Monday, January 12, 2015

Combining Delight Directed Learning and Unschooling

  With the combination of delight directed learning and unschooling that we tend to lean towards I just never know exactly how our day is going to go.  It used to bother me a bit to feel like our days were not in my control but now I have learned to embrace it and enjoy the journey.  The kids interests are varied and by the end of the day I can see just how much we've accomplished.

Alec and I had such a great time playing memory and GeoDice yesterday that we had already talked about playing games for school today.  We talked about pulling out games to use but in the end I decided to let them lead me and see where our school day ended up.

Playing GeoDice yesterday 
They started with video games, computer games and TV:

The boys started their mornings with screens once again.  The boys found that there was another upgrade available for Minecraft on our Kindles so they updated and went exploring to see if they could figure out what the updates were.

Ian watched Ax Men

 Alec took over my computer checking out many of the Scholastic sights-- Spirit Animals, Wings of Fire  and Minecraft.  He read "how to" articles, played games and read an excerpt from the next Wings of Fire book.  He kept navigating from site to site and reading what he was finding to us all.  He was so darn excited it was hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm.

We took a bit of time off from playing for Alec to learn how to make dinner:  

    It's Alec's turn to help with dinner tonight and he told me last night he wanted to make beef stew and crescent rolls.  I thought it was an odd choice since he won't eat beef stew but I made sure everything was all thawed out and ready to go this morning.  I called him into the kitchen and he was surprised we were starting dinner so early but I explained that slow cooking the stew beef in  the crock pot all day makes it nice and tender and as an added bonus of using the crock pot he'll be able to play until 15 minutes before dinner when we'll start the rolls.  We coated the beef in flour and seasonings and browned it in the pan.  Alec washed and cut the potatoes and added the carrots.  He measured out the water and we talked about why we wash all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan into the crock pot too.  It was a great cooking lesson and he was so excited to help cook even though he fully admitted he'll only eat the crescent rolls.  I've really noticed that out of the three Alec seems to enjoy cooking so much!  I don't know if he likes having my undivided attention or if he truly enjoys cooking but he gets so excited when it's his turn.

The boys did some traditional schoolwork:

 Ian went off to read in his room when he was done.  Alec was reading a Minecraft book and learning some new strategies as soon as he was done.  He's frustrated that a lot of what they learn, hear about, and see advertised for Minecraft updates doesn't seem to apply to the pocket version on their Kindles but he's determined to find out if there is a way.  (reading)

Evan was eating and I asked if he wanted to tell me the answers to his math questions while I wrote them down for him so we could get math out of the way early and first.  He managed to tell me all the answers to the entire page of subtracting 10; doing the work in his head, he got them all right!  I guess he finally understands the concept!  Ian came down and asked for help with his fractions book and ended up doing 4 pages in his book!  He told me it was because they were so easy! (math)

Then we turned to a learning kit:

Ian wanted to put together his smart robot  today.  He had tried before, on his own, to put it together and was so frustrated by the instructions that he had put it away.  I offered to help him today and I have to agree that the instructions leave a little something to be desired.

We finally got the robot together and working.

We rolled up the living room rug and, after sweeping the whole thing, Ian made an obstacle course for his smart robot to navigate and called his brothers over to see it.  Alec and Evan soon took to making their own obstacle courses for the robot and we had great fun with it.  We talked about why it was so "smart" and how it finds it's way through the maze.

Evan made a great connection/analogy between the robot and the Blood of Olympus book we just finished listening to.  It always amazes me the connections they can make that I just don't think to make.

We watched movies for history and science:

While I had all the boy gathered together I offered to read another chapter in Lewis and Clark and Me.  When we were finished with the chapter and had discussed it a bit, Ian and I settled down to watch Sacagawea-- Heroine of the Lewis and Clark Journey.   The younger two boys went to watching Wild Kratts in Evan's room.   Ian really seemed to enjoy this movie too and commented on the fact that Sacagawea wasn't paid even though her husband was.  We talked about how Native Americans, women, and black people were treated back then (he knew they had a slave with them that was set free many years later).  We compared this movie to the book and the Lewis and Clark movie he watched last week.

I'm seeing how interested in historical documentaries Ian is becoming and I'm already looking into what other movies he might enjoy watching.  It's a great way for him to learn and absorb history!

We did some housework altogether: 

 Once the movies were over the boys set to work cleaning the bathrooms; their added chore for the day.  Working together we can get these chores done so much faster.  I can't say they all happily helped out but they didn't gripe overly much and I was happy for the help.  They also put away their laundry and made their beds.

They sat down for a bit more schoolwork:

Alec settled down to work on a few pages in his math book and Evan finished up two more pages in his phonics book.  He reviewed the words You and Me.  Alec worked with finding the lines of symmetry and labeling angles obtuse, acute and right.

Evan and I sat down together and he read I Need  A Little Help to me.  He hardly needed any help reading this book.  He did great and read with lots of expression, making sure to look at the beginning sound of each word he was reading.  Slowly but surely we're making progress!

Then we finished up our school day:

 During lunch I read some more of our Harry Potter book.  Alec was listening to the story, eating his lunch, and working on another dolphin watercolor painting.  Talk about multi-tasking!  After lunch the boys all asked if they could watch TV and play video games again.  I don't typically allow that until later in the day but knowing we all did math, reading, science, and history and knowing that we did some art, some cleaning, and some cooking I couldn't think of a good reason why not.  It's not like they were going to to play outside in the pouring rain.

I find our days work best when we have this gentle combination between delight directed learning and unschooling.  I do guide them and we have things they are asked to work on but for the most part I try to follow their leads and let them learn about what they are interested in.

 Linking Up With:

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  1. This was awesome! I love reading about your days! Honestly I wish I could be more like that. I feel like all of MK's learning has to be directed. You keep up with all that you do so well, too. I can honestly say that I have gotten MUCH better than I used to be. I am much more free and unrestricted, but you are on a much better system. We have to do math every day, he will never do 4 pages in a day, lol. Though he is good at math, he doesn't like it. I had to switch him from Abeka b/c he was getting so frustrated with the work. I think the book is a grade ahead of what it says and he already works a grade ahead. It was just too much. I have also lessened how much of the page I make him do. Anyway, all of that to say, I really enjoy reading about your day and how you organize it. Thank you.

    Thanks for linking up at #LiveLifeWell



    1. For the most part my boys work on two pages in math every day; it's rare that they want to do more and usually if they do it's with taking the next day off in mind. I often do a problem or two with them if it's a new concept; assign them a portion of the page and if they get them all correct I typically cross out the rest of the questions (assuming that all the problems are working with the same concept). I find that my boys don't seem to need as much repetition as the books seem to think they do!

  2. I couldn't find anywhere to comment on the other post that you linked up with us, but it was awesome as well! Those were great resolutions. I think I really need to sit down and think about our schooling and the changes that I want to make. Thanks for the post!



    1. You're welcome!.. though now I'm curious to go and see what is wrong with my other post. :)