This post is the first in a series of posts documenting our day-to-day life as an unschooling family. Sometimes it’s hard to picture what unschooling looks like, so here I hope to provide a little window into the kid’s life and learning. This is just an example of what unschooling can look like, but it’s very different for each family. It’s not designed to be read as an ‘activity idea’ that you can set up for your child, but an account of four inspired young people who have the freedom to learn how and what they desire.
My 7- and 5-year-old’s just LOVE to cook! So, when they heard we had some family members coming to stay for a night this week, they had an idea. They were going to cook dinner!
They immediately got to work planning. Miss 7 in particular is quite the planner! She documents everything in great detail. Miss 5 is more a fly by the seat of your pants type. Together they’re the perfect combination of precision and adaptability!
It soon became clear that this was not our regular dinner, but a feast of 3-courses! They planned the following menu together:
-Cheese and Biscuits
-Dip and Biscuits
-Strawberries dipped in chocolate
-Banana with chocolate inside
(I often get asked if I correct the kid’s handwriting, and the answer is no. I never correct them. You can see in the picture that there is a mix of capitals and lower case. Sometimes letters are still written back to front. I don’t find a need to correct them because I know they are aware of how it is supposed to be and I notice that they self correct over time. They read books, I read to them, they see me write, the written word is all around! They are perfectly capable of working it out. They will also ask me if they want to know how to spell something or if they should use a capital, etc. I answer their questions but other than that stay out of it!)
They also found recipes, or asked me to find them, and wrote a list of ingredients that they needed. The day before we went shopping for anything we didn’t already have, and they started preparing what they could in advance.
The girls are pretty independent in the kitchen now and I usually help only when asked. I will help them read recipes, reach things, or get things in and out of the oven for them, but most things they are capable of doing themselves. They prepared everything for the meal from scratch and we assisted when asked. Dad was allocated the job of kitchen hand and washed all the dishes, ha!
The girls decided together that Miss 7 would be the chef, and Miss 5 would be the waitress. They worked so well together! Miss 5 took the orders, drawing symbols for them all as she is not a proficient writer yet. She also set the table, made place mats, delivered meals, cleared plates, provided regular updates as to when the next course would be served, and enlisted Dad to entertain the guests with jokes while they waited for the main course. How I love to see their ideas come to life and the enjoyment they get from it.
Entree ready to go. The chef snuck a taste of the camembert before it left the kitchen.
Main course. She carried the plates to the table resting in her hands like this, telling me she was ‘doing the tricky waitress trick’.
Dessert. The tropical sorbet was delicious!
We all had a lovely evening together, and the girls were so happy that they were able to cook for everyone. There ended up being 10 people, so the two of them cooked a 3 course dinner for 10!
We try to make space for this kind of contribution as much as possible. We want them to know that we support them and value their ideas. There was so much learning happening that I probably couldn’t list it all. But, that’s not the point! We don’t do things only to tick a box off a curriculum. We do them because we’re curious and inspired and motivated to contribute and discover! Learning is a natural byproduct of that, and doesn’t need to be quantified. As unschoolers we just trust that it is happening, always.