Unschooling: A Day in Our Life
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As I’ve said before, no one can tell you how homeschooling or unschooling is going to look for your particular family. It looks so different in every home! I do love to see what others are up to though so I thought maybe you’d like a peek into one of our days too. I decided since we were having a home day with no plans, today would be a good day to do that.
We start the day at 6.30am when my littlest wakes me up, the big girls are not far behind.
I like to put some things out in the play room for the girls to find in the morning as usually they’re up before me, but last night I fell asleep before I got to do it. They’d also asked me specifically to leave out some blank books of paper for them, oops! So while they’re having breakfast I quickly do that.
I also put a few baskets with blocks and loose parts in the building area.
And a new book that recently arrived in the mail next to the keyboard.
After breakfast they get dressed and find the books in the play room. Their little sister likes to be involved in everything so I also left a book out for her to draw in knowing otherwise she would attempt to steal theirs.
Miss 6 decides to make a book about autumn. She fills the pages with pictures of autumn trees, flowers dropping their seeds, fruit that we eat in autumn, and sticks in some leaves from the nature tray. When she’s done she leaves it on the nature table to add to later.
Miss 4 is making a book about lady bugs.
My 1 year old is sick of the drawing quickly but occupies herself with a book.
Miss 6 has moved to the block area to make an autumn scene there with the Machi blocks.
She then goes on to building a boat with a different type of block, making the sea and fish out of paper for it to sail on, and telling me an elaborate story about the people on the boat as she builds.
When she’s finished with her book, Miss 4 moves to the light table to build with the Magna-Tiles. She is really into building pyramids lately. You can see the little hand there on the left trying to resist touching (and not always succeeding).
Instead of getting frustrated with her little sister, Miss 4 takes some time out from building to show her one of her pyramids and teach her how to touch it gently so it doesn’t break. Such a sweet little moment between them.
Outside time! We always spend time outside in the mornings.
Miss 6 stays inside for a bit longer making a ‘repair shop’ for her boat that needs fixing.
At the moment my 1 year old’s favourite thing is the water table, so we fill it up and also add some food colouring.
After we’ve been outside for a while Miss 6 heads back inside to draw a picture of insects.
It’s morning tea time and we usually have fruit but we don’t have much left. Our fruit and veggie delivery doesn’t come until this afternoon so we have to make something. We decide on scones.
The girls make them all themselves.
Checking the time on our clock to see when we will need to get the scones out of the oven.
While waiting for the scones to cook we set up this little crystal garden that Miss 6 got for her birthday from a friend.
After morning tea it’s nap time for Miss 1. The girls asked to do painting earlier and I suggested it would be easier to do it at nap time. I tell them that while I feed their sister they can clean up the table if they like so that I can get the paints for them when she’s in bed. After I’m done I find they’ve set up the paints themselves already and are waiting for me to get the watercolour paper.
I remind them of a recent question they had about how waves are made and ask if they would like to paint what they think the answer might be. They do, and they both paint pictures of the wind pushing the water to make waves.
Next they decide to do some autumn artwork to add to our seasons wall.
When they’re done with painting they play inside and outside. I’m not sure with what, I leave them to it and get lunch ready.
It seems like some kind of dinosaur play happened.
After lunch Miss 6 is interested in reading the music book. Here she is learning about different kinds of notes and clapping the rhythm.
She tells me ‘hang on a second Mum’ while she runs to get some paper and a texta to make some notes about what she’s learned so far.
She has learnt to read and play a couple of little tunes today. She squeals every time she gets to the end of one without making a mistake. I love watching how excited she is to learn new things. Here is a little instagram video of her playing.
Little Miss has woken up grumpy after her nap. She is getting her molars at the moment. She pulls out all of her books while searching for ‘Where is the Green Sheep‘ and I read it to her multiple times while the big girls play outside.
The girls come in and with much excitement tell me I MUST come and look at the crystal garden!
They go back to their game outside and I see that they have made a ‘jungle cubby’.
They’ve stuck pictures of jungle animals all around the yard.
A sign by Miss 4 that apparently says ‘Only Soldiers Allowed into the Party’. She is doing lots of ‘writing’ lately.
The fruit and veggies arrive so it’s time for an apple break.
It’s time for another nap for Miss 1. When she’s in bed I come out to find this…oh my. I remind them that we only draw on paper but they tell me ‘but Muuuum, it’s for a party!!’
The girls continue playing outside having a party, swinging on the swings, drawing with chalk on the concrete, pretending to be super spies, jumping on the trampoline, and digging in the garden.
They bring me two little bean plants they’ve found in the grass and decide to plant them in their pots. Why is there beans growing in the grass you ask? Well, when we did our bean art last month we may have shaken off the excess beans onto the grass.
