Tag: day in the life

A Day in the Life of a Radically Unschooling (Christian) Family

New unschoolers ask all the time “what does a typical day look like?”  I wrote a response 5 years ago, when we were not yet radical unschoolers but full unschoolers.  After sharing it once again I also wrote up our day today so I thought I would share.

My kids are older now and our typical days change based on what projects they are doing, what they are interested in, what their current goals are, and what my husband and I are doing (I work full time outside the home for this season, he writes and programs- freelance). I think today went something like this: 

I got up at around 9am, hubby was still asleep, Rachel (16) still asleep, Issac (12) got up at about 4:55am, Es (14) got up at 6 or so. Rach got up around 12? Shamus got up around 11am? 
Es SteampunkI take my supplements, have my tea, have my breakfast, sit at the computer and look over Facebook- check admin stuff  that needs done for the Facebook group. Younger two have been up watching “Malcom in the Middle” (in between projects, though middle daughter is currently working on a Minecraft texture pack). The tv show has been watched several times through recently, lots of questions answered about the time period, various topics that come up, the humor. Es watches a lot of shows to learn more about pacing and humor as she writes and wants to write better humor and wants to pace her animations and comics better. 

Issac did the dishes (he is saving up for a harddrive and all in family get paid for their work by the hour). Es decided at the last minute to come with me to take my grandmother shopping (every Tuesday) but decided to do a social experiment and dressed up in a steam punk style outfit and brought a card and crayon to make notes about reactions. She wants to write a tumblr post documenting her social experiment- how many people react, how they react by demographic. Shamus wakes just before we leave- he is writing today. Rachel wakes as we leave. She is working on a Minecraft world she and her best friend are designing and needs to work on the texturepack. 
On the way to my grandmothers Es and I discuss prophecy vs demonic possession, staying close to God during times of extreme spiritual stuff, what the Bible says about fortune telling and prophecy. We stop when Grandma gets in the car. Es explains her project to Grandma. While Grandma and I get groceries, Es goes off around the store to see and document reactions. She then comes back to us, helps a bit, then goes pick up some things she just remembered she wanted. 

We go to Subway because Grandma is hungry. We discuss expanding Esther’s social experiment and what she would need in order to do that as well as other people’s experiences with colored hair, dreads, piercings and peoples reactions.
Es steampunk
We take Grandma home, put away her groceries. We stop by my dad’s place to take some pictures and visit a bit. Talk about the old butternut tree that fell down which my dad is turning into a coffee table (and teaching himself all the steps- lots of new stuff happening there- made a new type of joint today and spent months planing the wood and making the boards). Es talks to him a bit about her experiment.

We stop at the thrift shop to look a t the formal wear for ideas for other skirts and outfits. Found a pair of shoes, a Doctor Who scarf, and a silk skirt that will be awesome. Get home. Issac is putting together a new puzzle we had just gotten. He is in a “bored” stage- his friends (who he talks to on Skype) have all been busy, he wants to have a new hard drive so he can do more, and the weather is cold and supposed to warm up so he doesn’t want to go outside till it does. So he is watching tv, putting together the puzzle and complaining about being bored. Es realizes she is hungry and tired so makes herself some cream cheese pancakes and sits down to watch. Rach makes herself some regular pancakes. She has been working on the Minecraft world while we were gone and has just gotten working on the texture pack. Hubby is taking a nap.1891084_10152138006699335_1472135447_n

I realize that I messed up about a birthday party Es was supposed to go to (her first one that was just her going for her friend and I messed up.) We shop on Amazon instead, she writes her a note on the gift, and we make plans to get together soon.


In an hour I leave for work (12 hr shift over night) but in the meantime I am back on the computer trying to problem solve and come up with solutions for running a huge facebook group while lacking the proper tools to do it. 

And there you have it. Our day today. 10014618_10152138006809335_586485070_n

September in Review

September has been crazy busy with a trip to Alexandria and Ocean City, Penn’s Colony, the Art’s Festival, and lots of trips to the pond. At the beginning of the month we headed down to visit our friends in Alexandria, VA and got to go with them for a day trip to the ocean.This was our first big trip in our new minivan and was a happy and sad time. It was fun spending time with friends but due to the loss of both my friend’s father and my mom within a few weeks of each other it was bittersweet.

The trip also meshed several ideas the kids have shown interest in–my friend has both a guitar and a violin and gave the kids an opportunity to test both out. So now we know that Essie definitely wants to play guitar and that RAchel would prefer piano lessons to violin as she once thought.
Issac at the pond
We also spent tons of time at the pond with my brother (who’s school is on strike).

