September, like August, was filled with lots of fun, exploring and trying new things. We’ve still been spending time deschooling, but all-in-all, the kids seems to be getting really comfortable with being self-directed, self-paced, and the notion that they aren’t being graded or tested on what they are learning.
It’s been a lot of fun watching them try new things, research areas of interest, and get absorbed into the things they love.
Here is a brief summary of how our month played out:
(*I plan on expanding on several of these activities in more detail in future posts)
At the beginning of the month, we attended an Alabama home game. It was Abbie’s first Bama game, and it was so much fun to get the share it with her!
One of the things I love about our relaxed education approach is that we see everything as an opportunity to learn. Even attending a college football game provides opportunities for choices, responsibility, math and more (not to mention, the science behind how we lose our voice when we yell loudly and cheer for hours! *ahem*)
Budgeting and Food Choices:
One of the biggest things we did as a family this month, was expand the kids involvement in our grocery shopping and budgeting. They have always been great eaters, but we wanted them to have more say in choices. I’ve written before about how to involve children in money choices and ways to make money real for them, and grocery shopping is one of the things I note as allowing for so many real world experiences and lessons.
It’s been exciting to see how the kids have responded to the changes. We are waiting to see how it settles out before we write about it and put it all out there – it hasn’t been without flaws, and it has required tweaking – but I’m in the process of writing a few posts about our food shopping changes and some of the ways we are allowing the children to learn about money.
The boys have enjoyed playing with LEGOs for years. They’ve never been super wild about the prepackaged kits, preferring to make up their own things, but they have received some kits over the years. After playing around with them and realizing the cool things they’ve developed on their own, they decided to try making up their own kits.
They laid them out:
Checked all the pieces:
And created how-to booklets and packaged them for each other to try out.
They had a ton of fun sharing them and making improvements based on the feedback provided by each other.
Learning to Sew:
All of our kids have been interested in sewing at some point or another. While no one has taken to it enough to make me new outfits, or curtains (darn it!), it’s a valuable skill to learn and at least know the basics.
One day, Declan told me he wanted to learn to sew, so I gave him the supplies he needed, showed him a few stitches, and he taught himself how to sew. He made several shapes and a few sewn art pieces.
I find them charming.
Trying New Foods and Exploring New Cultures
As I noted above, our kids have always been good eaters. And they are always up for something new. So, when Randy came home with a pitaya, or dragonfruit (because Abbie is really into dragons right now), we were all curious and excited to try it.
We did an internet search on how to cut/prepare it, researched where it comes from, how its grown, and then proceeded to cut away.
Look how amazing it is inside:
It was delicious. After posting it to Facebook and Instagram, friends shared that they are also delicious grilled and in smoothies.
Homemade Box Guitar
Seamus decided he wanted to make his own guitar, after seeing something in a book he’d checked out from the library.
So, using a *cough* wine box, shipping tube, rubberbands for strings, and pencils for bridges, he did just that.
And he jammed away:
He also learned about the history of the guitar, string tension and vibrations, the changes to sounds when you play strings differently, a bit about tuning an instrument – and he had a blast doing it.
Helping Out At a Conference
I’m on the board of AAGC (Alabama Association for Gifted Children) and when our conference took place in September, I took Declan along with me to help.
He had a wonderful time talking with the adults (one of his favorite things to do!), handing things out, keeping things tidy, (and eating an ungodly amount of chocolate and tic-tacs.)
It allowed him to be responsible, interact with adults, reinforced the importance of organizing, helping and good communication.
Just go ahead and expect to see this topic on every monthly update for the foreseeable future. My boys are hooked on space!
Declan, who loves to paint and draw, is fascinated by how the planets look – their colors and swirls… So he asked to paint them.
Once he painted them, he wanted to hang them over his bed.
The benefit of the bottom bunk, FTW!
We watch lots and lots (and LOTS) of documentaries, but one that stood out in September, and corresponded with our space theme. was Lunarcy!, a documentary about a variety of people with a variety of unique connections to the moon.
I follow the ISS, NASA and the astronauts on Instagram (and Twitter), and saw that the ISS was doing a call for questions when Steve “Swanny” Swanson returned from his trip to space. The questions could be asked via comments or video. All three boys asked a question:
And after several weeks of waiting, we learned that Shea’s question was answered by Swanson, via video on Instagram. (For those who are curious: Shea’s question was his favorite food in space. The answer was the chicken in peanut sauce.)
They’ve been following the ISS and had watched Swanson’s return via NASA TV and the internet, so this was a big deal for them.
Find A Quiet Space
Now that we are all home, all the time, the kids have started seeking quiet places to sit, draw, read, do puzzles etc.
We have a great closet under our stairs, but it’s been a catch-all for all sorts of random stuff, and prone to getting messy from rummaging. Despite this, Shea and Declan started hanging out in it and spending more and more time in it.
Being the thoughtful mom that I am – ok, I saw an opportunity to have help cleaning up a mess – I suggested we clean it out, organize it and make it a comfy place to be.
They happily helped me:
And now, we have a super cool, and comfy, quiet spot for them to find some peace and quiet when they need it.
September was a great month. I love the fall, and I’m so excited about the opportunities that are before us!
Your Turn: Let us know what y’all did in September and if you have an suggestions/links/apps etc for the topics of interest we studied!