Computer play time was followed by lego play time in the morning.


While I cleaned up in the kitchen they used the magnetic poetry words, letter magnets and various other magnets on the fridge to tell some stories together.


In the afternoon, we went out to our garden to get it ready for winter.  I asked the kids to help since I have a sore tailbone and it’s really too much for me to do the repetitive bending that’s needed to pull out the dead plants and cages and markers.  I was surprised by how willing they were (after I explained I needed help) and though they did things in their own way instead the way I would have done it, they did what was needed and enjoyed it.  I am very grateful they are willing and able helpers and I am glad to give them opportunities to help with important tasks in our lives.

After that was done we pulled up our crop of carrots together.  They loved seeing all the different sizes and shapes and we’ll have some yummy carrots and carrot greens to eat.

We cleaned ourselves and the carrots up and then we did some Spanish together, lessons and then games.

Lilah and I went outside to try the helicopter seeds from pinecones in the breeze.  She tossed them up in handfuls and watched them fly.  It was beautiful fun!

Chris showed the kids a short film he made in college and then they talked about how he made it and what goes into making a movie.   There was a lot of excitement about the idea of making our own movies, writing scripts, filming…  Sounds like a great project for us!



There was lots of play with hexbugs this morning as well as quite a few conflicts between the kids.  Both kids wanted to play with the same bug.  Both kids wanted to use the same track piece for different things.  I had to step in and ask them to resolve things when it got too heated.  I reminded them that words are our best tools for resolving differences and that unless they resolve things not only can they not continue their game but also they would both continue to feel badly.  I asked them to help solve things.  Eventually they came up with a lovely compromise and proceeded with their game happily.

They have been more conflicts lately and  I think the cold weather keeping us indoors has been hard on all of us.

We read some library books together and played Chess and Rat-A-Tat-Cat.  Gavin read some Brambly Hedge stories to himself.


A friend came over to play with Lilah and Gavin went to his friends house to play.  It was wonderful here and from what Gavin’s told me, wonderful there too.  There was playground building, singing, stuffed animal playing, math fact sharing, a walk to the park and swinging here. Then Gavin was dropped off, Lilah’s friend was picked up and it was just the three of us at the park enjoying swinging, hula hooping, hoop rolling and the sunshine.

When we got home we made some pumpkin pies together for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

While the pies baked, we watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind together, a Hiyao Miyazaki animated film with a beautiful story about peace being stronger than force. It features a princess who I can actually say I adore because she works harder than anyone in her village, she advocates for others, she is not invested in her appearance, there is not one mention of her marrying in the entire film nor is she ever in need of rescuing, in fact, she is often rescuing others.  Hurrah!  Both kids really enjoyed it and Gavin proclaimed it one of his favorites even though it features a female main character.

It was a cozy evening before the holiday.



We did some reading about and then had quite a bit of conversation about Michael Brown, the young African American man who was shot and killed by a Caucasian police officer and the lack of indictment decision yesterday.  I shared what I could find about facts as well as that there are multiple different stories.  It’s such a crucial concept to grasp that there are sides and different perspectives and more often than not they can all be “right” or “real” or “accurate”.  We talked about cultural privilege, who has it, what it means and the responsibility of caring for others.  I hope that talking about these things when they’re young means they’ll be more attuned to how they fit into the cultural world we all create together when they grow.

We finished reading Matilda!

Lilah and I met her friend at school and then we came home to play.  While we were gone Gavin worked on computer coding.


Gavin and I looked at pictures from Rosetta and Philae of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko while the two girls did yoga together.

All three played together, dressing up and making up a story with queens, ninjas, frogs, cats and countless other elements.  After they exhausted that play they got out the hexbugs and made tracks for them to climb and race and scurry around on.  Almost all of our bugs were out of batteries so I used up the last six of our batteries and they scurried around like mad with full batteries.

Lilah’s friend brought some of her hexbug pieces over to play and Gavin accidentally broke one as they are really tough to get together and apart the more you use them.  For me as a parent it was one of those awkward situations where I felt badly about it but didn’t want to make it into a bigger deal than the kids made it.  So later after talking with Chris we decided to offer to replace it, if that friend and her parents decided they’d like that.  We’ve often had our kids toys broken or messed up by friends and we figure that’s part of playing and learning how to share and it’s never been an issue but we wanted to make sure we cover our friendship bases, but not in an overly formal way that makes us less valuable friends (who can break each other’s things and go with the flow).

After Lilah’s friend went home, we noticed the pine cones we’d collected last week had opened and the seeds inside shake out.  The kids call them helicopter seeds because they twirl as they fall.



There is something so satisfying about being able to explore things over time, to notice changes, to come back and see what you saw last time and notice things that were there before but you didn’t see them.




Gavin watched Pokemon and played on coolmathgames.com this morning.  When Lilah got up she played a game on cool math games and Gavin helped her.

We went to the library to return some books and find new ones to borrow.  They each picked a few and I picked a few and they sat down to read while I finished.  Then we stopped to pick up a few things at the grocery store before coming home.


I read some more of Matilda to the kids while Lilah cuddled with me and Gavin built with legos.

Lilah and I played several games of Rat-A-Tat-Cat and she won every time including one time when she managed to get only zeros (the best possible card)!  Gavin read some magazines while she and I played.


After that Gavin and I played Chess together.


We worked on a puzzle with barns, carriages and hot air balloons.


Lilah made a few things out of our tangram blocks.


Gavin rested (he’s not feeling so great today) while Lilah and I did some Bollywood dancing (dance moves inspired by Bollywood films of India) before dinner was ready.



They built with the marble run pieces and sorted the marbles and found new ways of fitting things together.

The Hobbit lego game was played.

They finished up some perler bead creations they began yesterday.

