An Unschool Journal (March)

An Unschool Journal

It’s been a while since we caught up hasn’t it? I felt a bit like the weekly posts were becoming a chore and that’s not what I’m about! Trying to capture everything was difficult and also pretty distracting. I don’t want to be grabbing my camera every time I see some beautiful natural learning. I want to be in the moment! So I decided monthly posts would be better. That way I will surely still have enough photos to fill up a post but I don’t have to include everything, just a snapshot. It also allows me to show you better how things really happen, I think. Our life isn’t so much a series of activities strung together, but more like a slow building of different interests, ideas, and experiences that are all connected. Maybe that will come across better by only posting monthly. We’ll see!

So what have we been learning this month? Thinking back it didn’t seem like much. We have been busy with friends birthday parties, some sickness, and a family wedding where the girls were flower girls which was very exciting! Looking through my photos though I was surprised as usual, we have been learning quite a lot amongst all the busyness!

Unschool Journal (March)

One of the highlights of the month was our trip to Australia Zoo. The girls loved seeing all the animals.Unschool Journal (March)

Miss 1 even got to feed a kangaroo!Unschool Journal (March)

Miss 6 really likes snakes.

Unschool Journal (March)

The giraffe’s were my favourite.

Unschool Journal (March)

The big news of the month was Miss 6 learning to ride her pedal bike. She has had a balance bike for a long time and got this pedal bike a year ago. So far she hasn’t been able to ride it independently though as she couldn’t reach the ground properly, so she needed help starting and stopping. Not any more! She has mastered it and is so proud of herself!

Unschool Journal (March)

Our littlest girl is getting to be much more a toddler and less of a baby now, wanting to join in on everything the big girls are doing. Luckily, they are mostly very happy to help her join in with them. They’re so caring and patient with her. This month I’ve been reflecting on how close sibling relationships are one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling, for us anyway. The girls have always been so close and I used to worry what would happen when my eldest went off to school and how that would change things. Thinking back on the last year, if they had all been separated they would have missed out on so much of getting to know their new little sister. There is so much focus on socialization and the importance of time with friends but what about sibling relationships? Surely at this age that is even more crucial. The bonds they’re forming now will last them a lifetime, I hope. I’m so grateful that they are growing up together and are not separated for much of their waking hours during these years.

Unschool Journal (March)

You might have seen me mention this book over on my facebook page because I love it! Isn’t it so beautiful? The girls were inspired by it and asked if they could grow beans to watch the lifecycle. You might remember we actually did this at homeschool co-op very recently. However, once we got home the girls were not at all interested. They didn’t check on the beans or water them at all. They eventually went mouldy and died and I threw them out without anyone even noticing. This time, things couldn’t be more different.

Unschool Journal (March)

Unschool Journal (March)

We soaked some bean seeds and then ‘planted’ them in jars with some cotton wool so we could observe them clearly.

Unschool Journal (March)

Unschool Journal (March)

First thing in the morning the girls run to check on them and see how much they’ve grown. Miss 6 draws a picture of what they look like in her nature journal and labels it with the number day we’re up to. They are both so fascinated and excited by them. It has just been such a reinforcement of my belief that learning is really pretty pointless unless it’s meaningful to the child. We have done exactly the same thing as we did a few weeks ago, the only difference being that one was adult initiated, and one was child initiated. Now that’s not to say I won’t continue exposing them to new things! I’ll always give them opportunities to learn something new and spark an interest in something they may not have come across on their own. It’s just that if they’re not interested then that is OK. Learning is consensual and never forced. It’s so much more fulfilling that way.

Unschool Journal (March)

Keeping with the bean theme, we also used them in some art. I did need something to do with all those left over beans! I set them out for the girls one night with some sturdy cardboard and glue.Unschool Journal (March)

The next day they added some paint to them.Unschool Journal (March)

I really love how these turned out!

Unschool Journal (March)

Of course, as there usually is, there was a lot more art this month too. Here’s just a few things that happened. If you haven’t tried sidewalk chalk paint you really must. It’s super simple!

Unschool Journal (March)

Miss 1 particularly likes joining in where art is concerned. This sometimes includes drawing on the walls and floor, ha! Consequently the art shelves have now been rearranged as some things needed to be a little higher up! But seriously, how cute is this little hand holding the pen?

Unschool Journal (March)

Some wooden pegs, cards, tape, and patterned paper added to the shelves sparked this little scene. Some peg dolls and a house.

Unschool Journal (March)

We learned about Pointillism and Georges Seurat. You can read more here.

Unschool Journal

Unschool Journal

Unschool Journal (March)

Autumn is here, if only the weather would catch up! Nevertheless we started some autumn themed art for the wall anyway.

