unschooling

autumn

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corn maze and pumpkin park with friends

building Gavin’s new loft bed with Grandma and Grandpa’s helpimg_2877

cat loving

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trying to discover what plants and trees we have in the new yard

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a birthday scooter!

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taking huge loads of things we no longer need to the thrift storeimg_2990

a wonderful hike to Bloods Lake

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cold days

We’ve been reading books, of course. Gavin picked out a novel from the library that he says is good called The Mapmaker’s Sons by V. L. Burgess. He also borrowed How To Train Your Dragon, Book 1 by Cressida Cowell. Lilah is reading The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

Lilah and I built a canoe and teepee fort with her set of fort building pieces.

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Then we had a tea party inside it.

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We went to a women’s gymnastics match at the university with my dad

and Lilah’s practicing her own gymnastics in a slightly more challenging class now. Here she is doing a handstand on the beam and then she practiced a round-off dismount.

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We all played Civilization on the computers together.

Gavin and I played a game of The Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It’s really quite a good one for kids with longer attention spans.

Lilah watched Song of the Sea again, one of her favorites and mine too.

I baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cranberry cookies and we all ate them.

We pulled out our marble maze pieces and built and experimented and gasped as the cats knocked our creations down and then built them again.

Gavin got out his master builder books and has been making and remaking various different things with his Legos. Today he built a drawbridge that moves up and down.

Lilah made a horde of adorable paper cats and angels and cat angels. She even decided she wanted to make a chain of them and figured part of the process out and asked for help with the rest but did it all herself.

Gavin’s been working more (in tiny bits) on his book.

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He and I spotted a bird up close in the parking lot.

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The kids made a few different automatons from a kit that came in the mail as a gift. They were fascinated.

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So I introduced them to the Strandbeest, amazing huge automatons made by Theo Jansen, and they were even more fascinated. If you haven’t come across these already, you’re in for a treat!

 

Lilah and I have been hula hooping and working on new tricks.

We went to the natural history museum and learned about DNA and watched videos about Native American history and culture. This was the first time that the DNA has sparked Gavin’s curiosity apart from solving the puzzles they have out in the area. He looked carefully at a display of all the protein pairs in human DNA compared with about twenty other animals and then we talked about how two strands fit together and apart again, creating the spiraling shape.

The kids reconnected with some old friends at the museum who we haven’t seen in years and who play a computer game Gavin and Lilah like so they have been playing a bit together now and then and having a lot of fun sending “letters” to each other and showing off their in-game creations.

I have been thinking a lot about parenting with empathy and reading many articles about how to support kids when they feel anger, in expressing and feeling and then moving forward and if helpful making things right with others.

We’ve been chatting and dreaming about where we’d like to visit this year; Southern Utah, California, Arizona are on the table.

I talked a bit to the kids about yoga and mindfulness and we practiced a few very short meditations together. I found mainly bedtime meditations for kids and I am hoping I can find some more that involve both movement and relaxation and are a little more playful.

We read a few books about Martin Luther King, Jr. and talked about how things are similar and different than when he was alive.

I learned how to knit cable twists and made a pretty good looking hat in a color I call mermaid. Gavin put in a request for a similar one in deep blue.

Chris served on a jury for a trial the past two weeks and so afterward he talked with the kids about what he did and how things work. They were both fascinated and a bit worried about it as it was a pretty serious criminal trial.

Today, Chris was home all day so I got to take a snowy hike on my own. Beautiful!

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hot days

Recently we have been enjoying

kaleidoscope play with patterns and mirrors

reading and reading and reading some more

a mining party where we searched for and cracked open geodes, panned for gold and identified gems in a raw state

playing at the museum

puppeteering and castle building at another museum

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tree climbing

 

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earthquake testing on different structures

IMG_5291fireworks watching and cuddling with Grandpa

exploring up Storm Mountain with Daddy on a Sunday, trying rock stacking after watching a video of a man nicknamed Gravity Glue who makes huge and amazing rock stacks in Colorado rivers.

 

 

 

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locations & destinations

We went geocaching for the first time!

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It was a learning process, and a fun one.  We downloaded an app on my phone that allowed us to look for caches nearby and then we headed up to the Capital grounds where we used the compass and map on my phone to move toward the cache until we were in the area.  Then we had to use our eyes to find its hiding spot. We found two caches and tried but didn’t find a third.  I think I need to do more research before heading out and we need to choose carefully.  We’re hoping to do this with another family over the summer.

We played on the playground with friends before heading back here for more play, goodbyes and then soccer for Gavin and Broken Age playing for Lilah.

Broken Age is an amazing narrative computer game where you solve puzzles of various kinds and difficulties. Gavin has been playing it with his dad when Lilah does gymnastics and recently Lilah requested to play too so we’ve started another game, she and I.

Gavin had soccer games and practice.

They played Small World.

