Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Day in the Life of an Unschooler: October 14, 2013

One of the hardest questions to answer, as unschoolers, is “What does an unschooling day look like?” The answer, for everyone, is different and it is ALSO different from day to day. So here’s one day. Another day will be different.

Kai got up and waited for Joe to go to work. We climbed onto the couch and I asked Kai what he wanted to watch while I took my shower (this is how his day starts on some day, other days not – but we’ve all been a bit sick around here and so I knew that’s what he’d want to do). He asked for Number Beats, which is this weird little DVD about numbers that he loves (and he uses the rhymes from that sometimes when writing his numbers). He also wanted warm chocolate (which is what he calls hot chocolate that’s just… warm). I tucked his blanket around him and went off to my shower.

When I got done, he asked me to put on an audio book – one of the Hank the Cowdog books, which he’s been into lately. He likes them because they’re silly and because Hank sometimes “says the wrong thing”, which Kai is always all over. He listened to the audiobook while having toast – three pieces, which is more than he usually wants.  He got done eating and played with some of his cars and his LEGO space shuttle on the “NASCAR” track we all made on Saturday on the floor.

October 12, 2013 "NASCAR" track made from tape

This picture was taken on Saturday, while we were all making the track. He’s played with it in all sorts of ways since. I LOVE that we worked on this as a family.

After a while, get decided to climb onto the couch to listen. Then he picked up one of the paperbacks he’s been reading (this was another Hank the Cowdog) so I turned off the audio book. He read for a while, then he decided that he’d like to play some Animal Crossing on my 3DS.

October 14, 2013

Kids read in some of the oddest positions.

We had an in-depth discussion over the new villager (Animal Crossing is a simulation game where you live in a town with a bunch of animal villagers) that had moved in today. He read me some of the letters they’d written him and mentioned it whenever a villagers mentioned me – twice today. One of them mentioned that my birthday was next month and Kai verified that with me. He asked me if HIS birthday was next month. His birthday is in January so I said that, no, he had to go through October, November, AND December first.

October 14, 2013

Playing on the 3DS.

December he associates with Christmas so he started talking about the Iron Man helmet he wanted to ask Santa to bring for Christmas. (Santa, btw, is not, to Kai, a magical being. Oh no. Santa has good tech and, according to Kai, shops at Fred Meyer.) I mentioned that the helmet in question was REALLY expensive (currently anywhere from $99 to $250) so we figured out another one that costs much less (he says it isn’t as good, but it’s still “pretty good” and would make him happy).

He played Animal Crossing for quite some time – maybe an hour or so? I think he was still playing when Joe got home for lunch. Today, we just had simple sandwiches and chips. After lunch, Kai started sorting his money and wanted to find out how much he had. He’s been getting better about identifying and counting coins. And now that he has stuff he actually wants to buy, he’s developed more of an interest in the whole thing.

October 14, 2013

Sorting and counting his money.

Joe left for work for the afternoon and Kai went to his room for quiet time for an hour (it helps us both recharge – now, it’s something he usually looks forward to). About half an hour into that, I made the decision that, yes, we were well enough to go to the library and the store, so I helped him pick out clothes to wear, but he wanted to finish out quiet time first, so we did.

We went to the library where he had a bunch of books on hold. He asked his favorite librarian to help him find a few new ones. He also loves reading IN the library, so I let him do that for a while. While he was reading, I went and grabbed a few other books (he’d asked for new ones for poetry teatime and I grabbed a few for myself).

October 14, 2013

At the Ballard library.

Then, we stopped in to pick up some stuff from Fred Meyer. Kai bought himself a Hot Wheels car (he had to borrow money from me until we got home but he promptly repaid me). He was very excited that it “wasn’t much money”. He also wanted some new pants and gloves – he settled on a camouflage print for both. He’s very excited because he thinks they’ll help him hide better for hide and seek (a game he was thinking of because he’d played it on Animal Crossing that morning) during homeschool park day. Also, he said, “My friends wear stuff like this.” One does, at least.

October 14, 2013

Picking out new pants. He was looking at the mirror – he LOVES mirrors.

