Friday, February 25, 2011

Unschool Today

By 11:00 this morning we had built and painted a birdhouse.  Really. 

Jasmine found some acrylic paints that the girls had previously used to paint fridge magnets and she was determined that she needed to paint something without delay.  I remembered the little birdhouse kit sitting in the basement and--voila!--we were busy building and painting.

Later we baked cookies together.  Then while Anna and Holly watched Cinderella, Jasmine and Julian and I played outside in the driveway and on the sidewalk. 

Many of our days don't produce results that we can hold in our hands.  Some days involve 4 hours of Barbies.  Some days involve a trip on the transit and we come back exhausted and do nothing but watch Dora the Explorer on DVD.  Some days involve a lot of colouring and drawing and printing and reading.  Some days the kids need my involvement every minute and when suppertime comes there is nothing on the table and house is a disaster.  Other days I hardly see the girls as they are busy and cooperating all day.

Our unschooling days belong to us and as long as keep our purpose, Freedom and Joy, then I have confidence that we are pursuing the right path for us.  And the truth is that my days are not that much different from any other stay-at-home mother of a baby and a three-year-old.  Most mothers bake cookies with their children or offer interesting crafts to their preschoolers.

The only difference is in the way we keep ourselves free of unnecessary scheduling so that the children can really engage in their lives.  We don't have to dash to the school to pick up siblings.  We don't have to jump in the car to get to any lessons.  We even keep visiting to a minimum because we've observed that a lot of interaction with other adults and kids makes our children nervous and irritable.

 I like to say that we have the exclusive rights to our time together every day.

And that's what unschooling is about--claiming (or reclaiming) our lives as our own.  Claiming our relationships with each other.  Claiming our presence.  Claiming our responsibilities.  Claiming our passions.  Claiming our freedom and joy.