Saturday, January 22, 2011

Drama and Photography

 Zoe and Austyn did a play one morning that I video taped. Then after they were finished Zoe took some pictures while still dressed in her pink dress. Here are a few of her shots.

 As you can see, Austyn is still acting and she captured some pictures of him acting out his character.

It's cool to discover these things on the camera. That's what I get for leaving it in their reach. I discovered these pictures a couple of days later.

K'nex Creations - Roller Coaster

We have two sets to make two different roller coasters. Here Austyn is in his room making his own roller coaster design by incorporating parts from both of them together.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Wednesday Outdoor Hour Challenge - Snow

I know it's not Wednesday, but with illness in our house, I'm a bit behind with this study. Enjoy!

We are using the Winter Wednesday Notebook Pages and Activity Ideas from Barbara over at her blog called Handbook of Nature Study. This is my second post from the Challenge. 

 With temperatures in the -30's Celcius (with wind chill) and more and more snow accumulating, this study was an easy one to get into. Everything is covered in the stuff. Frost and ice cover the insides of every window (We need a scraper for the inside of our van! LOL!). The trees are covered in snow and frost. The above picture shows pine needles covered in ice crystals.
I know these pictures are not very nature like, but just so you have an idea of the snow we are getting. This van was cleaned off a week before this picture.

This condo parking area has been getting cleaned up and the snow has been shipped out a few times but they just can't keep up. This is a car that hasn't moved in a while.

It's interesting to see how the snow piles up on each branch of this tree that is situated right outside our window.

When temperatures are so low it can become painful quickly on any exposed skin and breathing becomes difficult (it hurts to breath). It was a great time to take what was outside and bring it indoors to experiment with. We didn't follow the instructions very strictly. Instead of waiting for snow I gathered some of it in a container and gave it to Zoe while Ausytn was busy with something else. She started to play.

Austyn soon became interested and began to give her ideas of what to do with the snow.

I then got him some snow as well and they both went too work playing with snow, cold water, and warm water.

 Zoe enjoyed colouring and cutting out the snowflake printout provided.

We collected some snow in a measuring cup and melted it. It started at about 2 cups of snow.

It melted down to 1/2 cup of water.

You could see the fragments of dirt and dust in the bottom of the cup. We filtered it and here is what our filter looked like.

Ironically I found a book at the library that went well with this study. It's called Snowflake Bentley by Jaqueline Briggs Martin. It's about a man who grew up in the early 1900's in the United States and studied snow flakes. He was homeschooled up until the age of 14 and learned how to take pictures of snow flakes before they melted to show other people. He discovered that no two snow flakes are the same. He learned how they form and why they are always different. Talk about the perfect book for this nature study to incorporate some history.

I decided to get The Curiosity Club Kids' Nature Activity Book by Allene Roberts out again and start the section on weather. We have read the first few paragraphs.

A couple of days later the temperature was more tolerable and the kids went outside to play. 

this moment - more snow coming

{this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

This is a neighbour preparing for more snow. We just keep getting more and more snow and none of it is melting.

If you would like to see what other pictures have been posted or if you would like to join in on the fun here is the link to SouleMama's Blog:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Excited to have Pen Pals!

It's been a bit rough this week with Zoe being sick still. One really cool thing that happened though is that Zoe and Austytn got mail from homeschool friends back in Ontario. They were so excited! They have already started to make things to send back. I guess this means that they have pen pals. What an educational way to keep in touch!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Mommy, what is a test?"

Austyn asked me "Mommy, what is a test?" I felt so proud that I'm an unschooling mother in that moment. Strange, right? I mean, look at the stress that he is missing out on. He is a high stress kind of kid without any of that. So many things stress him out. Little things! Today he cried because his pants were too loose and I didn't come quickly enough to help him tighten them. 

Sometimes I wonder if he even has any idea just how lucky he is and how few stresses are in his life. I wish I had his childhood. He is so free! It's amazing to watch him learn and explore his world. 

It's so different than school. A mother told me that her 3rd grade daughter comes home stressed over tests. I'm so glad he doesn't have to worry about things like that. What a lucky kid!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bring Back The Wild - Become an Earth Ranger

I noticed a commercial on TV advertising this site for children to raise money to save the habitat of a chose animal in Canada. It's called Bring Back The Wild and to help out your child can join up as an Earth Ranger. He/She can create their person and choose an amount of money to be a goal. They also chose an animal that they have a fondness for and can read about the animal and about what will be done with the money to save the habitat for that animal. Each time they reach their goal they gain access to more things for their online Earth Ranger. 

 Austyn chose the Peregrine Falcon. To donate to his cause you can do that here.

Zoe saw what Austyn was doing and wanted to do it too. She chose the Grizzly Bear. To donate to her cause you can do that here.
Here is the main website in case your kids are interested in getting involved as well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Following Interests - Outcome

One thing that sets apart child lead learners from traditional schooling is that they have so much free time to explore their interests to the fullest. These kids get to delve deeply into whatever interests them. 

Austyn has many interests and our house becomes littered with things as he moves from one interest to another. One thing I notice with him is that as he becomes more skilled in the areas that he is interested in, his confidence level increases. He has nobody to compare to and isn't marked. This is his own personal gratification as he learns and discovers new things each day in his life.

 Here is an invention he made all on his own with K'nex. It is a ride for his Lego people. It spins around. He did it entirely by himself and without any instructions. I did however show him an improvement once he was finished so that the people would spin faster. 

 This is his fan. He also made this on his own, without direction.

Zoe was sick with a fever and he suggested I fan her with it. Then he decided that maybe it could be improved with paper or cardboard to make a more powerful wind. 

Isn't self discovery magnificent! :)

Book Sharing Monday - A Snowman Named Just Bob

This book by Mark Kimball Moulton is one that we enjoyed because it had a beautiful feel with the wording and the pictures. It's all about a snowman that came to life. It all started with the first magical flake that fell from the sky.

A family went outside and made him, called him Bob, and he came to life. For a short time they enjoyed his company and through the words that he spoke they found a way to remember him.

To join in on the fun of Book Sharing Monday or to read other entries visit

Unschooling Moments - Spelling, Art, Printing Words

Without being asked to do anything, Austyn chooses on his own to do many subjects. One thing that he has enjoyed doing lately is making books, cards, and other things that require him to draw, label and print words. Here is a book dedicated to dragons. He is explaining the anatomy of a dragon and how it can blow fire.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Electronic Discoveries

Austyn loves to play with his electrical board. Sometimes he experiments with each project in the accompanying book and sometimes he just messes around with it until he discovers something all on his own. Here he discovered that he didn't need a third battery. He grouped a bunch of electronic pieces together to fit in the place of a battery and the light came on. He thought at first that he made a battery. I corrected him and explained what was happening. I also showed him with a wire how to complete the connection. 

He then moved on to finding good electrical conductors. He tried water and many house hold items between wires to see if the light turns on. 

Lego Creation - Large House

Here is another Lego Creation by Austyn. This took him a very long time. There is so much going on in this house that I'm not even sure where to begin. Apparently this Lego man is rich and has a crew of people who work for him, doing different tasks. His house i huge and he has two balconies.

We have adjusted to less space. Moving from a house to an apartment has posed some challenges. Austyn's Legos are set up to be used in our kitchen. This is a picture taken of our table, and as you can see, his shelves of Legos are along the wall on our kitchen table. We eat with it there.


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