really get into it, but I do think it is worthwhile, especially if it feels like something that is going to be a part of their lives for a while.

Hailey is very imaginative and loves pretend play. When she was a toddler, she would get ideas from tv shows. It really meant a lot to her when I would watch the shows with her and learn the names of the characters and their traits. She would love for me to tell her made up stories using the characters and throw in real things they might do. I couldn’t fake it, I had to actually watch and learn. This was no small thing to her though. She went from show to show asking me to play with her in this way for about two years. I tried to find good things about whatever program it was, although some were harder than others. Some I really did not like, so I just played along until it passed.

Unschooling flourishes when interests are supported. Part of unschooling is trying to find ways to explore the interest, sometimes expand on it. When Hailey went through a Phineas and Ferb stage it was a lot of fun for everyone. We all enjoyed the show. Hailey talked about inventions she would make and acted out each character. I bought her a Perry stuffy for Christmas. She was also going through a joke telling phase, so I purchased a small Phineas and Ferb joke book to tie the two interests together. Even small things matter, I found some Phineas and Ferb napkins as a thrift store and brought them home. That was a big deal to her.

Hailey loves to make art. I am the opposite of artistic. I try to always have supplies on hand and I try to always find events she can go to that focus on art. She recently turned her into a local art show and was thrilled to see it on display.

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Her two pieces on display

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She also loves Pokemon. You can’t really be around her for long without expecting to hear about it. We bought a pokemon handbook with all the details on the pokemon, we have pokemon stuffed animals and figures, pokemon cards are received for presents. It is a big part of our life.

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Combining her love for art and Pokemon

Whether it is Pokemon cards, tv shows, helping Hailey record her videos for YouTube, playing superheroes, finding a book about bugs, or buying art supplies, I truly encourage you to explore and support their interest. Not only do they learn so much that way, but it can truly be fun and they appreciate it so much.

 

What can you learn from one hike?

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Many people wonder how unschooling really works in real life. I know I used to scour the internet for stories about what an unschoolers day looked like. Now that we are unschoolers ourselves, I truly understand what others meant when they said everyday was different, but overall kids learned what they needed.

Today we took a hike as a family and I decided to try to identify learning through the lenses of “school” subjects. A hike is just a hike right? How much can you learn from one hike? Well, if you open your eyes it is so easy to see that the learning is everywhere.

Obviously a hike is exercise, so that is physical education, aka gym, covered. Elijah was picking some different kinds of plant leaves and asking what they were: biology obviously. Like the last time we went hiking, Hailey decided to practice her writing skills in the dirt, and then read us what she wrote. Reading and writing covered. She drew some pictures as well, at least a half dozen of them, so let’s mark art off the list.

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We hiked by the Great Miami River and talked about how big this river was; how it went from one part of Ohio to another. We talked about how the other hiking trail we went to last week was next to the same river, even though it was in a different city and explained how that worked. There is some geography for you.

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There were some very large, very old trees to be seen. We chatted about their age and how long they had been growing. Some basic history checked off this imaginary list. Hailey decided to pick flowers for each of us while hiking. She counted each one as she picked it, then decided to keep track of how many she had given each of us and the difference between us, as well as how many more she would need to get to a certain number. Real world math-check.

We found a spot close by the river and went down to explore. The kids were tossing in pebbles and sticks; what floats, what sinks? Papa showed them his skipping rock skills: physics and basic scientific method being touched on here.

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A bit further down we spotted some geese and a few deer. We observed them for a few minutes. They were pretty. Animal biology is always a winner for the kids.

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So there you go. In a matter of a couple of hours of a kid paced hike we managed to naturally touch on many different schoolish subjects. Questions were asked, critical thinking ensued, curiosity peaked. Learning through living, no force, no trying to hide learning. Unschooling is amazing.