Hey guys, I am excited to be back with an unschooling day in the life today!
In the last year I’ve shared a few of these in video format (like here and here) but this day in the life is coming at you in pictures and written word. I realized, it’s as lot easier to share an unschooling day in the life this way because nothing is planned out (generally).
This way I could do what I usually do: observe my kids learning what and how they like to.
For the most part I just let them do their thing and snapped a photo of it. With video it’s a lot more disruptive and it can throw them off.
So, I’m hoping to do this a little more often. I would like to do it monthly, if not, then at least seasonally.
A NOTE ABOUT UNSCHOOLING
So, yeah, we unschool. That does not mean we don’t learn. It just means that my kids choose what they want to learn and how they want that to happen.
Unschooling does not mean we don’t have rules. We do. Plus the kids have chores. It mostly means that we don’t follow a curriculum, nor do I ask them to do any particular learning or school work. (That’s right, no sitting down and “doing math”, unless they actually want to, which they do on occasion and my daughter has actually asked if she can do at least one page of math every Monday – um, yeah!).
I actually have a free workshop all about how we unschool if you are interested (though things have changed a bit since I wrote the workshop, I should probably do a little update soon).
Also, something I really want to point out is that no two days are the same. Something I noticed while writing this post was that Raeca didn’t really do any creative writing during the day, at least, not that I’m aware of, but she’s going through a phase where she is obsessively writing fantasy stories. Most days she spends hours typing up stories, but of course, not on the day I decide to document a day in the life. So while this day may feel like it’s heavy in one area or light in another, it’s probably true, but not every day is like that.
INTRODUCING THE KIDS
For reference, here’s the lineup:
Raeca – she’s 10 and in grade 5.
Ephraim – he’s 7 and in grade 2.
R2D2 – he’s our foster son and little bits of him may occasionally appear in snapshots. We aren’t allowed to share his name or face online. If you are interested in our fostering journey, I share more about it on my personal blog.
COVID is still in full swing here. Where we live we aren’t allowed to have anyone over and my kids are definitely missing hanging out with their homeschool friends for hours. We are allowed to do a few field trip type things which we’ve been doing a bit but I thought I would just document an average day at home during COVID.
I’m a firm believer in letting my kids sleep as long as possible. Unless we have somewhere we need to be in the morning, I don’t wake them up. Raeca is an early riser and usually wakes between 6-7 but will spend time reading before she comes out of her room. Ephraim needs more sleep and usually wakes up later.
This morning when Raeca came out of her room she went straight to playing Lego.
I decided today was the day we finally started our weekly poetry tea time, it was one of my goals for the year and I just hadn’t prioritized it. So I decided to start making these Strawberry Rhubarb Shortbread Squares and just as I started, Ephraim came upstairs and asked if he could help. He loves helping in the kitchen and lately every family member has been raving about the meals he has helped make. I don’t know if I should take it as a sign that I am a good teacher or a slight against my cooking. 😉
While we were working Raeca brought up the tower house she had been working on. It’s a Harry Potter Lego tower that she was “renovating”.
One of the main things I want my kids to come away from their time in our home with (beside feeling and believing in the love of their Heavenly Father and wanting to live to glorify Him) is some good life skills. The fact that Ephraim is so eager to learn to cook is so far making that easy.
Then it was on to Lego for both of them.
As a parent I have a love/hate relationship with Lego.
The hate: all those little pieces EVERYWHERE.
The love: how they are learning to both follow directions and be creative (depending which they are choosing at the moment). I have seen so much good come out of their Lego time; the fine motor skills, imagination and problem solving skills to name a few.
And we are working on getting them to be more diligent about cleaning up after themselves.
Ephraim was working on this T-Rex. He had the instructions but so many of the pieces have gone on to build other creations he decided to not get picky about the colors, he even improvised when he couldn’t find some of the more specialized pieces. Normally though, his specialty is building creative and complex vehicles all day long.
