word play & other play

We read some Dr. Seuss books.


Lilah and I shoveled snow.  It was very exciting since it’s been months since we needed to.


She requested that I make Energy Bites for a snack – a cookie dough like snack made with coconut, peanut butter, flax seed meal, oats, a bit of honey and chocolate chips, so I mixed a few up.

We had a friend over.  They dressed up fancy and built with Legos and had a fashion show and jumped on the bean bag.

Gavin organized his squishy body parts organs.

At the park we found a large tumbleweed and explored that for a bit.  It has prickly parts but is fun to roll.


Lilah hula hooped with two hoops.


We talked about genes after I made a joke about how Lilah has red hair since I only ate carrots when I was pregnant with her and then Gavin asked, “But really, why does Lilah have red hair?”

The kids talked about things they are proud of themselves for: kindness, smartness, playfulness.

Gavin and I played Roads, Rivers and Rails.

We enjoyed our sprouting cucumbers.  No Thai Basil or Blue Kale visible yet.


We ventured out to the Jordan river parkway, saw some ducks, a submerged shopping cart and visited two playgrounds.  There was quite a bit of soccer ball passing and kicking along the way too.


We finished The Wizard Of Oz and read The Sneetches and Other Stories.  Our current favorite is the story of the pale green pants with nobody inside ’em.  Lilah has just latched onto my ongoing joke about nobody so she was particularly enjoying it.

me: Who’s in the bathroom?

L: Nobody.

me: Nobody’s in the bathroom?

L: Yeah.

me: What’s Nobody doing in the bathroom?

L: No.  NOBODY’S in the bathroom.

me:  I know, but what’re they doing in there?

L: There is not anybody in the bathroom!

me: Well, if Anybody’s not in there, where is Anybody?

L: There is NO person in the bathroom!

me: Well, you just said Nobody’s in there.


We worked on the bird puzzle some more.

We dressed up with friends and danced together.


They played Rivers, Roads & Rails.


I’m slowly learning a few things about our unschooling life and how I fit into it.  I’ve learned that all that time I thought I’d just have in the day without needing to drop-off or pick-up isn’t there.  If I want/need time to do my own projects I need to schedule it.  Otherwise it won’t be there.

I thought of unschooling much like most parents do the summer break every year, as unlimited in time and resources and possibilities.  In some ways that’s true, but it doesn’t feel that way in the midst of it.  There are still so many ideas and projects that never get finished or in many cases, started.  Most importantly, I’ve learned that’s okay.  It’s okay to not do it all.  To begin and leave it.  To say, “Not today.”

We’re getting better at this.



Late February

Enjoying the park and the sun.  Spinning is such fun.


Harry Potter – listening to the books in the car, making it their own with their legos, trains, etc., watching part of the 6th movie.

Spanish game playing.



Train track building.


Watching several TedEd videos.  Learned about Hatshepsut (a female Egyptian pharoah), simple levers and bats.

Visiting the Museum of Natural Curiosity, exploring the maze, pushing building posts into the ground, spinning.


Dressing up and acting in winter scenes.  You can see what they are doing in the room and then how they are projected onto the film clip on the screen.  They also spent a lot of time making stop motion animation films with astronauts and octopi.  The animation room is a favorite.

More Spanish game playing.  Enjoying the quests and practicing numbers from twenties through one hundred, simple conversational phrases.

Admiring the city at night from the sky bridge downtown.


Spiral Scouts, learning songs and playing games.

Rainbow loom creating; trying a new design, getting frustrated, persevering.

Trying out some chinese jump ropes.

Writing a letter. (It was an excruciating proposition, but after empathizing and cuddling, the process and result were alright.  I’ll take it.)


Planting seeds inside and making labels.  “How do you spell cucumber?”


Roller skating.


Reading Dr. Seuss in an impromptu read-a-thon.  (It was snowing huge flakes and I mentioned oobleck.  A few minutes later, Lilah had located Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  Then Gavin pulled out a few other Dr. Suess books.)

Hula hooping.



Working on cards for Grandpa.



Wizards, Origami and the joy of Movement

There were games of Wildcraft, a cooperative herbology game.

We listened to the beginning of the third Harry Potter book in the car.

We went up to Red Butte Garden again, for a shorter visit this time.

The chickadees were flitting everywhere and the squirrels were doing acrobatics.  The snowdrops were dropping open.


The kids loved exploring the paths and finding new ways around.  They ended the visit by rolling down the long hill near the entrance, always a favorite activity.


Lilah played with her paper dolls.


Gavin got out the marble maze and invited Lilah to join in.

There was some tag around the house.

Lilah and I worked on origami with her paper and books from the holidays.


In the evening we went to a special short performance by the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera Company.  It was wonderful and we even got to sit by some friends we ran into by chance.  Lilah loved the opera bits.

Gavin sat next to his buddy and they were both pretty still throughout the performance.  It started at the kids’ bedtime, really, so Gavin especially was tired as his internal clock gets him up at 6 or earlier most days.

