Posts Tagged ‘Unschool’


At the cabin we learned about habitats. We talked about how where an animal lives says a lot about what it needs to live.

We caught some frogs for the kids one night and kept them in a big white tub. We studied where frogs live in the wild – ponds and lakes- and the kids decided to put water, sticks, and leaves in the tub. Later, while swimming, we found a snail and a clam. By looking at where we retrieved them from, Natalie decided we better add sand to our white tub biome.

Our foreign exchange student from Canada, Carson, was tentative, but very protective of his frog. Despite a very watchful eye, his beloved pond-hopper escaped.

James “loved” his frog until its legs started to go limp. We convinced him to release his amphibious friend back into the wild before its complete demise.

The snail and clam were not left alone long enough to become comfortable in their new abode and quickly became uninteresting because of their lack of activity.

Since then the kids have made connections between where animals live and what they need to live, such as birds live in our yard because it has worms… Well, it’s a decent line of scientific reasoning anyway!


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One of our unschooling adventures for the summer occurred outside the actual yard. We went down to the local game park to practice riding bikes on the bike trail. While we were there, over the din of traffic on the nearby highway, we heard a strange “gung-gung” noise coming from the pond.


The kids, even Liberty,were intrigued at this noise. I told them it was bullfrogs. Although we couldn’t see any frogs in the pond behind the fence, we practiced their noises, had leap frog races and then drove over to the bay on the lake to see if we could find any frogs.


We did not. When we got home, I prepared lunch and the three kiddos watched you tube videos about bullfrogs. They giggled when the throats puffed out during the bullfrog’s call. We learned the ASL sign for “frog” and they excitedly told their dad all about our science lesson when he got home.


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Once upon a time, there was a little prince who loved to play in the back yard. He liked sticks and rocks and worms. He liked dirt and sand and mud. One day, while on a backyard adventure, the little prince found a toad. They instantly became friends. The prince held the toad and squealed with excitement each time the toad moved. The toad, well, he did what toads do, he mostly sat glum and still while toted around by a little prince. The toad occasionally hopped or squirmed, much to the delight of the prince. The prince learned that toads like to hide in dirt; that they jump and poop and wiggle; that they mostly like to sleep. He learned that toads like to eat worms and bugs and that they have polk-a-dots on their back.Their time together came to an end when the prince was whisked away for a nap. The toad did what toads do and hopped away to find another moist, dark place to hide until the prince could come to play again.

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Summer Un-School


I’ve decided to call it Backyard Ecology. This spring and summer the kids and I will study the living things of our backyard and some of how the ecosystem around us functions. I’ve been learning lately about project based learning where kids are in charge of their own learning according to their interests. My three little ones are definitely interested in being outside and their big brother spends a fair amount of time back there with them. So far we’ve found, photographed and identified a couple of red admiral butterflies. (PS- I know this is a bad picture but its really hard to capture a good photo of a butterfly with a phone, two giggly kids and a dog nearby!) We found out that they like to eat fermented fruit and bird droppings (that is hilarious) most of all, but if rotten fruit and poop aren’t readily available, they’ll settle for nectar.

While we haven’t discussed the importance of fire to nature, we did discuss its importance to roasting marshmallows. We learned a fire needs three things (simplistically): air, heat and fuel. We have air all around us, so we found some sticks and leaves, and a lighter to fulfill the requirements.

I’ll try to post what we learn, but they are already moving so fast with their interests its hard to keep up! After fire-making this weekend, we had a snack and a recess adventure in the woods. Then Natalie informed me it was time to go “home.”


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