Our May 2013 Unschooling Activities & Resources

by ChristinaPilkington on June 19, 2013 · 6 comments

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I’m finally able to share with you all the things we did in May. I’ve been struggling with the decision of keeping this blog. I really love sharing with you things I’ve learned while pursing our interest-led learning lifestyle and also the many fun resources and ways of learning we come across.

But I’m also struggling to maintain a priority of learning with the kids, keeping up with the house, planning trips, continuing to pursue a more healthy lifestyle (down 28 pounds…only 8 more to go to my goal weight!), and the dozens of other responsibilities that come up with being a mother and wife.

I had wanted to post at least once per week no matter what, but I’ve decided that for now I need my writing to have more natural ebb and flow with what is going on in my life. I really love writing and sharing -I can’t imagine ever giving that up- but some weeks I have to push that to the side to pursue more important things.

So, I will continue to write and share as much as I can, but I can’t promise that it will be every week. Who knows? Some weeks I might even post twice! I have several pages of a Word document filled with post ideas, so I’m very eager to share lots of things with you. If you sign up for my e-mail newsletter, you’ll always get notice when I have a new post up, or you can put this site in whatever online reader you use, too.

The highlight of the month was the two night camping trip with took with Steve’s brother and his children at a state park about an hour and a half away from our house. The kids loved it! However, it was very challenging for me. I had my colon removed when I was thirteen and replaced with a small pouch formed by a section taken from my small intestine. So, I regularly have 6-8 bowel movements a day…on a good day.

I have been sick again, so between getting up every hour and a half all night long to walk to the port-a-potty a block away, and being woken up even more by geese, owls, coyotes and laughing little girls and boys, I was a bit of a wreck at the end of the trip L

Other highlights included: watching some incredible documentaries, playing some fun new math games, hiking in the woods with friends and watching a performance at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

 

Books – Together

It’s About Time

Just a Minute! A Crazy Adventure in Time

For You Are a Kenyan Child

First Come the Zebra

Kidogo

Mama Panya’s Pancakes: a Village Tale from Kenya

Somewhere in the World Right Now

50 Monster Stories

Stallion by Starlight – a Magic Treehouse book

Horse Heroes – a Magic Treehouse Fact Tracker Book

 

Alexa’s Reading List

Eragon – We’re still working on reading this together

Angry Birds Playground: Animals: An Around-the World Habitat Adventure  Alexa’s cousin had this at his house and she read about half the book when we were there.

The Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide We bought this for her birthday. If your kids love animals, get this book! It has gorgeous pictures. Alexa will sit on the couch and read it for an hour straight.

Desmond Morris Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of over 1,000 Dog Breeds Alexa is getting to be an expert in dog breeds. She loves this book which she received for her birthday. She’ll sit on the couch reading about different dog breeds for a long time.

Jared’s Reading List

Boxcar Children Benny Uncovers a Mystery- We continued reading this together this month.

Travel- Camping

We took a two night trip to Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area in the middle of the month.

Despite the rough nights I told you about at the beginning of the posts, the two days we had there were really wonderful.

Some highlights:

-          The kids went hiking in the woods by themselves for over an hour. It was a little hard for Steve and I to relax not knowing exactly where they were as it was getting dark, but they were with a group of kids, including their 14 year old cousin, so it was a big step in independence for them and a leap in trust for us. The following day we took the same walk with them which included sliding down a little mudslide and wading across a creek.

 

-Torching food with a torch gun

 

-roasting marshmallows, ice cream cones, dinners cooked over a campfire

 

-taking a motor boat ride across the lake to check out the dam

 

-archery, climbing trees, burying each other in sand

 

-picking cattails and playing challenge games

 

TV/DVDS

The Five Chinese Brothers

China: The Panda Adventure (an IMAX film) – This is such a gorgeous film!!!! If you have a child who loves animals and pandas, try to rent this from your library. It’s wonderful!

Episodes of Batman

The Sword in the Stone

Lego Hero Factory

Episodes of Redwall –animated series based on the book series

Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe

Rise of the Guardians

 

Marvelous Math

Life of Fred: Edgewood Chapters 16-19

The Allowance Game – I had thought the kids would enjoy this game. It’s pretty much like Monopoly where you go around the board and either win or lose money. The difference is that you use coins as well as paper money so there is lots of practice in making change. Jared struggled with this more than Alexa, so he has not wanted to play it again. I’ll put it away for now and bring it out again in the future.

Addition Flash Cards – Sometimes the kids like timing themselves with stacks of addition cards to see if they can break their previous record.

Learning Resources Tick Tak Tock Time Telling Game – This is a pretty straightforward “educational” type game- kids draw cards that tell a time- say 1:35 and have to manipulate the hands on a clock to show the correct time. They also have another stack of cards showing the time on a clock face and they need to read what time it is. The kids played this a few times but weren’t that interested in it.

 

                Games/Puzzles/Kits/Activity Books

Analogies for Beginners – Jared and Alexa both enjoyed working though several pages of these workbooks. Jared loves any type of puzzle, so I had a feeling he would enjoy solving these problems. They lost interest after a few weeks, so I put them away for now and might bring them out again in a few months.