Lilah was bouncing, kneeling, clapping with the rest of the audience, swaying.  She just can’t keep still.  I’ve slowly come to understand that movement is part of how she listens and thinks.  She reads on her back, swirling her feet around.  She tells stories while running around the table.  It’s part of who she is.  She had such a hard time in school last year with that.  We ask her to be still when we are concerned about it and she tries hard, but then she’s involved in whatever is going on and her body starts moving.  I’m so glad we can let her move as she needs now, rather than constantly cajoling and pleading and what occasionally happened at school last year, threatening her to be a statue.

She didn’t bother anyone aside from me occasionally worrying (because that’s what’s expected rather than because I actually thought there was a problem).  A few times I reached over and asked her to sit down a bit so she wasn’t blocking others’ view and she would sit down and then look at me, to check if I was upset with her.  I am glad to be in a place where I am smiling back when she checks.

Here’s a picture Lilah drew and cut of a bird about to eat a fish (sticker).




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!



Gavin played Lego Chima on the computer.  Then they watched Pokemon and Leapfrog: Amazing Alphabet.

There was Magformers and pony play.  Then breakfast and more pony play.


“Let’s play Real Ninjago but in the real world.”  “Okay!”  They play Real Ninjago almost every day together.  It’s a pretend game based loosely on Lego Ninjago, but populated with whatever characters/environments/challenges strike their fancy that day: dragons, Pippi Longstocking, poisonous plants, slavery.  Sometimes they use toys as characters, sometimes it’s just oral.  They negotiate together and tell a story that weaves their many interests together.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.  I’m not ever invited to play and I’m glad that it’s their world, just for the two of them.

Then we began a big project:  cleaning out and organizing the kids’ closet.  It’s mostly toys, supplies in there rather than clothes though there are some of those too.  We took everything out.  The kids loved this part as they found long-lost favorite toys.


We sorted things into groups.  We have a big pile of things to keep, another big pile of things to give away to bring someone else joy, and a few things that the kids aren’t excited about using but we will keep for other friends or perhaps Gavin and Lilah’s kids someday.  The kids did most of the work of pulling everything out, making decisions, putting things back in their places with my assistance.  I got to take several armfulls out to the recycling and garbage bins, but other than that they did most of it.  Now the closet is organized and cleaner and the kids should be able to find what they’re interested in pulling out and able to put it back when they’re done.  Woohoo!

Lilah and I picked tomatillos, serranos, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

After lunch, we pulled out a bunch of games from the closet to the game shelf in our living room and put some in the closet.  It’s fun to switch what’s out.  We played with our stacking tops and then Lilah and Gavin decided to play Connect 4 and spent several hours trying different approaches and techniques.

I left for a hike on my own for an hour or so.  It’s been more a struggle than I had expected to have bits of time on my own.  I find that I feel guilty, more than I used to when we were not unschooling, if I am not with the kids, even when I know it’s not a problem.  However, it’s important for me to just be alone here and there, just explore my own thoughts without interruption.  It helps me feel happier and healthier and be more present with the kids when I am with them.   I enjoyed spotting butterflies and enjoying the sights  and smells and sounds of fall.  The clouds in the sky swirled like the top of a latte when I was walking back down the road.  When I got home the kids were playing together and had the chess set out.

Then it was time for Lilah and I to drive to her gymnastics class and Gavin and Dad to play Civilization and make Palaak Tofu for dinner.  That’s an Indian dish with spinach that usually uses Paneer, an Indian cheese, but we use tofu instead.  Yum!



Uncategorized, unschooling


Gavin started off with some Chima online while Lilah slept in a bit.

Then they watched They Might Be Giants Here Come the ABCs together.

There was lego play and organizing and other building toys.

We puzzled.


After eating lunch, I read the last three chapters of Pippi Longstocking to the kids.  Gavin remarked at then end that he does not want to be a pirate when he grows up.  I’m a little concerned.  Wink.

Then it was time to go pick up Lilah’s friend from school.  They played a bit on the playground and then we came home and played school.  We walked to our neighborhood park and played there.  There was tag and swings and toss the stuffed dog while swinging.

We came home and built with magnetic toys and played hide and seek with stuffies.

After we said goodbye to friends, we went out in the garden and picked cherry tomatoes and tomatillos and checked progress of our pumpkins, and fleet of butternut squash.  They are huge plants!  I’d never grown them before and they are taking over our garden plot!

We walked to the local elementary after dinner to play soccer and enjoy the playground before bed.




They began with lots of lego building…. trees, castles….



There was more Where On Earth? kids atlas reading.


We picked out some new shoes for new adventures.

How does our garden grow?  Tiny lemon cucumbers are starting.  Squash are getting bigger and there are lots of sungold tomatoes to pick and eat.


We walked up City Creek Canyon, stopping to throw rocks in the stream, look at plants, float bark boats down, saw some water striders and even spotted some fish. We admired milk weed pods and acorns, maple leaves and hollow stumps.

We came home and worked on a bit of a new puzzle.



Then had dinner and a game of Dominion, our new Intrigue expansion.



And it was fun.