Now, when I say unschool, please remember that I am using it more in the sense of “delight directed learning.” Typically I provide a little structure in that we do math and reading/ language arts most days. The rest of the learning that happens in our homeschool is typically child or interest led. We are not true unschoolers by definition, but we are definitely relaxed and spend more time doing unstructured learning than structured.

With that being said, we took last week “off” of school and I really believe more valuable learning happened in those five days than in a typical week.

I took some time to purge our homeschool room. I am, by admission, an office supply junkie. I collect pens and post-its and dry erase markers and buckets and bins and bookshelves like a champ. And then I get overwhelmed and frustrated by all the things taking up space in our home! I didn’t take a before picture, but imagine not being able to see the carpet or couches or anything because of the explosion of all things Barbie and Playmobil and American Girl and Legos. But just take a look at this freshly vacuumed floor and the little girl discovering toys she had forgotten about. Not pictured are the six boxes of books and toys and school related items that headed out the door and the giant black trashbag filled to the brim. I tell you what sparks joy… purging and moving stuff out!

We took a trip to the library where my number three asked if she could check out chapter books. This is my girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at six years old. She started out first grade learning to read, but quickly regressed as the tumor grew. She spent most of her first grade year going through chemo and radiation. I think she has associated reading with the pain she felt from her tumor. I have not pushed her very much when it comes to reading, but I tell you what… my heart did a flip flop when she asked if I would help her check out a chapter book. We chose couple of Magic Treehouse books and she spent the rest of the week curled up reading and announcing proudly whenever she reached the end of the chapter.

I told my husband that I would not be surprised if our youngest ends up in some type of scientific field… possibly medicine of some sort. She is so observant and asks really thoughtful questions all. the. time. She wants to know everything and how everything works and why everything is. She spent her week “off” working on her books. She has been writing books about everything…. nature, animals, seasons, people, feelings… all the things. These books are full of her obervations. I love that she just goes for it and doesn’t stress about how to spell words.

Because I was able to slow down and not worry about getting school ready or checking off math and language arts, I had time to sit down with this gal and help her with an art project she has been wanting to do for the past month. She picked out this yarn tree as a prize in bingo during our most recent trip to St. Jude. You can find this yarn tree HERE. It was super simple and fun to complete.

On Friday, we began our Spring Enrichment Classes with our homeschool group. I am always worn out after teaching and we generally have a low key afternoon. I came out from resting to find flyers all over the house inviting us to see a circus after dinner. The girls has worked hard to practice and plan for a circus. They had programs, tickets, and flyers. The actual performace consisted of timed acts and they even had a machine that prompted applause and laughter. It was great!

My son is almost fourteen and very much into being an introvert. He is super diligent and gets his work done without complaint. But what he really loves to do is draw and make movies. He got to spend some time animating short films last week and composing digital music on the iPad using a digital keyboard and the Garage Band app. This is one of his short fims from his YouTube channel . I don’t necessarily get it… but he does and so do his followers!

By the way… I am totally counting this week as “school” in their attendance record. Reading, language arts, writing, math, art, computer science, and more!!!… and I didn’t plan a single bit of it!

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