Poetry Tea Time! Well, more like poetry, hot chocolate and strawberry rhubarb squares time.
I shared a little about my goals for poetry tea time in my last homeschool newsletter and I asked for some good poetry recommendations, the library didn’t get in any of the books people suggested yet but I did read a Psalm since that was recommended. Why do I always forget the Psalms are poetry?
The kids and I each take turns reading some of our favorites and some new poems.
Here are the books we read from today:
- The Flower Fairies
- Oh The Beautiful Things He Makes (this is actually a picture book that I love, it rhymes so it totally counts)
- A Book of Nonsense
- A Child’s Garden of Verses
- A Light In the Attic
We randomly decided as a family that we were going to study the 1800’s. The plan was to study it separately and then share what we learned with the family.
I spent some time with Ephraim looking up different inventions that happened during this time period. I showed him how to use an index and then helped him to read some of the harder words.
Rae was also working on her “presentation” (term used loosely) during this time but I couldn’t take a picture because she didn’t want me to see the information she was all gathering.
We took a week or two to learn about the 1800’s and then the day after this we each shared what we had learned (I focused on the deadliest pandemics during that century). It was a fun way to do it and Ephraim has already decided we are doing WWII next because he wants to research tanks.
For lunch and supper we almost always listen to an audiobook. We are going through The Chronicles of Narnia and our current read is Prince Caspian.
The kids have been keeping line a day journals since September. Well, to be honest, they often forget and then they have to do three days worth when they actually do it. So, they usually write what they did the day before, though at times, especially with COVID and many days all feeling the same, they will draw pictures, or like on this day, Raeca felt inspired from our poetry tea time and decided to write a limerick.
I don’t have a lot of rules for the journals, it’s just good writing practice and I think will make a great keepsake. We are just using plain notebooks and we’re leaving room for these to be two year journals.
The kids have some set screen days/times throughout the week. Thursday’s during the toddler’s nap is one of them. If it’s not a screen time afternoon it is quiet time since this is when I try to get some work done and/or just relax a little.
Today the kids decided to play a game called Paradise City together. According to the kids the point of the game is to crash your car as much as possible, totally up Ephraim’s alley (I’m glad he’s not getting his drivers any time soon!)
After screen time Raeca decided she was going to make some Lego movies. She does this quite a bit and will edit them and everything.
I know some parents would still consider this screen time, I see it as educational learning.
Ephraim used this time to just play. It took me a long time to realize the value of play but I totally get it now. It was fun to watch him play with his T-Rex, Rexy.
The kids each have some assigned chores and also just do various other chores when asked.
Today Ephraim was unloading the dishwasher while Raeca vacuumed an excess of rice that got on the floor during lunch (does anyone else wait until the rice dries out before attempting to clean it up?).
The thing with unschooling is that you never see learning as done, so in my mind, a homeschool day in the life continues until the end of the day, it doesn’t end at 3:00.
Rae spent some time setting up Playmobil and listening to Aggie Morton: Mystery Queen.
We’ve been trying to go for walks every day, at least when it’s warmer than -30C/-22F, we’ve been doing really well and I think it’s been good for us all both mentally and physically. If we weren’t taking a two year old with us I would still try to do a short walk even when it’s -30 but alas, we do have a toddler so we try to stay indoors those days.
Boys. Always throwing snowballs.
A totally blurry photo but Raeca received a penpal letter she had been waiting for for a long time and she was so excited to get it. Plus her friend added all sorts of cat stickers which just made her feel so loved.
Ephraim spent his evening listening to an audiobook and playing with his Gravitrax and magnet tiles that I’m totally blanking on the name of right now . . .
Rae and I started working on a photobook for 2015 (yeah, I’m behind). I spent this evening and the next day working on it only to realize the company I was making it through was really expensive. So . . . now I need to do it all over again through a different company . . . (But look at little Ephraim and Raeca!).
So, there in a nutshell was an unschooling homeschool day in the life. I hope to have another one of these soon!