Tag Archives: free play

Not Back to School Bash!

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Not Back to School Bash!

I co-admin a local unschooling group. There are a couple hundred members on the spectrum of unschooling, but it hasn’t been very active in the past couple of years. Parents occasionally ask questions. There has been the random meetup. I have been wanting to get the group more active, but hadn’t really figured out how to.

As the school year was approaching for all the kids around us, I had the sudden desire to get the unschoolers and relaxed homeschoolers together to celebrate another year of living life together at home. So I went out of my comfort zone and created an event for a “Not back to school” park day and potluck. I shared it around our various local forums to spread the word.

As the day approached, I didn’t know how it would turn out, but the kids were excited. I figured even if only a couple of people came the kids would have a park day at least. I was so pleasntly surprised, however, at just how successful the day went. We had over 50 people come. There was lots of food.

There was hours and hours of running and playing. Imaginative games, Pokémon talk, and interesting conversations.

We had chalk, and someone brought a few toys.

Kids of varying ages came, which was awesome. I set out our Not Back to School sign for everyone to sign or draw something on for an awesome group collaboration.

We even had a brief thunderstorm. Everyone gathered under the shelter, eating and taking. Hailey pulled out her tablet and kids gathered around her to check stuff out with her. I won’t show everyone because some people may not prefer their kids pictures online, but it was a fun sight.

Winter played with his brother and friends for hours too, and enjoyed some dirt fun.

Even after more than 5 hours of play it was tough to get the kids to leave. We met so many new awesome people, and reconnected with some we hadn’t seen in a while. There were kids that had never been to school, and kids in their first year staying home. Many parents were so happy to get together and excited to get the group active with me. It was a fun day and the kids are happy to officially mark another year staying home!

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Unschooling Day 8/8/2018

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Unschooling Day 8/8/2018

I wanted to share our day yesterday. Some schools around us are starting already. I spent a few minutes organizing a Not Back to School event for our local unschooling group. It takes place in a week and a half or so.

Our morning started out as usual. The boys started playing magnatiles together. Winter said he built a barn and Elijah made piggies for it.

Grandma came to visit for a bit. Everyone always enjoys that.

Winter played outside and made mud cake. Then Elijah helped him decorate it. Baths immediately followed.

Elijah painted for a few minutes.

Hailey played on Minecraft quite a bit yesterday. Elijah asked to play too, so she took some time to show him the controls. He got the hang of it fairly quickly.

I laid Winter down for a nap. Those are becoming fewer and farther between. When I came out the kids were looking up QR codes for Mii characters to add onto their DS.

Papa came home and cuddled with Dexter while I cooked.

Hailey and Winter played outside and in while I cooked. After dinner, the kids were ready to dye their hair. They had picked out stuff a few days ago. It was their first time and they were so excited.

That was our day!

Unschooling Today 8/01/18

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Here again with a peek into our day today. I woke up today with a positive mindset and consciously decided today was going to be a great day. I find this comes more naturally to me when I’ve been listening to Pam Laricchia’s Exploring unschooling podcast regularly.

Our morning started with breakfast and coffee for me as usual. Elijah was excited that he was 24 hours fever free, which meant he could hug and kiss the baby.

After breakfast, I read a book to Winter, and played a pretend game with Elijah. Hailey was watching YouTube during this time. We then went outside. It’s been unexpectedly cool around here, which I’ve enjoyed. Winter picked me dandelions from around the yard.

The kids played on the swing set for a bit and climbed the dome.

We headed inside for lunch and relaxed watching TV. I laid with the two youngest and actually got them both asleep!

Hailey and Elijah played the Wii for a bit. I cleaned a little. I invited the kids to play Uno with me and they both excitedly agreed. We played a few hands together, and then a couple more after Winter woke up.

Hailey went to play the Wii some more. I needed to start dinner soon, so I set out some cloud dough. This was a new thing I wanted to try. The kids enjoyed it and played for about an hour with it.

Hailey and Elijah are now playing a pretend game together, while I juggle nursing the baby and finishing dinner. I know more YouTube will be in our evening, and probably more play and books.

Feel free to share about your day in the comments!

Some quick pics from our week

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I have shared most of these on our Facebook page, but wanted to have it all in one place. We’ve still be hanging around the house mostly during the week, besides one evening trip to Grandma’s house so Papa could work on her car. Anyway, this is some stuff from our week.

She is writing a book. She’s been writing a chapter a day with pictures included.

