Amazing, beautiful weather meant more time outside along with Ethan’s usual array of activities over the past week. Here’s what happened this week on Ethan’s unschooling journey.
Sunday and what a beautiful day! It’s been so sunny and nice in Vancouver lately that we try to go outside as much as possible to enjoy it.
Ethan somehow found out about 4-player chess and was fascinated by it. He decided to create his own 4-player chess board and the chess pieces he needed. We took a walk and Ethan asked why there are two versions of the same map. He learned that there is a more detailed version and an overview version of the map. The main purpose for going out was to find glass because Ethan has started collecting glass this past week. He had to make the chess pieces and used Apple Keynote to make multiple copies of the pieces. He had to play around with adjusting the size of the pieces so they would fit his chess board. He also had to learn how to quickly duplicate the images so he could make the chess pieces quickly. We worked together to do the colouring, since our printer only prints in black and white. He glued the paper onto a lightweight sheet of cardboard to add some rigidity to the pieces. All done and we played the game. It was very challenging and fun. Ethan has to help our neighbour with watering her plants and checking her mail, as she’s away on vacation. We headed back outside in the late afternoon to find more glass. Ethan said the sun looked like it had a ring around it, though it’s hard to tell from this photo. Back at home, Ethan was allowed to play 4-player chess online and he spent most of the night doing so. We wrapped up the day by reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. March 4
Ethan started the day by learning how to calculate 5th roots. For his element card today, he made one for ytterbium. He read an article and answered questions about the latest Canadian food guide. Ethan listened to the Wow in the World podcast. He practiced Hunters’ Chorus on the violin. His main goal today was to play 4-player chess. He was allowed to play one match after completing one of his tasks for the day. In this photo, he’s waiting for other players to join because it’s a live online match. He learned some more about the Mayans. He wrote about what he learned about them. He learned about active and passive verbs. He wrote about active and passive verbs. I noticed that he basically copied what he read so we’ll have to work on this. Time to play outside. He’s making a heart symbol for Dong Eun. And once he got home, he spent most of the evening playing 4-player chess. This is a screenshot of a match he won, along with notes and comments that he added. Another screenshot of a different match that he won.
We finished the day by reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The main character has now realized that the whale they’ve been chasing is a machine. Ethan is definitely enjoying the story.
This morning, Ethan practiced the violin after breakfast. He then worked on a Scratch project to create a game about calculating fifth roots. He read one of the science comic books he borrowed. He made an element card for lutetium. He always reads about what the element’s properties are, where it’s found and how it is used, if at all. He learned about how the dictionary helps you pronounce words using phonetic the alphabet. He also learned about how a thesaurus can help you use different words to talk about the same thing. He made a list of words and found up to five synoyms by using an online thesaurus. At violin class, he got all his music notation homework correct. He was very proud of this because of how challenging music notation is. He’s also now owed some kind of a reward 🙂 This week’s music notation work was especially challenging because there were two pages of work to do. He worked hard and got everything correct. After dinner, he played 4-player chess again. He played at other times during the day, too. March 6
Ethan practiced violin in the morning before heading off to nature school. Running because he didn’t want his photo taken when arriving at nature school. Reading Girls Think of Everything back at home. He learned about infinite sequences today and taught it to Dong Eun. The element card he made today was rhenium. I needed to film a chess game for a client’s video and asked Ethan to help. I needed to show how certain moves could lead to potential risks and Ethan was able to set up the pieces to demonstrate how a bad move could lead you to trouble. After this part was filmed, he helped me set up a checkmate scenario. It was fun to have him help and I couldn’t have done this without him.
Soaring Eagle Nature School’s teachers send us an email with what happened each week. Here’s what Ethan’s group did:
Today was a day of frigid slipperiness and togetherness-fun for us at Soaring Eagle. We started with an epic giant game of Watchtower, creeping through a giant stretch of forest towards an eagle-eyed lookout. We then circled and talked some about the nature of gratitude, before Scott told us the final piece of the ancient epic “The Firebird.”
