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Our Best Unschooling Day This Week - Values + Volunteering For a Beach Clean-Up

Our Best Unschooling Day This Week - Values + Volunteering For a Beach Clean-Up

What is a "best unschooling" day?

There is no such thing. Unschooling is just living our lives together, so really, this is just a really good day. And we have a lot of those. They need to be celebrated and enjoyed and remembered - especially when we're going through a challenging time.

I strongly believe that when you're doing what you love the interest and engagement happens easily. Even after we get home, the "lessons" keep coming up when the hoioligans make further connections, ask questions, and tell of the days adventures to Mr. Maplerose at dinner time. That's what I'm striving for.

So here we are! Look forward to more posts about Our Best Unschooling Days.

Have you ever thought about your values?

One of my biggest take-aways from the Homeschooling With Purpose Masterclass with Robyn at Honey I'm Homeschooling The Kids was determining our values as a family. By understanding our values it becomes so much easier to determine our homeschooling strategy.

And while I was healing the ankle, Brene Brown did a great podcast on values that I loved. Determining your values is so empowering.

I value community, nature, curiousity and creativity. And I want community involvement to be more of a part of our homeschooling journey. And if we can get outside doing that, even better.

We love Kootenay Lake and Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. We are members of the stewardship organization, Friends Of Kootenay Lake, and signed up for their beach clean up on Friday. We'd be getting outside, meeting new people and helping out our favourite lake. Momma's gotta make things happen!

The shores of Kootenay Lake are littered with styrofoarm. Little teeny itty bitty bits of styrofoam (and some much bigger too) that have worn it's way off of old dock floats mostly. These syrofoam bits are toxic and have been found to be carcinogenic. Yuck!

Here's what the Friends Of Kootenay Lake website says:

"Polystyrene contains the toxic chemical styrene, which is reasonably anticipated to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) in humans according to the National Toxicology Program. Wildlife around the lake including fish and waterfowl frequently consume small bits of polystyrene foam, mistaking them for insects or other food materials as they float along the water surface. Styrene is known to partition into the fat of animals that consume it, which means that there is a risk of humans ingesting styrene by consuming fish or other wildlife within the lake. It is unknown how long it takes polystyrene plastics and foams to decompose in the environment, but some experts estimate decomposition time to be over 500 years."

And just like I hoped, it was a great afternoon.

The hooligans love the beach - once we actually get our shoes on and get out of the house. I usually make "car lunch" to eat on the way but this time, they made their own lunches (!). We pulled up to the beach and before I'm out of the car they were running full speed towards the water screaming "I love it here!" Me, too.

We got there a little late but were greeted by other volunteers, great, big, beautiful skies and fresh, cool air filling our lungs. We gathered buckets, gloves and stickers (as a thanks to us volunteers for coming) and headed out there.

It took seconds before we began to fill our buckets with the tiny styrofoam bits. They really are everywhere once you start looking for them. And it took just a few more seconds before both hooligans were knee deep in wet sand and stuck and giggling and then unstuck.


My ankle feels really good walking on the sand as it provides some resistance but not too much. I can really feel what's going on in my feet too. I didn't want to over do it but figured if I got tired out ouchy we'd just go home. It was actually the rain clouds that chased us home.

As we drove home and the sheets of rain hit our car, we felt so good for helping out. We love the lake and we contributed just a little bit to make it cleaner for us, the animals and the entire ecosystem it's a part of.

What could be a better way to learn and feel a part of things?

One of the concerns of homeschooling/unschooling parents is often how to achieve all the lessons in all the subjects (especially if you're responsible for documenting all the "learning" that's going on at home). I often find by just getting outside and doing what we love so many of the boxes get checked off and it happens in such a gentle and organic way.

Today we had:

English - Reading signs, stickers, information about the clean-up, listening to story podcasts on the way to the beach.

Science - Discussion about eco-systems, pollution, native species that happened before, during and after the clean-up instigated by the hooligans questions.

Social studies - community involvement, social responsibiltiy, witnessing the effects of humans (postiviely and negatively) on our environment and how we can help.

Math - counting bits, counting steps, counting the days til summer.

I hope you're able to find some fun doing what you love today.


Jenn Chic

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