Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tornadoes of Learning

The Mom of one of Riley's schooled friends was asking him about "homework" and "assignments" recently while he was at their house (because the friend had some homework to do). In telling me about it later, Ri said it's always hard to describe how he learns to people who don't unschool because he often goes along not thinking about exactly what or how he has been learning from day to day until something happens that one thing recognizably connects with something else and another something else "like a big tornado of learning." I like that.

Here are some things flying around lately in the learning tornado.
Some supplies I moved out of a desk and onto a big table. The kids wanted the construction paper in "rainbow order." (There's yellow in there with the beige, though it doesn't show up in the picture)

I would have never thought to strew a phone book, but we got our new one and Riley said he'd never tried to look up anything in one before (what with Google always readily available).

This bowl of beans we've had floating around for a while in various places. Seth plays in them a lot -- digging and sorting and things. The strip of paper is from an activity from the book Family Math, and is a good example of something like Ri was trying to explain to the friend's Mom -- something that we have available and use for ideas and when it seems interesting and that we stop using whenever we (any one of us) feel finished using it.

Lots of drawing and making things

A game Maya made, called "Looks Like a Nice Day to Race."

Some new additions to the Plank tribe -- Riley and more so now Maya have been making these for years inspired by old Ed, Edd, and Eddie cartoons.

Seth likes using U B Funkeys as story props (and for playing the related computer games, and for trading with friends)

Maya's been cutting out and playing with pictures from various toy catalogs, making up all kinds of stories and scenes.
Some of what Maya Riley have made in a pottery class.

Riley's always enjoyed origami and other paper folding crafts. He spent some time learning some new paper airplane folds (sorry, no pictures) and learning to make fortune tellers (a.k.a "cootie catchers")

Riley trying to make a little cloud and some condensation using an empty pan that he'd put in the freezer and steam from a pot of boiling water.

"Mom, how do you spell..."
This is a big part of how learning to type and read and write happens here. Basically, someone wants to know how to spell something and asks and I answer, either verbally or by writing it down. Maya and Seth also really like Starfall and Game Goo and play on those pretty regularly. Riley liked both of those a lot, too, when he was learning to read. Well, he still enjoys Game Goo from time to time.

These are random words Seth wanted to know how to spell on a couple different occasions. Not sure if the "gobs and gobs of gum" is something associated with the Glub Funkey or if he was just really liking the "g" sound that day. :0)

Maya asked for this to look something up online.

And these were because she was wanting help to write some lower case letters for something she was working on for Girl Scouts.

These are from a couple weekends ago. The kids had some friends spend the night, and the friends brought along their pet tarantula, Hairy. Jacob (one of the friends) and Riley are both into some of the same kinds of animals as well as cryptozoology & Monsterquest. They were on the phone recently talking about "camel spiders" and then Ri and I ended up reading all kinds of things about these and similar animals.

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