~a month of unschool~ opting in

as you loyal readers know, we are off to the races, unschooling at school!

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but to cover the whole month, i still have some summer left to recount, and i will relish every drop of these shorts-and-t-shirt, wading in the ocean, sunshiney moments i can as i wring myself out from this soggy week of rain, rain, rain.

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we had our pancakes come and visit over labor day, which was a wonderful way to celebrate the end of summer. quinn and b pancake are great playmates, and we spent lots of time running around outside, which is always a nice change of pace for the boy who sometimes lets projects and inertia keep him indoors. sometimes we all need to check in with mother ocean and coat ourselves in sand, just to re-organize our neurons.

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there were some home projects, including one page in the first grade workbook rich found at costco. quinn picked out the one page in the book with dinosaurs, and made quick work of it. he also diagrammed his plan of attack for his dinosaur digging computer game, drew himself and me as bees collecting nectar (after watching bee movie), and came up with more project ideas than i can count.

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we built a tipi on the beach (actually rebuilt it after it was washed down one day), sent paddle-to-the-sea down the stream (a leaf) and did more beach paleontology (he’s holding some bird bones, but folks if you don’t know it by now, you will hear it from him soon, birds are dinosaurs.)

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and then school began… and it was magical. quinn is working with the younger group on handwriting without tears (here they made matman out of the basic curves and lines we use to write letters and numbers.)

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he worked by himself on countless projects…

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and worked as a part of a group on many others. he is being exposed to a great breadth of subjects on a daily basis, covering the bases of science, math, art, reading, social studies, writing, espanol, and lots more.

quinn is becoming quite a part of his little school and its amazing dynamics.

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he is still finding time to work on becoming more physically agile. he has started skipping (i think i mentioned that once or maybe twenty times) and has increasing balance and coordination in general (he’s the guy in red standing up on the moving tilted merry-go-round).

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i’ve enjoyed watching him spend time alone, and then flock up with the other children among projects, making fruit salad, gathering with the older boys to watch as they work together to solve math problems to play an ipad game, joining the group for the stories brought by the visiting librarian, and happily sharing his show-and-tell items each morning, navigating the social interactions and daily rituals with increasing ease.

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he has already formed friendships with many of the kids in class, and has also made a special bond with one of the little sisters who comes in to pick up her big sister from kindergarten mid-day. he continues to be my helper on my nanny job, and has quite a way with people of all ages, but especially toddlers. he has picked out a girl he wants to marry (shh, it’s a secret!) and told me why: “because she’s nice to most people, and she made a birdfeeder.” he has also observed about girls, “most of them like purple.”

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he has started his scrapbook of science, planted a sweet potato and a bean (in a cd case! fun idea for documenting plant development!) on the classroom windowsill, and brought in feathers and fossils to share. he has been calendar kid for the first time, which reportedly “feels awesome!” and has taken on some new vocabulary words: random, rocks (as in, this dinosaur rocks!), rambunctious, and rules (as in, science rules!)

(this month of unschool brought to you by the letter r.)

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quinn spent the final week of this month of unschool preparing for his presentation to the class on australia, and this is one of the things that is most unschoolish about our living school: he didn’t have to do a presentation at all. he chose to. in a world where choice is being completely stripped out of education, this is more important to me than i can say.

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