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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I recently read a post on Sandra Dodd's website called "Communicating." It is a post about doing two things at once. Taking the time you wouldn't be doing anything: riding in a car, building blocks, learning on a truck-and using that time as an open forum for communication. With no strings attached. No agenda. Just open discussion.

This is a big part of our life as unschoolers. We ride in the car-a lot. And we will probably continue to ride in the car a lot for their rest of our homeschool lives. There is always some place to volunteer, some errand to run, an activity to attend. And library day is back before you know it. We use this time to build a relationship. To learn. To talk about anything and everything. And while some days it is just S talking on and on about her friends and the newest My Little Pony episode, which is fine...other days it is about goals, theories, and curiosities. And that is where it gets deep and we really get to know each other. Where we bounce ideas around, debate, and try to understand the other's point of view. This is one of my favorite parts of being a Mom. This relationship building.

Today it all started when S said, "Look, Mom, we just crossed the Tennessee state line. Why is that exit 1B?" She inquired. I answered. And then that answer lead to discussion about different states. Which lead to discussion about moving to another state (as an adult). Which lead to talk about travel. Which lead to talk about one day exploring the ocean to look for tropical fish. Which lead to discussing tropical fish. Then handing my phone over to S for her to look up photos and videos on tropical fish and relay the information to me...Whew! What a conversation.

Although our family dinners and car rides are open forums for discussion-and highly utilized, we tend to unconsciously try to fill the silence with meaningless chatter during game play or while working on our Nature Study, etc. I am thinking maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't. Maybe we should let the silence flow and see where it leads us. Maybe we should get out that zen garden or those tangram blocks, those idea sparkers and conversation starters, and see where it leads us. May lead to more silence, and reflection. May lead to a deep discussion about the Great Wall of China while playing with clay. (Once S started a conversation about the Statue of Liberty while playing Play Doh.)

Conversation is the key thatcopen's Pandora's box of endless learning possibilities. That's a key I never want to lose.

Well curiosity got the best if me as I realized I didn't quite know what Pandora's Box was. So I looked it up. Interesting myth. Deserves more research. I'd love to give Greek Mythology a whirl....

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