Monday, April 13, 2015

bits and bobs

Sometimes we get in a flow where we dive in deep to certain crafts, fascinations, book series or activities to the exclusion of others. 

And sometimes we seem to float from play to deep topic to daydream to active learning to exploration and experimentation almost aimlessly. 

Whether the act of learning seems focused and sequential or coming in fits and starts, connections are being made, interests explored, topics discussed, and problems solved. 

Here's another epically long post with random musings and various photos of our April days so far, from Easter finery portraits to mundane moments and everything in between.

duckling love

Ayla recently rediscovered something that I had made for Sylvia years ago. It's a portable felt board made from a pizza box. I think she likes it.

old-school playground explorations

They don't make playground equipment like this anymore, but my kids tend to prefer it over the shiny, "safe", plastic versions that you see at more modern parks.

prepping duck eggs for a crystal-growing experiment

We figured out how to play YouTube videos on the little TV in my room. The girls were loving jumping around to Dark Lord Funk, a Harry Potter parody of Uptown Funk.

more duckie love

fairy painting

Spanish on duolingo

telling elaborate stories to her dollies and their horses

a "fancy bunny" grooming her horse's hooves (aka buffing her sister's nails)

all ready to go to the roller rink with friends and lunch out with Papa

egg geode success!

watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit

The girls pooled their own money to buy things to fill baskets for me and Papa to search for on Easter morning. They took a cart around the grocery store together and kept everything hidden with notices on doors and paper bags tied shut in the fridge to keep us out. It was so thoughtful!

egg hunt
On Easter morning, they searched out baskets with a variety of decent candy, dried fruit, sidewalk chalk, and water balloon slingshots, as well as eggs filled with more treats hidden all over the yard.

each in their own style

Sylvia loves both cooking and audio books

Sylvia does not read fluently yet, but she casually (and correctly) drops words like "proportionately" and "omnivorous" into conversation. She'll randomly throw out math facts like, "I think one fifth of a hundred is 20," without prompting. To each in their own time and their own way.
Last year at this time, Sylvia had just had the training wheels taken off of her bike and she would ride in the bike trailer with Ayla if the ride was longer than a mile or two. This year, she is on Camille's old bike like a pro, and Camille has taken over pulling Ayla in the bike trailer on my bike. I rode one of Papa's bikes with the seat lowered all the way. We rode about 10 miles on a beautiful rails-to-trails path near our home on Easter evening.
The egg geodes led to more crystal-growing experiments, this time on pipe cleaners. One with borax, one with table salt, and one with a mix of the two just to see what would happen.
Ayla thought that the book Jumbled Jungle was one of the funniest ever. I guess you can't go wrong with a mixed-up pop-up book.
making slow cooker enchilada casserole
I get a lot of help with food prep. It seems one child or the other always wants to have a hand in it.

and sometimes one just needs to rest

From one child wanting to practice handwriting in a manuscript tablet to another wondering why do we have uppercase and lower case letters, anyway?, from learning about how to make braided rag rugs to learning how to navigate middle-school girl friendship politics, from climbing high enough to feel exhilarated to learning how to climb back down safely, from planting seeds to caring for ducklings to cooking mashed potatoes, there is room to learn, to explore, to rest, and to find joy in the seemingly random and mundane. And there's plenty of time to snuggle. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday ~ a random day in this unschooling life

We slept in late. All three of the girls played My Singing Monsters together on Camille's tablet and requested oatmeal with frozen blueberries for breakfast. Camille gave the ducklings (that live in a brooder in her room) food and fresh water, then did the same for the hens, ducks, and geese that free-range in the yard. Ayla and I collected eggs from the coop and hung the laundry on the line while Sylvia and Camille took some of the young ducklings out in the yard to nibble grass for the first time.

 While last night's lentil/cauliflower/grass-fed beef concoction reheated in the crock pot, all three girls played My Singing Monsters again, this time on the main computer, and worked on breeding their monsters to create new species.

We dropped off Camille and her saxophone at the local public school for band class and played at the park. Sylvia and Ayla swung while I read some of the fourth Harry Potter book aloud.

After a quick bathroom stop, we went to a different park and watched a bald eagle circle the pond while we had snacks. Sylvia found a toad at the water's edge and tested the wind direction by throwing bits of dried grass and milkweed seeds in the air.

Camille and three of her friends walked over to the rec center to hang out (play pool, sing karaoke, craft, chat, ... or whatever it is they did today), while I took Sylvia and Ayla to Lego club at the library where they met up with more friends. I worked on a pair of legwarmers that I am knitting for Camille and chatted with the adults.

After picking up Camille and dropping her friends at their houses, we headed home for dinner. Then, Camille and her Papa took off to the bike path for a long bike ride while Sylvia and Ayla dug up clay from the yard and played with the mud they made from the water at the well pump.

After they cleaned up, they ate popcorn and toast with frosting on it for a quick snack/treat. Since it was warm and windy we decided to fly a kite out in the field, and stayed out as the sun was setting. Sylvia went in and watched Lab Rats while Ayla and I took the clothes off the line. Ayla drew pictures and organized her art supplies while Sylvia put fresh sheets on her bed.

When Camille and Papa got home from their 15-mile bike ride, Camille practiced Spanish on Duolingo and skyped with a friend. Sylvia and Ayla ate carrots, took showers, and made up tongue twisters. Papa played around with learning how to create animation on the computer. I saw a link for Incredible Egg Geodes that a friend posted on facebook, and decided that my girls would probably like to try that tomorrow. Now, I know I have alum somewhere around here from when we dyed our own yarn. I'm soon off to dig through some bins to find it for the geodes.

It's been requested that I read more Harry Potter later tonight, otherwise we might play cards or relax and watch shows together (Zoo Diaries or Pure Nature Specials maybe). We don't have a set bedtime but if Papa goes to bed before us, which he usually does, we will brush teeth and have quiet time after that.

It's soon time to unwind for the evening and get ready to see what tomorrow has in store.