unschooling: blacklick woods

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i’m determined to have our unschooling take us through as many of the columbus metro parks as possible this summer. we added blacklick woods to our list of faves this week. last week was pretty light on unschooling adventures. friends were in town so our lessons for that week were mostly about “hey when you’re besties fly in from the westies you drop everything and spend time with them” which i happen to believe is very good subject material.

so, monday brought us a really beautiful, perfect day for being out and about in the woods. our very first “lesson” was talking about how to read the map and determining our path. blacklick had a perfect length loop hike and a great nature center. darla decided we should visit the nature center before and after our hike. the center had all sorts of information on wildlife native to the woods & insect inspection stations. you can see we spent some time at the touchable objects station where D examined fossils, rock samples, horns and feathers.

the entirety of the hike took us about 25 mins. it would have been shorter but we stopped to make friends along the way, checked out fungi, frogs in the bogs, and even got to see a hawk on the hunt from extremely close up.

our visit ended by spending some time at the observation window which lines the entire back of the center. furry, feathery animals of all kinds come right up to the windows and eat undisturbed by the human folk. d got a real kick out of a momma racoon with her 3 kits and sang the pompoko theme song to them. personally, i favored the numerous chipmunks.

you know, this whole unschooling summer has felt kinda like girl scout camp to me. and that’s a pretty good feeling. i loved girl scout camp! i feel such a calling to this way of bringing up my daughter. i’m looking forward to seeing where else this path where take us.

thanks for checking out this unschooling outing of ours. good luck in your educational endeavors.

unschooling: raspberry picking

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we toned it down on the unschooling last week since we did so much the week before, not to mention the precipitation issue. the cooler temps did make for a very nice outing to picturesque mitchell’s berries. yes, those are sweatshirts on those boys. we went with our friends visiting from abu dabi. these unseasonably cool temps were quite a trip for them.

you could almost call this just an outing. i didn’t really try to do too much in-depth convo about the raspberry picking process since darla was having a good time with friends. the last thing kids want to do is listen to their parents when other kids are around. but the nice thing about unschooling is that i don’t have to stress if i didn’t impart every bit of knowledge possible along the way. they learned on their own from the experience. they will remember the thorns. they will remember discovering that the deep red, squishy berries are sweeter and juicier than the bright red, firm ones. they will remember the difference between the black raspberries and the red. hopefully they will remember the beautiful weather and forget the moments of tiredness and small squabbles. i know that’s how i’ll remember it.

our visit was at the very beginning of raspberry season so i’m hoping to make it back to mitchell’s again. it was a simply lovely set-up. plus, we gobbled up most of the berries fresh so my stores for preserves were greatly depleted by jam time.

thanks for checking in on our unschooling today.

unschooling: wind and solar energy

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let’s move on just as we moved on to glacier metro park. we enjoyed an absolutely delicious lunch of peaches, black raspberries and blueberries then wandered around until we discovered the wind & solar energy station. the park has interactive tools darla had an enthusiasm explosion over. this was one of those outings where i was spewing information and what darla took out of it was “the sun is hot and the breeze is mother nature’s breath.” not quite what i was saying but i’ll take it.

and then something happened that made me think maybe she does listen to me every once in a while…

while she was cranking the turbine she started talking about how her energy is a renewable energy source!!!

she gets it. she has learned from this lifestyle of riding bikes, and walking, and using your own energy to accomplish something that humans have a vast resource of energy available and it is ourselves.

and this has me thinking:

we have millions of americans in gyms because our society is so sedentary now that we can’t keep weight off our bodies. we also have an energy crisis. how, HOW!?, has no one yet invented a gym where members get on machines and create an energy source instead of getting on machines that use energy. like a reverse treadmill. i’ve seen it at festivals: get on this bike and charge your phone sort of thing. can someone invent a gym that does that?

should i be typing this here? i mean i don’t even have a copyright on this website yet. who do i talk to about this?

i’m sure it has something to do with working out who “owns” the energy and how to disperse it blah blah blah but i used to be at the gym and just feel so bad about all the electricity being used up for people to “work out” when the answer might be as simple as riding your bike or walking to your destinations.

i better stop now before this post turns into rant status but in conclusion, i think she and i are both learning as we move through this together and that’s all that matters.

*yes, i realize she doesn’t have her top on. no, i do not care. she’s 4 and black raspberry stains do not come out, people. if your child says “i’m hot can i take my shirt off” while she’s eating black raspberries you say yes.

unschooling: nature walk

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you know what i love about unschooling? everything! but one of the facets that suits my personality is that it can be a spur-of-the-moment idea. it can be a moment where you decide to pull the car over to take a walk in that park you’ve been meaning to for years.

unschooling last week included a trip to the smith nature park. this was a great, small little bit of woodland nestled into suburbia. we spent about 30 minutes here walking trails and creek gazing. it’s small enough to let darla be trail leader and big enough to make her feel like she’s a real hot-shot while doing so.

here’s darla’s summary of surroundings for her nature journal that day:

green plants. black trees. red trash. different kinds of rocks. it’s cool and hyperllenic. that means freshwater.  is bacteria a parasite?

hyperllenic does not mean freshwater. it’s a word she made up. at least i think. hold on. yep, she made it up.

picture summary:

1. self-explanatory

2. here’s me trying to revisit the concept of trees adding rings as they grow and examining this cross-section with her but instead she’s interested in these little balls she found which i think might have been some kind of pest repellent. sometimes this is just about me hearing myself talk, i think.

3. woods wedgie!! had. to. include.

4. is a pic of my feet is to show you all how idyllic and serene my life is. i’m just sitting next to creeks all the time gazing prolifically at my thrifted grannie shoes while darla yells requests to get in the creek and fish out trash at me. such a lush, verdant life i lead here by this creek.

in seriousness, our unschooling has provided a lot of peace and serenity in my life and i believe in darla’s. i feel spending time exploring the great wild world is so important. i hope she will remember these days all her life. i hope this will be a foundation for her to have a connection to the earth and find a way to live in harmony with her surroundings. the saying goes: children can’t learn to respect nature if they don’t spend any time in it.

thanks for checking in on our unschooling today.

ps. the ua parks department has this nifty little handout on the web for printing. this would have been a nice resource had i researched before and not stopped in on a whim. next time, i guess.

unschooling: Scioto Audubon Park & Sanctuary

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this is my kind of classroom.

one of our unschooling field trips from last week was an old favorite, the scioto audubon park. we picked up this fantastic book at the library a few weeks back. the book highlights nature happenings per month. july’s page discusses animal and plant life at freshwater sources and my mind went immediately to the scioto audubon park. this park boast a river view, freshwater ponds as well as wetlands. we formed a plan of comparing page to real life and that’s what we did. i brought the book along with darla’s nature journal. we did a collaborative drawing of the river and darla chose to draw a turtle for herself. here’s her entry as she dictated to me:

it looks like dirty water that turtles swim in. it looks like they love the water. spiders live here, too. they make interesting webs and catch flies and i don’t like it one bit. the end. by darla. write my name.

c week

remember our letter learning from earlier in the year such as here and here?

well, i’m attempting to bring it back and work in conjunction with what little miss darla is learning in her preschool. they go over a letter each week so we’ll be reinforcing here at home.

this week was C. here’s our brief activities:






coloring and candy all while listening to chicago. that’s my kinda schoolin’.