My Dad has flown in to help watch my kids during the days when I’m in Ohio for the next week. As a way to help both him and the kids get into a groove in my absence, I had the kids help me design our very own schedule. A guideline to help everyone’s days flow better.
When the kids and I finished collaborating and polishing up our first official ‘schedule’ and taped it on the wall, I suddenly realized why unschoolers aren’t typically ‘schedule’ type people. It’s because the schedule ends up looking like this:
And then you end up having conversations like this, when hubby walks by:
Hubby: “So, wow. I see you only have a little bit of unschooling in your day.”
Me: “What do you mean? It’s all of our day! Can’t you read the schedule?”
Hubby: “Spelling isn’t exactly an all day thing.”
Me: “Oh, gosh no! Spelling is the schooly part of the day. It’s the rest of the blue stuff that’s the unschooling” (I gesture in circular motions a la Vanna White to show off the points of interest on the board.)
Hubby: “Uhh…..??? That just says free time. Seriously? That’s it?”
Me: “…let me go fix you a sandwich or something…”
And then, a similar conversation when my dad and sister (a trained teacher!) walk by:
Dad: “So, when do they do their math?”
Me: “During the day, you know, with cooking, or when they’re outside, or doing one of their experiments…” I taper off, knowing how lame that sounds.
Sister: “Well, when you need someone to teach them how to multiply fractions, give me a call.”
Dad: “And what does ‘with technology’ mean?”
Sister: “Like, Science Channel? Discovery Channel? Educational Games?”
Me: “Yeah, and video games.”
Sister: “ANY kind of video games?”
Me: “Yep. Any kind!”
It strikes me that unschooling, while easy to understand, is very difficult to explain. Much like religion, it veers steeply into ‘faith’ and ‘trust’ areas which oftentimes aren’t rational. I certainly didn’t feel rational when trying to explain the schedule.
And that’s just it. Unschooling defies common logic.
Our experience defies common logic. In school, Naturalist didn’t and couldn’t read. Unschooling? She’s reading 3 novels consecutively. In school, Golfer became bored with math and didn’t want to do it again. Unschooling? He’s multiplying multi-digit numbers for fun. In school: they were both uninspired and bored. Unschooling: they soak information up like a sponge.
I suppose the difference between unschooling and both traditional school and/or traditional homeschooling, is that rather than importing the curriculum onto a desk or kitchen table, we export ourselves into the world.
I love living it…I wouldn’t call what I am a teacher, per se, but a facilitator–someone to help find the mentors, programs, and experiences that excite and teach my kids. That part, I love! The explaining it to other people…I’m not so good at.
Is it just me, or does anyone else feel really lame about defining what they do as ‘unschoolers’. And if you could share your own version of my schedule, that’d be great, too.
Filed under: Homeschool/Unschool