Logic Safari

Lego Monster 4 Game

Gardening

Watering the Garden & Helping to Pull Weeds

 

Writing/Spelling/Grammar

HEV Spelling Lessons 14-19

At Home Fun

Inside: Lots of pretend worlds made up and games invented; Freezing various substances and objects in cups, building their birthday Lego sets, drawing tattoos on themselves with pens

Helping to Straighten the House Regularly- For the most part they willingly help me keep the house straightened and take pride in doing a job well done. We don’t have set chores in the house; I generally ask them to help me do something most days to keep the house in order.  They are great at understanding that we all need to work together to have a nice home to live in.

Outside: building Legos in the tree house, swinging, playing spy, playing in the tree house, hitting the baseball around,

Helped Steve haul rocks to the front yard to build a rock garden

Bike rides with Steve

 

Out of the House Activities

Weekly: Library Visits, Grocery Shopping, Church, Gymnastics, Swimming Lessons, Awanas

Homeschool Group: Park Day

Chicago Symphony Orchestra- Abiyoyo. We’ve read dozens of books about Africa throughout the year, so I jumped at the chance to sign us up for this homeschool trip to see a performance about an African folktale geared towards kids ages 5-10.

My sister’s Birthday Party: Jumping on the Trampoline with cousins and friends, reading books, playing on the I-Pad, chasing wild rabbits outside.

An afternoon at Grandma and Granddad’s – had a cotton ball fight, set up jails and traps with the dining room chairs, finished watching Aladdin, learning how to thread a needle and do some simple sewing

7 year old checkup at the doctor

Mother’s Day- lunch at my mom’s house: playing badminton in the yard, ping pong. Dinner at Steve’s parents’ house.

Went to several playgrounds with grandparents

An afternoon when cousins came over to play: trains and cars, sandbox and swinging outside, Leapfrog Talking Words Factory. Alexa did a great job watching her little 2 year old cousin outside. She watched me change his diaper. Later in the month, she asked the nursery director at our church how old she had to be before she could volunteer in the nursery.

Awana Awards Night – Won two ribbons for completing two books and a medal for completing two book reviews and several extra credit activities

Memorial Day – a day with at home by ourselves, cooking on the grill.

Fullersburg Nature Center Hike with friends- picnic lunch on hike, checkers, playing in play tree house with animals, reading books and watching fish in tanks, pumping water

Signed up for Library Summer Reading Program-This year our library’s reading contest is for two months through the end of July. The kids each need to read at least 100 minutes each week. At the end of the week they can pick little prizes out of the treasure chest and be in the running for a grand prize at the end. I always feel a little weird about signing the kids up for these types of contests, but they really do love them and read on their own even without a contest, too.

 

On the Computer, Kindle, I-Phone

Kindle: Dream Sleuth, Hot Dog Maker, Sims Free Play, Fruit Ninja

PC Games: Zoo Tychoon II, Sims 3 Pet Expansion Pack, Sims 3, Kitty Luv

Websites: Google Earth, Google Maps

Wii: Lego Batman 2, Zoo Hospital,

I Phone: I-Tunes- looking up songs to listen to

Photo Credit: gordsam

What were some of your favorite activities from May?

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  • melhollis

    Oh, please don’t stop your blog! As a new homeschooling Mum, the whole homeschooling thing is a bit daunting to start with, but as I would like to do interest-led homeschooling, rather than just following a structured curriculum, your blog is invaluable to newbies like me! Even if you only post irregularly, please keep the good advice, ideas, and resources coming! I also have twins – also a boy and a girl, and mine have just turned 5! Where did the time go?! Enjoy the extra time with your kids – they grow up so quickly! Thanks again so very much for all your posts.

    • christinapilkington

      Let me say, your comment really made my day! It helps me to keep going knowing that I’m encouraging others and that I can share helpful tips and resources. I know what you mean about the time going by so quickly. It seems like just a few days ago my twins were 5!!! Life seems to grow even more rich and full the older they get. Every age seems to be my favorite! I love that they are old enough to do so many fun and interesting things. We have such great conversations now. Enjoy every moment with your kids, too!

  • tereza crump

    so good to hear from you. I will be here to check out your posts whenever you post. In the meantime, enjoy your kids. :)

    • christinapilkington

      I’m so glad you’ll stick around and read whenever I post anything! I just read your latest monthly log. I think I pinned about five of your resources!!!! I’m hoping to get some blog commenting in in the next few days, so I’ll write more over on your post.

  • Natalie F

    I am impressed with how you document everything. Perhaps I should try it one month too. The camping trip sounds like fun… at least for kids :) I will have to check out that Panda movie as we just saw a live panda cub on our San Diego trip.

    • christinapilkington

      It’s a beautifully shot movie. You’ll love it! And once you get into the habit, it’s really not that hard keeping track of things….at least not the way I do it! Usually I spend every third day or so looking over each category of my list and thinking if I can add anything to it. Our library keeps an online list of everything we check out which helps. I know I forget things sometimes, but now that I’ve kept up the monthly list for a few years now, it’s so much fun to look back and say,”What were we doing at this time last year?” Right now I’m trying to compile a list of all the topics and subject we’ve learned over this past year, using my monthly logs as a reference. I think you can tell I love making lists!!!!

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