Keywords: Unschooling, Solo Parent, Primary Aged, Unstructured
Children: Two – 10yrs, 9yrs
On a typical day I’d get up at 7.30am to find both my girls already up and building some fantastically balanced construction out of Lego, with compartments for all the various people and animals in their collection. The play extends in all directions, eg. there may be supermarket shopping in another corner of the lounge using the Shopkins collection and Cuisenaire rods as money. Through the next hour the children play (learn), get their own breakfast, get dressed, and organise themselves for the day. My oldest will pack a bag to take with us when we head out, with everything we will need for the various activities we will be attending. We quickly run through chores – in our house we work as a team with my ten year old doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen, my nine year old doing beds and bathroom, and me starting work on dinner in the slow cooker. We have lunch in the car on some days as we drive to activities, we talk about lots of different things as we drive. This is one of the largest components of unschooling for us – discussion. The kids ask me anything, and if I don’t know then I ask them to remind me to Google it when we get home and we research it together. Sometimes we talk about a book they’ve read, or a documentary we have seen recently, and I answer in a way intended to extend their learning and understanding. We spend a lot of time driving in a week, so spend a lot of time discussing ‘stuff’. If we are attending an activity that only one child is participating in then the other uses the tablet to play games, read, or work through an educational app such as science or maths. We also have a fortnightly trip to the library. My children are avid readers and usually borrow about 30 books each or more (we bring suitcases on wheels!). I don’t choose their books for them or limit the number we take home. Some evenings after dinner we have swimming class – my girls have learnt to swim through our local swimming club and one day will move into the squads. After swimming they shower at the pools and change into their pyjamas so they can go straight to bed when we get home. Most nights I read a story to my nine year old and she reads one to me. Later in the evening my oldest might come out to tell me something interesting about the book she is reading – some cool facts about leopards or something. She’ll show me the book and ask me to have a look on the library website for more books by the same author so she can put them on hold. I will remind her we have a busy day tomorrow and she will need some sleep!