Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A little bored

This was our first day of unschooling where we really had nothing planned.    They floundered a bit here and there.  We played a lot of games and I heard a lot of "can I play DS?  Can I watch TV?, etc"  But I held firm and they eventually found something to do.



All in all I think it went really well though.  We're happy, settled, and calm so that's a great start. 

I know there will be times when they are bored but I do think it's good for them to be bored now and then.  Often that boredom sparks a bout of creativity.  

However I do have a few ideas on hand to offer as suggestions for them when they start to complain.  Suggestions like:

  1. Read a book
  2. Use a crafting kit
  3. Tackle a science experiment or kit
  4. Build something using the may different types of building blocks we have
  5. Put together a puzzle
  6. Play with character or animal toys 
  7. Go outside
  8. Color or write a story
  9. Play with play dough or make some sensory dough
  10. Make a track for the cars or race R/C cars         

Evan "read" from his library Scooby- Doo book in the car on the way to the grocery store.  He mostly looks at the pictures since he can't really read yet but he did spell all the characters names for me and told me Scooby has a lot of O's in his name.  He's developing great pre- reading skills.  He tracks his fingers under the words, he can tell me what letters make the beginning and ending sounds of most words, he's starting to recognize a few sight words and has memorized many short, simple texts.  

He played Lego's for a while this morning once we got home and experimented with putting the head of a few characters where the feet go and vice-versa.  It made for some really funny looking star wars droids that he couldn't wait to show off.  I love when my kids think creatively like this!  I know he's learning critical thinking and problem solving, because when he doesn't follow the directions things don't always work out the way he intended and then he has to try and think of another way to accomplish what he wants. 

Alec spent the morning in my craft room wrapping a birthday gift for his friend's party and making him a card using my Cricut.  I walked him through it step by step showing him how to use my Cricut.  He had a very impressive card when he was done! 

 He then asked Evan to come play with him using the cold snow we made a few weeks ago-- and it was STILL cool!  They thought that was amazing.  They used animals, trucks and Ben 10 characters.  Sensory times like this are great as kids learn so much through their senses and through play.  They use reasoning and cooperation to play as a unit at times.  Other times they pretended animals were hibernating, that trucks were plowing or transporting snow. 



Ian spent most of the day in his room building with Lego's.  This is his favorite pastime and  today was even better since he finally found his missing MP3 player and he was able to hook it up to his speakers and blast his music while he created.   I know he was trying very hard to build a new ship that kept falling apart.  Though frustrated he didn't give up.  He also created this platform on tracks that can hold up to 4 excavators so that they can dig on all four sides and mine faster.  Through Lego play he's building all sorts of architectural skills, math /logic skills, and critical thinking.



      
Alec and Ian played outside for a bit.  The weather was so mild today, but everything was rather wet so they got pretty muddy.  Ian worked in his quarry while Alec pretended he was a rock climber trying to climb the hill with the assistance of a rope.  While playing they're noticing changes in nature and how rain/ snow melt causes things like mud and erosion. 
     
We finished up our games of Clue and worked a bit more on our Monopoly game that we started earlier in the week.  We played memory and the boys new Angry Bird Star Wars "board game." 


They're learning social skills like good sportsmanship, turn taking, sharing, and cooperation.  They're building reading skills and comprehension.  They're using all sorts of  math concepts by adding, subtracting, making change, multiplying, thinking critically, using charts, and solving problems.  They're building their memory skills too. 

Ian surprised me when he was quickly able to tell me that 3 houses at $150 each would be $450!  Alec solved our Clue game by reasoning that the "murder couldn't take place in the library because if someone killed someone there they could easily set the room on fire since there was a fireplace and a bunch of books."  Really he just made a lucky guess as I explained how the game works and that yeah, sometimes murder does happen in the library in this game but I was astounded by his reasoning of who did it, where and with what weapon!. 

By lunch they were bickering quite a bit and purposely getting on each other's nerves so I sent them all to their rooms for some quite time after lunch. 

Then we headed out for a walk. 

Alec was drawn to the frozen brook near our house.  He noticed that there was water running over the ice and he guessed that it was from further up the brook so we followed it for quite a while and watched how the ice had swirls on it, that there were dips and valleys, that the brook had flooded it's banks and frozen solid on the land next to it.  We saw that at a lower portion of the brook some parts had thawed completely and acted like a bridge to the running water.  They had fun throwing rocks onto the lake and seeing who could throw them the farthest, which way works best when throwing rocks, and trying to break up the ice at the very edge by stepping on it.  We observed some foam that had formed when the water on the ice was blown around.  We heard wind howling through the trees in a really eerie way.  It was great to get out and explore nature once again since it had been so long!
     
If someone were to ask me "what did they learn today?"  I'm not entirely sure I could answer that.  But the more I read about unschooling and the more I look into the benefits of play the more I'm convinced what I'm doing is right.  Play helps develop the WHOLE child. 

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