I needed to get cough medicine, they are stored in the same aisle as the feminine products, which Kai asked me about. In great detail. We’ve briefly talked about all of that, including a vague explanation of how people reproduce. So, in true five year old fashion, he said, loudly, at one point, “Are you talking about sex? Because sex sounds GROSS.”  And I clarified that, no, that was just for when the woman’s body gets rid of an egg. “You mean a baby.” Well, no… so that was another bit of a talk.

October 14, 2013

With the replacement squash.

In line, he pointed out that one of our acorn squashes was leaking a bit, so he went to grab me another one for me. We’re trying to find a better rhythm for the store and give him a bit more freedom. He just aged out of Playland at Fred Meyer, something he really loved going to, so I’ve been having him help more, letting him go off to grab something that I’m certain he knows the exact location of and waiting till he comes back. It’s typically only an aisle or two away, but it’s good for him to be able to do that, I think.

Then, we stopped by the bank in the store and headed for home.

We got home just a few minutes before Joe, so Kai started reading while I unpacked groceries and started making dinner. When Joe got home, Kai excitedly told him about the toy he bought with his own money, which is very exciting when you’re five.

Right before dinner, Kai started a “game” that seemed to be loosely based on Minecraft. He used blocks to make some tools which “we” had to find – really, he played for me, too. Then we had dinner – butter chicken, one of his favorites.

October 14, 2013

“Finding” tools.

Mondays in our house are “Minecraft Mondays” so that’s what we did for an hour or so. Typically, we stop at 8 (which is what we did tonight).

October 14, 2013

From our Minecraft session. We’ve been playing here for quite some time. Some of the trees are HUGE.

Then, Kai played a bit more of his made up game before I introduced him to “fortune tellers” (some people call them “cootie catchers”).

October 14, 2013

With a “cootie catcher”. He played with this for nearly half an hour. He probably knows how to spell red, yellow, green, and blue REALLY well now.

He wanted to play with that until we went to read stories in his bed where he was joined by one kitty before he fell asleep and one after.

October 14, 2013

Bedtime stories, with guest photobombing by Parker (the cat).

October 14, 2013

Falling asleep with Zelda kneading the blanket next to him.

So, that’s what our “typical unschooling day” looked like… today. Tomorrow, it’ll be different.

Candy Corn Math

I found a wonderful candy corn math pack over at Royal Balloo. We used part of the packet and I also made a quick candy corn timeline for Kai to use. He was SO EXCITED to be able to use real candy corn with this.

First, I showed him how to use the number line I’d made.

Candy Corn Math

Then, he went to work matching up the doubles puzzle. He only had to use the number line for about half of them.

Candy Corn Math

We did some skip counting. By the end, he was counting up in his head.

Candy Corn Math

This was supposed to be one of those puzzles you cut apart and put back together. I didn’t figure that out till later and Kai liked putting the candy corn on it. He’s got most of his addition facts under five pretty well memorized, just from playing with math so much, and he was pretty pleased that he knew most of the ones on the sheet that were above five, as well.

Candy Corn Math

This was a “sorting activity” where you figured out what the answer was and put the addition fact in the right bowl. He was pretty excited about not having to use the number line much to figure it out.

Candy Corn Math

We also did an addition page and a subtraction page – both with a handful of problems on them, mainly visual. There was also a REALLY neat estimation page that I’m surprised I didn’t a picture of.

By the end of it, he was shouting, “Mommy! I’m so good at math! I didn’t know I was and I thought I wasn’t but I AM GOOD AT MATH!” and did a little victory dance. It’s good. If he thinks he’s not good at something, he tends to avoid it. But he REALLY loved this activity.

To finish off, we played a modified version of a “game” he loves called “Some Went Hiding”. I’m not sure where I picked this up, but we play it with all sorts of things. To play, take any number of small objects (in this case, candy corn, but we have also used pencil erasers, pennies, and plastic monkeys). One person turns away while the other hides a few objects behind their back. When they turn back, the person who turns away then has to figure out how many have been hidden. But, this time… we just ate them!

Too many for Kai, though. When he was nice and sugared out, he got a look, and I knew what was coming, “Can we save the rest?” Sure, kid. Not a problem.  So he ran around the house, all sugared up, while I was pleased to see how his math skills were coming along. I try not to push things, but he does really enjoy some of the fun activities and it’s nice to know how things are going, for sure.