Tag Archives: unschool

Flexibility

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My robust school schedule quickly dwindled after the first two weeks. Lots of family/life stuff happened and it didn’t make sense to keep going so rigidly during those weeks. We hosted co-op days, took a ton of field trips, built a lot of stuff, visited family, cooked food, etc. I’m going to plan out a few weeks in advance for next week and see how it goes.

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One day last week we went to Lower Macleay Park in Northwest Portland. It’s a really incredible trail that goes all the way to the Pittock Mansion. It’s super Old Portland. This trip was kind of weird though because there were so many joggers and so many dogs that were allowed to take dumps on the trail! It was disgusting. I’ve never really experienced that so grotesquely in any of our hikes around Portland, ever. So bad.

But the forest itself is quite breathtaking.

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Homeschool—Week Two

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Week Two! We’re still going strong! I decided to stay with the First People/Nomads oeuvre from Story of the World and we’ll probably stick with that for a few more weeks actually. Another new element is that I quickly learned last week that Max is not interested in doing his own thing and wants very much to be a part of the action. I’ve been rotating through beans, water beads, rice, play dough, etc. and I recently checked out some Montessori preschool books from the library, this and this. He will also paint or watch animal videos with us on the computer, so it’s working ok.

MONDAY
-Change the date on the calendar
-Spelling // watch, cedar, village, that, the, this, then, dream, coyote, wolf. Create a sentence from those, either written or spoken.
-Listen to Dream Wolf by Paul Goble
-Make puppets of the characters— boy, girl, wolf, background images.
-Put on puppet show of the story
-Play Shapes Go Fish (We call it Go Shapes!) — I printed two copies of these from mrprintables.com, colored and laminated them. I wanted to make a memory game but they are totally see-through, but Go Shapes! works pretty well.
-Animal Study — I made a lottery of little strips of paper with animals written on them. Fern picks one and we learn about the thing and she draws it in her notebook. The goal today was to talk about how we get information, and where we look: books from the shelf, checking out books at the library, internet, youtube, etc.

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TUESDAY

-Change the date on the calendar
-Spelling // water, waterfall, current, rapids, swirl, skipper, strider, crawdad, net, boots // Create a sentence
-We took a field trip with our co-op to our beloved creek. All was well until Max and I stepped in a yellowjackets’ nest and we got stung. He got one on the neck but amazingly had very little reaction and was mostly ok, although it was very painful and scary. I got stung six times and I had really bad time of it. It’s a bummer because it’s our favorite place and it’s so easy to spend a day there. I may just wait till the cooler weather comes because I don’t want to get stung again!

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WEDNESDAY

Change the date on the calendar
-Spelling // bees, experiment, test, materials, love, chemistry, guess, findings, we, are
-Science experiments — I picked three experiments the night before out of a kit and book, and made sure we had all the materials. I had Fern use her notebook to make guesses and write what actually happened.
#1 Garbled Marbles // Water beads. Fern guessed what would happen to them, which ones would grow bigger, which ones would be harder, etc.
#2 Making Snow // I used instant snow powder and she tried a few different techniques, added food coloring, different temperatures of water, etc.
#3 Making Worms // I have no idea what polymer this was but it was disgusting and smelled of beach balls. She was only mildly into it.
#4 Make Your Own // She just mixed up a bunch of stuff but I asked her to make guesses and write it all down.
-Comics Club — We host a biweekly comics club and it’s pretty fun.

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THURSDAY
I was super sick from the yellowjacket stings and we had a bunch of household errands and chores to do. It was a free day, mostly spent playing Lego and watching movies. We also made flip books.

FRIDAY
-Beach Day

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A Week of Homeschooling involving caves, rocks, and paleolithic people

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Fern has a long list of requests for her first grade year. She’s becoming more interested in the idea of regular school, mostly from shows she watches and books she reads. If we were to find a good, small school that’s more in-line with how she’ll be successful we would definitely explore that route. But for now I’m just trying to make her school days reflect the things she’s interested in, or what appeals to her about traditional school. If you ask her what it is about school that she’s curious about she always says recess, which is funny and ironic if you think of it. Other than that, she says she’d like to do more projects, posters, and learn a lot of stuff, so that’s the plan. I hesitate to mention paper cut-outs, worksheets, etc. because they’re pretty much the antitheses of why we learn at home. But to Fern they are totally a novelty. She doesn’t have to fill out a worksheet precisely and she can even draw on it, cut it up, or write all the answers in gibberish. However, if I just refer to something as “doing schoolwork” it immediately has an air of legitimacy and I think that’s ok for now.

Here’s her list of things she wants to learn about:
Rocks and Minerals
Native Americans
Survival
Marine Life
Caves
Birds
Minecraft
Weather
Science Experiments

So here’s what we did our first week. I used Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times as inspiration for a few of our activities and it was pretty great. The only problem I have so far is that there’s just one brief chapter on nomads and paleolithic people. I think we’ll stick with these first concepts for at least another week. There’s so much potential for really getting into the Ice Age/cave people that I really want to be taking it as far as Fern’s interests will go. Other than that the reading is compelling and the activities are fun.

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MONDAY
Change the date on the calendar and note the season and weather.
Spelling // dig, artifact, collection, obsidian, study, family, history, show, time, people //
Come up with a sentence using any of those.
Read aloud Story of the World Introduction — What is history? What is archaeology?
Look through family photos and make a quick family tree — Who could we ask about our family history?
Watch Magic Schoolbus Shows and Tells
Take a break, dance
Play Go Fish
Make a book cover for Animal Study notebook and make first page // Fern chose a sand dollar as her first animal study. We watched this clip from Blue Planet and this video. We also read from Handbook of Nature Study.
Lunch
Free afternoon to draw, play legos, swim, go to the park or OMSI, etc.

TUESDAY
Change the date on the calendar, note the weather
Spelling // writing, tools, river, year, home, sleep, children, cave, arrow, fire
Math — Khan Academy for around 15 minutes
Watch parts of two videos about caves: Naica Crystal Cave and The Origin of Cave Images and Paintings – BBC
Cave Painting — craft paper taped to the wall, drawing charcoal, yellow paint, printouts of Pacific Northwest rock art (I can’t reproduce these images but here’s a good place to start finding them on your own. There is also this beautiful book — Indian Rock Art of the Columbia Plateau)
As we were drawing I put on Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which is available on Netflix.
Make alum crystals — I used this tutorial
Lunch
Free afternoon — We went swimming.

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WEDNESDAY
Change the date/note the weather
Spelling // crystals, grow, glow, light, science, dark, space, hand, painting, art
Make cave cut-out from this book which I don’t actually recommend but I found it at the thrift store and it’s fun to cut up.
Make rock books, also from this book
Read aloud The First Dog by Jan Brett which I HIGHLY recommend and we’ve read it a million times.
Look at minerals and rocks from our collection — up close, at a distance, with light, feel with eyes closed, etc.
Make a list of favorites and what you’d like to see.
Field Trip to Ed’s House of Gems
Lunch
Free afternoon

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THURSDAY
Change the date/note the weather
Spelling // forest, explore, soil, trees, creek, ferns, path, mushroom, cedar, spirit
Lego Challenges — Make a vessel
Free reading
Math — Khan Academy for around 15 minutes
Home errands — grocery store, target, laundry, etc.

FRIDAY
Change the date/note the weather
Free morning
Lunch
Read aloud She Who Watches in preparation for our trip to see the actual pictograph
Paint self-portrait
Watch video on flip books
Make flip books!

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