Thursday, January 3, 2013

a day of learning

There are days around here where an outside observer would see no actual learning going on at all.  Most people seem to equate learning with schoolishness (yeah, it's not really a word).
 So, looking at aloe leaves through a little microscope might be seen as learning, while say, swinging in the livingroom in your jammies, might not :)

And then, what about the value of outdoor play?

  Or 'helping' Mama haul firewood in a sled?

 Or trying to craft a safe sled run down into the valley?

What about the value of making one's own food choices?

Our post-sledding snack was brought today by the letter M, sliced mango, macadamia nuts, mushrooms and M & Ms.  (The only item they asked to be refilled was the sliced criminis with sea salt.)

 What about singing and giggling and jumping on a mini-trampoline while holding hands with your sister?

What about browsing YouTube and watching Vi Hart talk really, really fast about six-sided (and other) snowflakes and deciding to cut your own?

Or even hauling out the phone-book-sized Fourth-Grade Curriculum book chock-full of worksheets? (Yes, we have one. Camille requested it, and occasionally likes to do a page or two or more.)

Which of these activities has the most learning value?  I could argue that it is whichever one has Most. Engaged. The. Learner.  


In a school setting, besides the lessons being taught (which may or may not be being learned), children are learning how to deal with boredom, bullying, an enforced schedule, how to ignore their own interests and needs (for food, movement, etc.), and how to feel self-conscious for being different.  This may not be everyone's experience with schooling, but it was mine, and it was my daughter's when she chose to go to school. For a couple of  months for 1st grade (in the city) and most of last year for 3rd grade (in the country) Camille chose to go to school.  (I'm not actually against school, per se, but I am grateful for being able to unschool my children, as they are willing.  Should any of them choose school again, I will support them.)

For unschoolers, at home or out and about, the learning that is happening includes how to interact with people (of many different backgrounds and ages), how to work together, how to make goals and choices, how to share and be respectful, how to follow interests and seek out resources, and the learning sometimes does fall into a category that could be labeled as math or history or science or art.

I put a LOT of value on holding hands and giggling, on creating and debating, on 'working it out and moving on'.  So, even the least schoolish of days, show learning in abundance around here!


  1. That is just like the learning that takes place runs here.

  2. Yes! I am having such a hard time pulling apart our year for "school" records. There was SO much more learning taking place on the inside that can't be captured or posted about.

    I really like your posts. :)


I love hearing what you have to say. Leave a comment?