The kids spent the first half of the month swimming and learning to row and fish and the second half learning to build fires and lean-to’s while James and I worked on his forge.rowJames and forge
And did I mention the invention building kick?
And day time trips to Chuck E. Cheese?

The apparently interesting thing that is opening a new bank account?

And the awesomeness that was Penn’s Colony.

Where we got to see real blacksmiths at work.

And got to enjoy lots of Celtic music.

And in between it all was lots of game playing, reading, audio books, movies, playing, building, dreaming, creating, thinking, considering, discussing, programming…

A Day in the Life of this Christian Unschooling Family

This morning I decided today was a good day to do a post like this.  Then things got crazy so I decided to write as I go–which would be great if it weren’t already 3:45pm.  I have been taking pictures as the day goes, well until 1:00 but you will see.  Is this a normal day?  We don’t have a “normal” day, is it typical?  Yes, in that everyday the kids, Shamus, and I all have projects we are doing and interruptions that take on a life of their own.  Word of warning, it was a long day so it follows after the jump.Read More

Day in the Life

Jena wrote today about the Power of Play, which got me thinking again about how much play time my kids get and how much they are learning while they do it.

Today is the perfect example.

Rach has several things she likes to do each morning–a routine you might say.  She is motherly by nature so naturally she goes and takes care of her Webkinz and her Animal Crossing character, makes sure the hermit crabs have water and food, puts her bed away, then starts her day.  Today she also helped her brother clean up his room so she could get to the hermit crabs (he keeps taking them in his room at night for company.)  She likes to check in with her long distance friends both on the phone and via Webkinz.  In the meantime she makes meals for her brother and sister, paints, does random projects she finds in books and magazines, works on preparing her room for a big rearrange, and watches Dr. Who with me (the new show though we are going to watch the old one later as well as Star Trek and some others.)  She is also designing and planning a new website–she loves doing story telling and since her brother and sister constantly clamor for stories she thought she might put soe online.

Esther on the other hand spends lots of time singing, reading, playing computer games.  Today she talked for some time to her best friend, and slept in.  Last night she stayed up with me, watching The Jim Elliot Story by Torch Lighters.  She already knew the story and loved the movie.  She thinks differently from her sister and brother and is free to day dream, to draw, to think, to imagine.  She spends a lot of time thinking and then asking random questions about things she has been chewing on.  Essie is also planning a website full of her own recipes and how to cook activities.  Right now she is designing the header using Tux paint.

Issac spent today weeding and replanting his garden, playing Jump Start 2nd Grade, spelling words on his word mat, helping Rachel clean his room, helping Daddy set up his new LCD monitor, all because he wanted to.

Later I am going to a football game as an early birthday gift from my mom and stepdad (in case you are wondfering–no, I am not a big fan though I will watch when the Steelers are doing well, however they had an extra ticket and I have never been to a game and am promised that it is an entirely new experience–good or bad I do  not know. :))  I have Netflix download play set up with a huge list of movies so the kids can watch them while I am gone.  Most of the movies are either classics or educatinal, because that is what the kids like. 🙂

More about our vacation to come. Believe me I have TONS of photos to share. 🙂

A Day in the Life 33: Unschooling

This morning I woke and realized it was warm enough for me to start walking again. After some prayer and consideration I realized that taking one child with me each day would have 4 benefits: each child would get a chance to spend time alone with me to talk about what is on their heart (that doesn’t happen often), I would have an incentive to walk daily, the kids wouldn’t fuss because they all wanted to go, and it would give me some variation because each child has a different place they like to walk. Rachel and I walked a mile. It was lovely and sweet and we talked about growing up, freedom and PA issues with such, the idea of moving somewhere where home school and other laws were less constricting, among other things. Esther and Issac stayed behind with Daddy.


When we returned the girls cuddled up with good books while Issac ate breakfast then played outside. Eventually the girls got hungry and grabbed some homemade bread with the jam we made yesterday and headed back outside to their books.


We then all went to the library where Rachel was disappointed as they didn’t have the book she wanted (she is almost finished with “In Grandma’s Attic” and wanted the next book). She ordered it from another library then we headed downstairs to the huge book sale going on today. We found tons of great books and only paid $4 for the lot. In the car there was much fighting about who gets to read which book first.


We headed to the store to pick up some water guns (it has to be 70 degrees for water guns in our house. :)), made a quick stop at the thrift shop, then went to get the parts for the irrigation system Rachel designed for her raised garden. It involves tubing elbows and t’s and once it is cut she will get to put it together and set it up by herself. Esther went for a simpler plan–she wants to use a sprinkler jump rope for hers.


