I’ve decided that periodically, on our days that are especially great (what’s that? You don’t want a play-by-play of the days where we run errands?), I’m going to post day-in-the-life posts showing what we do on a day of unschooling. Over time, these posts will show a variety of types of days, a range of topics, and hopefully a good cross-section of what unschooling an only child can look like.
Today is the first of these! Neko and I had almost a full day at home, and I had some plans of what I could work on with her (yep… that’s not true unschooling), so I thought it would be a good time to start.
We’ve cut out our morning ritual of Neko watching a few (usually at least semi-educational without ads) TV shows and having a glass of chocolate almond milk, as her behaviour has been going downhill lately with more whining, worse sleep habits, and some back-talking and rudeness. I feel Justan and I are at fault, not setting clear enough boundaries and setting Neko up to fail with the morning dose of sugar and screen time. For the past few days, there has been no TV in the morning, and the first thing to pass through Neko’s lips has been protein, or at least whole grains.
8 am We bucked the trend a bit here this morning, and I let her watch Nim’s Island on Netflix, as it was recommended to us recently.
9:45 am Neko did a mosaic craft that my mom gave her for her birthday. Just a bunch of sticky dots that you place on a template, but my thought is that it was useful for… math. And art. And fine motor skills. Oh, and we had breakfast at this point.
11 am I did laundry. Neko finished up her mosaic, and we snacked a bit in anticipation of going tobogganing. Also, Neko put a blanket on the cat. No educational benefit to that, that I can discern, but it was silly and looked cute.
11:45 am Tobogganing! About six blocks from our house, there is a pretty big hill with a nice slope, and now that the snow deep enough and a decent quality, we’ll be over there sliding down that hill often! Last year we got a big, wooden toboggan and two plastic “flying saucers,” and we just got two Crazy Carpets (from the treasure hunt for Neko’s birthday party). This was our physical education for the day. Plus it was just fun. And we got some vitamin D.
This was tiring. And thirsty-making. So we walked home for treats. It was, by the way, nearly impossible to get Neko off this hill.
1 pm Cold drinks! I blended some lemon juice, homemade strawberry preserves (simply strawberries, lemon juice and sugar, simmered) and made us strawberry lemonade. Which, of course, called for fancy glasses. Which, of course, makes it appear that I was filling my daughter with strawberry margaritas. I wasn’t, by the way.
2 pm Things got pretty boring at this point when we cleaned out Neko’s bed. It’s a loft bed, and she has tons of books up there, and extra blankets, and random toys… anyway. It was gross. And messy. So we did that. (Also, I’m watching Louis CK as I write this and I apologize if it’s affecting my tone.) Neko then chose a selection of toys that she wants to keep on her bed which are, she says, “fake Pokemons.” She basically chose regular toys and assigned them special powers. I don’t get Pokemon. These are life skills of some sort, I’m quite sure.
3 pm As I had promised Neko earlier in the day, it was time for Just Dance 3 on the Wii. This is, for the record, also my workout for the day. That game gets your heart pumping! I also secretly (not anymore) hope it will improve my moves, you know, for the next time I’m at the club.
This, of course, was part two of phys ed for today. And the required daily pop culture lesson.
4 pm Here was my one, actually educational plan for the day: to print off a 10×10 chart so Neko could fill it in with the numbers one through 100. She’s been having trouble learning to count, and I thought a visual cue, and writing the numbers herself, would probably help her make the connection. So I made a ten column by ten row table in Pages, made the cells square, and printed the page. Then I had Neko fill in the bottom ten squares, left to right, one to ten. We then went across and did the teens. Then the twenties. Up until this point I was leading Neko through it, and she wasn’t totally understanding the pattern of the whole thing. But around 28, she saw the pattern. She started filling in the cells by herself, only asking for help once or twice per line. This was so cool to watch. Each time she figured out the name for the next ten spot, she was so very proud of herself. I honestly almost cried, watching her. I told her that once she had filled in the chart, she would be able to count to 100. She said, “I can only write to a hundred, I can’t count to a hundred mommy.” I explained that using her new chart, she’ll be able to count to 100 whenever she wants. Her eyes filled with excitement and she said, “I want to fold this up and put it in my pocket and keep it with me every day!”
After that, we called my parents so she could count to 100 on the phone for them (my mom is a kindergarten teacher, so she was thrilled to listen), and Justan came home and Neko showed him her number chart, and then she went to play with the neighbours for a while.
Oh, and today was Dressember Day #12.