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

Monday, January 5, 2015

Unschool As A Family

It is a lazy Monday afternoon. I see us living as a family, free of schooling. J is off work on Mondays so we slept in, but not too late. We know if we sleep too late the day will pass us by. So we cuddle for awhile and talk about our dreams, which ironically were about the same thing (relationship building-one of my favorite parts of the day) and then get up when we aren't tired anymore. I care for the animals and start our breakfast/Hubby's coffee....not because anybody tells me too, but because IF I want animals, THEN I need to feed them and water them to keep them alive. IF I want breakfast, THEN I need to cook it. I like the IF/THEN way of seeing things...

Speaking of IF/THEN, right about the time I finish J's coffee, he walks in the kitchen. He begins talking about some mods he brought up on his computer just now. He is a gamer, but he doesn't just game, he delves deeper into the coding in the games. He likes to play with them and modify them. He likes to find glitches and cheats and solve puzzles that aren't vital to beating the game. He likes to create his own missions and try extra hard for the achievements. He likes to take gaming to the next level. Back to the mods. He tells me about some of the ones he found that help you with lock pick easier. Or the mods that add a whole extra area to the map. He starts to wonder. "You know what would be cool? If I could make a mod to take my songs from Spotify and have them play through the game. But it would have to stop when someone starts speaking on the game." As much as I love an opportunity to learn, I couldn't resist. "How would you code that?" He leans back against the counter as I add sugar to his coffee. "Well, I'd have to bring up the game coding. Depends what type they use, but if you are looking at Java, I believe it would be "IF (insert coding for the initiation of talking.) Then Pause. Then IF (insert coding for the termination of talking) THEN Play....No No. Maybe it is IF-ELSE. I'd have to look that up. I have some more reading to do in my COMP-TIA book today. I will look it up after I finish that."

He leans against the back window and takes a sip of his coffee. "Next week I will buy some machetes so we can get that land cleared out and start a garden. I'll ask Chris to help me and I'll give him some potatoes in the Fall." "Maybe we can grow enough and trade them for some eggs. But I am not sure that you are going to get the land cultivated early enough." "I'll do raised bed this year and see how it goes. We have rocky soil." "Okay. And I'll get a list going and see which plants, out of the ones you want to grow, are companion plants." "Thanks. I'll start doing the math to see how many cubic feet of soil we need. I'll talk to Samantha and see if she wants to help again this year. Maybe if we work together we will get better results. Last year was a disaster!" "Gee. Thanks!"

That was just this morning BEFORE S even woke up. She was up late last night playing in some kinetic sand. Then she watched some videos on art, did some drawing, played some video games. Talk about problem solving. She started to get stressed and was stuck on a problem for awhile, so she laid down to watch a movie and passed out around 2 AM.

J and I enjoyed some down time while she slept. I decided to do some research on Women's Suffrage, sparked by mine and S's reading of the Samantha American Girl books. I never knew that the Women's Rights movement started at the beginning of the 1900s! I also learned a few fun facts, like DC's creation of Wonder Woman was due to the Women's Rights movement and was created by a woman psychologist. Interesting. Then I went on to write this. And later I will employ Samantha, if she wants, to help me paint my latest Pinterest project-a pallet couch.

Samantha is finally up and moving around. She got her own lunch and saw that I was typing this on J's computer. She asked J how he fixed it and he told her about drivers. (All he needed was to get the computer to stay on long enough to download them.) She was so excited that we are up to 3 computers again. So she sat down with her lunch and went to town on the Macbook. She is currently playing some reading games.

Productive day. Not all days are, but most days are something like this. Some days involve hiking, which we may still do later today. Some days are lazy days, but even then they involve some kind of learning. Lately we have enjoyed watching the show House, which we have been known to do all day on a rainy day. But I will tell you one thing, we learn a LOT from House. Of course we don't take things for what they are on the television. If we are interested in a new disease they mention, we pause it and bring it up on our phones. The same thing with shows we have watched in the past like Dexter-police work and Walking Dead-survival methods.

