Thursday, February 7, 2008

Unschooling Diary of last few days

I have kept a sort of diary from Sunday to Wednesday just to see what we have done and it’s been interesting for me to read when I have had wobbley moments today as Sunday and Monday were really good days and helped me to see that they were learning. Tuesday and Wednesday were testing but I feel like we are through that now.

Sunday 3rd February
Got kids up at 9am, quick breakfast so we could take Vic to work. The kids decided that they wanted to go to Kid’s Club at the Hotel. They stayed there for 2 hours then came back and had made friend’s with a little boy so they played with him for a bit. Then it was time to go home. Got home and did lunch then Vic decided that the car urgently needed washing so he got started with that whilst I did washing up. The kids couldn’t resist joining in with the car wash and the whole thing turned into a water fight and they all came in looking like drowned rats. They got dried and changed and played upstairs together for an hour or so. Then they went outside with the skipping ropes and skipped up and down the drive for half an hour. When they had bored of that they came inside and sat watching tv for an hour before sitting at the dining table drawing pictures.

Josh decided to get the Usbourne Beginners Romans book and began copying from it. He wrote each word in a different colour felt tip. It kept him busy for a good hour. Ellie kicked Vic off the computer and played Zoombinis Maths Journey. They both love that game.

We had dinner then watched Dancing on Ice which the kids love. Then Josh went on the computer to play Zoombinis too. When he’d had enough he played Command and Conquer Generals. Ellie played Vic at chess and won!! Then they decided to go to bed around 11pm.

Monday 4th February
I got up at 9. Kids got up at 10. Joshua went straight back to writing about the Romans and Ellie sat outside with her feet in the pool. She wanted to get in but I said that she might find it too cold yet so she sat with her toes in and decided that it was too cold to go swimming in yet. It’ll be another 2 months or so before it will be warm enough to swim.

Then they had breakfast and Joshua decided to draw a lovely picture of Henry VIII.

He is really interested in Henry VIII and it is the first thing he has been really interested in for a while. He wanted me to read to him about Henry’s wives whilst he drew. Ellie wants to do whatever Josh does as she so wants to be like him so she joins in too and his enthusiasm for learning is infecting her too. I read a section on Henry from Tony Robinson’s Kings and Queens which they both really enjoyed.

Over the weekend I had sorted out some books that we had that mentioned Henry VIII and I left them strewn over the dining table before they got up this morning to catch their eye which worked well. We read some more ‘Terrible Tudors’ which they loved then they both coloured a picture of Catherine of Aragon.

It is amazing how much they have learned about the Tudors and Henry VIII without writing a single word about it. In the past when we’ve done projects on other things I got them to write tons about it but the writing hasn’t stayed with them as much as our conversations have. It is helping me to see that I don’t need written proof that they are learning.

I remember being taught about the Tudors at school when I was about 12 and being bored stiff and staring out the window daydreaming for most of each lesson. We were dictated to and had to write down what the teacher was saying each lesson and I don’t think I actually learned anything. I couldn’t have told you anything about the Tudor Kings and Queens yet Joshua and Ellie just reel off their names including the number at the end (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I). I am gobsmacked by how much they have learnt. I am enjoying learning with them and it is great to see them so interested in something. I need to be careful though to follow their lead as I know that if I start saying things like ‘let’s look at what they ate in Tudor times’ they would most certainly lose interest altogether.

They made their own lunch of Tuna Sandwiches for Ellie and Cheese Sandwiches for Joshua.

Joshua said a really funny thing to me this afternoon, “I want to learn all this good stuff about Romans, Henry VIII, Castles, Tudors and lots of different things and its hard for me to decide what I want to learn about cos I want to learn about everything but my brain is so small I don’t know if I can fit everything I want into it! Sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode with all this great stuff whizzing round in it!” It’s great to see the passion for learning is back. I don’t think I have seen that since before he started school.

He also told me, “thanks for showing me that I can read. I thought that I couldn’t read but when I wanted you to read The Faraway Tree to me and Ellie you asked me if I could start reading the first couple of pages whilst you did the washing and I didn’t think I could do it but I tried and I could. Thanks mum.” That particular day a couple of weeks ago I ended up sat on the landing as he carried on reading to Ellie. He didn’t realize I was there until he had almost finished reading the chapter and he wondered onto the landing to look for me but still reading. Since then his confidence in reading has really improved and he has a much more positive attitude to reading.

After lunch Joshua wanted to read a couple more pages of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which he did really well. Then he played on his DS for half an hour whilst Ellie played in her room. Then Ellie came down and they both watched TV for an hour and a half until it was time to take Vic to work and then we went to the internet café for half an hour just to check on our order for stock for our business. Ellie went on the Nick Jnr site and Josh played a Scooby Doo game online.

Then home for dinner. They watched tv for another hour and helped me tidy up. I don’t ask them to help but they normally help me once they see me tidying. Then they wanted me to read to them so they chose ‘The Orchard Book of Aesop's Fables’ and I read about 4 fables which they enjoyed. We were using this book for our school-at-home approach and normally I would have asked for a narration or for a picture from the story and asked them questions at the end but it was really nice to just read the stories and enjoy them as stories rather than as ‘schoolwork’.

Then I read them a few poems from ‘Read Me Out Loud!’ It has a poem for every day of the year and previously I had planned to read every poem to them on the correct date but we just dipped in and out of it picking ones that sounded fun. Vic rang for us to go and fetch him and probably helped save the kids from my terrible rendition of ‘Sing A Song Of Six Pence’. I was halfway through singing it extremely badly to them!

Fetched Vic then came home and relaxed in front of the TV. Then we watched a program called ‘Life In Cold Blood’ all about animals and the kids were fascinated by it. Ellie loves lizards so she loved watching the lizards and Iguanas. They often see lizards here in the garden but we haven’t seen any here for a month or two. They both went to bed around midnight.

Tuesday 5th February
The kids were already up and dressed by the time I came down at 9am and playing their DS’s. I had to go out for a few bits so they came with me to the Bank and then to choose a birthday card for Vic’s mum. When we came back Vic was up so he made us a lovely brunch and the kids watched TV. By 1pm they were still watching TV so I got the paints out and it was enough to tempt them away from the TV for a couple of hours and we all had fun painting and sticking.

Then they went back to their TV watching until it was time to take Vic to work. When we came home they helped me tidy up after tea and Ellie washed up (she loves washing up!). Then they went upstairs to play until it was time to fetch Vic. We came back and Joshua played ‘Command & Conquer Generals’ on the computer and Ellie played with her dolls. They went to bed around 11pm.

Wednesday 6th February
The kids were up before me again this morning. Josh was lying on the settee playing his DS and Ellie was watching TV. They pretty much stayed like that most of the day. I’ve been busy sorting out our spare room which has become a bit of a dumping ground ready for my brother in law coming to stay with us as soon as we get back from England. After lunch I asked if they wanted to go for a walk Josh wanted to stay and carry on playing his DS but Ellie came with me pushing her doll’s pram.

Josh has played his DS virtually all day and Ellie has spent most of the day either watching TV or watching Josh on his DS. It has been a very testing of us over the issue of screen time and I have had to tell myself quite a lot that it is just a phase and that tomorrow will be a better day.

They went to bed at around 11pm.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Great post!! I love reading these day-in-the-life type posts. Can I suggest submitting it to Unschooling Voices? I think it would benefit a lot of people.