The boys have been asking me when we're going to start packing for our vacation. Though it's still a month away, they know me well and realize that I have waited longer than usual to pack. While I do typically pack early, we don't normally go to Florida so early in the fall and we're still wearing our summer clothes, but since they were all so anxious to pack I quickly wrote up a check list, handed them their suitcases and told them to go ahead and pack. They packed their own bags for vacation! They did a great job too. They picked out their favorite clothes, folded them, and tucked them away neatly in their suitcases. They checked off those items that were packed and the two older boys each ended up doing a load of laundry to make sure they were all set. We still have some things they'll need to pack before we leave but for the most part they are all done. I love that they are getting so good at tackling all these life skills. Not one person complained about packing their bags or even asked for help (beyond Evan asking me to read his checklist to him).
We finished just as the exterminator pulled up to the house and the boys asked if they could open the door and meet him. They're so friendly and inquisitive. They told him all about packing for vacation, where we're going and some of things they're most looking forward to doing on vacation. They then asked him what all his equipment was for, how it worked, and what he was using to spray for the ants. They told him where they'd seen the ants, when we saw them and watched him go about his job. They asked lot of questions and learned a lot.
They soon lost interest and took a snack outside to play on the playground. They used the swings, climbed up on the rings and bars and even took a few spins around the driveway on their bikes and scooters. At one point Alec came in to show me his peanut butter cracker. He pulled them apart and he thought the peanut butter that was left on one of the crackers looked like Michigan-- and he was right! It was a bit cool and windy so they didn't stay outside all that long and were looking for something to do.
Alec suggesting playing the Scrambled States of America game and we all played a few games. Evan won the first game (we have to slightly modify the play of the game to accommodate for Evan since he can't yet read yet, but I just have the older two boys count to 5 in their heads to give him a head start.... apparently he doesn't need as much of a head start as I thought because he won by a lot!). I can't believe how much they have learned about the states by playing this game. They know many of the nicknames by heart now and can find many of the states on the map faster than I can. We talked about the great lakes, the names of the great lakes, and why they are the only lakes shown on the entire map. Alec wanted to play another round, but as much as I love how much they learn by playing the game, I can only play so many times in a row before I need a break.
Once the exterminator left and we had a quick bite of lunch, we headed out to do some errands. The boys really wanted to head to the library to pick up even more of our books and DVD's that came in. On the way I decided to stop at a local farm and buy some fresh veggies for dinner. They didn't want to get out of the car though since they were engrossed in listening to the Boxcar Children's Hockey Mystery. They kept having me turn the CD off so they could ask questions and make predictions. We had a few more stops to make and then we headed home. Before we even reached our house, Ian told me he finished his new library book that we had just picked up. It was called Personal Watercraft and he told me he read the whole thing cover to cover. I was amazed. It wasn't a hugely long book but it was long enough that I was shocked he managed to read it in just 15 minutes or so.
They spent the afternoon playing outside in the sand, in the woods and running all around. They took turns using Ian's scooter, washed and rode their bikes, and tried using their homemade bows with some sticks they found and my husband's old arrows (that have since lost their tips). They were having so much fun they didn't want to pick up their toys and go out to dinner... but they eventually did.
We headed out to dinner (since we had nothing to go with the salad and corn I bought at the farm!) and we once again listened to the Boxcar Children. While waiting for our dinner to arrive we played tic tac toe on the kid's menus and using my husband's pen and paper we played quite a few rounds of hangman too. We all take turns writing and guessing the words and letters so they gets lots of practice with their spelling.
All in all I felt like they got in most every subject today through unschooling-- reading: they read in bed every night and listen to books on CD as well as reading all of the environmental print. Writing/ Spelling: playing hangman. Geography/ History: using bows, playing Scrambled States of America game and apparently eating snack! Life skills: packing a suitcase. Math: counting to see who won the game, counting and comparing letters, syllables and surrounding states during the game, measuring (with my husband at our trip to Lowe's), & problem solving which they seem to encounter all day long! For example: Alec's bike had no kick stand and they were trying to figure out how to wash it without lying it down in the dirt. I know there were other instances of each but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head this morning. I find if I'm really attuned to what they are doing I see all sorts of applied knowledge, development of new knowledge and interest! They are so interested in the world around them.