Here’s the summary of Ethan’s week, which was a diverse one that included helping a neighbour with building LEGO and throwing his first party. Unschooling has provided Ethan with opportunities to expand his range of experiences and learning that always seems to impress us. Most importantly, we are happy to see Ethan so engaged in his own learning.

Here we go…

February 25

Ethan practiced some algebraic equations with negative numbers but was having trouble remembering how to add and subtract negative numbers. So he spent some time reading up on how to add and subtract negative numbers before tackling the problems again.

Later on, Ethan wanted to practice drawing. Specifically, Ethan wanted to practice drawing 3D images. So he found some tutorials on YouTube and spent some time practicing.

Taking a break from drawing, Ethan picked up the coding games book to plan out his next game.

He decided to add some additional features to the game he made recently to make it more challenging.

Ethan then ducked into his room for the next hour or so, not allowing us to go in. He was working on a 3D perspective drawing of our home and wanted to surprise us with his work.

Later on, while helping me take out some garbage, we ran into our neighbour Gil, who told us he’s been working with his son Josh to put together Josh’s old LEGO sets to sell. Gil told us there was a lot to do so Ethan and me volunteered to help build some LEGO sets.

We spent a couple of hours helping out and had a lot of fun. We planned to visit again to help out some more.

Hosting a party

Ethan talked about wanting to host a party for his friends because he attended a movie night put on by his taekwondo class. So Ethan began working on an invitation in the Apple Pages app that he wanted to send out to his friends.

Ethan ended the day by practicing taekwondo.

February 26

Ethan started the day by working on some order of operations math worksheets that he printed out himself. He’s been using worksheets lately, but it’s mostly been self-motivated in order to practice more.

He then tried a Sudoku puzzle in the local paper, though he didn’t have time to finish it.

The reason was that his friend Kenson had come over to spend the morning and the two of them got busy playing with Ethan’s LEGO train set.

After a while, the two boys worked on their own math problems while enjoying some snacks.

Ethan later went to the library and read some comics. When he’s at the library, he tends to read comics because he usually reads academic type books at home.

After seeing the Ripley’s exhibit at Science World last Friday, we put a few of the Ripley’s books on hold for Ethan.

Ethan continued working on his Pac Man game by adding more features and improving gameplay. He now has the ghosts running away when Pac Man eats one of the power balls.

Ethan practiced violin, as well.

Next, he worked on the algebra worksheets we printed out before. He really likes the challenge of harder math problems.

One of our neighbours had saved up some popsicle sticks and brought them over for Ethan. He can now make loads of stick bombs!

Ethan wanted to talk about his computer so he made a screen capture video and published it to his YouTube channel.

Ethan finished his movie night invitation. He wanted us to send it out in the mail, but since he wanted the party on the weekend, we decided it would be better to send it via text to his friends’ parents.

February 27

This morning, Ethan learned about how to easily multiply by five and was eager to share his discovery. He learned that you can add a zero to the number you are multiplying by five, then if you divide that new number by two, you will get the correct answer.

So for example, if you try 9 x 5, you would add 0 to the 9 for 90. Next, you divide 90 by 2 to get 45, which is the answer to 9 x 5. Cool.

Next, we were talking about the knots Ethan learned to tie at nature school and he wanted to show us the slip knot.

After talking about multiplication, Ethan wanted to help himself remember his times tables by making his own times tables chart.

After a busy morning, it was time to make breakfast. Ethan wanted pancakes so he looked up a pancake recipe to try.

Ethan helped make the batter and he then cooked some uniquely shaped pancakes.

After breakfast, we sent out the movie night invitations to his friends.

He also made a video about making stick bombs.

Ethan went to the library before his violin and taekwondo classes.

When he came home from his classes, Ethan go to work on more 3D drawings by practicing perspectives.

He also started working more with a ruler to improve the accuracy of the impossible triangle optical illusion he drew.

Speaking of optical illusions, he worked on drawing more optical illusions. He mentioned how shading was challenging but he was eager to practice and improve.

After a lot of drawing, Ethan learned about divisibility rules and multiplication patterns by checking out and using one of his math books.

February 28

Ethan was excited to go to nature school today and hoped there would still be snow, which there was!

After nature school, Ethan’s first order of business was to work on some coding in Scratch.

We then went and helped Josh with his LEGO.

After LEGO, Ethan worked on his 3D drawings and in particular, he wanted to improve his shading to achieve a more realistic look with his optical illusions drawings.

Ethan made this false set of stairs and took this photo, as well.