Hailey wrote the alphabet on our bricks. The boys have been walking back and forth singing the letters with me. Elijah wanted to do it forwards and backwards, so now I can expertly sing the ABC song backwards 🤣.

These boys sometimes fight hard, then play even harder. Winter looks up to Elijah and copies him, and Elijah takes pride in teaching his little brother life lessons.

Here they are joined together to fight the bad guy aka our poor tree 🤣.

My daughter went to some garage sales with her Grandma and Great Grandma today. She came home with a bunch of stuff to create a home for something she’s pretending is a caterpillar. She said she is “really into caterpillars right now”. Apparently that started yesterday. 🐛

Coincidentally, shortly after she got home I spotted this on our porch. They were excited to observe (but not touch!). We looked it up and found out it is an American Dagger Moth caterpillar. So we read a bit about those. Now, Hailey wanted to show her younger brother The Very hungry caterpillar story on Netflix while I search for the book.

Last night, Elijah asked to make some candy with his Zombie science candy kit. We did a few of those but didn’t snap pics.

We also had a playdate with friends. I didn’t get any pictures of them running around and having fun.

That’s been our week!

Unschooling Life in the New Year So Far.

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Hi all! Yes we are still here, living our life and having fun. I wanted to update with some of what’s been going on in our lives lately.

I took a little break for the holidays, and we enjoyed those in a relaxed laid back way. We all got sick on Christmas and the week after, recovering in time for our annual New Years eve snacks and game extravaganza. We started the New Year right away with an experiment. By 12:10am Papa was throwing boiling water into our freezing weather and making instant snow.

We have had lots of inside the house, more restful days hiding from the cold. Plenty of time spent using our new Christmas arts and crafts supplies, playing with Playdoh, taking colored bubble baths, building with Magnatiles, playing Wii, and watching shows.

My mom bought us a family pass to an aquarium about an hour away. We took out first visit there. Each kid had a favorite part from petting sharks to observing the penguins. Elijah enjoyed playing photographer for much of the day capturing lots of the fish on film.

We took a field trip to a local trampoline park set up for homeschoolers. We filled the place to capacity. The kids are excited to do this again in a few weeks.

Elijah had dental surgery. Although that was nerve wracking, he did great and we loves him through it.

We have played a few Wii games as a family. Mario Party has been pretty popular. The virtual reality headset came back out for some roller coaster simulations. Papa made this a full experience with the kids sitting in a chair that he picked up and turned, as well as a fan blowing for the windy effect.

We’ve also had a few playdates with our friends. That’s always a favorite.

We’ve been doing lots of baking. Some things we’ve bakes recently have been fresh bread, muffins, and banana bread. Yum!

We had a couple big snow storms. The boys really wanted to play. Elijah threw snowballs and made snow angels. Papa pulled Winter around the yard in a sled.

It warmed up to 50°F, and we headed to the park. There was lots of melting snow and ice which captured the kids interest. They had fun walking on ice, slush, and splashing puddles. They also threw snowballs at the pond to see which areas the ice cracked.

Hailey has continued her martial arts class and belt testing is coming up soon.

That wraps up our January so far. Hope your New Year is going well.

I don’t fear daylight savings anymore. 

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Daylight savings time. I used to go with the rhetoric of how awful it had to be, because everyone else complained; and truthfully, when we pressured ourselves with early time commitments, I’m sure it did have its challenges. 

Back then, I was very much still discovering who I was and what I believed as parent. I caught myself parroting what I heard others say. That was the normal. I wanted to fit in. Not only in my words, but my actions. I did many things differently, but I also conformed in ways that were hard for me. Get up early, rush to a million activities. Go go go. 

Not now though. Now my kids can sleep and wake as they need. We adjust each day and go with the flow, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Hailey did wake up earlier than usual today, not because the clock was changed, but because of an excited little brother who made a bit too much noise. That’s okay. We can figure out what we need as the day goes on. Our morning was free to take it as slow as we needed it to be.

We ate breakfast, the kids watched a bit of a movie, checked on their birds nests they made for the back yard, and found ladybugs on the porch as I sipped my coffee. Winter demands I take pictures of anything he deems interesting. 

I am thankful that this day won’t throw us off the week and that we have no strict schedule to adhere to. I know that can’t be everyone’s reality. My husband will still have to sleep at his normal time, even if the kids are still up. I could look at that as putting more “work” on me. I don’t look at it that way anymore. I love this life.

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. 

