just joking. it is a post. i was just copying the title of the book i read that turned me on to the idea of unschooling in the first place, the “unschooling unmanual”.
nobody really asks me what the hell unschooling is. they probably would if i talked more about it but as it stands, i usually just say that i homeschool, which can already be a lot for people to wrap their heads around so i don’t want to overtax and ask them to not only envision a kid out of school but one that doesn’t even do anything resembling school work. i think people would just write me off completely.
if they did ask, it would be hard to describe exactly what the hell i’m doing here. to myself, i say i’m doing “nothing” but again, i think that would scare people. i might do better to give an example.
yesterday was a pretty typical day. the kids woke up in their staggered fashion. after everyone was up, i sat on the couch with them reading a few books. this is often the way we start a day. joel might be perfectly content to jump right into playing but ruth wakes up in a bad mood seemingly every day and needs to be eased back into life. after a bit of that, i’ll usually make breakfast. we have no place to be so each day i feel free to take my time preparing gourmet breakfasts of pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, and toast. i let the kids decide what they like. sometimes they help. other times they stay playing in the living room while i cook. they eat (sometimes), i feed miles and myself and then clean up a bit.
yesterday i decided that we should go for a walk down the block after breakfast but they are doing construction (which joel LOVES to watch) so we had to turn around and go back the other way and decided: why not go to the park? so, we walked to the park and the kids played “chipmunks” where they pretend they are chipmunks and the playground structure is their nest. being a wednesday mid day, we had the park all to ourselves. while ruth and joel played, miles dug deeply into the pea gravel with his hands. he was practically bathing in it and spent a bit of time in a swing. after a little while (i dunno how long exactly because i don’t wear a watch or carry a cell phone, but i would guess about an hour) i decided we should get back as my tummy started rumbling.
we walked back, holding our own little conversation looking all around and enjoying being out in the neighborhood. i heated up leftovers for lunch, miles took a nap and then the kids went outside in the back yard with doofy, our dog. i feel ok letting them go out alone as long as they are in the back yard with the dog and the gate is shut. with the windows cracked open, i can keep track of their voices. i stayed inside and did some dishes and cleaned up a bit. there is always sweeping that needs done and things to tidy up.
miles woke up i changed his diaper and took him out and he, joel, and i spent some time playing with all of the dandelions that have sprouted up in our front yard and the neighbor’s. the game was: joel would run and get a dandelion seed head and bring it back and i would blow it for them. this game was really absorbing to them for some reason. in the meantime, ruth was talking with the girls who live next door through their open bedroom window.
i should side note that we have recently struck gold in terms of the neighbor lottery. a family with three young girls moved in next door to us and have been ruth’s playmates nearly every day for the past two months! it’s been everything i have complained doesn’t exist any more. kids! neighborhood kids! a tribe to run rampant with! and do they ever run rampant. up and down the block with bikes, climbing trees, running and talking, pushing each other to ridiculous heights on our rope swing. it’s been great.
the girls are school aged (7, 9 and 12, i think) so they are gone all day until around 4 pm or so but from that time on, unless it’s raining, the girls are all outside playing until time for bed.
i gave the kids a quick bath, then made dinner before greg got home from work. after that, joel took a belated nap on the couch and greg and i just chatted with miles crawling around until it was time for ruth to come in. we read some bedtime stories and then all went to bed together.
that is a typical day in the life of this unschooling family. no phonics workbooks, no practicing letters, just living life and being free.