Tag Archives: learning

Following their curiosity

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Yesterday the boys found some helicopter seeds. Elijah asked what tree they were from and I didn’t know so I Google it real quick. We found out it was the maple tree, and the seeds were called samaras. Him and Winter opened some up to examine the seeds.

He then asked me if they were edible. Once again, I looked it up and read it to him. They are edible and considered a survivalist food. So they popped some into their mouths and said they weren’t bad. Elijah then asked if we could try roasting some like the website said. He popped them out of the shell and helped oil them and we roasted them. He liked it and ate a few and Winter didn’t want to try it like that.


It was an interesting and unexpected “one thing led to another” type of experience. I could not have predicted it. I love when something sparks interest naturally and they run with it as far as they choose. I love helping facilitate that, but not take it over. I love the things I learn because of their questions.

Unschooling Today 3/18/2020

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Today was an odd day in the way that my husband worked off and on at home and at work. That’s going to be our new normal some days. I wish he could work all the way at home, but he’s considered essential personnel and even if we get a mandated quarantine, he’ll have to go in some. I’m thankful that means we definitely have a solid income still, but also feeling uneasy being alone as anxiety and tension rise in my area.

After breakfast we watched a live science video put in by our local science guy. It’s lots of fun and we are going to enjoy watching his daily videos during this time. We did a little bit of Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Grandma joined with us again today. The kids are really enjoying having her stay here as often as possible. I’m glad to be able to chat with her and feed her 😁. Words cannot express how much my kids love all their Grandma time. Dexter has basically decided she’s Mom number 2.

The kids enjoyed the donuts she brought. She mentioned that she was a little bored since bingo closed, and Elijah jumped on the chance to play bingo with her at home. I was the caller, while the boys played with her.

Neon joined us after bingo. Her and Elijah played a roblox game together for hours. I put hair chalk in Winter and Grandma’s hair, and Winter put it in mine.

The bestest Grandma

Winter painted Grandma’s nails and she painted his. He was super thrilled about it. He says he’s bei, and of course he is.

I laid Dexter down for a nap. Grandma headed out. I made some lunch while Papa popped in and out. Winter and I played a round of Hoot Owl Hoot. We barely pulled out a win.

We watched some TV. I had a quick chat with Neon and Elijah about cooking creatively with the ingredients in our kitchen and how we might have to be a little more adventurous right now. We talked about the grocery stores not having everything on our list and making our own recipes. I told them what ingredients I had for tonight and we collaborated on a dinner idea.

Myself and the 3 oldest kids played a hand of Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, and then Elijah challenged me to a game of Exploding Kittens. He dominated the round.

I invited Neon to help with dinner and she gladly accepted. As we started prepping Elijah asked to join. So there we were cooking, chatting. It was so nice to just be in that moment. Winter came in and asked for a job too, so I gave him some small tasks like adding spices and pouring some water.

Dinner was enjoyed, and Winter even tried tack beef which was new for him. He gave it a thumbs up. I’m cuddling on the couch with the youngest two, while the oldest two are playing Roblox again. We are about to start our wind down routine, which usually includes books before sleep.

Our days are so normal, but so not at the same time. Such a strange feeling.

Unschooling today 3/16/2020

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I made breakfast and coffee first thing. Then I sat with the boys and we looked at the San Diego Zoo’s live cams for their animals. They are loving their site right now.

After breakfast Grandma came by to sit with the kids so I could try to get the rest of the grocery essentials needed for self isolation time. I’m so thankful we have her and that the kids love spending time with her. It took me 3 stores but I was able to get the basics covered.

When I got home, I had to do some tetras to fit the groceries within our storage areas. I did a quick pick up of the house. Winter helped. The boys love the vacuum.

I laid the baby down for a nap and then made lunch. Neon chatted with me while I made food. We played a few rounds of a quick guessing game together.

We took advantage of some of the cool resources available during this time where most everything is closed. We turned on a live video from our zoo, with a zookeeper doing an animal talk and feeding of the hippos. We watched our local museum do a broadcast of a quick animal talk about the black rat snake. We then watched a cool science experiment video. The kids all enjoyed it.

The kids all did their own thing for a little bit, mostly YouTube I think. Then we did some legos. I asked Elijah to give me a theme and tried to build it. I am not a skilled lego builder 🤣.

The oldest two then played Super Smash Brothers for a little while.

After picking up the dumped legos, I helped my daughter get a book she had been waiting for on the hoopla app. All the libraries are closed, but luckily they had it available for an ebook rental so she didn’t have to wait even longer.

