Day in the Life: Wii edition

Thought I should do a new unschooling life post–it has been a while–mostly because it has been raining, constantly, which means no good photos (I can’t use a flash because of Rachel and we don’t have very good lighting indoors if there is no sun outdoors.)

As you all know by now we went out the other day and got a Wii.  This was a planned for purchase–we have been saving and waiting for one to become available and finally my lovely, sweet step-brother, who works at Gamestop, grabbed one and set it aside for us.  Of course while there I discovered Professor Layton and the Curious Village and now desperately want that for my DS–wonderful anime style graphics, vintage setting, puzzles, talking, happy me (somebody please buy a painting so I can go buy a DS game–please????)

We picked up Wii Play for it as well, since with 3 kids we NEED a 2nd controller at the very least.  Wii play has some dud games but it also has some simple games that are perfect for younger children and which the kids are happily playing as I type.  Shamus and I have barely even gotten near the Wii since the kids are happy playing and we both had migraines yesterday (I am STILL nauseous though the headache is gone).  I am very sore from the short time we did play so am very fine with them playing.

Before I go into the educational aspects of having a Wii I want to mention some of the other learning activities that are going on in our home.

First, the kids are very involved in helping me write the art lessons. They are doing each lesson as my guinea pigs and I am amazed at how much difference it has made.  You will get to see their progress as the lessons go on.  It has also prompted a drawing frenzy–all three kids are going through paper at amazing speeds.  Issac has discovered perspective and the girls are now using joints and proportions in their drawings.

All three kids are reading a lot. Rachel has discovered biographies and is reading for about 2 hours a night.  Esther is into comic books and humorous stories–she just finished Way Side School is Falling Down.  Issac has been reading to me nightly from Hooked on Phonics chapter books.  We also finished reading Howl’s Moving Castle (did I mention how much better it is than the movie?) and are now reading Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.  I didn’t like it when I read it to myself but reading aloud is a whole ‘nother matter.  It is a fun read and the kids are enjoying it.

We also started getting Netflix again–whichh iwas perfect timing since it has rained for 3 weeks straight.  I swear we are going to float away a freezew to death if this continues.  We have been working through the Studio Ghibli animes (which are brilliant), Between the Lions (purportedly for Issac though it is really helping Rachel with her spelling), and old musicals (just watched Camelot whcih is hoaky but has great music not mention that we just read through all the Squires Tales and the kids have been comparing the stories).

Now that we have flour again the girls have been baking–Esther made a huge batch of peanut butter cookies and the two of them just made a slew of pancakes on their own while I napped.  They hav ebeen doubling and tripling the recipes without help from me–very cool.

Finally they have been cleaning the basement–slowly but it is getting done.  They had trashed the school room as well as the rest but now want to be able to have me teach art classes down there–which means it needs to be seriously cleaned.

Now about the educational side of the Wii.  To begin with there is the obvious–they are learning the rules of a variety of sports–Pool, ping pong, tennis, baseball, golf, bowling.  They are also moving while they do it, moving in general in the way that you move to actually play the game. Not exactly and you can fudge it but for the most part, if you do it the proper way, you are more likely to do better.  Since they live in a non-sports family (we don’t play or watch sports though I know how to play most of them having played at one time or another: softball, vollyball, golf, bowling, raquetball, hockey, football, ping pong, and so on) I find that this is a good oportunity for them to at least learn the basics.

Another aspect is eye-hand coordination. If you haven’t played Wii imagine trying to point at your tv screen and move a cursor around on the screen with your remote control–not by hitting buttons but by waving the control itself.  This is pretty much how navigating works as well as a few of the games.  The other games take actual movement similar to playing the games, really.

Also, there are the Mii’s. The kids have spent several hours  creating multiple custom Mii’s.  You only have so many parts that you can use to customize them but you can resize them and repurpose them.  The kids spent some time trying to figure out how to make Calvin and Hobbes,  Scott McCloud of Understanding Comics, multiple Nintendo characters, and themselves.  Not only is it fun but it is a huge problem solving activity.

You can also get the weather, news, edit photos from your SD card, purchase more games for download, and share your Mii’s with others via the Wii channels (if you have Wifi, and we do).  Yesterday while my mom had the kid I lay on the couch with my nasty mind numbing migraine and played with the channels.  If you have cable tv then this is probably not that exciting to you.  It is actually more like surfing the net on your tv (which you can also do if you pay $5 for the channel-which we haven’t done since we just paid more than enough for the Wii itself.)

While they have been occupied with all this stuff I have been working on the art class, making desicions about future projects (quite a few), moving websites between servers, and all sorts of things which make me grateful for the Wii.