a month of unschool

~cutting up magazines and making our own books~ boom out of nowhere you suddenly know how to write letters ~ new favorite books like amos and boris and buoy~ telling time with winnie the pooh and boom now you know your numbers too; did we really just count to 100 together on the chutes and ladders board? ~drawing on huge paper~

~making a yurt out of a pantleg, a beach out of cardboard, a stream out of a fabric scrap, and tree trunks out of old corks~ practicing letters with ropes and sticks on the ground~ painting an orange tree and you knowing where food comes from, having aspirations of growing your own oranges, and using the word aspiration in sentences~ jamming on the xylophone and singing along with ‘the rain rain rain came down down down’~ hugging small moss-covered trees from mama’s back in drift creek wilderness~

~your friend the octopus, and its eight tentacles~ participating in a shark dissection (bycatch turns science education at the marine science center) and your desire to see the squid beaks that were part of the shark’s diet~ writing letters, numbers and om, on the buddha board at the table is a current favorite dining (and learning!) activity~

~you initiating letter writing practice, asking me to write them and your unmistakably-you way of describing the letters’ shapes in terms of sticks, balls, crossbars, buoys, crab traps, ropes, fish hooks, and the like~ baking yogurt-cornmeal-molasses-squash bread and muffins ~ making ships out of driftwood and feathers ~ being the youngest in attendance at the lincoln county local foods organizational meeting,  and then going home to promptly play garden~ soaking in some sunshine in between all the rainy days, playing pooh-sticks, and observing the flooded creeks~

~and of course, a whole bunch of work on james and his friends~

~what a wonderful month in unschool! (what have you been learning in unschool?)~

*did you enter the wooden rattle giveaway over at earth huggy yet?*

12 comments to a month of unschool

  • you are amazing!!quinn is so blessed.
    Stardove recently posted..Universal Size Headband Organic Cotton Eco Blend

  • V

    You are awesome, and I am inadequate Lolol Seriously, though. You inspire me :)) Thank you, Mama <3 Keep it coming :)))
    V recently posted..Embodying the Wild Woman Archetype

    • marybethrew

      nooooooo nono no no!!! that's not at all my intent, mama. i seriously think you are way way way wrong when you say you are inadequate. i could make a list of the ways… let's start with i have ONE child! not three! and that is only the tip of the iceberg. i really am hoping to just share ideas and document our unschooling journey (for us to look back at as well as 'the authorities' lol) but never ever do i want anyone to compare or feel less than because of anything i post!!!

  • Kristin

    You are amazing!!

    These are my favorite posts! I love watching as your unschooling journey unfolds. We've decided that this is probably our last year of public schooling as we are ready to learn as a family and get a whole heck of a lot more out of life TOGETHER.. (and I found a great secular homeschooling group in my area! Yay!) So keep on keeping on with posts like this one, mama! You inspire me!!

  • Kristin

    And of love the pictures if the two of you! Beautiful family!! <3 Now I'm off to try to win one of those rattles that I've been wanting!! 🙂

  • marybethrew

    kristin, that's so exciting to hear! what awesome wonderful exciting stuff! i can't wait to see how it all unfolds for you guys!

  • Such great activities! I wish we were closer to each other so our boys could play together and I could glean some ideas off of you! I guess we're sort of unschooling…I mean, he's not going to school and we have no curriculum–I'm just letting him learn whatever comes to us. I think a lot of parents naturally do this with preschoolers but then just don't continue it when they hit school-age. And that's what I like about it–it feels so natural.

  • mamaC

    Such a nice post!

