Reports of "Seeing It"

There have been fleeting moments of seeing unschooling at work in our house. I would love to share them with you all.

Just this evening the children were watching a Fred Astaire movie ( we'd been talking about dancing/old movies etc for a while and happened upon a dvd yesterday) and a scene was showing a college student talking about 'passing'. My 9 year old said "What's passing?" My 5 year old said,"Silly, it's passing, you know, going past something."

I see this as a little success story. They've forgotten or have become unaware of grades, tests, and performance. Another step in our deschooling journey.


[The article "Seeing It"] reminds me of how I thought of unschooling at first, as I would look for "subjects" in our day to day activities. This is not the same as being aware of subjects, something that is hard for me to let go of after nearly two decades of subject indoctrination.

Looking for subjects, for me, meant that I would be happy to play games like Uno with the kids because it was "math". We were "doing" math! In fact, when I first began unschooling, I thought that it meant learning by playing games instead of learning by doing worksheets. That was nice and fun, but it wasn't unschooling. It was schooling with different tools.

Being aware of a subject might mean noticing that a child's comment on a paragraph in Harry Potter reflects an understanding of the theory of division. The child may not have any knowledge of the meaning of the word, "division", yet clearly understands the process of organizing something into smaller pieces, or divisions. Sure, you can call it math because humans have decided that anything to do with numbers is math, but "math" isn't the point. The point is reading something (or hearing, doing, experiencing, seeing something) and making connections in one's brain. That is real learning. The child doesn't need to know that it can be called division or math in order to have the thought process.

In some ways it is a small, insignificant difference, to say that one looks for subjects vs. one is aware of subjects, but it can make a big difference in getting to unschooling. If we only see evidence of our children learning when it looks like the school-learning we were taught ourselves, it will be difficult to accept unschooling as a viable method of providing our children with an education.

Mary Ellen

Learning to see differently

If beginners don't go through a phase in which they REALLY focus on seeing learning outside of academic formalities, they will not be able to see around academics.
photo by Lisa Jonick

"Electric in my memory"

 photo DSC09227.jpg "I saw SO MUCH MORE learning happen because I was watching so closely. It was like a big curtain was lifted that had been preventing me from seeing clearly. When I think back today about that moment, it feels like THAT was the real beginning of unschooling for me. It still feels electric in my memory—all the connections I made that day about learning and its value to the learner within the place and time it is learned. I am so grateful for Learn Nothing Day."
—Karen Angstadt
(Longer version here.)
photo by Sandra Dodd

"You'll see it when you believe it" by Sandra Dodd "Getting It"

Angles: Seeing things from different perspectives

Definitions of "unschooling" Checklists for Unschoolers Deschooling