Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Unschooling Days

    It's not always easy fitting our schoolwork in around all our summer fun but we certainly don't mind having lots of summer fun!  We spent a lazy day around the lake yesterday and today the boys are hanging out with their cousins in their pool.  Ian was thrilled to find out that their cousins were having friends over for the day and one of the boys was on his basketball team a few years ago.  He was so excited to meet up with an old friend.  I was feeling bad that, once again, we were "skipping" school and my whole plan to school year round was going out the window but then I sat and really thought about our week and realized that he boys had been doing some school stuff these past few days even when I thought we were skipping school.  It's just the work wasn't school work I had planned-- it was unschooling. 
    They worked a lot on their social skills today.  With 7 kids it's not always easy for everyone to get along and since they tend to make up games as they go along all 7 kids had to work together to decide what was fair.  They had to change and modify rules as they saw fit and soon realized that changing rules would only work if everyone agreed.  They made up a game Jackpot Ball where they had to add up the scores from the balls they caught and subtract when the throwing demanded it.  They had a very complicated system where sometimes they shouted out thousands, sometimes hundreds, and sometimes ones so the thrower really had to work hard to keep everyone's scores straight.  They played tag, played shark, jumped and ran.  There were a few tears here and there and, of course, we had our share of arguments too, but mostly I think everyone had lots of fun. 
A spinning jump into the pool

landing on the tube

He's so impressed with himself that he doesn't fall off!

Starting to play Jackpot ball

Pretty soon all the kids join in the game

At lunch, Alec and his cousin studied Alec's unusual apple juice
(I have no idea what made it so unusual!)

Playing in the lake

Trying to surf

Pretending to water ski

all smiles!

Warming up in the hot tub. 

    They're all reading up a storm.  We're listening to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson every chance we get and we're just about done both books.  Alec constantly had his face buried in a book and has managed to finish so many chapter books that he's down to so few books now that we need to make another run to the library.  Ian has been reading all the truck books I got from the library for him and is slowly working his way through the Genius Files book with me each night.  Sometimes we read at breakfast, last night we read at dinner, we're reading most nights before bed too.  Sure I'd love to see Evan really take off and start reading on his own, but he's still not all the interested and so I have to make do with what he has learned and stop focusing on all the learning he still has left to go.  We'll plod away at it and I know that each time we work with words, letters and sounds we're building his skills slowly and surely.  Why, just today he was in charge of crossing items off the grocery list and we did lots of sounding out-- "pasta starts with p," "steak starts with s and end with k,"  "a-n-d says and," etc. 
Alec would not to outside and play or swim until he
finished The Secret Zoo

       We worked on math when Ian made banana bread today and we talked about how to measure 1/8 tsp. using a 1/4 tsp.  Alec, Ian and I talked about ordering fractions and adding fractions.  The role of the denominator and why bigger numbers mean smaller pieces.   It was funny that these same fraction amounts cropped up later in the day as my sister in law was cutting up cinnamon buns to share.  She cut them each once and the boys remarked that it was in half, then she cut them again and they said fourths.  By the time she was cutting the fourths into two equal pieces they had to stop and think for a bit but Ian finally came up with eights.  We also talked a lot about money, budgeting, and our spending this week as the boys are asking to buy toys, new video games, and different treats at the grocery store.  I'm teaching them to shop around for prices, compare store brands to name brands, and just in general think about what they're spending their money on.  We've done a lot of counting, adding, and multiplying just through our daily lives and the normal course of living (we all want 6 chicken nuggets for lunch so that's... 18!). 
    Science has mostly been nature studies as we're outside all day every day.  We observe the birds, fish, and bugs around us.  Ian had me look up facts about dragonflies the other day as the boys were arguing about why they sometimes fly around while linked together.  We learned a lot about dragonflies that I never knew (did you know they breathe through their bums?)!  Ian had put diet soda and Mentos on our grocery list for today since he wanted to set off a soda volcano at least one more time this summer.  We talked about why only diet soda works and not regular soda.  I reminded him he's got to move fast and all three boys worked together to set it off before dinner! We've also talked about personal hygiene and taking care of our bodies quite a bit lately.  As our schedules change for the summer the boys are more apt to forget about showers and baths since they're swimming so much.  We've also talked a lot about the use of sunscreen and the importance of it.  My boys all got their first sunburn this summer (Alec's was enough to make his shoulders start peeling) and so they're getting better about remembering to use and reapply sunscreen.  Alec continues his obsession with animals and is reading several non- fiction stories and magazines about animals; of which he just can't help sharing with us all. 

There it goes!


       Ian and Alec have been learning a lot of geography through their reading of the Genius files; which follows a brother and sister duo through their cross country travels from California to Washington DC and back again.  The twins stop along the way to see the sights in most every state and there's a lot of talk about route numbers, maps and the changing landscapes of time.  We're all also listening to Percy Jackson and Annabeth make their way across the United States from New York to California.  We heard about the St. Louis Arch, the Mississippi River, Las Vegas, etc.  Typically we then look up pictures of the places mentioned so they can better understand what we're listening to. 
     All in all I realized that we're doing a really good job of balancing our schoolwork and our summer fun.  Phew! We can keep hanging out and having fun like we've been doing! 

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