Unschooling Mommas

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"Children do not need to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world than anyone else could make for them." John Holt

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Electives/Games

Chess

Hello from the Father of the house.  Alright this is for all of the Father's of the world that don't know what to do to get their children to have interest in anything.  Video games and TV have taken control of your house; work has become a nightmare and it takes all you have to make ends meet. Time is running out fast and OMG that vacation is just a waste of a week due to everyone has their own agenda.  Here is an awesome unschooling activity for the whole family.  I like to call this project chess boards and Kingdoms.  All you need is a chess board and pieces now don't hyperventilate this is easy, if you don't know how to play just get online and get a few simple pointers from a chess playing site. If you do know how to play, this is a good way to get your kids to thinking. First run through a fast game and teach the kids how to play.  Once you have done that a good exercise for patience is to take it a move a day per player.  Hope you have a location to set up free from pets etc. explain to your kids the roles of the pieces for example the pawn is a defensive piece and is basically used for sacrificial support.  Your rook is a surprise piece used to move in the shadows, The knight can battle on a different field using its L shaped moving pattern. Your bishop commands respect as he moves in diagonal aspects. Your Queen the lover who would fight for her King, she ravishes the field and destroys enemies with a single blow.  The King is a piece I always had a hard time understanding, I can not kill, I can only move one space at a time and I look for the peaceful way to win.  Any way there are several ways to enjoy a chess game and I have found that it only takes a while for a child to adjust to the battlefield that is chess.  Give this a shot and pretty soon they will be taking over your kingdom.  This skill gives them skills that we all need in adult hood.  Patience, thinking things through, remembering patterns, math skills, challenging themselves. You will see them grow in a way you might think impossible. Here is a link to learn to play chess for free.  http://www.chess.com 

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Since the weather was nice this morning and I have been wanting to take the kids on some hiking trails that we saw at the park last time we went I thought it would be fun to take them on a Scavenger Hunt. But not just any scavenger hunt, a Photo Scavenger Hunt! Now, this is an extremely easy idea that involves basically no work ahead of time, which I love, all you have to do is prepare a list of things to find on your hunt, grab the list, camera, and a pencil to mark through items as you find them, and your set to go!

Here is the simple list I put together this morning of things I thought we might find around the trails and park, but you can adapt the list to fit your surroundings and children's age. For instance,if you were just walking around your neighborhood you might include things like a mailbox, flag or person wearing a hat. For a child just learning his colors just give him a list of colors and let him find something for each color, or have beginning readers find something from each letter of the alphabet. There are so many ways to change this list over and over and make it fit into any surrounding so as to never get old. I am sure there are lots of great printable scavenger hunt lists around the internet if you need ideas and want something a little more pretty!

The good thing about the Photo Scavenger Hunt is almost everyone has a camera, or phone that takes pictures so their is no need to gather things and carry them around. Snap a picture and be done.
 Dora thought it would be fun to take a picture of me while I was taking a picture of her!

We played girls vs. boys but I have took the kids in the past with a list and we all just looked for the items together. Neither team found all of the items on the list and I really don't know who "won" since we all just finished the trail together and then headed to the playground. If your family is a little more competitive and you wanted to though you could pick a small prize to give to the kid or team who got all of their items on the list marked off first.

Here are just a few things we were able to find from our list:
  Something Round:
 Berries (blackberries):
 A Sign:

I usually always include litter when we do nature hunts that way I we can talk about the importance of picking up after ourselves and the impact litter has on the environment and animals but that's just me.