    For us lately, it has been lots of vocabulary development (the typical spurts and then actual "explosions" of language acquisition) and noticing the kind of unusual directions the vocab is taking (ex: I looked at Joe and said, "Our two year old knows the word, 'wallow'") and then realizing in retrospect what the source was. Lately, it seems listening in on Charlotte's Web has been rich fodder (yeah, THAT kind of wallow, lol. "Wallow….mud! Wallow….mud! Peeeg, wallow….mud!") L was having a rough time coming to the dinner table…wanted Dada and a story….Dada needed to eat and I was willing to hold/read, but I was not the "one." It was a napless day and heavy, strong feelings… Dada gave up eating for a few minutes and went to the rocking chair to read. When they came back, L looked so different and I noted aloud to Joe that he was just RADIANT, and L promptly said, "Some….peeeg. Some…Pig." I thought, "wow, he's always thinking about Charlotte's Web, huh?" but then I remembered RADIANT is one of the actual words about Wilbur woven into one of Charlotte's webs! So he treated my word like a reference, and showed that he "got it." (Even though I then had to "get it" because it wasn't really a reference!) lol (He also has busted out with "Hum-ble…….Hum-bull…Peeeeg!" which he tried for the first time after we pegged "radiant," and it seemed like he was volunteering another example from the web words. Such an orderly mind.) (And N, for his part, is the one who talks in a self-satisfied way about how pigs wallow in mud, so he is in on the action and the inspiration.)

    Similarly, another night they overheard me mentioning to Joe that one of my friends lives in Charlotte (NC) and immediately L was saying "Some….peeg!" to let me know he knew what I was talking about. (Charlotte, of course. lol)

    Both boys love the book Owl Moon and have gone from signing the title ("Hoo Hooo"….circular-hand-motion-for-moon) to substituting the spoken word "moon" after the "Hoo Hoooooo," to attempting the elusively tricky diphthong of the spoken word Owl.

    L has come to a love of writing & drawing wholecloth, suddenly and completely, and will do it for an hour at a time. He also names what he draws, which is a little different from the experience I remember with his big sister. Frequently recurring are: "ocean," "shoe," "boot," "house," "snow" (a whole page full of tiny spiral-shaped squiggles, reproduced over and over with a blue ball point pen), "Mama, Dada, NaNa, Nooooo, Ocie," and big and little "pillows." He also announces shapes (or things) that he's created by eating food (not so much "shapes" like triangle, but holding up a cracker with a bite out of it and exclaiming "HOUSE!" or "BOOT!" Those are the two most common things food becomes, though he frequently discovers that while eating a sandwich, he's made a "BOAT!" The curve of crust that remains sailing along and rocking gently on his plate while we mistake his word for "BOOT!" and have to figure out that THIS time it's BOAT. So obvious, as it is sailing right there in front of us….)

    N created a "puppy" from interlocking blocks, then waved his extended finger back and forth from what I could then surmise was the back end of the pup, and focused his attention and effort on getting out the (new) word "Tail." (Another tricky diphthong involved in that one and he worked to account for it.) And then he concentrated for: "Wagging….tail!"

    L named feelings for the first time this week. Standing in the kitchen and witnessing his sister's upset about something (that I can't remember), he announced "Ocie…sad." Later that day, after he'd undertaken a project that was curious and happy but destructive and that I was grieving and not handling well, he took my message of blame and responded by covering his face and then saying: "NaNa….sad." I had him come to my lap and I talked about how I'd thought he was wrong/at fault, but I was wrong; when I blamed him it was a mistake; it was just the way I saw things but it wasn't really true; he didn't deserve blame; these were my feelings; I was upset for these reasons I didn't recognize right away, etc. Here and there, he punctuated my talking with a progression of observations that pretty much expressed the contour of what was taking shape, revealing an actual grasp of ideas and true connections he was making: "Mama….sad." "Mama…..better." Patting my leg in an assured way: "Mama….FINE." (He reported his own sadness, though, again. And we kept talking.) A few hours later, he came to me and established eye contact, then said, "Mama….hap-py." He was right. I was glad to hear a similar self-report from him.

    The next morning when his sister and dad left, he announced his own experience: "Miss…..Ocie. Ocie…go. NaNa….miss…..Ocie."

