A Week in the Life (of an unschooling family).

There are only so many times I can say that we have ‘no typical day’ and then not elaborate on that – so I figured it might be fun to take you all through a ‘typical week’ – although of course, there’s no such thing as a typical week! Ha!

But I think a whole week gets a little closer to including the range of possibilities, as well as our overall rhythm (which is semi-intentional, and also kind of just happens) than one single day does.

So, before it is wiped entirely from my memory, I’m going to take you through this past week. I have already forgotten a ton, and also I want to keep it relatively brief, as well as be mindful of my children’s privacy, so of course it won’t be EVERYTHING we did. But more like an outline. The details are too many to include, and too many to remember! Here goes.

Monday

The children usually wake up on their own, sometime between 7am and 8.30/9am. Lorenzo tends to be up first, and he will have breakfast with Daddy and read books. I might take over once I’ve showered and gotten dressed for the day.

We usually meet with homeschool friends on Mondays, but it didn’t work out this week – people were away or unavailable, which sometimes happens. Penelope got really into the Timelines of Everything book. After breakfast, Lorenzo went to spend some time at Granny’s where they played and read books. Penelope and I had some quiet, individual reading time (arguably one of our favorite things!) and then we worked a little on her miniature crafting project. She wanted to play Cluedo after that so we did. Then I made lunch, and read our novel (The Courage of Cat Campbell) out loud to them over lunch. They played a little after lunch, then listened to one of the Vanderbeeker books on audio (the second book, I believe), while crafting. They are making homes for their peg dolls at the moment, and all the furniture for the homes.

Lorenzo has been really into Louis Armstrong since listening to the Magic Treehouse book about him. Over the weekend, he asked me if I could find some of his music to listen to so I did some research and found a couple videos, some music and a few websites with facts about his life. I mentioned this to the kids, and when they’d had enough with the audio book they asked to watch the videos and read about Louis Armstrong. We listened to some of his songs and music too.

I don’t really remember what we did next – they probably did some Minecraft, I may have gone out for a walk, we had dinner, and started winding down for the day. The things that are lost in these Day in the Life accounts are all the many conversations, questions and discussions we have throughout the day. I don’t always make a note of them and they are easily forgotten. This, I suppose, is a part of the invisible learning that is always happening and so easily slips away because we have no physical “proof”.

Tuesday

After breakfast and books, Penelope signed into her online SDE community. Lorenzo and I read about Greenland sharks (again, he’s just super into them) and did some online research on them, watched a video and then watched more videos about sharks in general. I had a few ideas of things to do but he wasn’t into them, so he went and played with his lego while I did some housework. We had two friends come over to play around 11am, and they all had lunch together, after which I drove our friends home while Penelope and Lorenzo stacked some wood from our massive wood pile which is still very much present in our front yard (Spence was home, I didn’t leave them home alone!).

They played more in the afternoon. Lorenzo remembered he’s been saving money for a bow and arrow and we counted his pocket money, then looked up how much the bow and arrow he wanted costs. I’d told him I could put up half of the cost so we calculated how much that would be, and ordered it online. This led to talking about zeros and place value and Lorenzo wanted to write some equations for me to solve, with lots of zeros in them.

Penelope had dance class at 6pm so she got read for that, and L played while I made dinner. Maybe we did something together – but I don’t remember!

Wednesday

Wednesday is the day we drive over to Monroe, Maine, and the children attend White Ash Learning Centre from 9am to 3pm. They have so much fun – the only down side is we have to get up earlier than we usually do, and pack lunches and bundle everyone out the door. But also, being late isn’t a big deal so it’s a lot less stressful than our school-going days.

On the way over they listen to music and audiobooks and I also record myself reading our novel out loud – they love that!

Back home in the afternoon, I thought Lorenzo might like to keep an Inventor’s Notebook given that he is really into inventing things. He started taking pictures of his lego creations and sticking them in it, and writing a little bit about them. He talks a lot about wanting to become an inventor, and this is part of my not-so-covert campaign to persuade him that HE ALREADY IS – and has a notebook to prove it!

Penelope and I also did a few calculations about something she’s been saving her pocket money to buy – it’s a lot of money and I had agreed to contribute 1/3 of the price, if she raised the remaining amount.

Thursday

Penelope was in her SDE online community this morning. L and I did some tidying – we put all the lego away and he hoovered the floor. Then he got really interested in trying to figure out how the hoover/vaccum works, so we spent some time opening up bits and trying to make sense of it. We had lunch and read books, then we had to take our dog to the vet. He was reluctant but once there he had a great time chatting to the vet about dogs, listening to our dog’s heart with a stethoscope, and helping the vet hold Jeb while she administered shots. The vet also explained how shots work.

We had some great chats in the car on the way home – about everything from the tides, the icy roads and how ice turns to water, to when it might be okay to steal (we agreed that if you or your family are starving and will die, then stealing could be justified). He also did addition on his little Maths calculator thingy (it has a name!), and listened to an audiobook. We spend a lot of time driving so we’ve gotten resourceful about car-time.

Back home, Lorenzo and Daddy went out and Penelope and I played a writing game called One-sentence Story Swap – where we each started a story with one sentence, then swapped papers and continued the other person’s story with another sentence, and so on. It was super fun and we somehow made it so that one of the characters in the story Penelope had started turned up half way through my story. I don’t correct Penelope’s grammar or spelling unless she asks, and if I feel like it’s an easy and helpful correction I might ask. So often, when she’s writing or we’re writing together we talk about spelling, grammar or interesting words. And sometimes we don’t!

Friday

Penelope did some reading in the morning and then got to listening to a new history podcast she found. We had an arborist come over to look at our garden and Lorenzo spent his entire morning outside following her crew who were chopping down two sick apple trees. He asked a bunch of questions, and helped out where he could. He watched and observed and had a lot to tell me at lunchtime. This is mostly how he learns – but actually living and doing.

Lorenzo’s bow and arrow arrived so he ran outside to practice on our target.

After lunch the kids watched some Mystery Science videos. Penelope went over to Granny’s in the afternoon to bake cookies and hang out. Lorenzo started listening to the next Vanderbeeker book and occasionally came into the kitchen to tell me what was going on. Granny and Penelope came back around dinner time and we had a family dinner and an early bedtime.

Thanks for reading! I probably missed out a bunch of stuff! But even so, it feels like a full week of living without school.

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