Tag Archives: learning

Math doesn’t have to be scary.

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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.

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Following the Rabbit Trails of Conversation

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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.

Summer days!

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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.

Unschooling today 6/24/2019

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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!

Unschooling today 4/22/19

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Browsing Instagram, it can sometimes look like all people do tons of outside of the house, nature based, super cool activities. We try to do plenty of that, but we have lots of home days that flow with what everyone wants to do. Today was one of those.

Hailey and Elijah were the first ones up today. Hailey walked Elijah through creating a character for a gacha life story she is working on. I made breakfast for everyone.

Elijah spent most of his morning browsing minecraft addons, and trying a few out. Winter slowly ate and watched dinosaur videos. Hailey spent most of her time playing our newest game for the VR headset. It’s called vacation simulator and she loves it. She probably played for for 3 hours or so.

I asked if anyone wanted to do a science experiment that someone had posted about. The boys said yes, and Hailey said she’d come for the end of it.

While the water for our experiment was cooling down, we headed outside to help the time pass faster. It was a really nice day. Elijah noticed a bee buzzing around. We talked about how bees pollinate and how they do a little dance to communicate with other bees. We sat in the shade and picked dandelions and took silly pictures.

We went back inside for our expirent. It was supposed to be rainbow water in a glass but it was a flop. We tried a few different ways to make it work, all unsuccessfully. It was a little disappointing.

Elijah took a turn on vacation simulator for a bit. Hailey napped because she had only slept for a few hours the night before. Winter watched a show, while I used the baby’s nap time to clean up and prep food.

Elijah asked for ice cream comes and we took them outside so we wouldn’t wake up Hailey. They wanted to play in the water for a bit. It was play then fight, then play again type of deal.

Back in for dinner and welcoming Papa home. We then watched some americas got talent–the champions. The boys showed us their talents of headstands, picking up heavy boxes, and jumping off the couch.

Most of us are winding down now. Hailey is playing a game on the computer and having a late dinner after waking from her nap.

Unschooling today 2/27/2019

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We’ve been without a van for about 6 weeks now. Trying to keep our days at home interesting has been a challenge sometimes. If I stay on top of being present with the kids, and paying attention to our connection, the days have gone much more smoothly. Today was a pretty good day.

Me and the boys ate breakfast together, then played in the living room. I put the baby on my back, started waking up Hailey, did some quick chores and get her breakfast and us lunch. Throw in a little dance party.

The 3 year old played with our homemade Playdoh for quite a bit. We all sat around talking, snacking, and listening to music. I read a couple chapters of “diary of a minecraft zombie” out loud.

We had some tea in the special cups. The kids loved that.

Elijah played on minecraft for a bit, showing me what he was creating. Then the boys went outside to play for a while. Hailey spent that time drawing.

When they came in, I helped them get dry clothes. My 3 year old wanted to cuddle and watch TV, and the baby was ready for a nap. I played roblox with Hailey while I sat with them.

Dinner time, then I went to the store to buy some fruit, while the big kids played minecraft some more at home with Papa.

A simple day, but a good one!

Unschooling today 2/7/2019

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Today was a relaxing, sweet day. We’ve had some tough days this week. Our van is out of commission for a long while, so we’ve had more home days than usual. I’m trying my best to help the days flow, but some built up frustration has definitely reared its head this week. That made today feel extra nice.

After breakfast, the kids and I all watched some monster mob school on YouTube. These are hilarious videos with the minecraft mob monsters. Lots of laughing by all.

I made some snack plates, while we all hung around chatting and listening to music. My 8 month old loves to dance, and it’s adorable. We all love it.

The boys helped me make a batch of baking soda clay. It was our first time, and they were super excited to try it. While it was cooling down I made us all some tea.

I invite the kids to come on the porch with me and watch the rain. Elijah decided to stay inside playing minecraft but everyone else came out. It was a perfect time to make potions with the rainwater.

When we got chilly, we all headed in. The clay was ready, and each kid set to work.

They can’t wait until they dry so they can be painted. It’s going to be a few days, so lots of patience needed.

My 3 year old moved onto Playdoh next. I cleaned up a little, while the kids played. I played a little roblox with Elijah. Then they hung out together, while Winter pretended to be a superhero.

Dinner was made, more music, more minecraft, and probably some books here soon.

Just a simple, fun, down day!

Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

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Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

The schools are starting all over the place this week. Our city starts on Wednesday, and we seem to be one of the last. I am not buying into the back to school hype at all. We couldn’t be happier to keep living our life without school. I am actually hosting a fun “Not back to school” playdate for our local unschooling group. The kids are super excited about it, and hopefully I will have time to write about it once it happens.

Another Monday. I try not to be a downer about Mondays. We don’t have to get up early because of the day of the week. The only thing that changes is Papa goes back to work. Yet, lately Monday’s have still felt difficult. I don’t know if it is because we are in this season of change with the baby only being 12 weeks, or if it is because our weekends have been busy so the kids are overstimulated a bit. Some of both likely. Today started out tough. My toddler was being very rough with his brother. The toilet clogged and overflowed. Some people woke up grumpy. Etc.

After breakfast, we got the day back on track with some outside play. This almost always helps the mood around here, especially for my 5 and 2.5 year old. We headed to the back yard and they played, rode on the jeep, went back in for costumes, and played some more. Hailey was up by this time. We watched a little of YouTube with her when we were inside too. After the boys were finished outside, I made everyone a snack and offered to read some new library books to the kids. We sadly hadn’t gone to the library and ages. It may have had something to do with library fees owed…cough….cough. They boys picked out a bunch of books and we sat at the table and read.

I laid the little ones down for a nap, then got up and made lunch. I chatted with Hailey and Elijah while they were playing on their tablets and ate. The baby woke up. I asked if the kids wanted to play Roblox with me while I nursed. They really love it when we play together. We played for a while, then when Winter woke up from his nap I took him back outside to play. Elijah followed shortly after and they worked together to get cups of water and pour it into an outdoor pan. They said they were making an ocean.

Hailey is off now at Kung Fu class. Elijah is playing the virtual reality headset job simulator game. The rest of our night will probably include more outdoor play, some tv, dinner, some more library books, ice cream, and definitely some coffee for the adults.

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.

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.