    N has been obsessed with walking around saying "Moon…light. Moon…light." And he finally had the opportunity to connect his new word to its source for me when we came upon it in the story of "The Peddler of Swaffham," who kept having dreams in which he'd hear a voice, "as plain as moonlight," saying "Go to London Bridge." Ahhhhhh. Hence the sudden fascination with "moon..light." He was so satisfied when I placed it, and he could confirm with a big sighing nod.

    And O, for her part, is busy getting certain concepts straight, like how apartments are not "just" the same as hotel rooms (the only difference being that you live there longer) but that the criteria are a bit different, and apartments can come in different configurations and contexts, including apartment buildings and a single apartment as part of a house (we have the makings for such a situation in the remodeled portion of our garage.) This led to her envisioning the possibility of having someone from a different COUNTRY, and perhaps even a different CONTINENT, come to live with us (as an exchange student) and could we ever do that? And how the exchange student staying with a family we know is from Indonesia, and how she saw Indonesia when we showed her Bali on her globe, and how the Balinese music we listened to was Indonesian, and how it doesn't snow in Indonesia but it does here, and how a person would stay a whole semester or even an entire school year and live with us and eat with us, and maybe show us other foods or different ways to make the Indonesian (or other) food that we already DO make, etc.

    She is sewing up a storm–a handwork skill she is learning at school–and has done some applique work (felt hearts sewn onto a felt pillow), made about a zillion Christmas presents for the rest of us, is enjoying messing around with her new (to her) manual typewriter. She's also planning lots of plays and movies, making tickets for all of us to attend (she uses a broken needle to make perforations so the tickets can be torn at showtime and we can keep the stubs, lol), planning parties and celebrations (such as the recent circle party, when we could celebrate all things round, with a round cake and colored circle decorations and hanging Christmas ball clusters and whatever circle thing you could bring or wear: polka dots, your round watch face, a coin in your pocket.) She and I are going to a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight and when she learned that our tickets were for specific seats (pretty good ones, at that), she wanted to know the name for the principle of general admission, and she said that all HER shows are going to be general admission so that people can sit where they want, and if you get there first you can have first choice of ANY seat. So far, her audiences are four people, so no need to assign the seats. lol

    She and I watched the first act of the comic opera Don Pasquale (something Joe had recorded for her, one of the Great Performances from the Met series) and I was off in the kitchen during the overture, (I was going to come back and help her understand the subtitles) and I could hear her cracking up in the living room. She called to me: "Mama! Even the music is funny!"

    She's decided to work in the "rings" store for the next Town (at school next week) and has been making a supply of these spiral-y wire rings to sell. They are so cool; I hope I can buy one. She and her friends named the store Fiddlehead something (Fiddlehead Rings and Things? Something like that.) But the design does look like fiddlehead ferns. So fun.

    And the boys have been really digging (yuk yuk) the pair of small snow shovels they scored at Christmas. And enjoying the ladybugs that seem to come out of our walls this time of year. (Hundreds more in the spring.) Ooh, L just kissed one on his finger as I type! And they all three together watched a spider drop down from the ceiling on a filmy strand of web silk and land on the kitchen floor, then start walking.

    Sorry to write a full-fledged post. That's pretty much what's been going on around here. Decided to bust it out when I read your question!! (Love all the vivid James & his friends stuff. Wow. You know, I have never read that book!)

  • mamaC

    oh my goodness. Sorry!!

  • marybethrew

    mamac!!!!!!!!!!!! finally someone answered the question! haha. you are so awesome!

    we adore both charlotte's web AND owl moon. my mom was hip to owl moon, though i didn't remember it from childhood and had obviously had it read to me… thanks grammy! we are definite owl people over here. and of course charlotte is just such a classic. i love l's knowledge of the woven-in-the-web accolades from the book- some pig!!! radiant! love it!

    the feelings stuff- priceless. what a gift you are giving them!!! that emotional awareness, as we both know, is so important…

    and i can't wait for the day i can get a ticket to one of ocie's shows (and keep my stub! she rocks!)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>