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We are “semi-structured”, but are trying our hand at unschooling during the holidays. Grace often asks for things like workbooks and reading books, so I’m not worried about that side of things at all, but it’s the arts/craft/handwork stuff really that I’m not sure what to do with! Grace doesn’t really ask for those activities, but enjoys them when we do them, but they seem to take a long time to set up, and often require things I haven’t got etc. Do you “plan” activities in advance so that you have the necessary supplies, and set them up the night before, so that they don’t take forever for an impatient child? smile I see wonderful artwork going on on people’s blogs (ones I know are honest too!) and I wonder what I’m doing wrong, because by the time I get an activity set up my children have got bored and wandered off! If I leave it out they end up painting whole pieces of paper brown because the paints get mixed, and then the water ends up on the floor, and it’s just all a bit much….

I’m just not sure how to go about it - I’d love to just be able to “strew” beautiful art supplies around for my kids, but they get lost, broken or eaten and we end up with three halves of crayola crayons and 6 felt tips without lids. Do you all “hover” a lot during art times? I do, because otherwise things get damaged and there’s a good chance the baby will write on the walls.

I really want to make lovely stuff with my kids, but I often find myself sitting alone at the table, cutting out a mask or something, while my kids have got fed up of the whole idea, and eventually they come back and scribble a couple of lines to humour me, and more often than not, Jude rips the finished product and Grace ends up in tears…. it’s not the gorgeous waldorfy loveliness I see other people doing….

Do I just need to be doing a whole load of prep the night before?

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

Sometimes I get things ready before hand - especially if things need printing or cutting out (and I have lots and lots of card folders full of potential crafts etc that I’ve got prepared when inspiration struck - me - or when I first found them on Pinterest). The folders fulfil my obsessive tendency to plan the fun out of everything. And I pull things out related to what they are already doing - hey look, mini books about the Greek gods, want me to help you fill these in? Want to build a bird skeleton? Cardboard wolf outlines to write a story in? Mini fairy size books?

But generally if something occurs to me that they might like, I don’t talk about it at all. I get it ready in the kitchen while they’re playing, and when they ask what I’m doing I tend to say, “Just getting something ready, I’ll tell you later.” Then when I spread the shower curtain out on the floor for messy stuff they always come running. They don’t get chance to get bored with the activity before it’s ready, because it’s just presented to them right away - look, messy creative arty stuff!

Also you know, crafts and artsy stuff won’t necessarily *be* her thing and that’s OK too - if you enjoy it, do it. Let it be an option you still suggest, her attention span will get longer for getting things set up, but… Morgan doesn’t often ask for arts and crafts, and when she does she doesn’t actually want it by the time I get it out. (She loves to use the spinning wheel, though! It was just a matter of doing what I was interested in and being prepared to say yes and let her try even though I thought she’d be too young.) One of the things with unschooling is that they can do what they are interested in, and if that’s something unconventional then so be it! They don’t have to learn through crafts - or be interested in them.

Out of curiosity: What do you imagine will be the difference between what you were doing before and unschooling?

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

I’m following this with interest as you’ve just describe what happens in our house more often than not with arts and crafts! Especially the time to set up! And I’m curious about stewing art supplies when you have a baby/toddler about, as I know the big pixies would be fine but, like you say, the others may well break or eat the supplies and *will* draw on the walls :(

Mummy to 4 little pixies: Seren (feb 08), Merri (may 09), Nerys (june 11) & Lyra (April 13)

http://www.crystals-and-ice.co.uk/ My sister’s amazing bead shop

My husband has been keen to be keeping in line with the National Curriculum, so we have been working towards reading and writing and maths in a parent-directed way, but we are definitely dropping that for the holidays, and reviewing at the end. I suspect he might feel we could be a bit less structured generally by the end of it. So, no more sitting down and working through reading books together unless Grace asks, no more minimum 1 page limit on workbooks - that kind of thing will be different I guess…

Angie

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WashedUpFamily Sea Glass Jewellery from the beautiful South Coast[/color]

http://washedupfamily.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NannieCool , http://nanniecool.yolasite.com Nannie Cool - for beautiful slings, playsilks, toys, nappy wraps and accessories made by Grace’s Nannie. All designs are “Approved by Grace”

http://bournemouthattachmentparents.blogspot.com/

Right! smile So, are you feeling like you have to provide certain things for it to be unschooling, or for it to be good enough? How does it go if you explore arts and crafts that don’t have a fixed outcome, open ended things? How do you have your supplies stored? (We can’t have messy things within easy reach either, even paper tends to get all used up with one little scribble on each piece if I leave it on a low shelf. I have baskets of craft things grouped together by type, so I can just spread out a sheet and lift down a basket - one for collage things, another for modelling, another with paint or pens and paper, or one for handwork - ie wood carving and wool/felting crafts.)

http://sandradodd.com/option - About what you “have to” or have to NOT do to be unschooling successfully. wink

http://sandradodd.com/nest - About creating an environment for natural learning to flourish (stepping away from seeing it as about providing access to the Right Things and instead seeing it as about providing better emotional support).

http://www.christianunschooling.com/the-guide-to-unsuccessful-strewing/ - A guide to UNsuccessful strewing.