The last couple of hours of the afternoon is spent playing outside until dark. By now I’m pretty over taking photos so I don’t. You don’t realise how much they do in a day until you try and capture it all!
When it gets too dark we come inside and do a quick tidy up and the girls both do some of their Reading Eggs, one on the iPad and one on the computer, while waiting for their Dad to get home.
After that it’s dinner and showers. The girls then play for a while (dolls, dress ups, reading books) until they’re tired. We read some stories in bed together and then they go to sleep.
And that’s our day! Does it look similar or totally different at your house? Do you have any questions for me? I had fun documenting our life but man was it tiring trying to capture it all. I didn’t even get everything on camera. Sometimes it feels like we don’t do a whole lot but today I learned that when you really take notice there is a LOT going on. Now I’m ready for bed. I hope you enjoyed reading!
Love it! I really need to do this one day <3
Glad they are liking the crystal garden!
They are loving it!
Sounds similar to my days with three little girls! Lots and lots of drawing and colouring. Do you mind sharing the name of the wooden blocks with the holes? I’ve been searching for some building blocks just like those.
Thanks- I love reading your blog!
Hi Millie! I can’t actually find them anywhere! People always ask me. I bought them from Spiral Garden a long time ago but they don’t seem to stock them anymore. They do have these similar ones though: http://spiralgarden.com.au/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1170
I thank you for all you do and generating awareness as to honest realities you share.
. You sometimes hear a person report, “You can’t learn everything out of books.” I believe the real learning becomes more identifiable in retrospect after the books have been read; stored upon a shelf for future reference and a substantial duration of time has passed applying the book lessons to personal real-life experiences and sharing the lessons with peers. The lessons in my mind best brought awareness in a simplest recollection are those I experience when communicating and interacting with people. I sometimes will be administering a task and recall, “oh, yes, I learned that from her.”
Definitely 🙂 Life experience is so memorable.
Beautiful day! Our days look very similar here, but with three boys instead. Today it was train tracks, lego, dinosaurs, creating an ocean with sand and water which then led to making mudpies and lots of play outside.
I just love reading about your day. It sounds very similar to the post I did about a day in our life a few months ago. Since our seasons are opposite to yours we are just into spring here. Our boys are outside much more and not as interested in indoor activities. We are gardening more now.
We are getting our garden happening again too! It’s been neglected for a while.
Thankyou for sharing this Sara.
Can I make a request? Is it possible to document (excl.) the variety of activities your 1yr old does as I too have a 1yr old at home and would love to see what interests another 1yr old. thank you.
Hi Malvika! Generally my 1 year old just follows along with whatever we’re doing, and gets involved on her level. She particularly likes getting into art at the moment (playing with paint, clay, drawing, play dough), reading books, playing in the water table, and exploring outside.
Ah! My son is my first child. he is into music, reading, outdoor play, automobiles, animals, water play and colouring.
Thanks for sharing Sara! You seem to have a good structure and suplies to provide for the kids. I wounder if you have tips for people who have no much material resources to develop activities with the children to offer a variety of learning oportunities for them in the day. Also we are travelling in a 10m2 motorhome with 3 kids of 2, 4 and 6 years old and sometimes we must be creative to provide them inner possibilities of exploration. Thanks a lot!
Hi Yanna! Wow, how fun traveling with kids! I think outside is the best resource. Lots of exploring and experimenting, even creating art with nature. I think maybe the best things are just access to pencils/pens and paper.
Such a lovely day! I love how there is music, math, art, reading, and the children are just having fun! That is the way learning should be 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks Erin 🙂
This is good timing, I was just reading about a very different ‘day in the life’ with a family with 3 boys the same age as yours. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/school-at-my-house/
Mine looks more like yours (with younger kids). I also can’t believe how much they get done in a day. If I think about y’day, there was visit to the lagoon, which led to looking up whether ducks get eaten by crocodiles and what the inside of their bones are like. Daughter who is into ballet also looked at the swans to work out how to dance like them, then when we got back she put on a concert for me. They shared an easel to paint, 2 yr old drew trees, 4 yr old drew plane ‘pouring retardant on the bushfire’. Lots of big block building – made an obstacle course and a tornado shelter. Went to bookshop to search for something for me – haha – came out with another Thomas the tank engine book for 2 yr old and a Fairy Ponies book for 4 yr old (she can read it herself although prefers me to read it with her). We got out the coloured rods and pretended 6 had a birthday so we had to make him a cake (this ended up being confusing – was 6 now 7?) They can play together with the Thomas trains for ages, often there’s a ‘fire’ that has to be put out, or a race, or a crash – lots of drama! And always the magnatiles. Oh, and making tesselations with the playdough and some cutters – I didn’t even know she knew the word. We do violin just before bedtime, so my partner can distract my boy with cooking (they made a cake) while I help my daughter. After all of that I head straight to bed – washing-up can wait for morning.
