Sunday, October 25, 2009

The next step...

in a journey through our day.

What do you do after you finish morning tea and scripture reading?

Unless it is pouring with rain we go outside and the kids frolic while I hang washing and do gardening etc.

Princess Doc and Farm Boy on a winter's day


I know, I know. It doesn't SOUND very school-ish does it? But I consider this one of the most vital parts of our homeschool.

I COULD schedule a day full of activities and challenges, but then we would miss out on all that this time offers us including:

Spontaneous learning where a child will rush in for a hand book to find the name of a strange bird.

Developing the ability to select and organise ones OWN activities. Believe it or not deciding between riding a bike or bouncing on the trampoline involves a complex set of skills. Children who are hyper-scheduled miss out on these skills.

Supporting the natural growth and development of the body and brain. I was involved for a time with remedial therapies which supported children with learning disabilities and hyperactivity disorders etc. Many of the physical activities that we had these children do to get their bodies and brains working together and nural networks forming correctly were EXACTLY WHAT MY KIDS DO IF I LEAVE THEM ALONE! Jumping, running, crawling, wrestling, jumping jacks and more. Kids will do them if given space an opportunity. Kids who DON'T do these things are at risk of their bodies and possibly even their brains not working properly.

Conducting independent investigations. Wow! Sounds good doesn't it? Let me give you an example:

Farm Boy: Mum, look, there is a trail of slime behind this snail.

Mama Bear: Yep, cool.

Farm Boy:
Hehe, now it is on my finger. It is wet Mum!

Mama Bear: Really?

Farm Boy: Yeah. Look, when it dries it goes shiny!

Mama Bear: You don't say?!

Farm Boy:
Yep, look, they are all over here. I'm going snail hunting Mum!

That folks, is biology 101 independent investigation #245 in progress.

We conduct experiments. Sounds like we need white coats and crazy hair dos doesn't it? Not really! Princess Doc planted some bulbs in her garden with the hypothesis that if she planted and cared for them, flowers will bloom. She checks her garden and cares for it regularly. The bulbs are growing and very soon I suspect her hypothesis will be proven completely correct! White coats and crazy hair dos completely optional.

We work on our social skills. Yes, with only us at home. One trike + two little boys who want to ride it = a ripe opportunity to learn how to win friends and influence people! Conflict management 101 right in our own back yard.

We exercise our skills of observation and attention to detail. For example, today Princess Doc informed me that she found an aphid on her finger. She saw it and IDENTIFIED it all on her own. A very proud moment.

We have fun and we like it.

Tool Man doing his Ewok impression


So where is my scope and sequence?

Don't have one!

Every now and then there will be a funky challenge on a blog a catch up with or we will have an idea of what we want to do. Other times I will have need-to-do items with the garden etc and the kids will join me. Quite often the kids disappear into the yard somewhere, together or separately, and tell me about it later. So long as the basic rules of safety and kindness are followed, I'm happy!

Farm Boy proudly displaying his collection of.....dirt

If you are wanting a few ideas to keep you occupied while the kids are playing, these are ten sites to help inspire you, in no particular order!:

The Magnifying Glass

The Snail's Trail

Elsa Mora

By Sun and Candlelight

Crafty Crow

Snap Shots

Crafty Mama

Journey Into Unschooling

Herbal RootsZine

The Handbook of Nature Study

If you are priveledged enough to live in the wonderful land of Oz and would like to learn a little more about your immediate surroundings, try these sites:

Birds in Backyards

The Gould League

ABC Science: Scribbly Gum

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife (if you are unfortunate enough NOT to live in Tasmania, check out the parks and wildlife site for your state. You will find it full of all sorts of info)

Images of Australian Fauna and Flora

What about you? How do work "unstructured activity" time and/or nature study into the day? Why do you think it's important? What, do your kids tend to choose to do/enjoy doing during these times?

Leave a comment or blog about it and link back in the comments!

Come back next week for the next step in our walk through our day.

The girls bonding

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