We had a busy week lined up. We’re a family that likes to be pretty busy socially and this week was one of the busiest ones we’ve had in a while.
Monday started with watching the movie Frozen and spontaneously Hannah decided that she would take the washing off the line. I asked her how she would reach the clothes and she told me she would figure it out. Blake quickly followed her outside and several minutes later Daisy and I went to see how they were going. This was the scene that greeted me….
I had to laugh. I had initially imagined them standing on chairs but they obviously had a better idea. They worked really well as a team, negotiating how to hang the clothes and balancing on the cars at the same time.
Hannah began folding the dry towels and tea-towels off the line from the age of two and half, she always enjoyed it and now chooses to help fold the washing about once a week on average. A couple of years ago when she was 4, she went through a stage where she hung the wet washing out, took it off, brought it inside, folded it all, and then put all the dry washing aways. That phase lasted a few weeks and Blake who was only 2 at the time, often helped her as much as he could. It was very sweet and recently that seems to be an interest area again. Hannah has now taught Blake how to fold the towels and sort the clothes and all this week they have done the washing together. They’re putting another load out right now as I’m typing this! This is incredibly helpful to our family as a whole, not to mention a very important living skill to learn. Inside, Daisy was learning a life skill too – eating yogurt from a spoon 🙂
Later, we had planned to go to the a library screening of Class Dismissed that a local unschooling group had organised with friends. On the way in the car the kids and I discussed bushfires and back-burning which has been a hot topic for the last few months. I then mentioned how beautiful the clouds looked as they were all swishy in the sky, which lead to a question about how rain is formed and we did a re-cap of what we already knew about rain. Hannah wondered why it fell down to the ground and I told them about gravity reminding them about the recent movies we had seen about space and how there is no gravity there. After a few minutes of thought, Hannah asked what would happen if the rain wasn’t able to fall down on the ground and I asked her what she thought would be the case. She hypothesized that all the plants, trees and grass would become too dry. I told her this term has a name – drought – and that currently many regional areas in Australia are experiencing that reality. Weather has always been a keen interest here for a number of years and is something we discuss again and again every couple of months as new questions arise and old information is solidified.
Tuesday is our regular meet-up day with our conscious parenting group and we always look forward to being outdoors and enjoying the day with our friends. After a few months of meeting in the national park, we’re back to discovering at our local city farm.
Hannah was really looking forward to being able to paint her face and body with clay. There was also lots of mixing with sand, water, dirt and clay with friends, experimenting with making different concoctions. Their favourite was making them look like chocolate milkshakes.
Tuesday’s really are our constant in our week. We always meet with our group during the day and then go to my parents house that night for dinner. My two younger siblings still live at home, and Hannah and Blake are currently loving learning about video games from my brother.
Hannah also took a quiet moment to do some reading. She isn’t reading full sentences yet but lately she is really picking up a lot of books and I’ve really been trying to model reading my own books in front of them more too along with our regular reading we do every day.
Wednesday was our home day. Playing with our toy animals is a current favourite and they’ve also set up an animal hospital so they’re always checking over their soft toys and healing them of their various ailments.
On Thursday morning we visited with friends. The kids just adore coming here and exploring the different toys, activities and arts and crafts that are freely available. We don’t currently have any smaller Lego at home, so Blake is always quite drawn to building with it.
Hannah always gets stuck into the art and spent most of her time in there creating alone and with her friends. Us parents enjoyed a lot of great conversation while the kids played, and I really believe because they all have a lot of autonomy, respect and freedom in their homes, this extends to their play too as it was and often is very peaceful and collaborative.
That afternoon a storm rolled in which ended up being incredibly fierce and causing a lot of damage closer to the city. Thankfully we had no damage and because the kids were all at the shops with Brian when it came, it felt like a big adventure to Hannah and Blake as they got wet on the run to the car. The storm of-course sparked questions about storm formation and hail, which connected nicely with the weather conversation we had had earlier in the week.
We had planned a park play the next day with a friend but it was still raining on and off so we met at a kid-friendly cafe. On our drive we saw a few houses who had had trees fall on their roofs which really surprised them. As we said good-bye to our friends, Hannah decided to collect some of the fallen blooms from the Poinciana trees for our nature table. On our walk back to the car we found some more flowers, seeds and leaves and discussed the names of the ones we knew and decided to check our nature encyclopedia for the ones we didn’t at home.
Hannah and I painted some trees back at home and made a nature mandala with the collection she had acquired that morning.
Saturday was a very busy day. The kids watched Brian fix a car, and asked a million questions about radiators and engines. After all their questions had been answered they settled in for a spot of cloud-watching on the cardboard box.
As always there was lots painting, much of it reflecting what we’ve been talking about or doing during this week.
That night we went along to the local Christmas Carols and met my parents there. Hannah and Blake were so excited to go on the rides. They each chose two rides to do together and one that they preferred to do alone because the other didn’t particularly like that ride. I really like seeing their individuality coming out in different ways as they get older. Blake really dislikes heights so it was the motorbikes for him and the ferris wheel for Hannah, who loves them!
We settled in to watch the carols when it got dark and Blake chose to go to sleep on the rug soon after dinner. Hannah was getting tired but desperately wanted to see the fireworks and her expression when she saw them was worth the wait! I think it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen fireworks at an event so she would have been too young to remember previous experiences. Blake and Daisy slept right through them
On Sunday morning we decided to put up the Christmas tree and our advent table. Our tree is quite large and the branches are letter coded to make it easy to put up so this year Hannah and Blake put up most of it and they were really proud of themselves.
We then decorated the tree and set up our advent table. All the fun starts tomorrow morning and we’re really excited for our month-long December celebrations. You can read more about our Christmas traditions here.
Our unschooling journey is ours – it’s a representation of how we live and therefore, how we learn. Our children have the freedom to question, wonder, experiment, play, create and explore at will. The photos and words in these weekly excerpts are just an overview and based on the memory I have of the weeks events. There will have been more learning than I could possibly cover here happening in the minds of each of my children every day. And there is a lot of ‘real life’ that happens in our weeks too – lots of negotiation, compromise, frustration and tantrums – because all of that is a part of living and learning, together. I hope you enjoy our week in review, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them :).