I know this is a Blog about my dearest S, but I wanted to make a post about all of us, particularly J and I because I want to emphasize that no matter your age, there is SO much learning to be done! At S's age, it is mostly about play. Playing games. Playing toys. Playing with friends. You can learn problem solving. You can learn about cooperating, following rules, adding, subtracting, reading...And in S's case, things like roller skating, which she hopes to be good at by this coming up Valentine Party. (Her friends, the Weaver's, are teaching her.) Oh. And it is about reading. Lots of reading. You can never be 100% sure weather the scientific "facts" and History (written by the winners) is accurate, but if you know how to read and research, then you can look it up and decide what you believe. And if you can't decide what you believe, at least you know about the different sides of the story.

Everything we learn in this house-everything we TRULY learn-is all for fun. Things we want to know. Even if it is things we HAVE to know, like reading, in order to learn the things we want to learn for fun, it is all by choice. It is all individualized, based on what will do us good at that time, what we need in our lives. And the coolest part is that we can bounce it off each other and share what we know. We can truly become involved in each other's interests, which broadens our knowledge. When DH tells me about coding, I may not know all he knows, but it makes more sense to me than it did last night. When I tell J and S about the newest antihistamine oil blend that I found, they understand oils a little better. J asked me the other day to explain how colloidal silver works again. And now he has a better understanding of how his medicines work in his body. And when Samantha hears all about these things, she learns more than just what interests hers. But I think what benefits her most is sharing what interests her. When you teach what you know, you learn it better. And when you are sometimes the teacher and sometimes the student, you learn how to take on both roles-how to learn and how to be taught.

Here is a short list of our current deepest interests:

Samantha: Toys-duh, Art, Early 1900s, Historical Wars, and all American Girl Books, Animals, California

Jessie: Gardening, Computer Coding and Hardware, Video Games, Survival and Guns (He likes to study up on this with a friend.)

Me: Organic Medicines and Essential Oils, Conception and Pregnancy-done tons of research on this lately, Cooking-New Recipes, Pallet Projects, Writing/Blogging

Life as an unschool family is sometimes stressful, mostly when I create the stress and pull back on my own beliefs because everybody tells me how insane I am, but the more I let go, the easier it gets. The more I can see progress in all of us, progress in our relationships. Progress in our ability to learn and our ability to lead ourselves and others. Now time to go learn to use my new paint gun!

UPDATE: And now it is *near* the end of the day. We will all probably lay down around 11 since Hubby has work tomorrow. We spent our day on separate projects. S helped some with the paint gun, but it was a pain to figure out so she lost interest. She jumped on her trampoline and practiced gymnastics. She did some Pilates on a workout mat outside. She went through the recycling and picked out an empty bottle of St. John's Wart. Got out paper, A hole punch. A green oil pastel. And started making "her own medicine like Mommy." She drew pictures of the family and told stories with them. And learned to use the new camera we got for Christmas so she could take photos of her drawings. J cleaned out his work van. Then came inside and played his games and worked on some more coding. I worked on my pallet couch and got a few pallets finished. Came inside and made dinner. Learned how to better slice the potatoes for making french fries and worked on finding a new recipe for fry seasoning. Dinner was spent discussing solar power and how watches are made. (S brought up the topic. She is a curious child.) I picked up some groceries. Cleaned house so I don't have to tomorrow. (S has a playdate with a new friend from CHEA.) And then J moped around about how he didn't get a birthday cake. Never mind the fact he had a 3 course meal and then some last night on his actual birthday. He requested that I make one and S decorate it. (She loves decorating cakes thanks to her favorite You Tube Channel, Nerdy Nummies.) So I found a recipe and that is what we did. S learned how to make a two layer cake and was able to use her icing tips for the 3rd time. She is improving no doubt. Cake is done now and we are eating it, The rest of the night will be spent relaxing. I'm sure we will watch House after baths. S might lose interest and play instead. Then reading, talking. saying our prayers, and going to bed. I'll be ready for sleep as soon as 11 o'clock rolls around!

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