Saturday, June 4, 2011

Unschooling Experiment

We finished our required days for homeschool last month. I feel like I am almost completely deschooled, (YAY!) and as far as Padawan is concerned he's on summer break.

Even though I do have a general map for us to follow this fall, in addition to the things that he wants to learn and whatever else pops up, I thought it would be interesting I continued my observation over the next two months by keeping track of what he learns and what we do together (educationally speaking) without one of us saying "let's do school". That way I'll have a general picture of what unschooling looks like for OUR FAMILY without adding any of the extras that he would consider "doing school".

So, I will start at the beginning and list what I can remember that we have done so far since summer break started. Then I will try to keep it updated as we go along.

There were a couple of days before we filled up our (little) pool that it was finally warm enough for Padawan to play with the water hose.  The first day, he filled up a Rubbermaid storage container with water, and was filling up water balloons. He figured out that he could fill them REALLY full if he held them under the water when he filled them up. He thought that air pressure may have something to do with the reason the balloons would hold more water that way.  He tried the experiment where you fill a cup of water, put paper over the top, and turn it upside down - But we couldn't get it to work. He also experimented with some other things that I can't specifically remember.

The next day he played in the water again. I took my Kindle out there, and thought instead of reading something to myself I would read to him while he played. Well, I read tried to read The Hobbit aloud. After the first 3 paragraphs, he said he didn't like the Hobbit. So, I switched to The Storybook of Science, and read for a few minutes. He had gotten sunburned the day before, so I told him that he needed to wear sunscreen or a t shirt so he wouldn't get sun poisoning. He asked me to look up sun poisoning, so I did and read the definition. Then he asked more questions about it, so I jokingly asked "What do you want me to read- symptoms, treatment, or prevention?" He said,"All of it!" So I read the entire article to him. Then he asked me to look up spiders, and after that ants.

He has asked me to read more of The Storybook of Science to him at bedtime on several occasions. (He hasn't wanted a bedtime story in a few years).

He is still playing Roblox, chatting with his friends, building games, and designing uniforms using Photoshop, MS Paint, and is a new program that he wanted needed to learn to use so he could make uniforms with transparent backgrounds. He learned how to do this by looking up "How To" videos on YouTube. I helped him download and install the program, and he figured the rest out himself. His designs are getting more creative and detailed all the time.

He has also learned how to make models in Roblox, save them and upload them to public domain, and has been finding and modifying scripts for extras that he wants to add to his games. He is still asking me how to spell words, and I have noticed his spelling is continuing to improve without us doing any formal lessons.

His multiplication skills are improving because he needs to calculate how many days it will take him to earn "X" amount of Robux. He also is using percentages to calculate profit and seller fees for things that he buys and sells on Roblox. He is learning about ratio and proportion because he has to resize graphics that he incorporates into his uniform designs. (All this in his head)

One night, we watched a documentary about the recent tornado outbreak while doing a craft that I found through a homeschooling blog. (paper Angry Birds) After that we experimented with his electronic tornado maker and two coke bottles connected with a tornado tube. He also has plans to make a video with the Angry Birds that we made.

We have gone out to the pool and talked about all kind of things from tadpoles and mosquito larvae to really deep subjects. One thing we discussed was about everyone having a purpose in life - even his 8 year old cousin who recently passed away who was blind, and well..basically (for lack of a better word)..a vegetable since birth. He could only laugh and smile.

His friend came over the other day. They played in the pool, and made plans for him to spend the night. They wanted McDonald's, but I told him that it wasn't in the budget for this week. So, Padawan paid for their food out of his own money. I was impressed with his generosity! By the way, (as it usually happens) his friend got homesick and left around 10 o'clock that night, so we had to deal with the disappointment from that.

We have still been watching documentaries and shows like Mythbusters, PawnStars, Swamp Brothers among many others that are full of science, history, and geography. As always, he asks tons of questions and learns several new vocabulary words each time we watch anything together.

Last night we watched Dual Survival which was full of geography and science. He chose to watch part of a documentary about Abraham Lincoln instead of a movie that I found while we were surfing through the channels. We also watched a show about Ancient Egypt, which included information about architecture and religion. He even came up with ideas of how the Egyptians and other architects could have done things differently.

That is just what I can remember worth mentioning off the top of my head. I know there is much, much, more, AND learning and teaching didn't stop just because I declared summer break.


  1. Yep, an unschooly kinda time!

    I'm sorry for your family's loss. How amazing that the abilities were to laugh and smile. I'll be praying for your family.

  2. Thank you! (I forgot to mention- he could cry too, but I'll always remember him for the way he would smile when he heard his Mom's voice).

  3. That is so exciting-- and I love how you are doing this-- just recording his learning (I did that when I started and found I just couldn't keep up.:))

    I am also sorry for your families loss-- I too was struck by the abilities to express emotion, how beautiful.

  4. Thank you, Heather! I probably won't be able to keep up either. Even when he was in school, he learned way more about history on his own than I even remember from my school days.

    "Express emotion"..what a great way to put that! I tend to think in pictures, so I find myself going the long way around to get my point across most of the time- hence the rambling. LOL

    Lately I've found myself "borrowing" words from other people!

  5. I loved reading this post! You should keep adding to it during the summer. It's amazing how much kids love to explore on there own, things you'd never ever think they'd enjoy.

  6. I've got one almost ready to post! Thanks for reading my blog!


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