Seasons, Ebb and Flow

When Unschooling comes to you

by Sarah Anderson-Thimmes

We live on a half acre...not huge, but private and across the street from the river. We have lots of birds, the occasional pheasant, raccoon, or owl. We have a good garden, an old house and lots of time.

Before kids, I was a homebody... a reader, crafter, movie-watcher kinda gal. But Sophia is a go-er...very social and active and wanting to be involved and playing a lot of the time.

Up until lately, we've been really busy. We do things the girls enjoy. Going here and there, yonder and yon... show my kids *more*, eat out *more*, buy *more*. More smells, more tastes, more sights, more sounds. (Aren't we Zen:)?)

Turns out, we're all really happy staying home lately. We're enjoying our yard, cold as it's been. And we are really enjoying re-watching movies we've already seen, playing computer games and board games we haven't played in awhile, listening to books on tape, making lots of messes, cooking and rearranging furniture. I'm emailing to touch base with a community I don't have in real life, and my girls are playing with each other a lot. And arguing a little.

We're getting great snail mail lately—magazines and books and birthday presents and craft kits and posters and Florida shells.

We've had some fun visitors and some visitors we could have done without.

We're reading the paper every day to find a doggie companion for our 10 year old wolf-lab cross.

We're watching the wild cat family when we don't scare them away.

We're finding new songs for the iPod.

We're playing guitar and recorder and drums and singing and making up songs.

We're calling old friends on the phone.

We're counting down the days to a birthday.

We've been following obscure Internet links.

We're having food delivered instead of going out.

We're finding things on eBay that are interesting and having them delivered.

We're doing some of the craft projects from our *many* craft books.

We're knitting and making wrapping paper.

We're figuring out ways to make no-sew doll clothes for American Girls and creating hair salons for the plethora of dolls at our house.

We're really busy and engaged and learning and we're sticking really close to home.

This is huge for me. "Mom," Sophia said, with a big smile, "Let’s stay home for a whole year!"

We've been a little more relaxed. We're getting to know each other a little better because we're getting to know ourselves better because we're thinking a bit more because we have time because we're not rushing around because we're staying home and we're still learning and happy and engaged.

I think we have resources here to last a while...remnants of over-strewing and over-yard sale-ing, Christmas leftovers and oldie-goldies.

But, part of the reason we've been home is an injury, then a sickness. We're healed, for the most part. And the requests to go have started coming again. The girls like to be active, too. So Sophia is sleeping over at Grandma's tonight, then gymnastics tomorrow, and girls club and ceramics on Tuesday. Eva's got dance which she loves, then the hot springs on Thursday because they really want to go swimming, Friday play date and a Saturday birthday with a sleepover in a different town and the yurt on Sunday and skiing on Monday...and I'm a little sad that our cocoon time is ending and a little glad to get fresh air. I think we'll remember, though, that we don't *have* to keep busy outside of the house, our own house is full of learning and fun!

And when the next ebb comes, we'll be ready.

Sarah Anderson-Thimmes
February 2006

photo (a link) by Cass Kotrba

In the account above, staying home was by mutual, enjoyable choice. Sometimes it is not.
Here are some ideas for times when someone in the group is restless:

  • Deb Lewis's List of Things to Do in the Winter
  • Bored No More
  • each article has other links

    For one reason or another, staying home can happen for a while, or longer. Here are other thoughts about accepting and allowing for that:

    Time for Solitude (SandraDodd.com/being/home)