We have a dear friend who does our evaluations, gives our standardized tests, shoots the early childhood breeze with me, and every so often points at me, laughs, and insists we are unschoolers. I don’t know why I’m so resistant to the label, but I really don’t believe we are. I believe in curriculum. I believe in objectives and the authority of the teacher/parent. I believe in lesson plans and scopes and sequences and Bloom’s taxonomy and all that other good stuff I studied in educational psychology.
But I also believe in following my children’s lead and binning it all when it’s not working and having what my kids call “a Ms. Hussey day” in honor of the free-wheeling student-led teacher in Chasing Vermeer.
And so, in that spirit, this is how we spent our Wednesday.
Well, let’s back up a bit. On Monday, we realized we had logged 180 days. *does the happy dance* This didn’t mean we were finished; it just meant that we no longer had to justify/report our learning to the state. We had planned to finish out school as usual this week and next week, take off Easter week and the rest of April, and then start our summer schedule in May. But the babies have been “fractious,” to quote Mrs. Bluett, and I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, so I slept in a bit while my lovely big kids entertained the babies.
Michael has been participating in a creative writing class with our wonderful co-op, and when I finally poked my head downstairs, he was holding the rest of the children- babies included!– captivated as he shared his story with them. I came down and we read a chapter of Proverbs and a couple chapters of our read aloud, The Wright Three.
This led to a discussion of Fibonacci numbers, and we went on a web quest to find some examples in nature. This, of course, led to a backyard hunt for the Fibonacci sequence in nature.
When we came back in, we looked up some pictures of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. Then we remembered that we had bought materials to make our own 3D pentaminoes. This led to a discussion on the porousness of wood and a web search on how to remove super glue from our fingers.
Nicholas, meanwhile, built his first 8 piecer!
Once Michael had (mostly) succeeded, he bopped off to orchestra. Katie Grace helped Nicholas with some reading and Daniel came home from preschool. The babies continued to fuss and we decided we needed to get the heck out of dodge.
Of course, on average, the time between deciding we are going to leave the house and actually leaving is, at the very least, an hour. First we had to find shoes. Then we had to put them on. Meanwhile, I had to nurse the babies. Then the children counted their gems to see if they had any allowance coming to them. Each gem equals ten cents. Even the three-year-old has learned to count by tens!
Finally, we left the house, stopping for a very unhealthy fast food meal along the way. We went out to Target where the children applied math in real life as they spent what money they had. Coming home, we dropped Katie Grace off at Girls on the Run (gym!), took Michael’s cello for a quick fix (music!) and went back for the girls’ celebration dinner.
And that’s what an unschool-ish day looks like at our house!