unschooling

the modern era (or this week)

The kids played My Little Pony Life.

Lilah read a whole stack of Elephant and Piggie books under an umbrella.  Because it’s cozy, I think.

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We made designs out of pipe cleaners and then mixed up some borax solution to grow crystals on our ornaments.

The borax crystals are especially enjoyable because they grow in mere hours and are ready to take out the same day or at latest the next day.

The kids often ask about how healing happens so I found this video and shared it with them.

 

We picked up a friend and the kids played all afternoon with playmobil castles and people and animals.

On our way out to the car today, Lilah kissed our tree.  She said, “I love you, Whomping Willow.”  It’s Harry Potter all the time, around here.  And it’s such fun!

There was a hike up by Jeremy Ranch, muddy and snowy and beautiful.

Gavin and I played No Stress Chess.  The kids played alone as well.

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Lilah and I made some oatmeal chocolate cranberry cookies, changing our old vegan but not gluten free to vegan and gluten free.  Yummy!

We watched the first bit of the 6th Harry Potter movie, as well as listening to the 4th book on our drives around town.

In the evening Chris took the kids to scouts for their service project meeting and I stayed home.  Alone.  It was good.  I’d been feeling itchy to have some time with my own thoughts.

When they got back we read some more Wizard of Oz in bed.

There was letter writing and card making.  The kids enjoyed using some new stationery with owls on it.

Many games of Carcassonne were played, some with new rules negotiated.

We visited the natural history museum to see a new Extreme Mammals exhibit.  There were some fun things to look at but mostly it was information to read.  We saw what baleen look like, which was great because we were just talking about that a week or two back.  We saw an animal with lower teeth that looked and functioned like a shovel.

Gavin took a special interest this visit in reading all of the signposts leading into the museum, each one focusing on one era… jurassic, triassic, etc.  We decided that the furthest ones from the museum are longer ago and then the closer ones are less long ago until the one right outside the entrance is the current time, Holocene, if I remember correctly.

Lilah drew this.  It’s she and I as mermaids.   She is wearing a purple sweater dress.

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unschooling

Hearts and Flowers

There was more pop bead and K’nex play.

Gavin got out his Lego master builder set.

The hexbugs came out and were built and raced with and they went to Hogwarts.

We watched and listened to Weird Al Yankovich’s Word Crimes song/video about misuse of the English language.  I’m in complete agreement on the topic of saying, “I could care less.”  That’s bothered me for decades now.  The kids found it amusing and we got to talk a bit about some common mistakes that are made.

We checked out some pictures of sociable weaver nests – huge structures built by African birds who work together to build what is essentially a bird condo, with individual nests with separate openings are joined inside one large nest structure.  Fascinating!

“Webervogelnst Auoblodge” by Harald Süpfle – photo taken by Harald Süpfle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Gavin received a letter today from a friend he hasn’t seen in months.  He was so thrilled!  It asked two important questions: Did he want to be pen pals?  and Can we have a playdate?  The answer to both is of course, yes!  I’m quite excited to both rekindle the boys friendship and to encourage writing.  The best part of the pen pal suggestion is, both boys are slow, frustrated writers, so they will be a great match.

We strung up some of our paper hearts to decorate for Valentines Day.

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The kids were happy to put them up and begin talking about what they’d like to do to celebrate.  I’m thinking maybe some cookies with pink and red colors, some hand made valentines and…?  We’ll have to do some more dreaming together.

 

After lunch we went to the Museum of Natural Curiosity.  We climbed and slid and played with drum machines and melody makers.  We spent quite a bit of time making drum loops and melody loops, trying faster and slower tempos, different sounds, different drums, patterns.  Here they are, creating music.

We were bandits and stole dollars from the bank and then gave them to some customers outside the bank.  We explored the magic shoppe and learned some new tricks.

We zip-lined and spun and explored the outdoor nature playground.

Then we headed home for a bit of a Harry Potter movie, dinner, reading, cuddles, songs and bed.

The morning brought more hex bug play.

We finished the craft flowers we started a while back.  The petals were painted in carefully formed wire pieces previously and today they wound them around a stem, added leaves and then wrapped green paper around to make a stem.  Gavin says his looks like a tulip.

I discovered a short video about how dogs smell and interpret the world that I shared with the kids.

 

Lilah and I boiled water and stirred in (lots and lots!) of sugar to begin growing sugar crystals.

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Gavin came and helped us decide when we’d added as much as could dissolve.  It’s amber colored because the sugar we used is non-whitened.

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Gavin worked on some more Lego master builder pieces while Lilah helped by finding pieces for him.

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In the afternoon we headed up to the local living history museum, This Is The Place.  It was pretty quiet, mostly closed for the winter, but we wandered the village, took a short train ride, enjoyed some animals.

On the train tour of the village, Gavin noticed that they had a small version of the blue locomotive named Jupiter, named and painted based on the famous locomotive from the joining of the railroads at Golden Spike site.  He also checked to see how the train cars were linked together and discovered it was different than the huge old link and pin that the replicas of the old trains at Promontory used.  There was a rope in the tree and they figured out quickly what that was for.  Gavin and I read a plaque with information on all the hand-cart companies that travelled across the country to Salt Lake City, when they left, arrived, how many there were, how much equipment they carried and how many survived the journey.

We visited the boot shop and the observatory and house that was inhabited by a squirrel.  That was amusing- going in the bedroom and seeing a squirrel who shot away into the kitchen and then out the door to escape us.

They also practiced their carriage driving skills, sans horse this time.

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unschooling

Tuesday

There was some coolmathgames.com time and then an episode of Wildcratts exploring Dolphin language and then, of course, legos.

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I offered to help them start Gavin’s new crystal growing kit, but they wanted to play with legos first so I instead snaked our bathroom sink.  I despise plumbing but still prefer to do it myself instead of paying someone if possible.  This particular problem only took about twenty minutes of effort and now the sink is working well again so I’m feeling pleased.

They decided to work on some beading… taking apart some old necklaces and making new things.

We opened a packet of Pop Rocks and sprinkled them in a cup of water; watched them bubble and pop and dissolve.  The kids didn’t want to eat them but were fascinated to watch and listen to them release their gasses.  We talked about carbon dioxide gas and then we ended up talking about the artificial coloring in the water from the candy and how there are natural sources of color for foods too.

Gavin taught Lilah how to play Battleship with Chris’ old set.  “Tell me if F-6 is a hit and then put a red peg on the ship if it is.”

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I went to the store to get some supplies for lasagna and some non-residue shampoo for me while the kids played Harry Potter Chess/legos/maze making.

When I got home they were ready to work on the crystal growing kit so Gavin read the instructions, measured out the water and stirred the crystal powder to dissolve it.

He placed the rocks and I poured it over them.  Then we examined it closely.

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Then he had to read the clock and figure out what time it would be in an hour when he is supposed to sprinkle an additional pinch of crystal powder on each rock.  It took him a bit, but he got it.

They played some more Chess, this time with the Harry Potter Chess set, while they waited for the second phase of crystal preparation.

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After that they worked on some more window art painting.

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And then Lilah requested I read some more of Madame Pamplemousse to them before dinner and bed and snuggles and singing.

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Monday

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.

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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!

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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.

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