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It’s halfway through April and I am only just getting on to writing up the best things of our unschooling life in March – but, with half of that month in Lockdown, I think I can forgive myself! I hope you all are well and that these Monthly Highlights continue to encourage you to see amazing learning everywhere in your children’s every day lives.
I have set up a page dedicated to these updates, so check out the last few months if you are interested.
On to March!
Josiah’s love of rugby continues unabated. For his birthday at the beginning of March (turning seven), he went to a local Highlander’s game. It was the best birthday present for him! We also were able to sign up for him to play rugby, though now it may not happen this year. Yet, the whole experience of signing up and meeting coaches was very exciting for him. He was given a book of All Black posters for his birthday and his room now shows clearly what he loves deeply. And he continues to play with his collector cards, creating games and spouting factoids continuously. It truly amazes me the cupboards and drawers of facts and knowledge he has in his mind.
March was a beautifully settled month after a rough summer, so we took advantage of the early Autumn warmth by spending much of our time outside. Walks, picnics with friends, gardening, and just enjoying the outside was a highlight. We found stick insects, tui, dragonflies, penguin caves, cicadas, as well as kittens on our outings. And there is something wonderful walking similar paths and seeing them change in their beauty as the seasons do.
The children’s continued love and interest of Big Cats and other wild animals led me to look into a unit study curriculum, Gather Round Homeschool. As our country went into Lockdown, I purchased the Africa unit and we started doing it everyday. We have absolutely loved it and the children’s hunger for knowing new animals and Africa continues to deepen.
We have loved learning about each country, the geography, flag, and other interesting landmarks, as well as the accompanying animal. We scratch the country off as we go. We have watched many documentaries and Wild Kratt episodes, as well as enjoying Alexander McCall Smith’s series Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo and the Elephants, and Akimbo and the Crocodile-Man. We have about nine countries left in the unit, which we will continue to potter away at and we may either start a new unit or take a break. Our enjoyment of this curriculum inspired this Unschooling Thoughts post.
// Math, Reading + Chapter Books
Rosalie has been slowly working her way through her Explode the Code book, and I can see her starting to click with certain words. I don’t push her at all but because she is a ‘typical’ girl, she loves workbooks and several times a week asks to do them, as well as her Horizons math. She ‘reads’ everyday and I have every confidence that she will soon be like her brother and take off.
Josiah has read three chapter books: Christian the Lion, a Secret Seven, and he re-read Akimbo and the Lions. His hunger for reading is insatiable now. And he has discovered he enjoys math on Khan Academy (at his own instigation).
// Play + Art
Because we have been in Lockdown, the children have been doing a lot of deep play. By that, I mean, the kind of play where all the things they have been thinking about, say Coronavirus, or learning about – like leopards, tornadoes, or rugby – comes out in their play. This sort of play is exactly how God made children to learn. Kim Payne talks about this sort of play in his book Simplicity Parenting and how it enables children to build up their inner world, their confidence, and their sense of well-being. It has been so important for them at this time with all that has been happening.
We have also really loved Art for Kids Hub channel on YouTube and both children have done quite a few of their classes. It’s a fantastic channel and I highly recommend it if they have particular favourite characters, like Frozen or Ninjago.
As always, these have only been the highlights of our month. Our life is full everyday, even in Lockdown, and I absolutely love that I have such a hard time picking all the things to share.