art, books, unschooling

so much goodness

We’ve started some new classes: a ninja skills class where the kids do hanging and swinging and running up walls and an outdoor education class where we all learn about animals, plants, tool making, tracking and survival skills. They’ve been a lot of fun so far in both. Gavin has made progress in ninja class on hanging onto bars longer and swinging from bar to bar. Lilah has made progress in running up the curved wall to reach the top and swinging on 10 foot diameter wheels to the next huge wheel in recent weeks.

They’ve both learned about how to make stone tools, how to construct the kindling and wood for a fire, how to listen and look to the sky to navigate and how to be good stewards of the land in our outdoor ed. class. We are beginning on making bow drill kits which will allow the kids to start a fire more easily in the winter months.

We went to an amazing dance performance called Traces including a piece by David Charon and a piece by Ann Carlson, which opened my world up a little bit. At the end, the cast welcomed kids onto the stage for popcorn and dancing. Lilah is up there on the stage, thinking about dancing, which she eventually did. It was really special for the kids.

We’ve gotten out for quite a few hikes. One of the most recent was mainly to pick elderberries and the kids were a huge help spotting and picking them and in one case carrying them across a log eight feet above a stream! I made some elderberry syrup for the coming cool months. It’s this amazing magenta color.

We took a quick trip back to California so Chris could speak at a conference there. The kids did lots of bodyboarding and we found some shells and some critters. We found a spot where there were hundreds of washed up sea urchin spines right at the edge of the water, washing in and out. That was exciting. Lilah and I spotted something we initially thought was trash, stuck between rocks in a tide pool. It turned out to be a spiral shark egg case. We looked it up and it belongs to a horn shark. I wish I had gotten a picture of it but I was too worried about getting it back where it belonged once we realized what it was.

Then we met my parents and went to a beach with them for an evening and then spent the following day at the Monterey Bay aquarium, an amazing place. It was really a lot of fun and special to be able to go to the ocean with my parents.

We went on a trail nearby to an abandoned mine town called Bonanza, which interestingly has a lot of buildings still intact even though it’s on a ski resort’s land. We went in a few and resolved to come back (but probably next year because skiing will begin anytime now) because there was so much to explore.

 

We’ve been doing lots of reading as usual. Sometimes in cloaks.

Gavin’s been working hard on designs in TinkerCad for a 3D printer that will be on it’s way soon. He is so excited to work with it!

We’ve been hanging out with friends as much as we can fit in. Gavin plays online a lot with his buddies and Lilah does occasionally. We also meet them at pumpkin patches and museums and up the canyons for fall festivals and so much more.  Most weeks we host a Dungeons and Dragons campaign for the kids and their friends at our house. Chris runs the game and does a fantastic job and I play and try to support the kids and Chris as they figure out how to navigate the game’s challenges. They are slowly but steadily getting more competent and comfortable in their roles as both character and player. It’s so fun to watch!

I’ve been painting some and will have two paintings in an Autumn/Spooky themed show at a local vegan tattoo shop next week. I’m a bit nervous and also feeling proud of my minor accomplishment.

Life is beautiful.

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unschooling

a few October days

We enjoyed an Autumn Celebration with our local unschoolers group.

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We raked leaves and did a scavenger hunt and made mobiles and played with salt dough and punched out leaf confetti and made magnets and climbed trees and rolled down the hill.

I made a leaf necklace while Gavin watched.

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We played with friends at our house.

Gavin began plans for and making of a book. It’s an adventure story. I hope I will get to see more!

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We roasted and pureed a pumpkin from our garden and a banana squash that was gifted to us.

The kids played war with Hello Kitty cards.

There was lots of Lego building and storytelling and kitten caring and cuddling.

We visited the museum and gardens for some active fun. The kids picked up a map and navigated to the parts of the garden they wanted to visit.

On our way to and from home we’ve been listening to Mossflower by Brian Jacques, much requested by the kids as another in the Redwall stories after finishing Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

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unschooling

Doing

We have been

painting,

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drawing,

playing with and caring for a new kitten! A kitten has been Lilah’s fondest wish for years and so after much deliberation we decided she’s at a great age to become a pet care taker and to form a really wonderful friendship with a cat. We told her at her birthday party that she could adopt a kitten. She chose Luna Lovegood, and has been playing with her, feeding her, taking care of her litter box and making beds for her in the doll house. It’s been so much fun to watch them together and to have a kitten in the house. Luna seems to love her new home and we love having her here.

We have been celebrating Lilah’s birthday!

And celebrating more with a tea party in the park with friends.

We have been reading,

hiking,

rafting on a lake which was fun until it was scary and then new plans to try a different way were made,

Gavin’s been trying some photography,

and so have I. Here are a few shots I took with the fall leaves in a pool, and reflections of the trees and myself that I enjoyed.

We have been swimming,

noticing the return of some autumn birds and filling up our bird feeder with seeds,

planning costumes,

building (here is a door with hinges built by Gavin)

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playing soccer,

playing Minetest and Minecraft (Gavin did lots of chores to afford his own account to play Minecraft)

watching short animation videos. We recommend this: Fresh Guacamole by PES.

We have been visiting Logan, Utah to see an Australian Aboriginal paintings exhibit at Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art,

watching part of the Democratic Debate and Gavin asking questions about politics, following up with research about the 2 major parties in the U.S. and an article on Time For Kids summing up the Democratic Debate.

picking tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños and Thai chiles in the garden for chili making (with gloves for protection from chile oil for Gavin).

We have been gathering with other unschoolers for an afternoon of spooky (and less spooky) science in the park.

They made glittery slime, stewed a brew in a cauldron, mixed colors, watched some dry ice bubble fun, watched various kinds of mentos and coke experiments and Gavin set off a really wonderful water and air rocket.

Every day is a good one, even the ones with hard parts. I’m glad to be able to watch my kids maneuver through their days and help if they want it and sit back and enjoy when they don’t (and share my own discoveries and interests when they are open to that, of course.)

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