Winter and I drew together. We picked an idea, a face, then took turns drawing pieces of it.

Papa came home from work. He brought in the mail. Elijah had requested to get an eye mask for sleeping, and that came in. He was so happy about it.

Elijah is now playing the switch by himself. The TV is in the magic school bus. Dinner will be quick and easy. I’m sure we will read some of the ebooks I checked out from hoopla before bed too. How is it going for you?

Unschooling Today and feeling uneasy about things

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Our state has canceled schools, the museums and libraries are closing, most events have been canceled or postponed. It feels like a time of uncertainty, yet most of my kids are unaware about what’s going on. My oldest knows a bit. We’ve had a talk about rationing toilet paper and getting more creative in the kitchen with what we could find. However, our lives haven’t changed much, since we are at home often anyway.

I’m trying to find the balance of trying to remain aware of the covid-19 updates, yet not become consumed with anxiety and what ifs? It isn’t easy, as I am naturally anxious. It does help me to prepare and think ahead, but it can also take me away from my kids and forget to see the joy. I’m trying to find the good stories, the helpers, the hope as much as trying to keep up with state updates and household needs.

This morning we had a yummy homemade brunch. Good food helps me feel happy. I made pancakes, bacon, fresh whipped cream, and fruit. We had a slow morning, chatting and watching TV.

I did some cleaning up around the house while the kids ran around, watched YouTube, and played games on tablets. The baby got laid down for a nap. Then we all plaid Exploding Kittens and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza games. Both fill our house with laughter.

Dexter woke up from his nap. Papa and I got the boys ready to play outside. It had snowed today, and I wasn’t too happy to see it. The sunshine has been so uplifting to my soul. But the joy on my 4 year olds face when he saw the snow made me enjoy it too. Papa and Winter built a baby snowman.

Neon drew pictures and quizzed me on her art style while I started dinner. Winter colored and froze some melted snow as an experiment. He pretended it was an ice cream sundae.

Grandma joined us for dinner too. I made a family favorite, chicken Tikka masala. After dinner Elijah challenged Grandma to a game of Mario party. This is out of Grandma’s comfort zone, but she gave it her best.

I sat with Winter while he played with slime and watched fishing videos.

We will likely read some books tonight and watch some more TV. That about sums up our day.

Big Messes and Big Fun!

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This story starts off with telling everyone that I mopped my floors a few days ago. Now that might not sound like anything to write home about, but let me be honest, it doesn’t happen often at all. I have a running joke about the reason I don’t mop my floors is because the universe sees it as a challenge to make it dirtier than before within a day. Just ask the full jar of elderberry syrup that crashed onto my sparkling white floors several years ago, just mere hours after mopping. That was the last straw 🤣.

So my floors are mopped with their biannual cleaning, inevitably that same night my toddler dumps an entire pound of very finely ground pink salt all over the place. That’s not even what this is about because I laughed at predictable situation.

The real story is about today. Winter (4 years old) found this dinosaur excavation kit in the playroom closet. The kids were gifted a few of these kits last year, and the bigger kids had done theirs. I knew two things from their experience:

1. The clay dust from these kits get everywhere.

2. It is actually quite difficult to get the little dinosaur and the bones out. It took the big kids several attempts over days, lots of muscle power, and then I think they even gave up on some of it.

I put down a table cloth to catch the clay that I’m betting will be minimal because I’m thinking to myself, “He will probably try for a few minutes before realizing that it’s going to take a long time and then just find something else to do”.

Now I don’t know why I suffered from such delusional thinking. Some traits are absolutely certain about Winter: He loves and thrives on any messy experience. He’s a sensory input seeker to the max. Also, there is very little that can stand in his way once he’s set his mind to something. For one brief moment, I thought maybe he was done. He asked for my help excavating, then his older brothers, the tablecloth was sliding and was abandoned (uh oh!), then his tool broke. He was frustrated for a second but quickly recovered.

I found him some leftover tools from the other kits, and then he invited his little brother to try too. This was so adorable, I made a conscious decision to not even mind the table cloth and accepted this was going to be messy.

This is where the real fun begins. Recognizing that he wasn’t going to be able to uncover everything, he formulated a new plan. Water! I helped him fill a bowl full, and by the time I turned around he had moved to the floor.

At this moment I took a few big breaths and remembered wise words from a Facebook friend, that I’ve seen around unschooling circles about a clean room being a blank canvas. I looked at the joy on his face, I admired his problem solving skills and determination, and then I chose to let go of any anxiety over the mess.

