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A Day in the Life of Unschoolers: Come see What Unschooling Looks like!

This post is all about a single day in the life of my family. We are unschoolers. What is unschooling? Well, definitions can vary, but the common idea is that learning happens naturally. The child will follow their interests and the adults are there to help the child in whatever way that child needs. For us as a family, this works! So, here is what this particular Monday looked like!

Unschooling: A Sample Day

5am– My husband wakes me up just before he leaves for work. A quick hug and kiss and he is gone for the day. I head into the kitchen for the fresh coffee he made and then settle myself in from to the computer for an hour of checking emails, Facebook and Twitter.

6am– My toddler, Jade, wakes up and wants to snuggle. We chat about how we slept and what we want for breakfast. She informs me she is afraid of coyotes…

6:30am– My son, Gabriel, wakes up and asks if we can listen to “The Two Towers” by J.R.R. Tolkien on Audible. We finished the “The Fellowship of the Ring” last week and he wanted to dive right into the next book, which I’m totally OK with! While listening to the book, Gabriel feeds our pets and I take our poodle out to go potty.

7am– My husband comes back home! We are super excited to see him! That doesn’t happen most days. We turned Audible off and hurry to greet him. We eat a quick breakfast and snuggle on the couch to watch “Tangled!”

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9am– Papa has to go back to work. We give him loads of hugs and kisses as he walks out the door. Then we get dressed and head outside for our morning walk!

10am– We head back inside and Gabriel starts to work on a new Lego creation while practicing his numbers in Spanish. Jade asks to paint. She creates a beautiful piece for her wall and manages to cover herself in beautiful colors in the process. I put Jade in the bathtub to clean her off. She manages to grab the toothpaste when I’m not looking and squeezes it all into the water. Such a lovely surprise!

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11am– Jade wants a snack. Gabriel wants to play the math game Prodigy on the computer. He likes to keep chocolate chips handy for counting help…or just eating? While he does that I am straightening up the living room and Jade is tearing her bread into small pieces. She says she is making shapes!

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11:30am– Now Gabriel wants to play a video game on our PS4. Jade wants me to help her with a dinosaur puzzle.

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12pm– Time for some lunch and then a nap for Jade. She is so very tired. I  carry her to bed and read three stories of her choice.

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1pm– Gabriel practices his Songham 2 for his belt testing in Taekwondo this week. Then he wants to read on the Ipad for a while followed by playing Minecraft.

2pm– I start cleaning the kitchen while Gabriel starts watching the newest Hobbit movie that came out on dvd, “Battle of the Five Armies.” If this boy is reading the books, then he is watching the movies! He is becoming a Tolkien fanatic!

4pm– We start getting ready to go to Gabriel’s Taekwondo class. He has a double class tonight and it’s a 20 minute walk each way.

4:30pm– We make the walk to Taekwondo…it’s only 93 degrees! I make sure to bring water for us all.

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5pm-6:30pm– Double Taekwondo Class!

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6:30pm– We make the walk back home…still 93 degrees! Jade is less than enthused to be walking in this heat. She throws a toddler tantrum half way home.

6:50pm– We get home and I start dinner while the kids watch the second Jurassic Park movie.

7:30pm– Dinner is ready and we all sit down to eat. Afterwards the kids get ready for bed.

7:50pm– We head to the kids bedroom and we snuggle up while I read one of the library books that Gabriel picked out.unschooling: library books

8:30pm– Papa is home! He joins us snuggled in bed and we start singing bedtime songs. This is my favorite night time routine!

9pm– The kids have fallen asleep and all is quiet in the house. I am exhausted! A little quiet time with Papa and then off to bed for me.

Comments

  1. Am a stay at home mother of five boys ages 13,7,5,2,1 learning doesnt always come from a book but from hands on experience.

    • Yes, we never know what’s going to happen either! One day may be filled with building bridges. Another day may be filled with Greek mythology. Some days may be filled with Apps and Games or the great outdoors! Unschooling is always an adventure.

  2. I love this and would like to do it but am struggling with where to start. How do you teach them to read or guide them to various learning activities? I am a former teacher and now stay at home mom. Going from teaching in such a structured way to something like this is hard to wrap my mind around and get started. Any advice would be wonderful and very welcomed.

    • It has definitely been a process for me in letting go of that public school mind set…. While formal education works for many children, it does not work for our son. We cannot open a book and start with chapter 1 and expect him to learn the material. Believe me, I tried.
      I do loads of strewing. Which is placing interesting and rich material all around the house and within the children’s reach. Everything from art stuff, science/literature books, tinkering types of activities.
      We do weekly Library trips and the children pick anything they want to read. Last week our son came home with 10 different books on grammar! He read a book on homonyms and homophones the other day for fun….
      We watch documentaries, nat geo, and discovery channels regulary.
      We also get out as much as we can into nature or go to zoos and museums.
      All of these things help our children to find their interests and then we can delve deeper into those interests.
      I’m sorry for the long answer. I guess the shorter answer would have been exposed them to as much as possible and their interests will manifest. ?

      • Wow! this sounds amazing! I’ve never heard of this before and I LOVE the creativity behind it all! And it must do wonders for your son’s self-esteem, doesn’t it? He feels like he’s in total control and that must significantly impact his confidence! How long have you been using this Unschooling method with him? Did it take some time for his interests to become more academic? Or would you say that’s the technique of your strewing? 🙂

  3. I second what Malory said. I’m not a former teacher but I grew up in a family full of public teachers.

    How do you teach what they should know? (Reading, grammar, math?)

  4. Thank you sharing in such a personal way. As adults I think we forget that our kids learn through doing things. I can tirelessly teach my kids things via workbooks and they’ll forget it quickly. However, if they learn it through cooking, nature hikes, playing, then they remember forever. Thanks again for sharing.

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