Back to Unschooling…

I’m taking a break from my autism-related posts to talk about daily life here at the Freelearners’ Homestead. We’ve been back at it since September (our homeschool program started up) and I wanted to share some of the things we’ve been up to. I find so many people who inquire about homeschooling, particularly unschooling, want to see what it looks like in terms of daily life, which is why I do such posts every now and then. Plus it’s nice for me to look back and see where we’ve been and where we’re headed. đŸ™‚

Daughter is up to her usual creative pursuits. She is still intensely into drawing, getting out books from the library that show various drawing techniques. She loves the Ed Emberley books, and I confess so do I. Using simple, step by step techniques that use simple shapes, the books teach you how to draw an immense variety of things. DD always gets great ideas from these books. She recently used her learning funds to purchase a book on drawing dragons. Dragons are her passion these days. A while back it was Orcas and she spent much time over many weeks learning to draw the perfect Orca. I love how she gets really into a subject, explores it in depth, and then moves on to another. She produces reams of paper each week as she practices her drawing. She has created a dragon character called Arcada. She is constantly working to improve his look, and here is an example of the latest incarnation. Here she was working on the hind feet (she made a slip of the pen at one point, which is why there’s an arrow pointing to it with the word “accident” going off the photo edge).

She also spent some time practising how to draw characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. I love these, you can totally see how she experiments with sketching and then fills in the colours. She was really proud of these, especially because she could draw them in different poses and aspects.

She also picked up her clay work again after a long absence. Her brother is really into Sonic the Hedgehog and they both spent some time recently watching the Sonic X series on YouTube. So when she picked up her clay she decided to make small models of Sonic and Tails the Fox. I wish my iPhone camera took better closeups because the pictures really don’t do justice to the level of fine detail in her work. She is known for her ability to craft miniatures and make very fine details with her hands.

This year I began putting aside some time each week to work one-on-one with the kids facilitating various projects with them. We call it “Project Time”. Daughter and I are working on a big movie project. She’s been making movies for years now but usually they are spontaneous affairs. This time we’ve developed a storyline, started on the script, picked out characters (she is a big fan of Littlest Pet Shop movies, as I wrote about previously) and she has started crafting some props. We hope to start shooting later this week. This is her project and she leads the way, with me simply assisting and facilitating in whatever way I can. We’re both pretty excited about it and to me it represents the very best of Natural Learning.

Meanwhile Son is…well, he is who he is! Still loves video games and computers, though he can often be found engaging in much imaginative play. He also enjoys crafting, though there is a distinct common theme running throughout – anything game related, lol. Here is some Lego Minecraft Objects he made one day using a YouTube video as a guide.

He also loves printing out game characters, having me cut them out, and then playing with them. He has lots…

But lately he’s been wanting to have Sukapon characters. He just discovered the old school game Sukapon, but the issue is that the characters are made of little bits that float, so this was tricky. We came up with the idea of using tape. Here are two characters (with their energy bars) that he has been carrying around and playing with for two days now.

A really neat learning moment occurred recently that taught my kids about an important event in modern history. My complaints about the ridiculous process that is airport security screening, after returning from a recent trip to Ohio, led to a discussion of 9/11. Before I knew it both kids were watching Zero Hour with me and asking tons of fascinating questions. They simply couldn’t wrap their heads around the notion of “bad guys” choosing to kill themselves to attain some goal. Seemed pointless to them. Which brought up the subject of religion and belief in the afterlife and how that can be a real game-changer when it comes to predicting what “bad guys” will do. It was one of those spontaneous moments where the kids’ were really caught up, genuinely curious, and eagerly engaged in exploring the topic further.

Finally, Son continues to produce spontaneous displays of some deep grasp of number relationships that seems to come out of nowhere. We’ve never done any “math” with him, just what comes up in day to day life, yet the kid can add simple numbers in his head and now he seems to have somehow figured out multiplication. On more than one occasion he has spontaneously divided some number into equal parts in his head, though he cannot explain how he does it. I did sit down with him one day at Project Time to explain the concept on paper. He grasped it immediately and after solving a couple equations declared it to be immensely boring and pointless, lol. Needless to say I’m not all that worried. đŸ™‚

Categories: family life, learning is fun, lifestyle, natural learning | Leave a comment

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