Tag Archives: 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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Those days you wake up in a bad mood.

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Those days you wake up in a bad mood.

Yeah today was one of those days. The classic “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” type of days. It seemed the kids were upset before we ever left the bed, the baby needed a diaper change, the dog refused to go out, and I just wanted to make breakfast. I felt myself withdrawing and just wanted to start the day over.

It’s like the universe just knows you are already struggling. It’s the type of day where you just feel kinda sad. Then every little things seems to go wrong. You drop everything, coffee spills, kids keep getting hurt, trash tips over. And on and on. Maybe on a good day these normal things are mild frustrations that you just breeze through, but on this type of day each thing just piles up.

These are the days it’s easier to slip up and yell at the kids. It is much more difficult to stay mindful and present for me, and when my mind wanders my gentle parenting tools seem farther from reach. I don’t mean to sound so negative, but this is an honest picture of where I was at today. I don’t always have sunshine and rainbows type of days even though we unschool and believe in gentle parenting.

I have come far in how I handle these days. Years ago I would just try to get through it telling myself it was okay if I snapped at the kids a bit because everyone has bad days. They’ll be alright. Truly if it happens, and sometimes it does, they will be alright. That does not mean it’s okay if I give myself permission to take out my mood on them though. They are not responsible for my feelings, my hard day.

So about halfway through our day, I laid down the two youngest for a nap. I had managed to stay fairly calm despite my mood. I had set us up a relaxed, slow paced day and expectations were realistic. Then, just as my toddler just falls asleep I hear it. I hear my older two in a very loud argument. I wasn’t surprised. Kids have an amazing ability to pick up on our vibes. Often, my bad mood translates into a similar mood for them. My 5 year old seems particularly sensitive to this.

I jumped out of bed hoping to quiet the fight before it ended the much needed nap of my toddler. I was frustrated and wanted to yell. I wanted to threaten something mean in that moment. I even started to. The words began to come out of my mouth. But I stopped them. That is one thing I’ve gotten better at through my years of practice. I do not have to continue my tantrum. I don’t have to finish what I started if it isn’t going to help our connection.

So I stopped. I stopped my thought and set up the kids in the way we do so that I could help facilitate problem solving and good communication. I heard each child out, validating and paraphrasing. I reframed it back to the other child. We figured out what each kid was feeling and how it led to the behavior. We talked about how we might handle things differently next time. I really didn’t feel like handling it that way at that moment, but again, the kids are not responsible for my feelings.

Then I invited them to play a game with me. I had imagined spending the toddler nap time watching a TV show and hoping the others would play together while it happened. It was clear that wasn’t in their capability at the time. Their behavior was telling me they needed connection with me. So I invited them to play. Elijah set up legos on the table, while Hailey set up a board game. So I played Legos in between my turns. Hailey destroyed me in Sorry. Elijah liked his Lego man beating up mine.

Now they are playing together and getting along I’m sitting on the couch, window open, feeling a breeze. Maybe I’ll get to watch a few minutes of TV after all.

Our day has many hours left in it, and I don’t know if it’s going to not be one of those days anymore. I still feel kinda blah, but I certainly feel much better than earlier. Play is good for me too apparently.

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.

Unschooling Today 10/26/2017

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It was a chilly morning. I decided to bake some apples to go with our breakfast. I whipped up some cream too, as my kids love fresh whipped cream. We ate breakfast and had a relaxing morning.

Yummy

I cleaned up while the kids played together. They listened to some music. It was really the first time they played well together all week, so that was nice.

Winter wanted some chips. I has picked up a new flavor at the store. It was called Voodoo. We all tried them and talked about what voodoo dolls were and a bit about New Orleans.

The kids played with Magnatiles. I made a big snack plate.

I layed Winter down for a nap. The kids were still playing with the tiles when I got up. Hailey was multitasking them with her DS.

My Mom called and told me she had left a surprise for the kids in the mailbox. Elijah had mentioned he wanted to get mail, so Grandma to the rescue. She surprised them each with a letter and a small box of goodies. They were thrilled.

Papa came home. He had a virtual reality  headset with him that he was supposed to test. The kids all took a turn.

We had dinner. The kids are playing on their tablets for a bit, and then we will tell stories and snuggle for sleep. 

Feel free to share about your day in the comments. 

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. 

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!

Unschooling Today 3/28/17

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I was ready for a slow paced day after our stressful surgery day yesterday. I made us breakfast. Elijah wanted to go outside. It is not uncommon for him to play on the porch without me, but Winter wasn’t having it. He wanted to be outside too! I normally would rather finish my coffee before headed outside, but I made the exception today and finished out there while they played.

Hailey wanted to find some music to listen to once we were all inside. She found an interesting video that combined music with “how to draw” type tutorials of Pikachu. She watched that and I did some housework.

Elijah was watching that Daniel Tiger episode where characters are sick. This apparently made him crave sick people food. He asked if I could make him toast, chicken noodle soup, and orange juice. I was surprised to find we had all those things. Of course , Elijah is not much of a soup person so he just ate the carrots out of it.

The kids played the  Wii while the baby napped. I helped them with a few level they were stuck on and exercised too.

Papa came home and chatted with everyone. The kids went back outside to play, and for Hailey to check on the birds nests she had made. I made some quick dinner.

Hailey built a nest for the birds and made some signs for them to see it.

After eating, we went to the store to grab some things. Hailey is now watching a movie and Elijah is doing his nightly cuddle with Papa before sleeping.

How was your day?