Followers

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Our unschooling adventures this past week or so

I feel like I have missed so much in photos but here is a recap of what we have been up to.

We have played lots of games like our Hideaway Haven pet shop game, Spot it, Uno and Monopoly to name just a few. During these games our children are developing skills such as letter recognition and reading, number, shape and colour recognition, visual perception, strategy,  hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity and math skills. Not to mention social skills like verbal communication, taking turns, team work, learning to be a good sport and quality interaction with other people. Boardgames can lengthen your child's attention span and help them focus as well. My personal favourite reason is just for the plain fun of PLAYing.


A new game we got for Christmas is called Chickaboom and we love it. It is perfect for building fine motor skills and cognitive devolpment as we have to decide which piece to remove from the base so it doesn't topple everything to the ground.

THIS article explains the many benefits of playing board games for younger children. No matter what your age though, playing boardgames is beneficial to everyone. This article  HERE shows 5 health benefits we all gain from playing board games, at any age. 

Aayla has also shown an increased desire to actual learn to read. She has a favourite book that we usually read together at least twice a day called The Great Race. It is a Thomas book and a lot of it is memoriazation but she is taking those words she has memorized and is finding them in other books too.

I couldn't get the video to upload so HERE is a link to a short version on my instagram page of her reading a page in her favourite book.

We have spent many hours building with blocks to either reanact part of her Thomas book as seen below where she made a mountain with tunnels so Thomas could go through the tunnel and Bertie could drive around the mountain on the roads just like in the book.
Other days the blocks have been pet shop houses or amazing towers. Our fine motor skills are working over time as we try stacking the treeblocks! Our treeblocks are handmade and they are not uniform so searching for level blocks of the same height is a challenge in itself.

If you are interested in reading more about what we learn while we play with blocks click HERE. They also list out various age appropriate choices for types of blocks from toddlers to 12 years.


We are escaping the house and braving the cold (occasionally) to go meet new friends at Smart Moves indoor playground in Barrie. All I took was 3 pictures and they are all horrible. We were just too busy talking and playing with our new friends that I forgot to bring the camera out until we were trying to leave...so no formal review. I'll just say that everyone loved it for now.

I found it very interesting to see Sierra develop such a quick bond with a new friend and not be shy. She had so much fun that the girls want to be penpals this winter so they can keep in touch until the warm spring weather arrives and we can actually get together to play more often.
Speed demon zooms down backwards

I love to watch Aayla play. She plays so well with others yet can play amazingly by herself too. I didn't get a picture of her but at one point while she was trying to figure out how to reach the zipline, I could almost see the thoughts in her head by the expressions on her face. It was priceless to watch her solve this zipline problem and the even greater thing to note is; she was fixing it to give an unknown friend a turn.

Puzzles are another activity that both girls like to do. We need to purchase some more age appropriate puzzles but in the meantime Aayla loves to do these word puzzles and then practice the pronunciation of all the letters and the words.

We play catch on top of mommy and daddy's bed which is no easy feat. Catching a moving object while balancing on a bed frame takes skill!

This next picture comes with a funny story. One day I was laying on my bed talking on the phone with someone when Aayla says to me, "mommy I am hungry". I told her Ok and that I would be with her as soon as I got off the phone, could she please just wait a minute. Well a few minutes pass she jumps off the bed and says, "I'm tired of waiting" and left the bedroom. When I hung up the phone and went out to make her something to eat, this is what I saw:
She climbed up on the counter, got down the bread and the peanut butter and made herself her own very first, "all by myself" sandwich. See learning does really happen when you let your children decide their own path and are motivated to learn.


With all these pictures of Aayla one might wonder what Sierra is learning... you needn't look further then the couch to find her deeply involved in her pocket edition Minecraft game on her iPad. If you missed the post on "Learning with Minecraft" click on the hyperlink to read it.

She is still having a lot of fun with it and is even trying to teach Aayla how to play.

She loves researching Minecraft "stuff" with the help of google and youtube. We have started to use graph paper to design items to build in the creative side of minecraft as well. It is quite an accomplishment to have a design in your head, transform it to paper and then execute it within the game.

Here Sierra is designing a diamond house with couches, a lap top and a hot tub. In the next photo she is busily taking her blueprint and turning it into actual buildings in her game.













She is so proud of of her final products.

She even took my treehouse drawing and created it in the game for me and I think she did an amazing job with it.

One afternoon while playing her game, Sierra nearly jumped out of her skin with excitement. Her pet pig send her love with hearts...and shortly after her sheep did it too.
When Sierra plays she is always around us and engaging us in conversation about what she is doing within the game. She also really enjoys her game time when dad plays with her on his phone.
 Here virtual dad is inside the Foster Family pyramid...note the golden F on one side in the second picture.

When Sierra takes a break from playingMinecraft she joins us in our family games or helps to make rice krispie squares. She has also been making lots of crafts like making snail mail love note mail boxes, water colour painted valentines cards and writing lots of love notes like these:
She is having fun playing with the felt board; playing games and telling her own stories.
So she is busy, busy, busy too. She is just becoming a bit camera shy and prefers not to have her picture taken ALL the time.

I almost forgot to mention that Aayla got a big girl haircut that I just LOVE! Bye bye detangler! We beat you knots!

Aayla also had a vist to the optometrist again this week and we had fun exploring all his tools while we had a lesson in waiting. After the eye drops were put in she had to wait 1/2 an hour for the Dr to come in and have a look. Apparently she is slightly near sighted and he recommends getting her glasses as she will "probably need" them in the future even though he is not sure if they will help her right now. I am a little torn as to what to do. Should I get her glasses that may or may not help right now in preparation for something she "might" need someday? That somehow feels wrong to me but at the same time I don't want to withhold glasses if they will help her right now. Any advice you can share to per-sway my decision?


So as you can see we are all having fun. We are learning every day in every way to share and to care. We are learning to give and take, to help out and to ask for help, to grow and develop and to become our "own kind of beautiful" in our unique individual ways...and I can't ask for anymore than that.