Unschool log - August 2018
"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better"
It wasn't an intentional thing but somehow we seem to have been pulled towards nature this month. Maybe it was the need to retreat away from the busy school holidays or maybe it was the simplicity and calm that called us. Either way, we have had some of the most beautiful and relaxing family days. When you are submerged into nature you can't help but feel peaceful and grateful for the world around you. It encourages you to move your body, breath in fresh air and spend quality time with your family. Its nourishing in a way I never really understood before. A true tonic to the crazy days of busy family life. Everything seems a little clearer after a spell outdoors.
What did the kids learn that I didn't teach them?
Fin has really taken it upon himself to learn how to spell. I would say he's doing it all on his own because he is the one who has the drive and is the one asking the questions but of course, we are involved in helping him learn correctly. (Although it has been so much fun taking my shopping lists to Tesco recently and buying bred and butah!) He has a real desire to write and no joke, at least 20 to 30 times a day I hear, "Mamma how do you spell?..." It is amazing to watch and makes my job so very easy as the passion is there, all I need to do is steer it in the right direction. Thanks Fin!!
Pops has learnt how to throw a frisbee, really well!! Daddy only had to show her once and by golly, she was off. practising and practising until she has perfected the ultimate frisbee throw that could take your head off at twenty paces. Eek!
What did the kids teach me that I didn't already know?
Fin taught me that radishes are one of the fastest growing vegetables. I was totally stunned when he told me this but proceeded to Google it and do you know what? He was right! He still won't tell me how he knows this (such a tease) but I will never tire of being taught things by my small and ever so clever little ones.
Pops taught me a very valuable life lesson this month which both brought me to tears and lifted me up in equal measure. I was pondering over a decision, being held back by overthinking and anxious thoughts and in a rather flippant way she said: "Just do it, mummy, nothing bad will come of it." In that one sentence, I got snapped out of the thinking loop I had set myself on and she reminded me of the freedom to trust in life. To go for things and not get held back by fear. Since that moment I am pushing forward and striving for a less anxious me (YouTube video to follow, watch this space!)
What would I have missed most if they were at school?
This is always such a hard question to answer as every second of every day I would be missing things. From the smell of their skin to a funny expression on their faces. Narrowing it down to just a couple of things seems like too much of a challenge but for you guys, I'm willing to try and rack my brains for the specifics. Pops has always been very nervous when it comes to physical abilities. By this, I mean things like climbing etc. I think maybe it comes from the number of woodland walks we have gone on this month but she has come on leaps and bounds in terms of confidence. She's been climbing on logs and up trees and its been a pure joy to watch her become less and less dependant on us for reassurance. She has blossomed and I would have hated to miss out on this month's activities if she was at school.
Fin read his first book by himself! His little face when he completed it and the over exaggerated and fizzle fuelled high five he gave me showed me just how proud he was of himself. I was so happy to see how excited he was and of course, it was one of those memories that I will store in my memory bank forever. I especially won't forget it as after the first time he read it, he read it to me again and again and again...proud mummy moment!
What was the most exciting bit of learning this month?
I think that it was our nature walks. We really haven't dedicated enough time in the past for just free learning in nature. We always seem to get so caught up with 'planning' days out to specific places and never just allowing the days to ebb and flow naturally in our local and very beautiful countryside. It is a lesson that we will take away with us for sure. If you fancy a sneak peek at one of our nature walks and a roundup of what the kids learnt there then watch our "Unschooling in nature" video on YouTube.
What was the hardest bit about unschooling this month?
Balance. Striking the right balance between family time and work time has been pretty tricky this month. We have just released our new family favourites cookbook which demanded a lot of our time. It meant late nights and finding energy for bouncy children was hard. I think that is why nature walks seemed to help us strike up the right balance. Exercise and fresh air for the kids with peace and solace for the grown-ups! I have promised myself and the kids that next month we will have more routine and time for fun. (And a few more early nights for mummy too! #goals)
What was their favourite day out this month?
They loved our day out to the lavender fields. It was a lovely and fragrant place to run around and the perfect place to do some bee spotting. They had an area where you could watch machines distilling the lavender into essential oils which ticked Fins box as it was both science and big machines which he loves. We got some beautiful photos of the kids there too and we even bought some culinary lavender to create some scrummy recipes for the blog. lavenders blue, dilly dilly, lavenders green...
What were the best books used this month?
Oooh, I love this question. We all love books in our house and we are never more than a stone's throw away from a good read. I love sharing our favourites with you as I wish there were more places that you could see inside books before you buy. You don't want to go judging a book by its cover after all. This month both of the kids have loved reading from the Usborne lift the flap book about Earth. It has engaged their passion for the planet and taught all of us things we didn't know before.
Pops favourite book at the moment is Sleepovers by Jacqueline Wilson. She is a bookworm like mummy and when the world isn't quite awake yet in the morning we love to sink into a good book to start the day.
Fins first book he has ever read by himself was Mums Red Hat by Margaret Nash & Jan Smith. It was a great first starter for him.
What were the best learning resources used this month?
We have started collecting the National Geographic precious rocks magazines. Oh, my word has Fin loved these! I think he enjoys the different textures and colours of these rocks. Plus he feels super cool for having a special thing to collect that is all his own. He adores everything about Earth so this was a great add-on to his desire to learn about the planet.
Pops has used our globe a lot this month. We are hoping to start travelling more next year and this has sparked an interest in the world around us. This globe is interactive and she loves listening to the local music for each country and trying to replicate the local dancing for each one!
This one has been so much fun. We have started factoring in a family game before bath and stories to help encourage out the giggles and to move away from the TV a little. This has become one of our favourites and a real hoot too. It took Fin a few attempts to not look at our cards and ask very obvious questions like "Am I a bus?" giving the game away as he was staring at my forehead and therefore I knew that I was a bus. It was a great way to be a bit silly before the calm of bedtime and I highly recommend it to anyone.
What were the most used apps/YouTube videos this month?
Pops has started playing a game called Mekorama. Its a puzzle, strategy game and has given her quite the challenge this last week. It is a game introduced to her by Daddy Journey and it's been lovely to see them bonding over it whilst giving the old grey matter a little work out too!
They are both also a little (a lot) obsessed with the songs from The Greatest Showman and have taken to watching the behind the scenes rehearsals on YouTube nearly every day! I can't remember a day when I didn't wake up singing, "This is me!"
What do the kids want to continue learning into next month?
I know Fin is keen to keep going with the Earth learning. He wants to do more on volcanoes, rocks and the Earth's layers. Pops wants to continue to practice her climbing skills. Maybe we should go and find a climbing wall? Jotting this down as a note to myself!
What new things do the kids want to learn next month?
Fin has recently done a bit of learning about the skeleton. His little face lit up and I could see that hungry look in his eyes so we are going to do some project work on the body next.
Pops loves bullet pointing the year with milestones and wants to do a big craft project on Autumn. Lots of walks outdoors and arts and crafts to capture the season change. (That's right up my street too.)
I'm excited to see what next month brings. Have a fab month of education guys and feel free to connect with me anytime.
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