What was planned
Math, Bible, History (Abraham), Science (HEAT), PE, Writing. Between 8:30 and 2:30 pm.
What Actually Happened
We woke up about 7:30 am. The girls started off by deciding to figure out their own breakfast. About 8:30 the boy woke up.
We began with our daily stretch & flex. We are learning our books of the Bible to jumping jacks. We make it to Zephaniah!
Challenge for the week: 1 mile under 9 minutes running. What happened? 1 mile under 20 minutes.
We quickly became distracted by this:
Thus began our day. The kids insisted it was a redwood. I disagreed. I told them we could determine by studying the bark, needles, branch and overall appearance of the tree. So instead of a quick walk back to the house to get started on our math, we spent the next 5 minutes choosing samples of various conifers along the way.
Once home, we pulled out our handy-dandy tree field guide books.
Our Favorite Tree Book, Peterson First Guides, Trees
We determined this is a Douglas Fir, but may be a Larch
This is the Oregon White Oak. It is the primary tree in our neighborhood. All the oak trees are under a tree conservation program. We have 2 large oaks in our front yard. BEAUTIFUL!
We believe this is a blue spruce. The needles are more blue in person.
Red Maple. We love Maple trees!
Each child chose a plant to notebook about.
I’m still working on the hair…
Bella traced her leaf and then colored it. We believe it to be a Water Birch
Gabby chose the pine needles, but she didn’t give me enough to identify.
The Boy loves Hemlock now. We taped the sample to the page.
Time for math right? Um no, Houston we have a problem.
What is it? We cannot figure it out. It doesn’t make sense. Thus begins our journey. To discover this mystery tree.
We first send out an SOS on Facebook. We get guesses but no conclusive answers.
We decide to visit Auntie. She doesn’t know either and sends us to Farmington Gardens.
First, we have to make a trip to Beaverton to drop off the boy at a friend’s house. We stop at the bank to make a withdrawal. Oh the joy of an inquisitive and precocious 10 year old homeschooler! The poor lady didn’t know what hit her! Before we left Gabby had managed to obtain a lesson in economics, banking, profit, loss and budgeting. And she learned that mommy doesn’t want her to yell out loud just HOW much money she is carrying in her wallet! So we had a lesson in safety.
We stopped at Subway for lunch. At this point both girls decide to tell me just how many calories I am eating…rather loudly. I watched my child who refuses to do worksheets of multiple addition problems add up all three meals. In her head. Without a calculator. Without me prompting to do so. She was only off by 100 as she forgot to add something. Who is this child…and what have you done with my daughter??
We head to Farmington Gardens. I’m in love. Thank you Auntie.
Three gardeners look at the sample. We hear cedar, coastal redwood or yew. They send us to OSU Extension Office in Hillsboro. But before we leave, we have an impromptu lesson in botany. We observe their sample garden, look closely at the conifers, observe the bumble bees landing on the plants. This begins a narration by both girls about the cycle of a bee. This is not my idea. It is the girls. In the meantime they are snapping pictures and telling me about the newsletter they are going to start.
Mommy is just side tracked. I want these! I have no idea what they are, but I want them! Gabby reminds me that we are on a case and need to stay focused. (OK, how many times have I told her this? Now she’s telling ME to stay focused)
We find the extension office located in the same building as PCC and Beaverton School District campuses. This prompts at least 20 questions about college.
The three ladies in the office were amazing. The girls interacted with them by providing their own explanation. No fear. No doubts. Two 9 & 10 year-olds interacting with Master Gardeners over the age of at least 50. They were holding their own. I was in awe. I wish I would have thought to take pictures but I was having too much fun watching.
We head to pick up the boy. He spent the day playing sports, Nerf war and board games. His friend discusses the upcoming school year (he goes to a charter school). At the end of the day, my boy decides that he loves homeschooling. Because he can be who he wants to be. He dreams. He draws. He modifies his nerf guns into other weapons. He designs and builds a dart board for knife throwing, complete with architectural drawing. He experiments with spices and creates new foods. He gets to be creative to his heart’s content.
He willingly does his Teaching Textbook Lesson. He decides to research the lesson further. He spends over 45 minutes. On his own. I didn’t prompt it. I didn’t even think of having him do that.
I send the kids outside so I can have a moments rest. Gabby comes in and asks if she can watch the science video we checked out. Um No. You have to watch Wizards of Waverly place. No education for you.
I am floored. Who are these children? What happened? I have a plan! I spent 2 weeks calculating structure, aligning with state standards, researching philosophies. Crying. Praying. Begging. My heart and soul plans into my PLAN. So why are my children not following the plan?
I feel a gentle nudge from the Lord. “Do you not see? I made them this way. You are letting them be who I want them to be. It’s OK.”
I dread my husband coming home. We didn’t get one thing on the list done (except for PE). Before I can explain, all three tell Dad about their day. He’s just as floored.
Before the evening ends we spend an hour reading about Mozart, Gilgamesh and Robert Louis Stevenson. Something amazing happens. Something that hasn’t happened in years.
My son, leans up next to me and cuddles with me. While I read out loud the Epic of Gilgamesh. A Child’s Garden of Verses. A picture book about Abraham. He tells me he loves the first poem we read. Compares it to his personal life. He says he can relate. He gives me a hug and asks if he can go finish his book before bedtime. And then says, “This is fun mom.”
I realize it later as I drift off to sleep. We spent the day unschooling. We learned. Just on our terms. Our own pace. Without a plan.
John Holt summed it up perfectly when he said, “By nature people are learning animals. Birds fly; fish swim; humans think and learn. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing, or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do – and all we need to do – is to give children as much help and guidance as they need and ask for, listen respectfully when they feel like talking, and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest.” (excerpt from A Life Without School).
I was going to teach my children yesterday. Instead they taught me. I just have to listen, learn and let them fly. And they will soar. 100 Percent!