Unschooling Update

So, we haven’t been up to as much since the beginning of the year. I think in this house we go into a kind of hibernation. Daring to venture out, most of the time, only if absolutely necessary.
This is a picture of some strange fungi growing on old felled tree trunk that lays along the river in Chippenham. We still go on our river walks most weeks though they are a lot shorter in the recent cold weather. Yes, I know, I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold.
Some other things we have been up to:
  • Jay has been learning to cook some simple meals completely on his own.
  • Learning about temperature conversion.
  • Discussion about Venice after Jay found a photograph he liked on the Internet.
  • Jay joined pinterest, and has been collecting photographs of his favourite cars.
  • Learning how to use the iphone. Taking photographs and sending them via email to my computer.
  • Nutrition discussion: water content of the body. How health now might affect health in the future. Allergies.
  • Reading a science book about the proliferation of machines in urban environments.
  • Potato growing kit arrived from the potato council – we are looking forward to starting those.
  • Philosophy discussion: What is philosophy? Do we believe in God, reincarnation, karma?
  • Gardening: digging and preparing the vegetable patch. Found some leftover potatoes from last year.
  • Bike rides.
  • Discussion about small and large scale farming.
  • Discussion about emigration. Jay wants to live and work in the USA. Talked about visa requirements. Favourite places to live and other considerations.
  • Discussion about relative merits of reality TV, soaps and documentaries, news and journalistic programmes.
  • Badminton
  • Assembly of new desk chair – following instructions.
  • Documentary about the plight of the rhinoceros, which is facing extinction.
  • Documentary about ferries and cruise ships.
  • Discussion about video piracy.
  • Penguin documentary.
  • Looking at photographs on the Internet: discussions – on photography, hot springs, field mice, grains of sand under a microscope, the orbit of Venus, scooters, praying mantis, birds of unusual varieties, tigers.
  • Learning about email – what to put in subject line, meaning of ‘cc’ etc. How to send attached images.
  • Using iphone apps – stopwatch, games, music.
  • Another penguin documentary. Jay loves penguins.
  • Playing darts together. Working out scores, multiplying and subtracting.
  • Discussion on legal weapons and laser pens. Ethics of weapons and violence against intruders into the home and the differences in laws in this country and the US.
  • Documentary about the fire service.
  • Discussion about video games. Noting the different terrains, vehicles, weapons. The intricacy of detail and options available.
  • Buying a laser pen. Comparing models and prices. Discussion about properties once arrived. Different strengths. Effects on and through different materials e.g. glass, water, eyelids, plants.
  • Learning how to work the washing machine and sorting laundry.
  • Discussion about different dog breeds, suitability of different varieties. Further investigation via google.
  • Shopping for gardening supplies – identifying unknown tools and gadgets.
  • Playing F1 racing game together.
  • Making bird seed cake for the garden birds. Watching them come to feed. Blackbirds staying on the ground. Robins more tame.
  • Researching job description and career as a lorry driver.
  • Discussions about snow, gritting, refuse collection, blockbusters going into administration and what that means.
  • Snowball fights in the garden. Making up competitions. Bike riding through snow drifts.
  • Discussion about the natural behaviour of cats and instinct. Ethics of keeping caged birds or indeed any caged animal – zoos etc.
  • Minecraft.
  • Helping make oat, date and coconut cookies.
  • Online grocery shopping together: comparing prices, deals, brands, advertising, ingredients. How supermarkets market seasonal products.
  • Reading book on origami. Following instructions and making different aerodynamic flying crafts. Discussing what makes some fly better than others.
  • Discussion about the US involvement in WWII. Weapons used. Likelihood of another world war. Modern weaponry. Nuclear, atomic, and biological weapons. China. North Korea. Globalisation – increased empathy with people from other countries. Effects of Internet on communication and understanding between countries.
  • Discussion about thermal imaging and infra-red cameras.
  • Rubik’s cube puzzles.
  • Jay designed new logo for his gaming icon.
  • Talked about sleep cycles and how they might be connected to mealtimes. Possible connections of sugar and caffeine on sleep. 
  • River walks: photography, observing wildlife: swans, moorhens, wagtails, ducks, geese, squirrels, decomposition, fungi, changing seasons, circle of life, kayaking.


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