When they returned home everyone got into bathing suits to play with the water guns. Eventually they all got hungry, made some food, and went back to their books. Rachel took a huge tray outside to eat while reading, Esther got stuck at the kitchen table with her huge book (the complete collection of “Bone” which she is about halfway through now.)


Issac discovered that he was now able to read the new Calvin and Hobbes we picked up (Yukon Ho) all by himself. “Mommy, I can read this book and it is a hard big kid book!”


He has also informed me that I must share with you that he has his first loose tooth ever. It really is loose, even though in the picture you can’t tell–his bottom middle left. My baby is getting big!


A Day in the Life 33: Issac

The girls spent some time with my mother-in-law this morning so Issac had us all to himself. He chattered away happily about all sorts of thinks he was thinking. He watched Shamus play a game for a while then wanted to be with me.


I asked him if he wanted to help me finish cleaning in my bedroom–Rachel had been into the wrapping stuff and left a mess, not to mention all the stuff that gets tossed in my closet so it is out of the way. A moment later he was gone, eager to get started.


He emptied my closet then set about organizing it.


Shoes on the door, boots on the shoe holder, wrapping stuff moved to the wardrobe, garbage to the garbage, hangers to the hook, crutches and knee brace to the bathroom closet.


He swept and trashed and happily found all the change on the floor amidst the dust and his marbles.


He then helped me organize the wardrobe so the present and packing closets were organized.


We moved the wrapping bin to the hall to use for laundry.


Afterwards we ate lunch together and talked about compound words (he is desperate to read and loves talking about how words look).


He then showed me how to make various tens and hundreds (he was playing with Cuisiniere rods and discovered the ones, tens, and hundreds theme.


He helped me make cookies for Daddy.


When his sisters got home he helped me burn and gathered sticks from the yard to add to the fire.


Meanwhile the girls played Animal Land (they are being squirrels and chipmunks in their den in this shot.)


Home Education Week: April Fool’s!

Today we continue to celebrate Home Education Week with Dana of Principled Discovery who asks:

And we have likely all felt the fool in one way or another. Share your greatest challenge. Or one of those terrible, horrible no good, very bad days where the only thing there is to do seems to involve moving to Australia.

I don’t have any big humorous situations or stories to tell though we have had a few embarrassing ones. We have several challenges specific to our family that have made things interesting and leant to some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

The only embarrassing story that comes to mind was one day when we were waiting for our car to be fixed on a school day and a random stranger started asking way too many questions of myself and the kids about our school day. Keep in mind I have dysgraphia and dyscalculia and my oldest has dyslexia and dysgraphia. This random stranger started asking her all sorts of math questions of the sort that she has to see to get (and I have to see them to understand them as well.) Plus this was a random stranger and we were already having a very rough day since we were supposed to be visiting my grandmother and the car had broken down on the way. So add nervousness and general unhappiness to the mix and neither of us could answer any of his questions and boy was he persistent–in a way that he would never be with someone who was public schooled. It was horrible and awkward and I hated that we left this random person with such a horrible view of homeschooling. Yuck.

In general however our worst days are when Rachel has a bad day. She struggles with several neurological disorders and severe food allergies and some days are just really, really rough for her which means they are rough for us. She takes Omega 3 and magnesium which help a lot and the days she forgets are probably the very worst. Constant temper tantrums make those days a struggle and put everyone out of alignment.

The Restaurant

If you visit our house on any given Saturday you will find our driveway full of cars and The Office full of young men. It is D&D day or “Geek Squad” day as my dad calls it. One of the Geek Squad is my younger brother-in-law who spends non- interesting moments of the game out of The Office hanging out with my kids. Usually they ask him to play with them or watch as they play Mario Sunshine for the zillionth time (they quit playing through and use it as another way of playing house–it is kind of hard to explain but Mario is somehow a big brother and so on and so forth. Anyway, none of that is the point. )

Last week he was hanging with the kids while they were playing their favorite game “restaurant”. He reminded them of how they used to play restaurant–I had forgotten that restaurant had always been a favorite since I was seldom involved–I was too busy trying to keep up with our crazy household. He was right though. It has been a favorite game since Rachel was old enough to have a kitchen set.

When we moved to this house (7 years ago) she was about 3 and had a kitchen set with very few foods. She and her one year old sister would use whatever was the right color as a food. Now, keep in mind that these kids had tons of food allergies and had a very limited menu that they knew about. They were known to enforce that menu on all their restaurant guests. Usually the visitor (since they made all visitors attend their restaurant) would request random foods which the kids would insist they didn’t have. In the end the only thing anyone could order was oatmeal. The visitor would then insist that the restaurant server and cook go shopping for more foods and they would go off to the other room to find more foods only to return and find that oatmeal was the only thing the chef knew how to make.

