Category Archives: Day In The Life

Day in the life of an 6 year old unschooler: Valentine’s Day 2014

 I’ve always enjoyed reading the “Day in the Life” posts over at Simple Homeschool. At the end of the series each year, she invites readers to post a link to their own day. This year, I decided to do that.

The day I chose to do this for was Friday, which happened to be Valentine’s Day. I’d say the only real difference between this and a “regular” day is there’s a lot more sugar and exchanging of cards. Otherwise, even though it’s kind of a holiday, it’s a lot like our everyday. Because we’re unschoolers, learning happens throughout the day. We don’t have a set curriculum and, since we only have one child, we’re fairly free to tailor our life and any “schooling” around Kai and what he wants to learn. Every day is different. This is just one of many days.

By the time Kai gets up, Joe has already gone to work. Kai is awake by the time his dad leaves for work leaves for work around 7:50 or so, but he slept in a bit on this particular day (and Joe left for a work bit early). Today, Kai gets out of bed at about 8:15 or so.

We watch a TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” and we talk about it.

He watches some Ninjago while I fix breakfast. I make heart-shaped pink pancakes with whipped cream and “goodies” on top. It’s a tradition for us. And he loves it.

DITL February 14, 2014

Then, I ask Kai to get ready to leave so we can go to the library. After he washes up and gets dressed, we go through the library books to find the ones we have to take back. We scan the ones he’s read all of it into Goodreads, which is how I keep track of all the books he reads. (Or, at least, a good chunk of them. I don’t get all of them, admittedly.)

Kai looks forward to getting his “holds” from the library like some children look forward to getting Christmas presents. Today, he has a bunch of holds. He grabs them, goes to look for a Garfield book, then spends quite a while reading while I looked for my own books and did a bit of writing.

While at the library, he runs into a friend of his (also a homeschooler). This particular friend is someone we tend to bump into while out and about quite a bit, which always humors me – they don’t live in the city proper.

DITL February 14, 2014

After library, we go home for lunch. We’re pretty lucky in that, right now, my husband’s work is only about ten minutes away – by foot. So he gets to come home for lunch almost every day, something Kai looks forward to.

After lunch, Kai goes to his room for an hour of “quiet time”. During quiet time, he reads, plays with some times, etc. I can tell a big difference in both of us on days that we don’t manage to get quiet time in. It’s really useful for recharging and for getting a break from each other for a bit, since we’re around each other pretty much constantly. Today, he plays a bit and also reads some of the Revolutionary War Magic Tree House book.

After quiet time, we address Valentine’s Day cards to Kai’s dad. He insists on adding a bunch of “Yay!”s to the card… this is a theme he will later continue with my card.

DITL February 14, 2014

DITL February 14, 2014

We also do some other Valentine’s Day activities, which makes Kai pretty excited (he likes to do “holiday learning stuff”):

We spend a few minutes brainstorming Valentine’s Day words and put them on heart, which we put on Kai’s bedroom door.

DITL February 14, 2014

He does some addition using the number of letters of some of our conversation hearts. And eats the candy after he uses them.

DITL February 14, 2014

We break open another box to do graphing. This, too, gets eaten.

DITL February 14, 2014

DITL February 14, 2014

After that, he plays with some of his toys for a few minutes, then he holds the dustpan while I sweep. We take turns vacuuming. He cheers me on while I do it, pointing out spots he thinks I’ve missed, picking up any big pieces, etc. Then, he finishes up his Revolutionary War Magic Tree House book.

Kai’s dad comes home and we have dinner: ice cream. We have a bunch of food allergies/sensitivities so, sometimes, our “special holiday dinner” is ice cream.

DITL February 14, 2014

I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it.

DITL February 14, 2014

After dinner, we exchange cards and Valentine’s Day candy stuff. (This day sure ended up having a lot of sugar in it!)

DITL February 14, 2014

Then, Joe and Kai chill out on the couch while we wait for friends to arrive because tonight is “Grown Up Game Night.” Every two weeks, we have “Grown-Up Board Game Night” with some of Joe’s friends.

