Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Letter to My Child-On Living a Life of Learning

Dear Samantha,

I was brought to tears today during one of our many Spring outings with Daddy. I was struck with awe and wonder as I watched you marvel at the world, asking questions, and trying to make sense if it all.

Your recent request to visit the Chickamauga Battlefield Museum-after my yard sale purchase of a Civil War Reenactment Set-sparked your interest-led to a day of priceless learning.

Sitting inside a small theatre, the 26 minute documentary began rolling. I saw your eyes get that twinkle as you sat, glued, wondering what would happen next. You lean over and ask, "That's Abraham Lincoln. I didn't know he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. What...well, nevermind, I'm sure the narrator will explain."

Awe on my behalf. I never believed a 5 year old would have an intense interest in something so significant in our country's history. "Hogwash," I said a year ago while reading a book on unschooling, "A five year old's mind is too shallow to ever care or think about such things, especially when left to their own devices. And even it it were true, their parents must be geniuses or something." But we gave unschooling a shot, and here I am, jaw to the floor watching as I see your mind working. On the edge of your seat, thirsty for more.
And afterward, the floodgate of questions opened. Daddy and I did as best we could to answer them ourselves and help you to look up the rest.

You lead us back to the museum where you informed us all about the things you had noticed in the movie that they had on display in the museum, "Mom, Dad. You see the horses pulling the wagons in this model? Well, I learned from the movie they used horses to pull their cannons too." (Something I apparently missed, but is true.) pointing out details on all the neatly aligned gun displays, listening to recorded presentations, and reading parts of the informational plaques to us. That was just the beginning.

We love to hike, so we have been building our stamina to start backing this summer. (We ordered super nice hammocks that will be here for our first trip next week, and we are learning about organic backpacking!) We walked along a trail and allowed you 100% freedom to roam and run. To stop when you felt like it. To draw on your sketch pad. And we watched. You explored. You noticed things. You ran past some things and you walked slowly by others, taking it all in. You stopped at a campsite in the woods, sat at the bench and went to work drawing a picture of the nature around you. And with such detail. Your artistic talents have truly blossomed since you started studying art and spending 4+ hours of the day drawing, coloring, and painting, as talents usually do when given the time to focus on them...Of course a 5 year old's legs and physical abilities will only take them so far, and then we must turn back. So that is what we did. We walked back, laughing and talking about future plans. You chimed in on several occasions talking about your preferences for backpacking snacks and the locations that we camp. We all bonded.

We finished off the day with a visit to the Coke Ovens-where you and Daddy did some "caving." And seven hours after leaving the house, we were home. What a day. I believe we all have a new connection with each other, with the Civil War, our community, and nature. Makes life worth living if you ask me.





  1. Beautiful! She is a gem, and so is her mom. :)

  2. Thank you, Nekey. You are so sweet.