Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday is Language arts...

      I've decided to try to weave just a bit of structure into our typical unschooling days.  As much as I keep trying to embrace a radical unschooling philosophy, I struggle with it.  I thought the perfect compromise might be to just focus on one mini lesson each morning.  I'd feel like I was teaching them something and then they'd have the rest of the day to pursue their own interests.  I know it's only been one day so far, but I think even I can keep up with a 5-10 min. mini lesson each day.  We focused on Language Arts yesterday. 
     I took a lined sheet of paper and wrote both of the older boys full and complete names in cursive.  I then asked them to copy their names twice in their best work.  They did awesome!  Alec can write his first name pretty easily but has never really joined any other letters to make words so I wasn't sure if he'd struggle with this a lot or not.  He told me it was tricky, but he did a great job and I was amazed by the improvement from the first try to the second try.  Ian sailed right through.  Alec also felt the need to complain "but we're unschoolers, why do I have to do any work?  This is boring." (etc... it's amazing how long they can complain sometimes!).  I calmly reminded him that I don't ask for much and he could be doing a lot more work if he went to school everyday.  Once I told him he could play word games on the computer he quickly finished up. 



      I have decided to fully embrace the computer and all the learning games on it too.  If I had printed out word searches the boys would have complained, yet when left to play word games on Spelling City they happily did word searches, memory games, hang mouse, etc. using third grade spelling words.  I had an account on Spelling City set up from when I taught third grade several years ago and my word lists were still there.  I pulled up the list, showed Alec the words he'd be working with (imagine our surprise and delight to find that it was all about animals and the words included things like reproduction, mammal, traits, inherited, reptile, etc.).  He read through the list and told me what each word meant and then happily clicked on games and got to "work."  He had so much fun playing.  Ian did too.  It's times like that when I wish we had more than one computer!
      While the boys were busy writing and playing I had Evan put an alphabet train puzzle together.  I have decided that since he's so resistant to reading perhaps we need to start back at the beginning.  Maybe he doesn't know all his letters as well as he should.  He grumbled a bit too, but I was amazed at how quickly he put that puzzle together all by himself!  We then decided to read his favorite Bob's Book called Sam.  We reviewed the words: the, Sam, Mat, cat, and, on and sad. 

      The boys had been playing Lego's all morning-- putting together the few new sets Evan got over the weekend and just getting along great!  It was just about time for trampoline and I was settling down to read Jangles: A big Fish Story (which Ian insisted I must read before we returned it to the library because it was such a great story) when all the boys decided they wanted to hear the story.  So, we read the story out loud and talked about whether it was fiction or not and how we can tell.  As we talked we got ready to leave. 

       We listened to The Key to the Indian on our way to and from Trampoline.  We realized that this was not the fourth book in the series, but the fifth book by the end of the first chapter.  We decided to go ahead and finish listening to it anyway rather than wait for book four to come in and listen to them in order.  Luckily, the author summarizes what happened in book four so we weren't totally lost in listening to the story.  Trampoline was great fun, as always, and we decided to head out and get some errands done on the way home.
     Once home Ian couldn't wait to get outside and dig in the sand while the younger two boys blew up some balloons to set up obstacles for Batman and Robin.  Alec blew up his own balloons and asked for a lesson in tying them so he could do it all by himself.  They all played quietly and nicely until dinnertime.  They were eating a quick and early dinner so we could head out for haircuts and grocery shopping.  While eating they asked to watch TV and they watched an episode of Cyberchase all about equivalent fractions.   It was a great, pretty uneventful day.  Everyone got along, everyone had fun, everyone learned something. 

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