unschooling

fresh air & surprises

We went for a walk up the canyon a few minutes away and beyond the usual enjoyments like blackberry flowers, birdsong, fresh air and tossing sticks and rocks into the creek, we discovered something new this time.

As we were leaving we went down to the creek in a different spot and spotted a swing across the water. Lilah crossed the logs and swung, and then we spotted a rope hanging from a tree right in the middle of the creek. So we tried that one too.

We left happy, making plans to return soon.

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unschooling

Moose Cabin

We had the opportunity to spend a few days in the mountains at the cabin of my parents’ friends. (Thank you, Mama & Daddy!) It was pure loveliness!

There were games of all kinds.

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We played inside

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and we played outside.

The kids spent hours! on the swing outside.

We saw a family of moose on our hike up to Dog Lake, ambling down as we were ambling up.

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It was wonderful to be in the cooler air, to hear the birds and squirrels, to be more conscious of nature, to slow down for a bit.

 

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Up to the mountains

I’m still working on another post about the last several weeks, but here’s a story about today. After some card games (war and speed) and some Playmobil play and some puzzling this morning, we headed up to Storm Mountain for a hike.  It’s been awhile, partly because we’ve been busy with soccer and gymnastics and partly because it’s been raining almost every day lately.

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The kids were getting into arguments before we left but as is almost always the case, once outside there was no conflict.  They love going on hikes where there are a) rocks to climb and b) water to play in, so Storm Mountain is always enjoyed even though the short hike up to the stream is steep.  We saw flowers and new growth on trees and shrubs.  We saw birds who frequent the stream.  The kids tried drawing with rocks on other rocks and enjoyed the different colors and textures they could make.  Lilah found bunches of what she called ladybugs but were different varieties of red beetles some with dozens of spots, some with none.

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We spotted a snake by the stream and many striped spiders.  I was thrilled to watch Lilah excitedly discovering and interacting with ladybugs, roly poly bugs and was even moving closer to see a spider.  When she was three she got stung by an insect and was terrified of anything that wasn’t a butterfly for years.  She calmed down about it after that but was still wary, even last summer.  Today, she was friendly with those beetles.

They were discussing what kinds of trees were on the path (they remembered maple and pine but not scrub oak) and I gave them a refresher on what stinging nettle looks like because there’s a bunch of it up there.  We found itty bitty male pine cones that had fallen and we admired new patterns in the trail from all the rain lately.

They climbed and drew and dug in the dirt and picked dandelions.  I sparked an interest for the kids today in natural art by arranging dandelion tops on a rock crack and later on the kids were excited to try their hand at it.

On the way down the trail, the kids tried to hide and camouflage themselves.  Fortunately for me, they were wearing purple and blue so I found them and found them again.  Lilah was also showing interest in tracking and leaving signs of what’s ahead or behind, possibly picked up from some books we’ve been reading lately.  So, we made a cairn and we put certain rocks this way or that way to show, “I’m going ahead” or “the trail goes left”.  It’s so good to get into nature.  I love it but it’s so easy to forget or not make time for that.  Maybe a scheduled hike day each week is in order.

As an added bonus, we got to listen to Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling on our way up and down in the car.  They are hilarious and captivating, O my Best Beloved.

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Tuesday

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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