Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Regular Everyday Stuff

Today we had a nice, slow afternoon swinging in the hammock. We started reading the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, and looked at bugs and birds and clouds and leaves and trees.

Here are some recent pictures:

Riley excited about playing Zathura

Seth cleaning the guinea home

Matt and the kids in the front yard during a rain storm, checking the tent for leaks.

Riley, Maya, and Seth making dinner

Seth and Maya making things with Play-Doh

Enjoying the Slip and Slide
And the new and exciting stuff: We reserved our hotel in Toledo, OH and bought tickets to Monster Jam for Friday, July 27 for an early birthday gift for Seth. He absolutely loves monster trucks and can usually be found playing with his toy ones, watching videos about them, or pretending he is one. He talks about Bigfoot, the original monster truck "built by Bob Chandler in the 1970's" (yes, we read every monster truck book in the kids' section at the library one evening, and several of them many more times at home) and is quickly figuring out who drives his favorite trucks.
Anyway, we were originally going to camp, but our tent that Matt and the kids were checking in the above picture does leak some in the rain; and we don't have good weather proofing gear for camping; and Matt found out he has enough points (from his last job where he travelled a lot more) for us to get a free night at a hotel. If the weather ends up being nice, we'll spend Saturday at a beach on Lake Erie.
I have to quit now -- Maya has been waiting and waiting to get on Club Penguin!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Unschooling: Vacation-Style Learning

Since it's summer and schools are out on break, this question, "Do you take summers off?" finds its place among the homeschool FAQs my kids and I hear. Seems like a simple question, but because people equate learning with school and all its trappings and because we don't "do school," it really isn't.

My first thought is that the truest answer is "no." We don't stop learning after we've clocked 180 6-hour days or because it's June. We aren't burnt out and in need of a break from learning because learning is not a chore when it's driven by imagination, curiosity, delight, interest, or passion sparked from real life experiences -- both the regular everyday stuff and the new and exciting stuff.

However, the question about taking summers off probably really means something more like, "do you take summers off from school work?" The answer to that is a huge "yes!" We have also taken off for the Fall, Winter, and Spring ever since we took Riley out of preschool about 3 1/2 years ago.

I suppose the most honest answer would be to say, "Well, the way we learn actually looks more like a really great summer vacation than like school." Even though the person asking is probably just making conversation, it's always fun to take any opportunity to sew a few unschooling seeds.

In the spirit of vacation-style learning, here are a few of our vacation pictures from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. This was Seth's first trip to the ocean. Riley was 2 last time he saw the ocean and Maya was not even 1. Everything was new for them: the ocean, the bay, the beach, the dunes, the dolphins, the birds, the fish, the boats, the hermit crabs, the palm trees...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

This morning we headed out early (for us) for our neighboring county's parks department program, Wild Wednesdays. Different groups that work with animals come to the park each week to talk about what they do and to show the animals. We've gone several times this summer; and we met our friends, Kelly, Jonathan, and Rebecca again this week for an equestrian-themed program by Farmer Joan.

Later, Maya and I were reading a book about animal babies that had a diagram of an unfertilized chicken egg. She decided she wanted to go crack some eggs open and "check out the parts," and we invited Riley and Seth to join us.

After we were finished with the eggs, cleanup led to water/bubbles play for Maya and Seth while Riley played his current favorite game, Guitar Hero.