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Unschooling Portfolio - October

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Posted on : 12:17 PM | By : Nic | In :

The humble photo above is of our nature table.  We never did find our wonderful Canon Elph camera, so I'm stuck using Photobooth to take webcam photos.  Maybe for Christmas we'll get a new one, but until then...  Our nature table is quite messy, because unlike some of the moms on this Flickr photo group, which are quite impressive, the girls play around with our nature table and arrange it how they like.  We display our recent art projects, except for the one in the middle which is mine.  Every month I make a little watercolor with an illustration for the month using the traditional names.  October was the Hunter Moon, and when I do November it will be the Snow Moon.   When I have all 12 I might make a new book. :)


This month was quite relaxed, as I still had morning sickness for much of it and we weren't that ambitious.  Annie went from reading with a lot of help to pretty much reading the Level 1 books independently with me just correcting now and then.  I think I'll encourage her to try some harder things.  My whole motivation with really trying to get her reading early is that I think it would help her to become more independent with her interests.  She is almost completely dependent on me for direction in her day, but reading and computer time she can do on her own and feel proud of, so I want to help that grow.

I used KONOS to give me some science ideas.  Annie has some real trouble letting things she hears register in her mind - it's as if she blocks things out because of her sensitivity issues.  So we studied how the ear works, drew diagrams of the inner ear, played memory games, learned what distraction is, and played some games that required paying close attention.  For example, a small obstacle course in the house that she had to listen to the directions and remember what I had said.    We also read all the books for young people on sound and hearing that were at the library, and read some on Alexander Graham Bell and Helen Keller.  One project we did was to listen to a CD of piano concertos and learn about different composers, and then listen to different styles of music and different symphonies to try to distinguish the instruments used.  Someone was also interested in water, so we got a book called I Get Wet and learned the properties of water.  Annie ended up writing an essay about the brain's job in hearing - she's very fascinated with the brain.

We are also still reading Usborne Nature, which covers various aspects of the animal world - I think we've covered the food chain, animal communication, animal habitat, and plus our nature walks and table.

For math we learned what a rhombus was, made different kind of triangles and measured their angles.  We drew hexagons, hexagrams, five and six pointed stars and circles.  We measured them and drew them precisely, which was fun and made me feel very inadequate when it comes to math, lol.  One whole day John spent building with the wooden blocks (not the interlocking Duplos) and they learned what made a tower stronger.  It sounds silly, but they really learned architectural principles.

We adopted a World Vision little girl... I think I wrote about that before, but one whole day was spent writing her a letter and Annie drew a picture of our family for her.  She is from Ghana, and it led to a very serious discussion of what we couldn't talk about with this little girl.  We couldn't talk too much about Halloween, or her toys, or the fact that we unschool.  Here we are sending money to get her into school, and my kids don't go, lol.  It made Annie very concerned for children in Africa, which I thought was a good thing.

Autumn mimicked most of what we did... but some of it is becoming more real, if that makes sense.  She has a much easier time finding projects, and did many watercolor paintings and collages while Annie read outloud.  Annie created a puzzle in her spare time of a frog, and Autumn did that as well.  She also has her own writing notebooks and pretended to write letters except that she could identify certain ones and draw them - A, T, O and a few others.  

Both of the girls participated in family chores, folding laundry, cleaning the bathroom, organizing new toy/activity bins I got for wooden objects, art supplies, Playmobile.  They both played computer (an hour a day), mostly on Noggin, and recently John found our Warcraft 3 so Annie can have a strategy game to play.  We visited friends and family and had a very uneventful Thanksgiving.  

Of course I read outloud every night before bed.  This month we went very slowly through The Velveteen Rabbit, and being the pregnant one I cried at the end, as always, lol.  We do lots of art, and besides our nature watercolors, and our writing notebook illustrations, Annie created her own minibook with a story about Pikachu and Tinkerbell (I'm not sure why she's picked those - we have no TV and have never seen either of these in a movie), and we also did a still life sketch.  Annie dictated an essay about the history of Samhain (Halloween) and illustrated that as well.

Our trips out of the house were to Bowen Park, a Halloween costume hunt, and the girls went on a long bike ride in the trailer with John.  I didn't get out as much as I liked, but I'm feeling much better!  I think I said this before, but it's funny that the less I feel like I'm doing, it seems like the more the girls learn.  I watched a video on Bonobo chimps (which I posted on my other blog), which said that they researchers found that instead of trying to teach the chimps, they were much more successful just allowing them to mimic and explore on their own.  Hmm....

Comments (1)

The Velveteen Rabbit is a sweet story. It's always been a favorite of mine.