Sunday, May 11, 2014

more unschooling

I was planning on taking kids to the Gem and Mineral show today and then to the nature center. I told them about these plans. 8 yo wanted to print out a picture of a butterfly that he took with his camera in Tennessee. First I showed him how to load the files onto the computer and how to print them out. Then he wondered out loud whether his butterfly was a blue morpho. I said that he can look it up online. He searched for images of blue morpho (which involved typing) and found out that his butterfly is different. He seemed stumped, so I suggested just looking for blue butterflies. He searched some more and found a website for identifying butterflies. After some trial and error, he found out that his butterfly was red-spotted blue. I asked him to label his image and he copied the name from the screen.

Meanwhile I printed out a picture of a ladybug for my daughter that she asked me to take on Chol HaMoed. She remembered this whole time that she wanted that picture of a ladybug. She wrote her name, and then I wrote "ladybug" on a dry-erase board which she copied onto the paper.

Our first stop was Gem and Mineral show. There are forms to fill out for door prizes, with separate category for kids and last year 10 yo won a door prize. Last year 8 yo melted down while being unable to fill out his form, so I was bracing myself. 10 yo flew through filling out his, and 8 yo started on his form. He wrote his first name too big, so he had to squeeze our long last name onto the next line. Then he stalled at writing down our address. Our street name has a few words in it, so he ran out of space. I suggested finishing on the back and he said, nobody looks there. I suggested adding an arrow. He was so close to meltdown, but held himself together. When it was time to write down a phone number, I saw that he reversed almost all the numbers. Sigh, we definitely need to work on handwriting, and I definitely need to get him to an OT.

He started writing down "homeschool" for school, wrote capital M, froze, tried squeezing in the rest of the letters before it. When it was time to write down teacher's name, he even managed to mangle "mom". Finally, he submitted the form.

To our great surprise, he was picked for a door prize! Since his slip was so funky, he was called up by his first name and the first word in our street's name. It was funny, but it was definitely his slip. He was given a slab of agate that he proudly hauled around. It even made up for the fact that he did not have his money with him (I think it is in the great pile of confiscated stuff). I got each kid a grab bag at the exit. Each bag was $2. I pulled out a twenty and asked 8 yo, so how much will the grab bags cost for the three of you? Before 10 yo had a chance to pipe up, I shushed him, saying this is for 8 yo to figure out. He said, 6$. I asked, and how much change will you get back? The person behind the grab bag table started egging him on, and I saw a trapped look in 8 yo's eyes. I quickly led the kids outside, sent 10 yo and 4 yo walking around the planters while 8 yo thought. He did some fantastical calculation, something with adding by twos and threes, but eventually he arrived at the correct answer. I sent the kids in with the money, staying outside with the baby. They came back with their grab bags.

In the car on the way over to the nature center, they examined their loot, and each kid had an item to trade from their bags. 10 yo found a large piece of quartz with pyrite ingrained in it. 4 yo had a very good piece of petrified wood. She was able to say that it is wood, and she gave over her ladybug picture.

We had lunch and the kids listened to a naturalist talk about red-shouldered hawk. 1 yo was fascinated with an opposum behind the glass just at his eye level. He kept pulling up and looking in and even trying to say "opposum". Then we did one hike. We even had our trail blocked by a fallen pine, which was so large that we had to blaze a trail around it. The boys stopped and read all the new signage.

Without any external agenda, we did math, computer, research, science, writing, reading and PE. The good mellow mood settled over the kids, and 10 yo wished that we had more Sundays like this. I mused to myself, we are unschooling, so why do we have to wait till Sunday to have an experience like this?

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