Wow that is a full and fun day indeed!! Where do kids get their energy from?? lol
Thank you for sharing a life in your day, my eldest is four and we’ve been doing a trial of homeschooling before I have to either enrol her in school or enrol for homeschooling. You’ve showed me that I’m on the right track with what we are doing in our homeschooling at the moment. It’s very encouraging to see the girls leading their learning. At the moment I seem to be leading what we do, but it is week one and I’m sure that with time the self led learning will come 🙂 so thanks 🙂
Thanks Lisa, I’m glad it helped!
Hi. I absolutely love your page. This is a great post. We’ve decided to homeschool our two children (3 & 1). I was wondering how do you know what activities to try and equipment to buy?
Hi Kelly, it really just depends on their interests 🙂
You make homeschooling look so simple and perfect. We are planning to home school our children, 2 and 4. I always start feeling overwhelmed but I’m sure I’m over thinking it. I’ll be following you. 🙂
Yes, it’s a lot easier than it first seems! 🙂
I am trying to sort out how little or how much I should be involved. I am curious to know how the autumn book and scene Miss 6 creates came about? Have you been talking about Autumn incidentally in conversation? I guess what I am asking is, how did it come about? Does that make any sense??? Lol
Hi Bec. We had talked about the season changing and we always have a seasonal wall/table like this: https://happinessishereblog.com/2014/08/marking-the-seasons/
Miss 6 is particularly interested in the changes happening so it was all just led by her. It was literally what you see here, I gave them paper and pens etc and she decided to do that 🙂
My daughter (4) has been non stop asking what time it is so I thought I would come back to this post to get the clock you have. How have your girls gone with this clock? Is the time past half past confusing for them? I like the right half of the clock but I am concerned about the left side. I will try to explain….
In your photo the time is 9:38. I wonder if a young child looking at this clock (early stages of learning to tell time) would think that it is 10:22. 10 because the hour hand is past the grey line that sections off the 10 and 22 because the minute hand is pointing to the number 22. I realise that the 22 represents 22 minutes to 10. Would we ever say 22 to 10? …We would usually say 9:38 or round to 20 minutes to 10. Though I realise that telling minutes past or minutes to would go in stages and children would need to conceptualise 22inutes to 10.
I almost feel like it would be more beneficial if the minutes continued on past half past so that minute hand sat on the number 38 so that they could tell the time and also get a feel for where the hand sits in between the 7 and 8 to represent 38. Then somehow incorporate 22 minutes past (for example) in another way/area/space on the clock…. Then again that would start to make the clock far too complicated and cluttered. Lol
Just wondering if you noticed your children getting confused by what I described (very poorly and confusingly) above?
I know what you mean. I haven’t found my kids having trouble with it though. I just explained that when it’s minutes past the hour hand is just past the number and when it’s minutes to the hour hand is on it’s way to the number, if that makes sense. Hard to explain! We haven’t got to rounding yet but I think that will be fairly easy to explain now they know how to use the clock. I plan to also put up a digital clock next to it as well so they can get the hang of understanding that you can keep counting past 30 and that’s what digital clocks show.
We really love the clock 🙂
Lovely! You’ve got some great ideas! I love the building area and the season wall. Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks Caroline! 🙂
Are your kids playing with all those types of blocks, considering that some of them are pricey? I am not sure if I should invest.
How often do you set up an activity or loose part section for them to find?
How many hours a week would you say you spend “teaching” (if you know what I mean)?
Can you recommend a reading on why stay-at-home preschoolers are better off?
Thanks for your beautiful blog and for sharing your beautiful soul.
Yes, they play with all the blocks. Their favourite would have to be the Magna Tiles though.
I try to leave something out for them every morning so I can sleep longer, ha! I don’t always succeed though.
Teaching…I would have to say, none? There’s no direct teaching really so that’s a hard one to answer.
I’m not sure of any reading on that but if you check out my pinterest homeschooling board you might find something. I can’t remember what I’ve got there! 🙂
Hi I wonder what model keyboard you have my girl would like a keyboard to learn to play but they are so many model out there and different number keys.
We have been reading your blog for a while and enjoy watching your children learning.
Thank you for sharing your learning journey and encourage others.
Looks like a beautiful day. My children are exactly the same age. How do you set up the older kids toys, and art material without the little one getting into it? My 1 year old pulls everything out and constantly puts things in her mouth.
New to homeschooling and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing!! I have a 6, 4, and a 1 year old too, and I just love what you wrote and feel the same way about children and learning.