This is a really great book if you can justify the expense. http://payhip.com/b/R3ei

And my personal favourite. How to Do Unschooling Right (a very comforting and sweet video from Sandra about just making life happier!): http://sandradodd.com/video/doright

Sarah
Living, loving, learning, laughing, growing, with
8yo Jenna (August 04)
6yo Morgan (December 06)
4yo Rowan (April 09)
and toddling baby Talia (December 11)

http://www.carried-family.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArwenMakes

GP LETS number 17

Following with interest! We’re struggling at the moment. DD1 seems so bored (and as a result destructive, whiney and unpleasant to be around) all the time and I’m struggling to find our rhythm. I LOVE the idea of unschooling and I think that if we could find a way to make it work it would suit S down to the ground, but at the moment all we seem to do is be angry with each other and getting out of that cycle is so hard. Having a toddler around doesn’t make it any easier… We have difficulty just getting thorough the day, let alone actually DO anything (at least it feels that way at the moment…)

My take on unschooling is that you follow there lead. If the ask to paint and it is possible as in we are not just about to use table to eat ect we get paints out. They live on a higher shelf near table so older kids can reach but not easily accessible to small ones. I think I spend very little time planning activities but lots of time organising the stuff so it looks appealing so they can access it if they want to. I look at class rooms for storage ideas suitable and fit little ones ergonomics. I don’t get it right all the time and the Lego is still an area I have not found a solution too !! Good luck !

when life gives you a rainy day play in the puddles !!!
mum to 4 sons 13,7,4 and 2
a daughter 8 years ,
and always in my heart my angel xx

Very little really.  When it comes to crafty stuff I remember reading blogs which showed lots of wonderful crafty things going on and it made me feel totally inadequate as we did so little.  But my eldest was just not interested in so much of what I was looking so I had to keep reminding myself that it was ok.  One thing he has always loved is drawing which he does on a daily basis, he has had from a young age a set of really good pencils these were stored in a pot on a windowsill which was too high for my youngest to reach for a long time.  When she reached a stage of wanting to draw too she had her own pot of crayons to draw with.  We use scrap paper when they are little or rolls of paper and as my eldest has got older sketch pads of quality paper.  They now have a tray each, part of a stacking tray system, on the desk on the corner of our dining room which they store their craft stuff,  their special pens, sketchbooks, ongoing flat projects, sticker books etc.  They can reach these easily and we need to use the table for eating so we created this space for them to put things away where they will not get lost or damaged.

This is very interesting…we’re trying to find our way with unschooling too! I want to follow Leo’s lead but if I wait til he asks to do something or shows an interest in something we often don’t seem to have the right resources to hand or the money or time to get them right away! I’m trying to get some bits together for after the summer based on things he seems interested in but I don’t want to get loads of things in case he moves on to something else! smile

Home-Edding, BFing, Co-sleeping, Carrying & Cloth-nappying Gentle Mama to Lovely Leo (Apr 07) and Beautiful Ella (Mar 12)

I haven’t had time to read through the replies so sorry if Im just repeating whats been said smile

With arts/crafts I have a shelf with open boxes of craft supplies: paint/glue, sewing/crochet, wet felting, craft paper/decoupage, modelling, and two boxes of ‘craft bits and bobs’. When they were younger I would have done a lot of ‘prepared’ art and craft activities, so they have a good basis in different crafts. Now its more of a free for all approach and because they have some basic skills, I find they can just get on with projects themselves using all the materials at hand. Sometimes we will look through craft activity ideas together and choose some projects and then I will plan them, but mostly they just go ahead and create with what’s there.

I find my DD is not that interested in craft, she loves to draw, but isn’t fussed with making things. Perhaps I overdid all that when they were younger and have put them off! My DS likes making things, but usually he just makes stuff that he’s made up himself and will just raid the craft boxes.

To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.

LETS number 137

https://wildheartseducation.wordpress.com/

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