Unschooling Today 7/14/2017

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It’s Friday! Looking forward to a fun weekend as a family. Fridays often seem to pass slowly due to the anticipation of the weekend, so I usually plan something for us to do. However, this week we’ve stayed at the house. We rarely stay at the house for a whole week, but everyone needed some rest and recoupuration. 

After everyone was up today, I turned on one of my favorite childhood movies. The kids all enjoyed Dunston Checks in.

At the credits of all movies around here, when the music starts playing, we start dancing. 

After that was finished, Winter asked to go outside. It felt HOT. So we filled up the kiddie pool and the squirt guns. Everyone chased each other. I think I got hit the most. They each slid down the slide into the baby pool. Winter did it over and over. 

Hailey went inside for a few minutes and came back out with some of our homemade popsicles. Her and Elijah had the pina coloda and strawberry popsicles, winter had a chocolate banana one, and I opted for a cold brew coffee popsicle.

After coming inside and changing into dry clothes, Winter went down for a nap. When I got up, Elijah asked for help building his new Lego car. I’m not particularly good at following the directions on the kits, but we figured it out.

Then I read a chapter in a Magic Treehouse book aloud. The kids sat at the table together, playing with Lego people. Winter and I played on the porch.

Grandma stopped by for a visit. She brought the kids each a special toy. Elijah got a whoopie cushion and he is thrilled. 

Papa just left to take the two oldest to the movie theater, which is a special treat around here. The kids are excited to see Despicable Me 3.

Feel free to share about what you did in the comments!

Our unschooling day 10/12/16

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Trying to keep up the momentum of write all the things so here is what our today looked like. We took it slow and easy this morning. When we were ready we got dressed and headed out the door. Papa needed some quiet time at the house to study for a test he needs to take for a technical certificate, so I made plans to meet up with friends at a park with the kids.

The kids played for hours. The park is one of our favorites and they all had a great time. They played with fresh walnuts that were fallen (and some fell right before our eyes and luckily didn’t hit anyone). Elijah and his best friend pretended to cook with them and have a restaurant. They also used them as balls, and rolled them down the slide. His hands are now walnut stained color despite washing them a few times.

The kids played in the creek a bit. They all enjoyed wading in the water, but got more wet than we had originally planned for.

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Hailey said they found a frog or two. Her best friend caught a little fish in a bucket. We all took a look and she let it go.

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Winter and his best baby friend threw rocks into the creek.

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We all bring snacks and share them so there is always that. Lots of the normal park type play as well. After about 3.5 hours we headed home to change wet shoes and clothes, have another quick snack, pick up Papa, and run out to the store to grab some things on sale.

Back at home was dinner. Then the kids took a long bath and played in the bath water. We read books before Elijah went to bed, and Hailey is still up hanging with me. That about sums up our day. Feel free to share about your day in the comments!

Our Unschooling day 10/11/16

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This morning we woke up and decided we wanted to make pumpkin waffles. I love that our relaxed schedule means that we can have a more elaborate breakfast when we feel like it. After breakfast, we all got dressed and ready and headed out to enjoy the beautiful day. We decided to head somewhere we could go hiking and the kids could play at the nature play area they love.

The kids set right to work finishing a house made of sticks and getting involved in an imaginary game they created. They played for about 40 minutes. Elijah built a large “stove” out of logs.

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Papa was busy playing too. He used a big stick as a lever to raise a log back onto two other logs that used to hold it. Then he built a little obstacle course.

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The last leg of the course was a bit shaky. Hailey took it upon herself to see if she could figure out a way to make it more stable.

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After some trial and error, her and Papa figured out a way together to get it the way they wanted and we took turns trying it out. Winter was having fun too. He noticed a tree had a large hole and was sticking things into it to see what would happen.

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After the play we went for our hike. The kids ran ahead and played as Pokemon characters for most of the hike.

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We stopped to take a snack break at our favorite area of the hike. This area is known as the Osage Orange tunnel and it is so neat looking.

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The hike was finished soon after and we headed home to finish the dinner that I had started earlier before we left. Hailey tagged along with me to our local Le Leche League meeting.

We came home and Elijah and I played superheroes for a few minutes. Of course he was the superhero and I was the bad guy who he had to “defeat up” (that is what he says instead of beat up). He picked out the book “Green Eggs and Ham” for me to read before going to sleep. Hailey is relaxing with a show in her room before the rest of us will head to bed.

How was your day? Feel free to share in the comments.