He also took this photo of a ladder optical illusion he drew.

And then the kept on drawing and drawing.

Eventually, he worked on something to give his mom.

And something for me that I absolutely loved.

He drew a number of these staircases to keep improving because he loves optical illusions.

March 1

This entire week has been dominated by 3D drawings! In the morning, Ethan started by working on another impossible triangle drawing.

Here’s the finished drawing he made for Dong Eun, also in 3D, of course.

And another one for her.

This one I did for Ethan after he went to bed last night as a surprise. He immediately taped it to his laptop.

He worked on a set of downward stairs.

And another optical illusion that looks like a hole.

He asked about shading and brought out my old smudging tool to practice with.

He really liked the result from using the smudging tool.

While Dong Eun was making kimchi, she found a tiny worm in the cabbage. Ethan put the worm in a cup with some cabbage and wanted to keep the worm as a pet.

This is a new book on coding that Ethan borrowed from the library.

But this week is mostly about drawing, remember? 🙂

March 2

More drawings in, you guessed it, 3D!

I think he saw a video about drawing the Apple logo in 3D.

Taking a break from the drawing!

This was the most complex one, so far. He didn’t quite finish it, but it’s interesting to see how far he’s come with the 3D and perspective drawings this week.

Dong Eun has been reading and listening to Anne of Green Gables so Ethan became interested in the book, too. We actually visited the Anne of Green Gable’s heritage site when we travelled to PEI.

On this day, Ethan came with me to the law firm. He promptly got to work on some coding in Scratch and Python.

And he also sat in on our weekly Friday jam session and enjoyed some Tim Bits, too.

He then showed a couple of the lawyers the games he has made since he saw them last time.

I had a dinner meeting with a former university instructor and Ethan came along for that, as well. He was quite polite and well-behaved but needs to remember to say “Excuse me,” when others are speaking and to wait patiently, even if he’s bored.

When he got home, he wanted to add some details to a game he’d been working on. Yes, even with all the drawing he’s done this week he found time to make a new game.

March 3

Today was Ethan’s movie night, but before getting ready, he helped make a pancake breakfast again.

We needed some food for the party so we walked to the grocery store and took the scenic route along the beach.

Ethan likes to walk along the logs as we make our way along the seawall. Great for practicing balance and trying to figure out how to get across the beach without stepping on the sand.

Once home, Ethan cleaned his room and he also helped us clean our home before his friends came over.

He also researched some party games and prepared his games list.

Then he wanted to make a flipbook style comic featuring an alien abduction story!

When his friends arrived, they all played outside on the playground before coming in and heading up to our building’s penthouse unit for the main party.

Here they are playing the balloon pop game. Inside each balloon, Ethan wrote a funny task and whoever touched the balloon last when the music stopped had to perform the task.

One of the tasks was going outside and screaming “I believe in fairies!” while clapping your hands. The person who had to do was younger and a bit shy so all the kids went out onto the balcony together and did it, which they loved.

Another of the tasks: balancing a spoon on your nose for 10 seconds.

Here they are screaming and clapping.

Time for food!

And then the movie, which was Mary Poppins. The kids only watched about 20 minutes before wanting to play.

Great day for the party with an amazing sunset.

Here, they’re playing sleeping lions. Ethan had to teach all the kids the different games and it seemed like he enjoyed being in charge of the party.

Some kids preferred a quiet game of chess.

After the party, Ethan had a shower and was playing with the hairdryer. He made the balloon float in the air using the hairdryer.

Ethan had a fantastic time with his friends and we’ll likely have another party like this in the near future.

The week was full of new things that Ethan did, but the drawing stood out the most. Next was the coding and math. He also did a great job preparing for the party and having a blast hosting it.

Unschooling let Ethan explore art this week in a way that accelerated his abilities and interest. I actually met the mom of one of his old schoolmates and she wondered how Ethan spent his days.

I told her he just does whatever he likes but it’s hard to tell other parents how much Ethan does each day because it feels like I’m tooting our horn and boasting about what he does.

I’m sure these moms mean well when they ask how Ethan is doing, but I also feel like they sometimes wonder if we’re not struggling because Ethan is home. The opposite is the case, mainly because we’ve allowed Ethan to choose what he does, something that unschooling empowers us with.

With unschooling, there is no comparison to traditional school when it comes to how deeply a child can explore a topic. For Ethan, it was obviously drawing this week and it was great seeing how far he progressed. It also wasn’t just the drawing because he also did a lot of coding and math, too.

Anyway, let’s see what next week brings on this adventure.


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