He chatted with me while I wiped down the door and opposite wall (I needed to find something to keep my hands busy while I was staying close). Every single time he found a new bone he ran over to show it to me with so much exuberant pride in his voice. He talked me through every step of his plan, and worked away. When he was finished he told me he must be an archeologist.

When all was said and done, I put him in the bath, put the toddler on my back, and grabbed the broom and steam mop. The floor was absolutely covered as one would guess.

Just one side of the floor

It took me about ten minutes to sweep and mop over this mess (it’s not spotless but that wasn’t a goal). Unusually, I found myself smiling while I mopped. Every time I found a spot with a big chunk of clay left, I visualized his smile on whatever bone was pulled from that piece. I genuinely felt my own joy cleaning up this mess that had filled him with so much happiness while it was being made. Ten minutes was absolutely worth everything this brought to us, our connection, his spirit. It was worth so much more without a doubt.

He is now diligently cleaning out the holes with a toothpick so we can work together to fit the bones into a dinosaur.

Mess often triggers my anxiety, and I do sometimes use that as a reason to say no. I am intentionally working on that trigger, because although I want to consider my needs too, these kids aren’t responsible for fulfilling my needs. It’s my work to figure out why this bothers me, and come up with a plan that works for all of us. Mess is inevitable with kids anyway, and Winter isn’t living his best life without fulfilling his need to touch, expire, create, and make messes.

Future messy activities will still bother me, but maybe a little bit less each time I move through the experience consciously.

Unschooling today 12/3/2019

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After a busy day out at one of our favorite children museums yesterday, we all needed a relax and play around the house day. We had a slow morning wakeup, chatting and watching Llama Llama.

I had to run my oldest to a quick appointment, while the youngest 3 played with Papa. When I got him I made a quick lunch and laid the baby down for a nap. I watched some funny tik tok videos with my daughter. Then Elijah wanted to play Exploding Kittens. It was our first time, but we got it down pretty fast. It was a hit!

This game was a bit over my 4 year olds head, so when the baby woke up I offered to play his choice of game with him. We played headbands. He pretended not to cheat 🤣.

The kids great grandpa stopped by to drop off a belated birthday present and cupcakes. The kids excitedly all showed him their favorite things and chatted.

We watched some of Frozen next, while the two oldest played Roblox together. While I started dinner, Elijah wanted to start a lego kit he got for his birthday yesterday. He out the whole thing together by his self. He was super proud. It only took him about an hour for the 207 piece sea submarine robot. Winter played with our other legos alongside him.

I made a snack dinner and some hot cocoa. The boys played with legos for a while longer, now playing together. Neon came out to chat with me and then played with the baby for a bit.

I’m finishing the night watching some gacha videos with my daughter. I’m about ready to lay down with the yougest ones. That sums up our day.

Unschooling today 11/18/2019.

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Today started off by watching puffin rock with my boys. This is my 4 years olds new favorite morning show. After breakfast Elijah (6) put minecraft tip videos on the TV. Neon (9) joined us. I sat on the floor with the youngest two and we played dinosaurs then created with magnet shapes. Dexter then had me name the animals in his first words book about 1000 times.

The boys and I headed outside, while sis opted to stay inside. They rode in the jeep, swung, played in the wet sand, and hit things with sticks.

I laid the baby down for a nap. When I was able to slip away, I made us all snacks and we had a floor picnic. We turned in the movie Klaus from Netflix. I loved this new take on a Christmas movie. Super cute! All the kids enjoyed it too. Dexter woke up about half way through and joined us.

We all tried a new fruit that the big kids asked for at the store. It was red pomelo. None of us liked it, but we pretended we did when Papa came home so we could trick him into trying it too 🤣. He agreed with us.

We all chatted about a silly video that auto played. Then practiced our lid Latin 😜.

Neon and Elijah went off to play for a bit while I cleaned up. Elijah came out and joined us and asked to watch Creeped Out, a kids anthology series on Netflix. We watched a few episodes together, pausing to predict things. Papa came home and watched an episode with us.

I made some quick dinner out of leftovers and we had our pick of ice cream. Neon wanted some alone time to draw and watch videos. Elijah will likely have me read him some books before he winds down.

That sums up our day!

A low key day

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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.

Our Unschooling Day 9/23/2019

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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.

Elijah told him to say “Panked ya!”

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?

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.