Thursday, November 7, 2013

Almost unschooling.

   On Sunday we made all the boys work, and work hard!  We set off for my husband's great aunt's house and raked leaves all day.  The boys worked really hard for most of the day and while they occasionally complained I think they were pretty proud of themselves and their work.  As soon as they got paid they asked to go pick out some new toys and we let them.  They did a great job budgeting their money and they happily spent the night playing new video games and with new toys in front of the fireplace.  (work ethic & money/ budgeting)
     I thought we'd get back on schedule come Monday and we kind of did, but not really.  I didn't make them sit and do any actual school work but we did make it back to trampoline classes and then spent the afternoon at the library.  Alec was, one again, out of all books and so we sat for a while picking out all sorts of wonderfully illustrated kids books about animals.  We came home with a bulging bag of books. (physical education & reading)
    On Tuesday I asked all the boys to do a quick writing activity.  I had Evan read me a Bob Book and then we wrote a few of the words onto a sheet of paper for him to copy once each.  I also stuck pot it notes all around the house on the TV, Wii, DS, DVD player, etc. for him to read.  He can read me his stories without any problems most days but if we see some of the familiar words somewhere else he completely draws a blank.  My husband and I decided screen time was the perfect incentive for Evan and so he can not play any screen until he reads us the word on the post it note attached to that device.  He has not made a single mistake since! (Reading & Writing)
      After the older two boys each wrote a sentence in their cursive books Ian and I set to work on his science fair project.  He read two more books on mummies and told me what facts to type up and include in his report.  Since it's a homeschool science fair and pretty much anything goes I just had each of the boys come up with a bulleted list of facts about their topic.  Most of the families don't read a lot of the displays anyway and I would have felt bad making the kids write up an actual report that no one would even read.  As it was we had some tears and frustration with just the small amount I asked them to do.  In the end all the reports look amazing and I know the boys are proud of their hard work.  Ian's goal was to have four typed pages of facts and we ended up with six so I'm real proud of him for going beyond his own expectations. (Science & Writing)
      The boys have had a few more karate classes and are still loving it.  I love to see the 100% effort they give to each and every class.  Ian is well on his was to earning his first patch and Alec is just about ready to get his third and final patch.  They are learning many new Korean and vocabulary words and even Evan has picked up on many of the student creeds already. (Sociology, Vocabulary, Physical Education, Self- discipline).
    Yesterday we were up very early and hit the grocery store first thing.  We didn't need much food for us but we needed to pick up all the supplies for the science fair.  Each boys has to have a snack to go along with their topic and I knew we'd be spending the day Thursday getting ready.  Once home from the grocery store I asked all the boys to find something to do for math since I feel like we've really been neglecting that.  I know we probably have encountered quite a bit of math as we go about our daily lives but every now and then I like to have something I can look at and point to so I feel like we've really accomplished something.  It finally dawned on me the other day that if the boys were in public school they'd be in k, 2 and 4 and I don't feel like their work is up to the level that all their peers work is.  It is probably just my perception but that did give me a moment of anxiety.  The boys willingly pulled out McRuffy and I sat down with them.  We flipped through a lot of pages and skipped a ton of repetitive work.  If I saw something I thought we hadn't yet covered I asked them to do a problem or two to show me if they could and they breezed through a good chunk of lessons.  Maybe they aren't nearly as behind as I thought! (Math) 
      Evan has been doing so good on his counting that I decided to start him on addition.  He has been adding things on his own so I knew he could handle it.  I created a worksheet for him on Softschools with answers up to 10.  They had pictures along  side each equation but we worked on counting on and he did really well.  The only thing he really struggled with was writing a few of the numbers.  He still struggles with 6, 5, and 8 but once I dotted them for him he zipped right through the whole page in no time. (Math and Writing)
     We then spent the rest of our day playing board games like Sorry Sliders and Yahtzee.  They played outside, went to the park with their cousins and had a great time climbing, riding scooters and getting fresh air.   They, once again, ended their day with a karate class.  We've been reading a lot of books at bed and listening to books on CD in the car, like usual.  Like it or not we've been thrown back into unschooling and I can already see the boredom setting in.  This past week the boys have been picking on one another and fighting even more than usual.  I know I need to start planning some fun activities just to keep them occupied.  I really only plan lessons to keep them from killing one another and driving me crazy because I can see them using math, reading, map skills, etc. on a daily basis.  If some skills aren't as strong as I'd like them to be yet I know they still have time to develop them.  It's just that lately I don't have any desire to plan anything.  I don't know if I just haven't been inspired by anything I've been seeing on Pinterest and other learning sites or if I'm just a bit burnt out and need a mini vacation.  Either way life goes on and learning happens!  That's the real beauty of almost unschooling! 

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