Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today was quite eventful if you looked closely! On the surface it didn't really appear that much was happening and someone spending the day with us would have assumed we were taking "Spring Break." (Which is such a funny concept when you unschool because learning is life and you can't take a break from that, lol)

Jace had an extremely productive day:
This morning he was already on the computer when I got out of bed; he's an early riser and I am not so he occupies himself for about half an hour or so. I noticed he was on Webkinz (again) but he had opted to do the "quizzies"- trivia games which help them earn Kinzcash. The quizzies have some random trivia and wouldn't really be considered a productive use of time by most folks because the facts are so, well, trivial. But then, oh how my heart soared to see this site, my little guy had this quiz business all figured out. He had two windows open and when he didn't know the answer to a question he would google it in the other window. He had figured out that navigating away from the page would end the quiz but had found a way around that. He used logic and reasoning to overcome an obstacle that was preventing him from achieving a goal which he found important (acquiring Kinzcash) and in the process had discovered a very useful skill that will serve him well for a lifetime... if you don't know the answer, know where to find the answer.
He is very into a board game right now called "Totally Gross" which has science trivia and asked to play that after breakfast so we did; there were some funny and interesting tidbits that led to some greater discussion. The best part is that to win the game a mini science experiment is completed with common household items. Today's game winning (Jace's win, not mine) experiment used a cup of water, pepper, and a drop of dish soap to demonstrate surface tension. It was very cool, very easy, and very fun.
The rest of the day was spent "playing" his guitar, swinging, hanging out with Grandpa (which varies day to day but can have them doing anything from building in the shed to playing chess), watching some interesting TV, listening to me read from our shared book, and communicating with his e-pen pals from various parts of the world. The only thing I had to do with any of this was asking for some quiet time without any screens for a while.
The kids have to be in bed at a particular time but they do not have to go to sleep, they can read, draw, etc. as long as it is quiet and can be done laying down and resting. Jace was looking at a toy catalog. About half an hour after he went to bed he came out of his room to show me his wish list. It included a price list with the total price of all of the items on the list and, here's the kicker, a timeline for his ability to purchase these items based on his allowance and money that he predicts he will receive for gifts. Out of curiosity I checked the timeline and it was perfect; those were pretty great math skills for a 10 year old but it seemed fun because it was in a context which was important to him.

Kya had a great day as well:
In the morning she watched some educational TV which included Dora the Explorer. It is a little young for her by some standards but she is interested in learning a foreign language and likes learning hearing the Spanish. She also watched a musical with the closed captioning on so she could learn the words to the songs that she couldn't quite decipher. She sang those songs all day(and got some reading practice to boot because you can't help but read along with closed captioning).
She also spent some time outside, listened to me read, and hung out with Grandpa. Incidentally grandpa informed me that at lunch time he has started having the kids read the package directions aloud to him as a way to help. I think he was trying to redeem himself for feeding them so many processed foods. ;)
In the afternoon she also looked at a toy catalog and used some great rounding skills to mentally figure out how much all of the things she wanted cost. (hmmm... I'm seeing a pattern here, perhaps its time to "lose" those catalogs for a while, lol.)
She likes to read at bedtime and settled in with a great stack of picture books and a chapter book to top it all off. She is becoming such a great reader but more importantly she is developing a great love for reading.

In black and white I can see how much the kids learned today and I didn't even write all of the interesting and insightful conversations we had. At the time it felt very relaxing, almost to the point of feeling badly that we weren't being productive. It was so easy and natural yet now I can see that so much learning took place. I guess as they say, you learn something new everyday. ;)

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