DITL February 14, 2014

We always play at least one game with Kai. Tonight is no different: once they arrive, we play a game of Tsuro.

DITL February 14, 2014

After Tsuro, Kai ends up playing Pokemon on my 3DS while we start up the next game.

DITL February 14, 2014

Then, he plays in his room for a while with his cars, then reads a dinosaur book and keeps popping into the living room to tell us facts about the dinosaurs. Eventually, he comes into the living room and ends up falling asleep reading a Magic Tree House book about pandas.

DITL February 14, 2014

A day in the life: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kai woke up sometime after Joe did but before I woke up. So he watched Mythbusters while I took my shower and asked if he could watch another episode when I got out. I agreed and he finished watching that while eating a bowl of cereal.

After that, he spent a bit of time reading, then he played a bit before asking to watch Minecraft videos on YouTube with me. He and Zelda (one of the cats), snuggled up on the couch with me while we watched the videos.

Jan 15, 2014

Then, while I made lunch, he played with his toys – Army Men vs Cave Men and Superman and Zod.

The water was off, so we talked about the possibilities of why (there was a leak downstairs – they eventually turned it back on). Kai used a bottled water to give the kitties more water to drink and tried to explain to them that there was no reason to freak out. Of course, they WERE, because there was noise coming from the floor. Kai went back to playing until Joe came home for lunch.

We had lunch – Kai spoke animatedly about various things he was thinking of – before Kai went back to playing and Joe left for work.

I then had Kai help me pick out a photo for him to bring with him to the grief counselor. We talked a bit on the way about the importance of discussing things rather than avoiding them.
We also had a brief discussion about handwriting. Kai expressed frustration that his letters often don’t turn out the way he wants. I explained that part of the reason is that he always starts his letters at the bottom instead of the top and that I’d tried to help him figure out how to write them before, but he became sullen and angry, so we stopped. He asked if I’d help again, “Because my way isn’t working so I need to try something else.”

Also, got to hear this gem, “Kai, earlier: “Mommy, you should NOT get in a car accident and us die on the way for us to see grief-counselor’s-name because that would be funny not funny.” Okay, then. (I see we’re learning irony.)

While we waited in the grief counselor’s waiting room, Kai asked to sit on my lap (a very rare request) and play games on my phone. I agreed and he ended up playing “Medieval Math Battle” until the grief counselor came.

At the appointment, he got a new stuffed animal, a dragon. He named it “Mr. Dragon.” On the way out, he clutched his dragon tightly. “I have to keep him warm, especially his wings. Dragons wings are cold-blooded so they don’t make their own heat.”

Jan 15, 2014

On the way home, we listened to more of our current audiobook, Redwall. When we got home, Kai played with the kitties for a while, played with some of his toys, read some of one of the books he’s currently reading, Mossflower (a prequel to Redwall), then wandered around looking lost and asked for a suggestion of something to do. I gave him a list (this is something we’ve been working on lately – I’ll have to write more about it) and he decided to play “Rush Hour” for a while, which is a one person puzzle “board” game. Throughout the game, he told Mr. Dragon all about what he was doing.

Jan 15, 2014

Since it was Wednesday, it was family game night, after dinner. Kai was a little out of it after the long day, so we played a fairly quick/short game that he got for Christmas, called Love Letter. Then he played for about an hour, mainly with a magnetic numbers and letters set, while Joe and I did various other things.

Jan 15, 2014

Then, it was time for bed. Joe read him a chapter from one book, I read him to him from another book, then he went to sleep.

Our days vary greatly from day to day. If you’re interested at a look into another day, please feel free to check out a prior “Day in the Life” post. I did one for October 14, 2013, which was a Monday, which means it was a Minecraft night. Feel free to check it out. We don’t have a set schedule for our days, but our M/Tu/Wed nights are fairly set in stone, at least for now.

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.