I often get asked about resources and what the kids are using, so I thought I’d gather them all in one place.
Now, I want to make it clear that I don’t actually think you need much at all to unschool. Some basic art supplies, simple open ended toys, the internet, friends, a library, and the great outdoors are all inexpensive and about all you really need. This is just a list of what my children are personally into at present. It is not intended to be a list of things you should have!
With that said, these are the things my girls are really enjoying as we begin 2019…
Our Unschool Group
I think our most valuable resource has to be our unschooling group. We spend two whole days a week with them where the kids play all day. Unstructured play time is SO important, at every age. When children are free to direct their own time, they come up with amazing things. This is how they were designed to learn.
We’re finding that the older kids in our group are really enjoying some more group activities right now too and so we have some exciting plans for this year. Some of the events they’re enjoying include: poetry teatime, book club, group experiments, project fairs, markets, talent show, art gallery and museum visits, pottery, sewing, and roller skating.
How did we end up with this amazing group? We created it. We knew what we wanted and set about making it happen. If there is nothing yet in your area I really encourage you to do the same! It won’t happen instantly but all you need to find is one other family and then slowly grow from there as you meet more people. Make it clear what kind of group/community you’re after and you’ll attract your people. Facebook groups are really handy for this!
The girls are really loving Outschool right now. And I do too! It just makes it so obvious how unnecessary school is. People naturally want to share their passions and the technology we have now means we can learn from people all over the world, in our own home. Everything we need is right at our fingertips.
If there’s an area the girls want to know more about they can jump on Outschool and find out if there are any classes that sound interesting to them. They get to see and chat with other kids from around the world who are interested in the same topics. So far they’ve enjoyed classes about chemistry, electricity, Van Gogh, EFT, maths, cells, music, poetry, and Jane Goodall. It’s such a brilliant site and there are a huge range of classes.
Bonus, you can get $20 off your first Outschool class by using this link.
You’ve probably heard of KiwiCo crates. The girls were lucky enough to get a subscription from their grandparents for Christmas. Each month they get a box delivered with a hands-on STEM project to do. Firstly, they just like getting mail, ha! But secondly, the projects are really cool. They actually get two boxes. The Tinker crate for the older girls (9 and 7), and the Kiwi crate for the younger ones (5 and 3). There’s things like building a hydraulic claw, a planetarium, a trebuchet, etc. The little one’s first box was about the human body and they got to make a stethoscope and create x-rays with glow paper. They’re finding them really fun and look forward to them appearing on the doorstep.
We are audible crazy here. The big girls listen to audiobooks every night when they go to bed, and on car trips. We have a book club with friends so it makes it really easy to read the books for that in time too. In January they listened to 47 hours of books, ha! They are LOVING The Land of Stories right now.
Some books they have loved:
The Faraway Tree series
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory
The Midnight Gang
Alice in Wonderland
Five Children and It
The Wizard of Oz
The Famous Five Series
Anne of Green Gables
The Wild Robot
The Land of Stories series
You can do a 30-day free trial of Audible HERE, and get 2 free audiobooks.
Of course, books have to be on the list. We have lots of different books, both fiction and non-fiction. You can find some of our favourites here.
Art supplies are a must here. We use them every day. Things we always have on hand are:
Big Life Journal
I bought my 9 and 7 year old girls Big Life Journal for Christmas, thinking they would like it, and I was right! They are loving filling it out each week and remind me every Monday that they can do another week. It’s a year long journal that focuses on encouraging a growth mindset and I find the discussions it creates really valuable! I definitely recommend it.
The girls are still enjoying JAM courses online. You can read my review of them here. The science and cooking ones have captured their interest at the moment.
All of the girls spend a lot of their days creating, and they’re continuing to use Artventure this year. You can find out more about this program here. Miss 7 in particular likes it to help her learn specific techniques.
This list wouldn’t be complete without nature. One of our greatest teachers. Being outside fills everyone’s cup. There are many opportunities to move our bodies, ground ourselves, get sunshine and fresh air, and there is so much to discover and learn about. Right now we are raising frogs. We visited a creek where we noticed tadpoles, and collected some so we could watch the metamorphosis. The girls each keep a nature journal where they draw or write about the things they find. A connection to nature is a priority for all of us.
And that’s it so far for 2019! All of these things cover their interests so well. We’re so lucky to have so many great things available. I’d love to hear what your kids interests are and what resources they’re using to support them?
Looking for some inspiration for toys/materials? You can find our favourites here.