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It’s a new year, and we are getting back into our usual rhythm around here. We’ve talked about plans and goals for the year, and now I want to share some of the resources we’re using. If you’ve been following along for a while, some will be familiar and others will be new!
We unschool, so we don’t use any adult-chosen curriculums. Instead, our resources are just things we have on offer for those who are interested. Here’s what’s available in 2023…
Top of the list, every time. This is a must-have for us. Something that is a priority to put our time and effort into. We have built our community family by family over years, and we now have a large group of people who come twice a week to spend whole days together. We do lots of casual meet ups but also share experiences like excursions, sport, markets, talent shows, books clubs, poetry tea time, project fairs, etc. Having a thriving community is one of the main reasons my children are not at all interested in school. It could never compete with spending two whole days a week hanging out with your friends, playing, and doing whatever you want.
I’m really big on prioritising community and a sense of belonging for our kids. I think that’s a vital need that we cannot skip and would put it above any ‘learning’ in terms of importance. Happy kids are connected kids. This is actually a topic I’m talking about live online soon. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of community and how to create it, you can get your tickets to my workshop and many others here.
We LOVE this subscription box and were so lucky to get another one for Christmas this year. A box of treats delivered to your door every month from another country? Um, yes please! The kids get SO excited about this one! We make it an event. We wait to open it until there’s a time when we’re all together where we can sit around the table and read all the information about the country and each snack, taste them, share opinions, and give them a rating. It’s so fun! This would have to be our favourite subscription box we’ve tried I think. A tasty way to explore a bit of geography and culture.
We’ve been getting Aquila Magazine for a couple of years now, and we all really enjoy it. We’re always excited to find out what the topic of the month is when we see it in the mailbox! There’s such a wide variety of topics from arts, to science, to maths, to holidays, famous people, history, and more. It’s just really cool to have something delivered to your door that you might not necessarily think to learn about. We haven’t had an issue yet that we didn’t like, even though a lot of the topics were not current interests when they arrived. They have certainly sparked interests though, and I really love this magazine for that. They cover the topics in the most interesting ways and we’ve discovered so many surprising and unbelievable things. There’s also puzzles, fiction, art, and activities and experiments to do at home. If my kids are between projects or feeling unsure what to do, Aquila is often a good place to spark some curiosity. We also have their activity books, and science book which are great too!
You’ve heard me mention this one before, I’m sure. We’re still enjoying these art classes. There are just SO many and every year more are added. I can pretty much find a class on any interest the kids have at this point, from handcraft, to poetry, to books, to holidays, or nature journalling. I think the fact that we’ve been using them for years really speaks for itself. I won’t repeat myself too much but you can read more about these classes here.
This is something we signed up for towards the end of last year and I really love it for the variety of topics you can find a class on. It’s basically just a subscription to a huge range of searchable creative classes and courses. We signed up because one of the girls was interested in photography, and one in digital art. Skillshare had many options for learning more about both and once we did a trial we found it just had SO much more. My girls are into pretty much anything creative so it’s a win for us. We ended up signing up for a year after the trial and I think it will be getting a lot of use.
Miss 11 is back into learning French! A visit from her Aunty who is french inspired her. She has been using duolingo to practice. We’ve tried a few different apps for this but this one is what’s holding her interest at the moment.
The younger two (9 and 7) are currently interested in learning sign language. Since we are in Australia, we have been learning Auslan! We found this great website HERE with free lessons that they are really enjoying! There are heaps of videos and great explanations of signs as well as education about the deaf community. Super valuable.
Something new we are trying this year! We’ve only just signed up so it’s new to us, but is looking really promising. Basically, a website full of science videos on different topics, with linked experiments to do at home, and other suggestions for further learning, quizzes, etc. To be honest, you could probably find this info all online for free if you wanted to. There are plenty of science videos on youtube, and activities on pinterest. BUT, for us, this just makes things a whole lot easier. I also don’t feel like I know enough or have enough ideas in this area to know where to start. Art, I’m fine, I have SO many ideas. But science, I’m running out of new ideas after this many years homeschooling. Having it all layed out, and all the information collated in one place, is really helpful to me and worth the cost. It’s also going to make it much more likely that science experiments my kids enjoy are going to be more regular this year because I don’t have to do so much preparation. Win! I’m actually pretty excited about this one. You can check out Generation Genius here and see what it’s all about.
Always books. So many books. Read-aloud time is a staple in our days and we always have plenty of good books on the go. I’ll write another post about the ones we are reading this year, and you can see my last book recommendations here. But I have to mention the one I’m most excited about!
We really enjoyed reading ‘Big Ideas for Curious Minds’ a couple of years ago so when I saw this follow up book I knew it would be great.
“An engaging, inclusive history of the world for children, where feelings, curiosity, and facts blend together”
We have only just started this book but immediately the kids loved it. Just like the philosophy one it is great at sparking interesting discussions. Honestyly, reading facts about history can actually be a little boring. This book really connects us to history and those who came before us and asks us to think about their perspectives and ours. This is how we’re exploring history this year and I’m so excited about it, did I already say that?
Very much recommend this book.
I’ve mentioned these previously, but we still really love this series of books. The girls like it when I set up an activity for them in the morning, and I often get ideas from here.
We have a couple of great microscopes and I’m wanting to make sure they get more use this year!
This is another site we have been using for years! Another platform for online classes, but here the kids can do live classes where they can interact with the teacher and other kids in the class. Sometimes they want a class they can work through whenever they want, other times they prefer to be present with real people! Outschool is our favourite for this and they have done lots of classes. You can search for available classes here.
In our house, a LOT of the day is spent creating at the art table. So quality art supplies are a must.
Our essentials include:
Paints (watercolour, acrylic, poster paint, gouache, liquid watercolours)
Paper (normal, patterned, watercolour, card)
You can find all our favourites here.
The kids are still going with their beautiful nature journals from last year. I have to recommend them here! They are so lovely.
Podcasts we have been loving:
I always finish my list with my planner. I’m still using Mulberry planner and I find it invaluable. It is super customisable so it can really work however your brain works best. We unschool, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do any planning or recording. Actually, I find that makes me a much better unschooler. My brain can’t remember everything on it’s own! You can read more about how I use my planner HERE. Also, Mulberry are so awesome and even made me some special extra pages specific to unschooling and how I use the planner. So, if you get your own planner through my link you automatically get these bonus pages too! If you’re looking for a homeschool planner, this is the one I recommend!
And that’s it! I hope you found this helpful. What resources are you loving right now?