Unschool Journal (March)

You might have noticed in a few of the photos I’ve left little notes for the girls. Miss 6 told me at the start of the year that this year she wanted to keep learning to read, however she hasn’t been interested in reading a lot lately. I reminded her of what she said and asked her if she would like to do some more reading. The answer was ‘No, I’m bored of reading at the moment’. Well ok then. I’m confident that her interest will come back at some point, reading is a pretty handy skill to have! And I’m glad that I can give her the freedom to take a break when she needs it rather than pushing on and risking making her dislike reading. I still like to provide a literacy rich environment though and give her lots of opportunities to read in ways that are meaningful, if she wants to. Lately I’ve been leaving little notes out at night with the things I have set up for them to find in the morning.

Unschool Journal (March)

Someone else has been leaving notes around the place too! Isn’t early writing just the cutest? It may look like scribbles but it’s very meaningful to her. She can tell me exactly what it says and I can see some letters in there too. Watching her I also see that she is ‘writing’ left to right and top to bottom. The early stages of beginning to write! When did she get so big?

Unschool Journal (March)

Miss 4 also learnt to play Uno. Maths is fun and games here.

Unschool Journal (March)

A lot of maths this month has actually been on the iPad. The girls are loving this app called Dragon Box which actually teaches algebra. It’s really clever!

Unschool Journal (March)

They also like IXL maths which honestly to me seems really boring. It’s an app or website which is linked to the australian curriculum where they can practice lots of maths problems. I’m not sure what the appeal is for them but it’s not about me is it? They seem to really like it.

Unschool Journal (March)

A little invitation to build.

Unschool Journal (March)

After a lot of trial and error she worked out that building cubes was the way to go and was extremely proud of her efforts. She then got out the measuring tape to see how tall it was.

Unschool Journal (March)

Unschool Journal (March)

There’s been a lot of counting with the play money this month. Here she is counting out $1 in each of the coins. We then played a game where I made 2 piles of money and she had to work out which one added up to more. She wanted to write down the answers so also learnt how to write dollars and cents properly.

Unschool Journal (March)

A new interest emerging: music! The girls were lucky enough to get this keyboard off their Aunty and Uncle for their birthdays. So far Miss 6 has learnt the names of the notes and how to play ‘Mary had a little lamb’. I’m interested to see if she wants to learn more.

Unschool Journal (March)

This month there was lots of fun times with friends! A couple of birthday parties and plenty of time playing and creating together.

Unschool Journal (March)

Some loose parts play and storytelling with friends.

Unschool Journal (March)

A trip to the art gallery and play in this climbing web with co-op.

Unschool Journal (March)

Unstructured time with friends outdoors is the absolute best. Always so magical and fulfilling.

Unschool Journal (March)

Unschool Journal (March)

Beading with co-op.Unschool Journal (March)

Little hands find little beads very tempting.

Unschool Journal (March)

Unschool Journal (March)

And that was life for us in March! I’ll see you again in another month. Until then, I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to? What are your children interested in? Or do you have a question for me? Leave a comment below…

17 thoughts on “An Unschool Journal (March)

  1. How do you balance small loose parts with a 1 year old? My 10 month old twins are mega interested in anything my 3 year old plays with including small pieces….

    • Hi Esther! For me it was convenient as there is a couple of steps down into our play room where all the loose parts are, so she was not able to get down there at first. She has only worked out the stairs in the last couple of months which also luckily coincided with her putting things in her mouth less! It can be a bit tricky so I do have to be with them if they’re working on something they don’t want destroyed though.

  2. I love this post! The main themes or areas of learning are really clear rather than in there amongst all the business of a week – also seems like a more manageable way of doing it?? The art work using the beans is incredible, adding the cookies gave it such vibrancy πŸ™‚

  3. There’s so much to love in this post Sara. That book really does look beautiful – I think I might just have to order it for the kids.

    I’ve been thinking about changing to monthly updates too – I’ve been enjoying the last three weeks of just being with the kids (and having my camera inside on a shelf somewhere); it’s been really lovely.

    Autumn is in full swing here and it’s stunning. Do the leaves change much up your way? The book you have out for the girls looks beautiful. Is it a poetry book?

  4. You’ve definitely been busy this month! I loved seeing all your fabulous photos and reading about the educational activities. The bean paintings turned out lovely. My girls like Dragon Box too. At the moment they are both obsessed with Reading Eggs which is really helping my 5 year old with her reading. I didn’t realise but the Reading Eggs program also has a maths part to it too.

  5. Pingback: Unschooling: A Day in Our Life - Happiness is here

  6. Pingback: An Unschool Journal (April) - Happiness is here

  7. Children learn very quickly, so they must have real experiences: starting to get acquainted with the animals, driving balance bike, learn how to play piano or draw some simple pictures…It’s very important implications for the development of children. Nice pictures and great post.

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