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Learning Club

June 21, 2018

Here in the wilderness surrounding the Dullanty Tribe, we practice learning through everything and anything. I don't really subscribe to one method, mostly because the whole benefit to learning at home (and in the rest of the world) is that you are able to try out different things with your different kids in their different stages of life through their different interest. If you catch my drift.

Like learning outside in the pool and playing quietly enough that a bunny decides to visit your yard.

 

I don't have a schedule, at least not for school - we have a general household schedule. I don't have a curriculum, although I have been considering purchasing this one (to keep me honest about getting my wild things into the wild world). I don't have requirements or standards - yikes, that sounds rough. I just mean that I am not currently measuring them against any kind of metric. Technically, You are not required to register your child until they are 8 years old - at which point they can begin the asinine testing process to ensure your kiddos can easily fit into a cubicle at age 21 - so I really don't see any reason to stress about whether or not they have memorized multiplication facts. I make sure to look out for opportunities to encourage reading (Thanks KCLS for the Libraries Rock Summer Reading Program incentives!), mathematics (board and card games, counting money, etc.), and science (mostly biology, but some "experiments" too). But all these things are integrated with fun and normal life.

 

 Target Dollar Section is always good to facilitate this.

"How does the jet launcher work? Why does it fly better from the launcher than if I throw it? What would happen if you changed the design of the plane?"

"How do they get chapstick to smell like berries? Why does it need to smell? Why does it look purple, but doesn't make my lips purple?"

Kids want to learn - regardless of where they are and what they are doing.

 

The kids are also obsessed with geography (their globe, maps, different countries and cultures), which is pretty easy to keep them interested in with things like Planet Earth, obscure ethnic grocery stores, and my deep deep love of hole-in-the-wall joints where you can get everything from authentic Dim Sum to Ethiopian. It's Rory and Jinora's favorite thing - I know you're surprised.

 

It's finally Summer, so I am fighting hard to keep screen time under 2 hours a day. That isn't always a reality, but I try (it most definitely is not a reality during the winter). When we do partake - it is typically PBS Kids shows like Wild Kratts, old school Zamboomafoo and Kratt's Creatures, Dora the Explorer, Daniel Tiger, etc. or movies. In terms of screen time, I tend to be pretty strict about not watching anything I wouldn't watch myself. Rory is really into Kung Fu films right now: Forbidden Kingdom, Kung Fu Yoga, The Monkey King, etc. Jinora enjoys anything her brother likes, but she would ask for Miyazaki films and Wonder Woman on repeat if he wasn't there to give an opinion. Oh, and we watch Once Upon a Time episodes ALL THE TIME. It's is both kids "go-to" - probably because they know they'll agree on it. But, like I said, it's Summer time now...

And, of course, trees.

 

Honestly, the kids don't spend as much time outside as I remember spending as a kid - but we don't live up against a forest like I did. Also, I maybe don't remember time correctly. But they do love being outside. We hiked for over 4 hours the other day, and they were game for more. They love playing at the park, running in fields, climbing trees, going for walks and bike rides, playing in the yard... Jinora in particular loves collecting bits of nature. The number of bird feathers sticking out of pots and as page holders in books is growing all the time. And I cannot physically bring myself to bring anymore rocks or sticks in the house, so that collection sits outside our front door. But my favorite thing we do outside is go to the beach. It's where we all belong.

 Our favorite spot, Alki Beach.

 

This might paint a pretty picture, but I should be clear: Things aren't all sunshine and rainbows. There are days when we scream at each other and burst into tears and do none of the above. There are days when I can't give them what they want because I have my own agenda. And other days when they just cannot listen and are too loud, too violent, too sad, too angry, too something. Still more when I am too stressed out to parent at my best, so the kids get mediocre stress parenting. But still, we are learning even in that. And that's the best thing about Learning Club and learning at home/int the world. Everything is learning, there is no need for structure, because life doesn't really have structure. There is always something catching you off guard. And the only thing you can do is just love the people you're with.

 

Like these fools.

 

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