Precious Memories: Week 4 – Unschooling

This week saw our first unschooling week in.  We are currently alternating schooling with unschooling to allow the children time.  Time to be children; time to explore; time to focus on their gifts and time to discover the person they were born to be.  In general it has been a really productive week, although screen time is (still) an issue for me.

Mum turned 71 last week so we invited her round for a celebratory dinner.  We always have her round on a Saturday night to watch The Darling Buds of May.  This week though we were armed with food and presents.  C12 made her a chocolate cake and decorated it with stars.  Everyone had bought presents out of their own money for her and she was moved by them all, almost to tears.  Gary and I had got her a framed picture of the photo of all three generations of girls/women, which she loved:

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T13 spent a lot of his time working on his bike.  This is his new hobby and he is very passionate about it, spending almost all of his birthday money on all things bike related, from bike magazines to mini cameras to attach to his helmet to film his escapades.  We were given a second hand bike which Gary and I did up/repaired and gave to him for his birthday.  He was ecstatic because he knew that whilst he really wanted a bike we could not afford to pay for one.  The bike, however, has proved to need a little more work than we first thought.  The gears needed replacing, the peddle continued to fall off and needed replacing, it had no mud guards which made for some very messy rides and to top it all off T managed to get a puncture.  I am so proud of how he has handled it though.  He bid on ebay and won a second used bike.  At first he thought it was good enough to use as is, but soon discovered that it too had some issues.  At this point he expressed frustration over the fact that he now had two bikes but neither worked.  I merely commented that a month ago he had no bikes, so he was in a better position than he had been.  We are a family for whom attitude counts for a lot.  Gary and I try to teach our children that whilst we can’t control situations we can control our attitude towards them.  What one person sees as hopeless another may see as an opportunity.  I was very proud when T went outside and obviously began to see his two bikes through different eyes.  Suddenly he was completely absorbed making one usable bike out of two unusable ones:

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At one point he was unable to remove one of the tyres and took himself and the bike down to the local car mechanics and asked them to help him, which they were very happy to do.  He was so pleased with himself and rightly so!

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I have so enjoyed the relationship blossoming from my two little ones who have discovered the wonders of playing by themselves without the older ones.  It has been rather wonderful to watch.

The littles have also been keeping themselves busy producing copious amounts of art work with the art kits I bought just for this occasion:

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I had bought a painting by numbers painting for A6 to do.  L12 was delighted when she found a paper version was included in the pack as well as the canvas one.  So she and A6 whiled away a few happy hours creating two really beautiful paintings.  A6’s painting is at the bottom right.  This was an amazingly successful activity for A to do because she concentrated for hours, literally.  For A, her concentration is a huge hindrance to her learning so to watch her absorbed for that long on something was terrific!  I shall be buying her another one for her next unschool week:

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The children have also been listening to Mine Craft music videos whilst washing up.  Who knew?  They are kind of cool though and even I felt my toes tapping along to them:

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My older girls have spent a lot of time in the kitchen this week which has been lovely.  We have had a very healthy diet of Spring vegetable soup and freshly baked Irish wheaten bread for lunch each day.  T and the little ones have specifically asked to have time to cook during our next unschooling week:

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C12 has been keeping herself very busy with her music.  She is beginning to have brief piano lessons alongside her singing lessons and this week much time was spent practising.  She is due to take her musical theatre singing exam in March and again has been practising for that.  In addition she has been recording herself singing using the record on her camera:

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She has also been doing a fabulous job with her murder mystery novella and has completed three chapters.  I think it is really, really good!  I will share it if she finishes.

L12 has been working with her hands.  She used some of her Christmas money to buy a knitting loom and has been attached to it ever since.  She has already made hats for both A6 and B3 and has big plans for making snoods and hats and scarves for our home made Christmas next year:

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She combined her loom band skills with her knitting and created a lovely loom band flower to attach to B3’s hat.

Tonight they will be doing their Contenders of the Faith club.  The girls are working with Lorna on their small world dolls houses:

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whilst I am working through the little one’s special Keepers of the Home books.  They are currently doing their colouring badge and learning all about manners and etiquette:

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Gary takes the boys for wood working.

It has, I think, been a productive week.  Next week I will be writing a post on the children’s thoughts on their first unschooling week.  We had a meeting this morning and it unearthed some very interesting thoughts from them.

I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with love, laughter and people you love!

 photo 50ee37ee-4f60-43f2-83eb-bb7deb75fd49_zpsbacda61d.png  Homegrown Learners  

28 comments

  1. That’s wonderful to have one week of traditional school work and another of unschooling. Unfortunately for my younger son this doesn’t work. He gets bored and even ask for some work to do. Otherwise he’d play video games all day if I let him. However, we are moving towards a more project based activity once a week that he likes. I’m visiting from Weekly Wrap Up.

    1. One of my beefs about unschooling totally is that the children would get bored but that really wasn’t the case at all this week. Project based learning is a great middle ground.

  2. Love this post for many reasons :-). Aren’t we so blessed to be able to homeschool our children and have grandparents to share our precious times with them!

    We, too, are just beginning the Contenders of the Faith, Keepers of the Home and the Little Keepers at home. I had purchased these 2 years ago and we are just now getting serious about doing it with the children . Your post a few weeks back on these clubs encouraged me to stick with it . I have great intentions, but my follow through is not so good sometimes. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing, Claire.

    Blessings,

    Brenda

  3. I’m very curious to hear their thoughts! And, I’m so glad you framed that photo for your mother. It’s too beautiful to not be on a wall 🙂

  4. I can’t wait to hear their thoughts. It does look like they got a lot done. It looks like a productive and happy week to me 🙂

  5. What a great learning week even if you didn’t have it all planned out for them. I am curious to hear their thoughts too. Your children are always so busy and full of life. I love to read about their adventures.

  6. Bike repairs, cooking, art, teamwork, music, knitting and woodwork. I know that is not an exclusive list, but my instincts tell me that these are great life skills and well worth forgoing school for this week. Your children are incredible and this week shows some of the great skills God has given them. I look forward to chatting with you about a screen time solution. For today, we shall play in the snow.

    1. I hope you managed some snow play. Ours melted almost immediately but stuck around long enough for T to make B a mini Olaf!
      Thanks Vikki for your encouragement and I look forward to hearing your views on screen management!

  7. This is an exciting project to watch. I’ve never heard of anyone doing a week on and a week off. I am excited about watching it unfold this year! Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Oh I’m so curious to hear their thoughts! It’s great how productive (and helpful in the kitchen) they’ve all been. I am once again utterly impressed with Ts passion and dedication.

  9. I would say you all had a rather productive week of unschooling. I do get the screen time issue. We have it here, myself included. Sometimes I wish we had NO electronics, but then I’d have no way of keeping up with the Scalliwags. That would never do! I could comment on everything, but I think I’ll just say hurrah for T. I am so proud of him for working out his bike issues and not just tossing it aside and giving up the whole thing. That shows real maturity. Give him a hug from me and tell him I think he is just the tops!

    1. It is mature, isn’t it? I’m really proud of how he listens to Gary and I, goes away and thinks about it and then changes as he thinks is necessary. He’s really matured this year, and it is lovely being a part of it.

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