Learning–Unschooling and Deschooling at the Same Time

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I still hear grumblings about “school”.  The boys ask, “Can today be a short school day?”  or “Are we going to do school today?” hoping that I’ll say no.  I think I might stop using the word “school.”  It’s become a dirty word in our house.

Last night Scotty asked me, “Are we going to have school tomorrow?  Because I thought maybe we could have a day off this week since Daddy’s out of town.”  Like Daddy being out of town is something to celebrate?  Geesh…  But then I asked him, “What about today didn’t feel like a day off?”  He shrugged and couldn’t come up with anything.  This made me very happy because I KNOW learning happened today and it didn’t feel like “school”!  So maybe we only need to change our terminology.  (in the above picture, Will is doing his usual crazy dancing to the theme song of Bill Nye the Science Guy!  He almost danced right out of the frame.)

Bill Nye the Science Guy 

Yesterday I asked the boys each to come up with one thing they wanted to learn today.  They didn’t come up with anything specific but wanted to learn science by watching Bill Nye the Science Guy.  That led to questions about the speed of light and we Googled all kinds of interesting information about that and talked about it for a long time:  5.88 trillion mile light year, 7.5 times around the Earth in one second.

(While trying to find a Bill Nye episode they wanted to watch, they came across the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate and that sparked some interesting conversation as well.)

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And then the speed of light conversation evolved into a discussion about warp drive and how can it be FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT?  Well, maybe because it’s fictional (currently), but did you know that NASA had a program from 1996-2002, studying warp propulsion?  They lost their funding in 2002 probably because we just don’t know enough yet to make it even remotely possible.  But how damned exciting is that???  To think in real life, real scientists were devoting real time to figuring this shit out!  VERY COOL  in my book!  Will really got interested in the idea of warp travel also being time travel.  Might need to look into these ideas further with him. (A fascination in anything related to space and time travel might be genetic after all.)

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And may I just say… I’m so happy for the new Star Trek movies with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.  My boys would never have discovered the awesomeness of the Trek world if not for them.  We tried to watch the original Kahn movie with them not too long ago and I was shocked at how antiquated it looked.  And the boys saw it too. 

We read all the stuff that the Star Trek world has come up with about warp drive too – and with all the technical information and official looking graphics and impressive terminology, I’m convinced it’s technology that aliens dropped off to Gene Roddenberry and we just don’t have the understanding to replicate it yet.  Endlessly interesting to this Trekky!

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In other LEARNING (not “school”) news:  We’ve decided to abandon our math curriculum for a spell and focus on math games that will strengthen our basic skills.  And I continue to search for something…  anything… that will make math fun.  I might be looking for something like Moebius Noodles for older kids.  (projects and/or games seem to be the best thing for now.)  Please message me if you have any ideas.

The boys are still enjoying Duolingo, both having chosen to do Spanish so that they can talk to the young waiters at their favorite Mexican restaurant.  I was secretly a little happy with their choice because I have a basic understanding of Spanish and can help them more or just speak it to them.

One-a-day vocab is going great and I’m amazed at the retention so far!  (even the spelling retention is greatly improved.)  But how to document it?  According to everything I’ve read, I don’t really need to worry about records for transcripts for a couple more years, but it’s definitely something I’m already trying to figure out.  And filing for state homeschooling status is coming up.  I need to figure out the curriculum list by then.

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We’re still working on Animorphs, A Wrinkle in Time and The Cabin Faced West.  While listening to A Wrinkle in Time, Scotty heard a name that piqued his interest:  Uriel.   Mrs. Whatsit mentions Uriel’s moon.  Scotty wanted to tell me about Uriel Septim, a character in Skyrim, one of their current favorite video games.  And then Will informed me the voice of Uriel Septim is “the guy who plays Captain Picard,” and he found a video on Youtube to prove it to me.   Trying to follow their interest, I looked into trying to find a book or movie about the archangel, Uriel but I haven’t been successful.  They made A Wrinkle in Time into a movie.  Anyone seen it?   We might watch it when we finish the book and compare the two.

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We still aren’t doing a great job at getting outdoors.  In my defense, we were in Colorado all last week and so far this week it’s cold and wet again.  Thursday is supposed to be sunny and nice.  Might need to be an “errands” day. (need to come up with a better word than “errands” because that’s a close second in the dirty word list, after “school”.)  We could go to the library and then explore something – I DON’T KNOW.

I see pictures of homeschooling families outside, enjoying the world IN THE SNOW, IN THE RAIN, IN THE MUD all the time.  Part of me thinks we should suck it up and just get out there.  But then I think about how cold and wet it is and my hot tea and knitting needles bully me into staying home.

Here’s my first attempt at “strewing”:

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I finding it difficult to know WHAT to strew.   I don’t want it to become an expensive project…  I’m hoping to find some coffee table/picture books at the library, but I don’t want to rely heavily on books for this.  These are some rocks that the boys and I picked up at the mountain house last week.  I’ve identified them and now I’ve left them in the boys’ habitat (the playroom downstairs) for further exploration when they feel the interest.  We’ll see…

Daylight’s starting to show itself, finally.  I’ve been up since 3:30 and it’s now 6:10.  I’m on my second cup of coffee already.  I bet I sleep well tonight!

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2 thoughts on “Learning–Unschooling and Deschooling at the Same Time

  1. The girls and I are reading A Wrinkle in Time together right now, too! It’s due back to the library Friday, so we’ll be finishing it up this week, and I’m hoping they like it enough to finish the series. They do so far. It’s only 7 AR points for reading (the girls need 40-something by April), but it’s a great story, isn’t it? 🙂

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