Monday, March 21, 2011

Unschooling Monday!

Today was a busy day (like every other day). Summer is in its' last days and the last week or two have been absolutely divine. Perfect weather for walking to a friend's house and picking blackberries on the way, gardening, and also for more mundane tasks like washing and scraping paint.

We were about to throw out an old blanket when Spikee decided to make it into a boat in the back yard and asked me to go boating. So we got an atlas and used the map of the continents to decide where we were going to visit. We visited Antarctica and threw snow balls, Africa and saw zebras and ate couscous, Asia where we ate stir fry with chopsticks and spring rolls, and South America where we spotted macaws and poison dart frogs before a visit to Machu Picchu . Tomorrow we have a few more continents to visit and many more sharks to fight off on our journey. Angus had a lovely time, and the dog did too, all the while driving us crazy.

Spikee has also been really enjoying work books. He decided he wanted a text book at about the same time Stylish announced a desire to do maths out of a book (hardly a coincidence) He has one with letters and one with numbers and his dexterity is notably better now than it was only a month ago. Yesterday he drew his first person!

Stylish is enjoying the girl guides but today staged a little protest by refusing to sing what she describes as the "God" song, about "how he made hills". The teacher was rather unsure what to do because she's never encountered that before (free thinking is disturbing). She has prepared an activity for everyone to do next week, it is of course about dart frogs. She's written a list of scientific names and everyone has to find out what sort of frog they have.

She's also decided to start doing maths, and asked if we could get her a text book. She's plowing through it and enjoying herself a great deal. I'm surprised by just how much there is in it that I learnt at school but never ever used, and have forgotten. Some of the questions are so blatently stupid I tell her to forget about it. Funnily enough, I remember ripping the answers out of maths text books when she was in school. Now I would never need to do that because she does the maths for her own enjoyment, and only uses the answers to help her.

Anyone who says their child would never be motivated to learn on their own should pay attention to this!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

l like unschooling!

I really like unschooling the kids! I've been a schooling mama and it just didn't gel with me.

I never liked washing and ironing uniforms, packing lunches that I knew only ever got thrown out or went mouldy before I could find them, homework fights, waking the baby to get to school for collection on time, having to hand my daughter over to someone else and needing THEIR permission to parent her between 9 and 3 and many many more!

What I like about unschooling, or natural learning, is that we can really plot our own lives. We can go for a day trip or a holiday when it suits us. We can get up as early or as late as we like, and the same goes for sleep. The children can learn about what interests them, and by following their instincts they learn about so many other things that I won't even attempt to list. I am the one who knows where my children are at, and I don't need to wait for a report card. I know that my kids socialise with lots of different children, that are all different ages.

In fact, come to think of it, I think I love everything about natural learning! And here's an update on all the things that have been happening lately.

Angus is now crawling and sitting up and babbling lots, and he is threatening to get a tooth. He loves playing with everyone, and is interested in the pets and all his toys. He loves having a bath with me and Spikee and his favourite bath toy is his bath book.

Spikee is learning lots about how computers work, and he likes doing lots of typing, changing colour and font, navigating his own way around youtube, and some dinosaur games we found on the www. He is still interested in geography and when last seen was wandering around with an atlas telling us where South America and Tasmania are, and that South America is much bigger.

Stylish has taken herself off to her first girl guides meeting this afternoon, with another little girl who unschools about two kilometres from us. She's also bee regularly attending rag rugging classes and making significant progress on her rag rug, which she seems rather pleased with. She's been doing lots of art, drawing horses and frogs, and last week she decided to write an essay about dart frogs. She wrote them most amazing essay, using an extensive show of vocabulary and scientific understanding. I asked her what she would like to do with frogs when she grows up and she told me that she would like to go to South America (possibly explaining Spikee's interest in that particular continent) and discover a new species of frog, and help to classify some other species. She then informed me that there are about 22 new species discovered each year. I am so thrilled with her plan!