Scott’s Group: On this, the slipperiest day of the year, we first searched for where we could go to find bare earth to stand and walk upon. We found a sweet spot atop a hill. Some of us delighted in sliding down the hill while others gathered ingredients for a tinder bundle. We also practiced carving. After carving, we developed an excellent harry potter themed game involving douglas fir cones and dementors. At the end of the day, we focused on working as a group to light our tinder bundle with our tug o war bow drill setup. March 7
Ethan drew an abstract design for fun and attached it to the fridge with a stick on magnet. He drew this as soon as he woke up in the morning. He learned about the number wau and wanted to remember the different definitions of wau. These are 3 definitions of wau that Ethan explained to Dong Eun. Seven more definitions of wau. He explained each one. Wau is used in physics and it’s basically the number one. He learned about the Aztecs and wrote something about their history. He learned about the three types of sentences. He edited a video about wau. He wrote about the three types of sentences. Doing his 60-second exercise challenge .(p.s. from Ethan :dad!!!) He wrote his own sentences to demonstrate the three types of sentences. He learned about the element osmium. He made an osmium card. He played 4-player chess. Again. This time while scratching his neck. We went to A&W for dinner and Ethan really enjoyed himself. March 8
Quite the day today!
Ethan did some practice with homophones in the morning. For the last part, I asked him to follow the instructions more closely next time. He only found one example but the instructions ask for more than one 🙂 He wrote about the Incas. It looks like he’s trying to write more in his own words when doing this type of work. He watched a video about the Inca Empire. Today’s element was iridium. He learned about the atomic structure of elements and atoms on Khan Academy. He also practiced violin. The periodic table is getting bigger and bigger! He learned about infinite nested radicals and explained what they are. He listened to the Wow in the World podcast. He read Science Comics and The Story of Inventions. Time to play outside. He was only out for a short time as the kids got out of school early today so most of his friends went home earlier than usual. He learned about parentheses. He then wrote a story and used parentheses throughout. He started using Universe Sandbox 2 again and enjoyed manipulating the properties of the planets. Ethan and Dong Eun went out for a walk along the beach to collect glass. That’s not glass 😉 Ethan was hungry and a bit cold so they went for pizza and did some grocery shopping. Ethan helped carry groceries home. Time for some 4-player chess. He spent some time on the xkcd.com website. He also played some chess on ChessKid.com. I mentioned that a new species of orca has been discovered so we Googled it and learned a little bit about these new orcas. Our grocery delivery included a nice surprise…bags of dry ice! Ethan immediately searched online for ways to experiment or play with it. First, he tried putting a small piece in a small vase. We then got out a big serving bowl and put more dry ice in it. He knew that dry ice is made from carbon dioxide. He also saw how the bubbling slowed down as the water got colder. We warmed up the water and put in more dry ice! We also noticed the occasional ring of dry ice that would fly up. I told Ethan about how scientists may have found a new planet just outside our solar system. We read the notes from Natacha, Ethan’s LC, that she sent us and really enjoyed the Benjamin Zander video she linked to. We also really enjoyed the non-violent communication links and will explore this further as a family. We printed out the image and Ethan taped it to the window. March 9
Ethan had his symphony class followed by skating lessons this morning. Finished skating and removing his skates. We went to a local restaurant for lunch and Ethan spent part of his time there playing online chess. Ethan enjoyed his udon noodles while wearing his new glasses that have photochromic lenses so he can have a pair of sunglasses. Then we had some Earnest Ice Cream for dessert. One of Ethan’s rewards for getting his music notation homework 100% correct was buying a new book. He chose The Chess Player’s Bible. At home, Ethan helped with preparing dinner, as my parents were coming over. He cut up the vegetables in the oven pan. He also watered plants and collected mail for our neighbour. He read his new book. Ethan and Dong Eun wanted to get rid of some of Ethan’s old clothes and found this hat and scarf. The hat was too small but Ethan wanted to try it on. The clothes he’s grown out of will be donated. Here’s the dinner that Ethan had a hand in preparing. He also helped with the clean up. Ethan read some of the Q&As on xkcd.com after he helped clean up after dinner. Ethan did some music notation homework to end the day.
And that was another week of Ethan being immersed in unschooling and finding his own way to learn.