One of the first things people ask me when they begin to get a tenuous grasp on unschooling is, “So what does a typical day look like?” And my gut response is typically led with,
“Um….” Not because we don’t do anything, and not because I don’t know what we do, but because each day is different than the last. Because it depends. It depends on the season, it depends on the kids, it depends on me, it depends on current interests. The common thread though is that when we’re in our groove, the days just… flow… like a river that’s winding its way among the rocks and the shore. Sometimes raging, sometimes trickling, but always, always moving.
Yesterday was one of the whirling, flowing unschooly days that started before I even got out of bed. The girl and I were laying in bed, snuggling and laughing and talking about the very important things that moms and daughters talk about, when she decided that she needed her “brudder,” Everett. We called the brudder, and he joined us for about 30 seconds, until he remembered that I’d promised him the day before that we could play Monopoly.
We went straight from bed to the kitchen table, where we played Monopoly until we realized we needed to go to the store. Tegan has been living to bake lately, and she needed rainbow sprinkles for her most recently chosen cookie recipe.
The keys were not even in the ignition before Everett excitedly asked from the backseat, “Can you ask me a question??” One of his current favorite things to do in the car is play a sort of impromptu quiz game. He picks a subject, and I make up a question. Car-schooling at its finest. Yesterday it was math. We played all the way to Fresh and Easy (where the sprinkles ended up costing $37 because we also ransacked their clearance shelf while we were there) and all the way home.
When we got home, he asked me to help him find a website where he could practice his math. He’d been having so much fun with the questions in the car that he didn’t want to stop. I remembered that I’d just recently heard someone talking about Khan Academy again, and I’d yet to check it out. So I googled it, and got him signed up while the girl gathered all her cookie ingredients on the counter. I was looking at the website, impressed, and told Everett, “Wow, this site has everything from basic math to geometry to chemistry to physics….”
Spencer and Paxton were up by then, and they both nearly simultaneously spouted,
“All actions have an equal and opposite…”
“An object in motion stays in motion…”
No idea where they learned it. Paxton said something about them talking about physics on Dr Who, which made him want to watch Dr Who, which he then went to go do immediately. Spencer went back to his computer, where he was working on creating a step-by-step instruction sheet for setting up your own server on Minecraft. Tegan and I got to work on our cookies, and Everett did this, for the next eight hours:
Tegan and I played with My Little Ponies and watched Chipwrecked while we waited for the cookies to cool, then I whipped up some frosting so she could decorate them. After dinner, Everett moved on from math to computer science, and he and Paxton spent the rest of the night learning and playing with simple programming.
I went to bed early to watch a movie, exhausted. But the best kind of exhausted there is.
This morning, Everett was right back on Khan, we played another game of Monopoly (this time played right through till the bitter end. I may have lost); and we spent the greater part of the afternoon out running errands.
It’s a pretty good life.