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Wow, what a difference once week can make! And I mean that in so many different ways.
In the middle of last week I made the decision to officially switch to unschooling my kids. I know the term unschooling is a terrible name, it’s not really as hippie as it sounds, I promise. And it was like a weight was instantly lifted off my shoulders. We ended up having the best “homeschool week” we’ve had in a long time.
Also, a week ago we were hanging out at one of our local museums where we have a membership and now they are all closed.
A week ago many of our friends and family sent their kids to school and by the end of this week they are all going to be at home. I honestly can’t even wrap my mind around that.
If you are one of those who are finding yourself suddenly homeschooling and in need of a few tips and suggestions you can check out this post also, seeing our weekly homeschool reviews like this one may be helpful as well.
OUR HOMESCHOOL WEEK IN REVIEW
For reference, here’s the low down on the kids:
Raeca – she’s 9 and in grade 4
Ephraim – he’s 6 and in grade 1
R2D2 – he’s 18 months (he came to our family via foster care in February)
HERE’S OUR WEEK IN REVIEW:
Actually, the week is starting on Thursday here, that’s when I decided to officially switch to unschooling and somehow that’s when our learning actually took off for the week.
+ we spent a morning at a local museum that we have a membership for, it is set up like a 1910 boom town and the kids love it. We just hit up all the places that looked interesting to them and skipped the parts that didn’t. I didn’t have any ulterior motive or things I wanted them to learn but they were chatting about which job would be best suited for their personalities and my nine year old even decided to take her own notes as we walked around. My favorite part about her notes was “Old jail cell and toilets are really bad. Trains are creepy.” 😂 She’s not wrong!
+ I am not the kind of mom who plans an activity for her kids to do each day but with the pressure of feeling like I had to do something I suddenly felt inspired to plan some activities (I’m a rebel through and through). One of the activities I had planned was a DIY mini escape room. It was simple but they had so much fun. I am planning on having a post up later this week where I share exactly how I set it up. (It’s up! You can check out our DIY Escape Room here.)
+ at one point one day I gave R2D2 a wooden spoon to use as a drumstick and some cereal boxes to pound away on and of course the big kids wanted to play along. So, I asked them if a cereal box with stuff in it sounded different than an empty one. They were surprised to find that it did and they went off seeing how different materials made different sounds (in a controlled way, they weren’t tearing the house apart with a wooden spoon though one did break . . .).
+ my six year old loves all things STEM, sometimes I search on Pinterest for ideas for him and one day I came across this idea: I gave each kid 15 plastic cups, 20 popsicle sticks and they they were supposed to see how tall of a tower they could make and have it sturdy enough for a Lego mini figure to stay on top. All varieties of structures were created! Then, when they were tired of it I set up a bunch of towers and they flew some paper airplanes they made into them.
+ we spent a little bit of time this week talking about their interests and strengths and what future careers they may be interested in. Now, I don’t expect my kids to have this figured out right away but I do like to pay attention to both their strengths and interests so I can provide opportunities in those areas and help them grow. As a jack-of-all-trades who would love to be really good at at least one thing I want to help my kids have a step in that direction.
+ we are so fortunate to have really good homeschool friends who live on our block (and a couple of blocks over), one afternoon the kids were creating potions of all sorts of spices and things from my cupboard. I mostly gave them spices I don’t use and it was a good wake up call to the number of expired spices I have. 😂
+ one day the kids were a little antsy so I gave them each a handful of mini marshmallows and toothpicks and let them have fun. I didn’t give them anything specific to do with them but they made houses, stick/marshmallow people and a snowman. Plus, they got to eat the marshmallows afterwards. My six year old got so attached to his stickman that he made another one the next day – though, not so attached that he refrained from eating him.
+ when choosing to unschool kids are left with more downtime than if you try to follow a structured school-esq daily schedule and I love seeing what my kids do with that time. This week my daughter spent a lot of time looking through the Maps book and looking at all the different flags and she also read a lot of WWII history from a visual encyclopedia I got from the library.
We also like to make use of YouTube for education. Here are some of the different videos we watched this week:
Ephraim enjoys some of this channel’s videos, this week he learned about color mixing (by watching monster trucks smash together, right up his alley!).
Raeca and I were talking about something and I mentioned someone being Mormon and she asked what that was so we watched about half of this video to answer her question (half because she felt like her question was answered in the first half).
Both my kids love Lego and knowing how things are made, they thought this video was interesting!
Ephraim asked something about how you don’t get burned when you quickly put your hand through a candle flame and the conversation evolved into fire walking so I show him this MythBusters video I remembered:
And there you have it! That was the majority of our week! (Well, Thursday to Sunday anyway), I felt stress-free, the kids learned about things that interested them and we had a lot of fun together. I am sold on this unschooling thing and can’t wait for the weeks to come!