Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day One...and Two

So we began our unschooling experiment this week. The kids are free to learn as they wish, how they wish, and must only report what they want to me in the form of journaling at the end of each day. We have some "learning hours", but they don't have to stick to those, for example, if they want to go to the library and look stuff up in books, etc. The idea is to see if they will come up with their own ways to learn and help spark their interest in other topics.

The first day we actually went on a field trip. Well, two trips actually. The first trip was to a program about Operas. We met some friends and enjoyed an hour long show that explained different aspects of opera, from the characters, to the costuming, the lighting, the different backstage jobs, the different voices that there are for men and for women, and even a few scenes from an opera. The children found it interesting enough that they want to see the rest of the opera. We were only shown some scenes from Act I. This particular opera was modernized and set in Washington DC. It was very interesting to me as well. The Kennedy Center has such wonderful programs for children.

After the Opera program, we headed uptown to the Zoo. It was such a nice day we thought we would see if we could spot the animals enjoying spring too. We walked through exhibits featuring Lions, Tigers, loads of Birds, Red Foxes, Apes, and my personal favorite, The Elephant Shrew. He is sooooo cute! We didn't have too much time, so we are planning another trip back, when all the spring construction is done and the closed pathes are open agian. Due to the construction, we had to do A LOT of extra walking and unfortunately I didn't have my walking shoes on. Boy were my feet sore by the time we got back to the car.

When we got home, the children journaled about all they had seen and what they had learned. My son, by journalling on the computer is learning typing and word processing, which is a win win to me.

Day 2 found us at Piano lessons in the morning as well as "learning hour" where my daughter read and my son and I played Take Off, a fun geography game where you have to fly a fleet of jets across the country by jumping from city to city. Later, we went to my daughters American Girl Club at the library. There she spent time with friends learning about pioneer foods and activities, including quilting. She made a small doll quilt and tried homemade applesauce. My son read up on starfish and made a few new friends while playing on the computers. Another super nice day out, we decided to stop at the playground and swing on the way home. It felt so good to go flying up in the air on the swings. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood poems:
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Robert Louis Stevenson
So far, so good...the children are enjoying themselves and I am enjoying watching them have fun and learning at the same time.  Tomorrow we head out to the garden and start planning out what we will grow this year. I am giving each child a garden plot to grow whatever they wish. They will have to take care of their plants and harvest their food. We are also going to see how our flower beds are doing and clean out the chicken coop while we are out there. We are also going to turn over the compost bin and see if we can get some of the "black gold" spread out on the gardens. Ah well, off to snuggle with the children and read some books. Tonights selections include a a few picture books dealing with WWII, a child's biography of the Kennedies, a Dr Suess book, and two fun books, one on kites, and one on the beach.

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