Nowadays they still play restaurant nearly everyday. Rachel’s restaurant, now christened “The Golden Streak” has a much bigger menu which grows each time she learns to make another food. It is clean (since I require she clean before she cook), there is a hand written menu and a variety of noodle and sandwich based meals. Yesterday she added salad to the menu so today I ordered take-out to be picked up at 12:30. We’ll see if she gets it right.

Her sister is often the patron, her brother often the server. Esther is the sort of customer where you learn patience and that the customer is always right. She also uses counterfeit gift cards instead of money. She may well be what drives Rachel out of the restaurant business.

They also have a music store (run by Esther–no wonder all the cd’s have gone missing), a post office (run by Rachel–that is where my calculator and scale went off to), and some other random stores that they all seem to run at varying times. Ah, my little entrepreneurs. Usually they do use real money for all their back ad forth and I know Rachel weighs and figures out postage for each package she mails. (Her business would be more effective if she didn’t make the things she mailed.:))
It is funny because both their daddy and I are not good at business. I am more likely not to charge at all than to ask for money for my work (I only charge because my husband insists on it.:)) My husband gets paid much less for the work he does because he hates asking for raises. I am fairly good at organizing yard sales though my prices tend to be cheap–I just want rid of stuff.:) The kids had a taste of this this summer and I think it is what fueled their desire for shops and sales. We’ll see if it continues. I am however very happy with the amount of learning that is occurring during this restaurant phase–they know that restaurants get shut down if they don’t meet certain standards and I have threatened as much. It also helps Rachel with her writing sand spelling (she writes the menu fresh each day), with her patience and organization skills–she is learning how to prepare foods on demand and get foods so they are all hot at the same time. Plus, since I am not involved in the process other than to give advice and occasionally help out when the restaurant gets swamped she is more willing to figure things out herself.

This was ready at 12:25 when I stopped in to check on them. She came up with the container by herself.:) Issac made the coffee.

A Day in the Life 25 + Doodle a Day: Weather Weirdness

Yesterday it was COLD and snowy and today it is 60 degrees and everything is melting. The kids and I were out in light jackets.

Western PA is funny that way. One day we have snow, the next a warm springy day. Back in college I couldn’t wait till the weather would change. One day it would be icy cold–cold enough for classes to be canceled (and believe me at Slippery Rock classes didn’t get canceled lightly. In my 5 years there–I was a dual major with an art minor–it was closed maybe three times. Once for a snow storm, once for an ice storm, and I don’t remember why on the other one.) The next day it would be sixty and we would all pull ut our shorts glad to have a chance to shed our winter coats. In fact, you would see some sitting out on the green in their bikinis soaking up the sun. This is the time of year when you go to the store and one lady will be wearing hat and mittens and a heavy coat and the next will be wearing shorts.

We have the house opened up–glad to replace the stale air with fresh. A month from now I will consider it cold when it is 60-something but for now it is a blessing and I am glad to shed my fingerless gloves, hat, and husband’s giant hoody which I have been wearing constantly to keep from freezing. The kids are running around in 4 inches of snow in rubber boots, bare legs, and short sleeves.

I am glad. They spent the morning in the house building all sorts of projects from an old children’s “Make it” book from my mother’s childhood. It’s one of those books that assumes that boys know how to use hammers and nails and saws and that girls know how to sew. Rachel has been building all sorts of things for herself and for her brother and sister. Issac spent the morning working on a 550 piece puzzle. Esther was doing some sort of project on Lego Star Wars on her DS. We then had to search for a missing CD and overdue library books. Rooms got clean while searching. Afterwards we sent a few packages from the post office (the kids learned what a customs form was for since one had to go to Canada) and I made all three go with me to the library to tell the librarian that they had left the cd on the floor and stepped on it. They learned that it is much harder to deal with something the longer you wait and that dealing with it immediately and in person is such a wonderful relief. We also had to stop at the thrift shop because Rachel has grown out of all her own shoes and is now wearing mine (yes, my ten year old is wearing my clothes and shoes even though she is 4 inches shorter than me–she won’t be for long.) When we returned home the kids ran outside, happy to be free and enjoy the sunshine.

Addendum: Esther just came in barefoot. She lost her shoes in the snow. I sent her back out to find them. At that moment Issac came in crying because he forgot to wear socks and despite the warm temperatures snow is still cold on feet without socks.