The Essence of Unschooling

Subj:      typical day
Date:       Tuesday, March 25, 2003 9:06:39 AM
I was not going to contribute to this thread b/c I thought "Our days are never typical and we don't really do anything much". Then I thought about what we did yesterday and realized this is the essence of unschooling and I love it when I realize that. *We* consists of me and dh and three kids, daughter age 10, son age 8 and baby boy age 1.

So, yesterday we big folks and the wee one were up around 6:30 (not my choice). We put the sap on to boil that we've been collecting from our maples. This boiled all day and we had a quart and a half of syrup by bedtime. The others got up around 8 or so. We ate, messed around, read a little (Kaleigh undoubtedly did some creative thing in here, I can't begin to keep up with her on that score) and got dressed then had to go grocery shopping before a dentist appointment for the two older ones. The plan was to get done with the store and then have the baby fall asleep on the way to the dentist. It worked and we got there early so we sat in the car for a while and played a word association game which led to discussions on definitions and geography. When Lochie woke up we went in and read a magazine about birds before the kids went to their respective chairs. This was X-ray day so they got to see what their teeth are doing beneath the surface and I got to ask about development(health and technology).

When we got home we had lunch and then went for a walk up the road to get the mail (1/2 mile or so each way). Actually, Kaleigh and I walked and Cerid biked. On the way he was seeing how slowly he could bike and explained to me that it is hard to go in a straight line when you are going that slowly because the wheel on a bike is kind of like a gyroscope and the speed is what keeps it on track (physics and exercise)! I had never thought about *why* it is hard to bike slowly, it just is! Then Kaleigh told me that she thinks that the pile of unusual poop that we saw on the day before is actually droppings from a Ruffled Grouse (biology and physiology). She came to this conclusion because she found another pile of it in front of the house where we had see the grouse a few days before. (Are there guide books for animal droppings?)

The kids then played outside while I tried to figure out how to rig up a clothes line(conservation and engineering). They were using Kaleigh's kit of photoreactive fabric dyes (art and light), They also checked out their respective perrenial gardens and compared who had the most stuff coming up and why (botany and weather). Then some friends stopped in to play for a few hours. They were mostly outside but got silly inside and took photos of each other looking like ants. DH came home early and Cerid helped him dig a trench to drain the water that is collecting in the yard from the melting snow (hydrodynamics).

DH took the two older ones to fencing class. When they got home we played some math games before bed (from the Mensa math pack and a game book). This just happened because the cards were in reach when we were snuggling on the livingroom floor. We read a little before bed too.

That really was a typical go-with-the-flow kind of day for us. We have some things on certain days (fencing, karate, sign language singing and skiing). The rest is all as it comes. Hope this helps. I have found as I've had to write those silly reports for the school, that it really does help to do this once in a while and write it down. I feel so often like we don't grab every opportunity for learning buit then when I look at this I think we're doing OK.

Heidi R.

Other typical unschooling days