We went up to the State Capitol Building with some other unschoolers for a tour and explore.

My favorite part was the beautiful matchbook marble walls, where they cut the marble from the same point in both directions and arrange it so it is symmetrical from a center point in all four directions.   Gavin’s favorite part was the dome in the middle where it arches up, up to a painting of blue sky and seagulls on the inside and has intriguing areas with balconies all around from the outside, and the elevator.


Lilah’s favorite part was looking at the marble.


Afterward we played in the gardens with some new friends for a while before heading down to Memory Grove and checking out the ice partially covering the pond and admired the dry grasses on the path up and down from the Capitol.  We admired the view of the city, even with the inversion.  They rolled down some hills on the way.  We even spotted a family of quail!

When we got home it was time for a trip to get groceries with Dad and then dinner, clean up, reading Matilda, cuddles, songs, sleep.





There was more perler bead making, this time they began making pieces to be made into a garland later.


I printed out a few math worksheets for both kids and left them on the table, telling them they could work on them if they wanted to, if it sounded fun.  They both did some during lunch time and then Gavin helped Lilah with hers a bit later on as well.  She would be in first grade this year but is more at a second grade level in math and it makes me happy to be able to meet her where she is with material and interests.


We went roller skating at the other place with the slippery floor and ramps!

When we got home it was time to pick Gavin’s friend up for play time.  They played Connect 4, Chess, The Hobbit lego game, and they built a marble maze.

Gavin was thrilled to see his friend who was over today as it’s been a while since they last played and they have been friends since they were five.  It’s always great to get the two together as they have a long history of fun.



They played with Legos and story told for hours, inspired by their many varied interests.

Lilah decided to try oatmeal for the first time for breakfast and enjoyed it with almond milk and honey.

We finished the puzzle we’ve been working on.


Lilah got out her stickers and played with them.


Gavin worked on a crocodile in flames, titled Sorry Crocodile! made with perler beads.

The kids made quesadillas (with Daiya cheddar as we are vegan) for themselves for lunch and Lilah cut some carrot coins for herself from one of the rainbow carrot bunch, a white one this time.

After lunch they wanted to do more perler bead crafting.  Lilah worked on a heart ornament with color patterns and finished it.  A year ago, it was too frustrating for her to do any kind of pattern in perler beads, with spills and the length of the process so she often gave up so it’s great to see her succeeding with that now.  She was thrilled with the results!  Gavin made an ornament next, with translucent and opaque beads.

We walked over to the park to collect things to try painting and stamping with.  We found pinecones, juniper, some seed balls from the sycamores.  The kids helped me look for some round, smooth rocks for some holiday projects later.  As we walked home, they carried some rocks they’d chosen and they began galloping and clicking their rocks together, pretending they were in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  (In the movie, knights who click the halves of coconuts together imitate the sound of horses hooves as they gallop on foot.)

We got out the paint and paper and began painting.  Lilah painted for a long time and Gavin switched between painting and more perler bead creating.

They admired each others progress and process.  I believe that our unschooling approach is helping all of us be kinder to each other, have more time for each other and generally be happier most of the time.  It’s not that we weren’t striving to be kind before, but there is most time and space for our interests and needs and feelings now, and that leads to being in a better place to appreciate other people and the world.  I am so grateful for kids who encourage each other!


“Mama, can we watch an episode of Cosmos?”  (Cosmos, a Spacetime Odyssey)  This episode was about the age of the Earth and how it’s been interpreted and determined through history.

We read several chapters of Matilda and then there were cuddles and songs and sleep.



There was computer play and Pokemon watching.

After that there was Lego play, inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle and Pokemon, with songs about Team Rocket, Pikachu, a blue and scarlet suit, girl wizards and of course, ninjas.


I read the Autumn Story in the Brambly Hedge collection by Jill Barklem to the kids.  We adore the stories and the illustrations both.


We finished up our celery with our lunch and had just the bottom bit left and I thought, oooh, paint stamping!  So we got out our paint and paper and chose colors.  I like how you can see the xylem in the prints as lighter spots.

They made one together “for fireworks day” with celery stamps and then daisy stamps on top that looked a bit like fireworks.  Then they asked for paintbrushes and began painting with several layers and colors.

We were still working on that when it was time to get ready to go get Lilah’s friend so we decided to paint more tomorrow.  I suggested going on a walk and collecting things to paint and stamp with.  The kids were excited about that idea.


Lilah and I headed to school to pick up her friend.  When we got home there was Lego play, snack eating, bunk bed climbing and then some play with the calico critters, small furry animal figurines with clothes and accessories who live in the dollhouse and lots and lots of laughing.




They began their day with coolmathgames.com computer play and Lego games and an episode of Pokemon.

We puzzled.  Another Charley Harper puzzle that we brought out on Friday with a coral reef and undersea animals, was very fun to look at and talk about after our visit to the aquarium last week.  Lilah worked on some pink coral while Gavin worked on an eel and some orange coral.


We checked our epsom salt crystals and they’re looking good!

I don’t think these crystals will get any bigger but both kids were very excited about growing crystals.  Maybe we’ll start some sugar and salt crystals on strings to grow over a long period.  Maybe we’ll try some borax crystal snowflakes this winter.

A new kids magazine and catalog came in the mail so they read those cover to cover, then switched.

They did some somersaulting and cartwheeling on our gym mat.

We got out my old microscope and looked at some old slides and some table salt.  It was only half working and was very difficult for the kids to use so I think we’ll be trying to get another soon.  Looking at things through the microscope is so much fun and I’d like to do it frequently!


Soon after checking out some table salt grains and an ant leg, it was time for gymnastics and soccer.  Lilah worked on cartwheels, handstands and bars.  Gavin worked on headers, hard kicks and bringing the ball down and under control.











Mixing up crystal growing solution with epsom salt: