Monday, May 6, 2013

un-socialized unschoolers?

With the warming and the greening and the budding, we have been OUT most days, from all-day playdates with friends to planting in the garden to grilling out and just reading a book on the lawn.  This means my living room is a mess, my dishes and laundry are piling up, and we go to bed tired and happy each night.  Oh, I adore the springtime.

Just yesterday, I held a new friend's smiling baby, just a few weeks old, chatted and laughed with women from my grandmother's generation, and showed off my attempt at apple tree grafting to our seasonal neighbors.  Springtime in this kind of climate brings people together in a big way.  It also reminds me that whatever our differences, we as humans thrive when we feel connected to others.  Since this is our second full spring season since moving here from the city, we are always meeting new people and learning new things.  

Whatever major choices that I have made in my parenting (from where and how to birth, to breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, and now radical unschooling), I made from thoughtful, personal deliberation.  Not from an attempt to be outside of the mainstream.  Not as a statement or a rebellion.  Not because I am anti-school, anti-government, anti-media or anti-anything.  As such, many of the people that I interact with in my community have very different ideological values than I do, but that doesn't stop us from finding common ground.

Living with respect and integrity and a joyful attitude may not seem to be about education in the least. However, if children are learning all the time, and they undoubtedly are, they are bound to learn something from our attitudes toward the world and the people around us, however similar or dissimilar they may be to ourselves.  For my children's education, I value books, and games, and art supplies, and YouTube videos, and kitchen science, and exploring together, but I also value grocery shopping and gardening, and smiling at strangers, and learning about differences in ability and lifestyle, and seeing the differences that we can make in ordinary, thoughtful, everyday ways.


Everyone wanted a turn out on the tree over the river, of course.


through the fort 'window'

final spring hatch count:  16 new chicks plus 3 back in March

Someone tossed an old tattered chest of drawers (minus the drawers) in the woods down the road from our house.  I guess they didn't want to pay to dispose of it at the county dump.  We took off the backing and have temporarily repurposed it as a sand toy shelf.  Ayla especially loves her new 'mud kitchen'.

on the grill

Camille wanted to make a journal.  She created 'old-fashioned paper', by dipping copy paper in tea and crinkling and straightening the pages several times to give it the look she wanted.  She hand sewed a fabric cover and is in the process of stitching the pages together with embroidery thread.  All this accomplished while watching Magic School Bus episodes.

 reading historical fiction (Dear America series)

learning programming on codecademy

I love to see Camille confidently share with an adult acquaintance about how she is assembling the journal that she designed, or to hear Sylvia talk about our newly hatched chicks.  I love to see Ayla shyly smile and wave at the tough-looking biker in line behind us at the grocery store and the gentle smile that he returns.  I guess unschoolers aren't all a weird, un-socialized lot.  Our socializing just looks different sometimes. 

I am honored to be included in the Spring 2013 Unschooling Blog Carnival.  Just click the link to check out inspring posts by other unschooling bloggers.


  1. finally seeing some green in your photos!

  2. Hi Nik, The grilling looks great, I'm going to try that. I know how you feel when you have to say why you're not doing something. I've felt the need to clarify my motivations on occasion, too.
    Love, Pops

  3. Nikole, I take my hat off to you. I really wish I had the courage and strength and self belief to home school my two. However we are very mainstream and set and in I do regret that. So instead I am giving them a healthy dose of outside and free range as often as I can. I try to let them know that school is not the only way to think or learn and that no matter how many exams they get ( or not as the case may be)the true value of living is being able to be happy in your own skin. I worked in education for many are so doing the right thing.

  4. Hi Pops. Clarifying motivations is probably worthwhile :) Enjoy your grilling!!

    Hi Sara. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. This right here: "the true value of living is being able to be happy in your own skin" seems to me more important than how we choose to educate our children. I have had a child in school and know how difficult it can be to support them without promoting the entire school-ish mindset that you're only as good as your outward accomplishments. Much respect to you.

  5. Great post! Isn't that socialisation question tiring? I love our lives as unschoolers! Your daughters have such amazing projects and a great life! Very inspiring to see others living it!


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