We visited the Wild West playground which is a really fun set up with local places of significance represented in a unique playground.  When they got hot and tired we had a picnic lunch in the shade and I read a few pages of Castle in the Air before they ran off to play some more.

We happened upon an article about the old Wasatch Warm Springs Bath House history, which is now abandoned and in our local park so we read about it and looked at some old photos.

The kids built various things out of K’Nex.   It’s fun to watch the complexity of their creations grow along with their building and planning skills.

We spread mulch over our vegetable garden.  We need a bit more but it’s a good start.  We haven’t tried mulch before this so it will be interesting to see how it does.  I think I spotted a pumpkin sprout and possibly a dumpling squash as well this morning.  Lilah was thrilled that there was a pink strawberry on one of the plants.  Today it was ripe enough to pick and eat! It’s such fun to watch the changes and help nurture the plants along and then enjoy the harvesting and feasting.

We puzzled.

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We read more of Castle in the Air.  It’s a delight.

We met with other unschoolers at a new to us park in Ogden called Ogden High Adventure park.  It was full of ropes play, spinning things and other challenging equipment, plus there’s a river flowing right behind it.  What a fun park!  I’m going to play more on it next time too!

Lilah counted up the money she’s earned (with my help) from doing chores and then when we went to Target, she bought herself a Lego Hero Factory set.

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We visited the aquarium.  It had been quite a while so that was fun.  Gavin particularly likes the river otters and Lilah enjoyed seeing the caiman alligators.  I always like the cuttlefish and octopus especially.  The penguins were all nesting and we watched them carefully picking up small stones and carrying them to their nests and arranging them while their partners lay on the top of the rock nests.

We met up in the canyon with other unschoolers for “Forest School”, which was a bunch of families meeting in a forest meadow and exploring and we scouted a creek and found bones and climbed rocks and hauled a rusty car hood over to make a bridge.

And in between all of this, reading and story making and researching and experimenting and hula hooping and painting and giggling and cuddling and cleaning and negotiating.  It’s been good.

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Home again

We reconnected with our life at home today.

Zombie Dice.

Escape!

Music videos and singing along.

Fantasy soccer team adjustments.

Legos.

Computer games.

Returning library books after choosing some to renew.

A trip to the Leonardo for drawing (cats, of course) and

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building using real tools and hardware and

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circuit making and

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airplane testing and color play.

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Gavin reading Japanese fairy tales to Lilah at bedtime.

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So good.

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Up Storm Mountain again

We haven’t been on our favorite hike up Storm Mountain since last fall but it’s been so nice that we ventured up today!

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We also played with Lego elves sets, started reading Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell and Lilah made me feel so special and loved by making me a necklace with pages that read: Mama, I love you to the moon and back, I love you infinity and beyond, etc. Am I lucky or what?

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After lunch we headed up the canyon. It took us an hour or so more than it could have to leave the house so I was feeling grumpy by the time we left but when we got up there and breathed in the piney air and felt the sun on our skin I felt great. The kids were very excited to get to the stream where they love to climb, but it’s a steep path up.

 

We made it with a few short stops and they spent the next quarter of an hour throwing rocks into the water and watching them splash. After that we had a snack on a sunny boulder, discovered a rock that drew colored lines on other rocks, collected sparkly rocks and arranged them on the boulder, we continued up, climbing, splashing, leaping, balancing. We even tried putting some snow balls into the icy stream and watching them float down over waterfalls.

It was so wonderful to be there and watch both kids reveling in the challenges and explorations of the mountains!

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plural noun: bagels

We played with MadLibs and were all enjoying it very much until Gavin wrote something wrong twice and there wasn’t space left to fit it in and got really upset and decided to take some time on his own.  I am happy that he’s beginning to develop strategies to use to deal with situations he’s having difficulty with.

They built with Gavin’s physics set.

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They built with Magformers.

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We played at the park.

Lilah and I did some yoga.

We tried a new kind of flour in gluten free bagels: cassava (which is the same thing as tapioca except it includes the whole root).

Bagels have a lot of steps. When we put them in the simmering water with sugar, they dropped the bottom and then slowly floated up to the surface. Gavin tasted the water, realized it was sweet and asked if it was the same as what we put in the hummingbird feeder. I told him, “Yes, pretty much except that doesn’t have flour from bagels in it.”

The kids each sprinkled their own bagels with poppyseeds, then we put extra cornmeal and poppyseeds on some and left a few plain.

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They came out a bit gummier than I’d like, but everyone else was pleased. I’ll try without psyllium husk powder next time. This time I added it in case they started coming apart in the water, like they did in our last bagel making attempt.

We watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind together. It’s one of our favorite Hayao Miyazaki animated films. Lilah is very drawn to the main character who works to bring peace, understanding and respect of all living things about.

All four of us walked over the local school playground, kicked the soccer ball around and played on the playground.

The kids and Chris went to scouts and made kites and crowns while I had some time on my own. It was good for everybody.

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