A Perfect Day: Meshing Tradtional Schooling and Unschooling

Today we had a whole entire day at home.  I can't remember the last time that has happened.



I spent a portion of the morning on the computer with Ian.  My husband had worked with him last night to disassemble the VCR even more and go over the various parts of the machine with him.  My husband explained how the circuit boards are made, why when Ian shines his flashlight on them he can see through some sections and not see through others and even helped us find a few pages of information to read on VCR's for Ian to write his report with.

We have officially changed his science fair project at this point and even though my husband joked that Ian was reporting on 20 something year old technology neither one of us could say he wasn't passionate about it.  I haven't seen Ian this engaged in anything we've done in a long time.



The fair is just under two weeks away and we still have a lot to do.  Alec worked on adding a few more facts to his Venn Diagram while Ian and I watched a Youtube video on how VCR's work.  This is the first video in a three part series and I wanted to watch the first one with him and teach him how to take notes.  While I was working with Ian, Evan was working on copying the last two turtle names down onto paper for his report.  We read two more turtle books together and then we typed up a few more facts onto his report.  We read Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out and One Tiny Turtle while Ian worked on pulling more pieces apart from the VCR and started trying to label them.




Alec just finished up book 3 in his Spirit Animal book and informed me I needed to order book 5 for him since he read the other two books in just under 4 days and he had already started in on book 4 so it wouldn't last him through the weekend.  I warned him that book 5 is the last book out for this series and he shrugged and said he'd find other books to read when he was done.


We read another chapter in Harry Potter while eating lunch and then Evan and I sat down to work on some reading and phonics.  Evan and I worked together on a sheet picking out the vowel sound in the middle of the CVC words.  We then read I'm a Frog! together.  We LOVED this book.  It was so funny!  He was giggling and laughing and doing such an amazing job of combining his sight words with sounding out.  It was a predictable text so he even managed to read whole phrases like "five minutes ago" without pausing.


We found a small pigeon drawn on the back page and he asked me if it was part of the pigeon series. I told him that Elephant and Piggie are an entire series in and of themselves written by Mo Willems, the same author as his beloved pigeon books.  We now need to order more of these through our library.  It was the most enjoyable reading lesson we've had in a long time.
 
 As soon as I was finished reading with Evan, Alec asked if they could watch Ben- Hur.  He found this cartoon version at our library and thought it looked interesting.  He's very big into learning about ancient Rome.  I think he was a bit disappointed at first to learn that it was a religious movie and I thought that they might turn it off but all three boys ended up watching the whole thing and told me it was quite interesting.  I certainly don't object to them learning about religion even if it's not something I teach them.  Some people would even argue that it was a great history lesson.
 

As soon as the movie ended Ian went outside to work on his "site" and the younger two boys went to play in Evan's room.  Ian has been hard at work leveling out our side yard.  He used rocks to outline a "house lot" complete with swimming pool and garage area.

   
It soon became a bit to cold for Ian to be outside (in his SHORTS!) so he wandered inside and asked me to play a game of Battleship with him.  He was smiling hugely by the time we were done because he beat me royally.  We then played a game of Scrambled States of America.  Evan came downstairs and started building with our magna tiles.  Based on his declarations of disappointment it must have collapsed a few times but he was determined to build his building.  On his third try he excitedly called me over to look at his building.  We finished our Friday afternoon up by watching Secondhand Lions, a great, funny family movie that we all enjoy.


He's so proud of his building

I was marveling at how well all the boys had gotten along today and how much learning they had done today; some of it schoolwork, some of it not.  Yet, they didn't complain at all even once today.  I love those days where we seem to perfectly balance what they want to work on and what I'd like to see get accomplished.  It's those times that we equally mesh unschooling and sprinkle in some "real" schooling that seem to work best for us.  Too much traditional schooling and the boys all chafe at the work and with too much unschooling they all seem to wander restlessly all day without any real clear idea of what they want to do.

For us, this was a perfect day!
           
    

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