Everyday Unschooling: A Day in The Life (July 2017)
Life without school can be hard to imagine before you start living it. I used to love reading posts about what a typical day looked like for an unschooling family. Actually I kind of still do. It’s so interesting seeing what other people get up to.
I hope sharing with you what unschooling looks like for us helps you in some way. It’s just normal life, but it is everything…
Our days start slowly. Usually the big girls (8 and 6 yrs) are up first and they switch on the TV and snuggle quietly until everyone is awake. When everyone’s up we have breakfast.
It’s Monday and we are going out to meet friends later this afternoon. We talk about what else we have on this week and one of the things is some pottery with friends. The older two decide they want to make their own tea set and get busy designing that. The little girls (3 and 2 yrs) are busy playing together with the doll house.
Miss 8 decides to add some colour to her picture and gets out her watercolours.
The little girls notice and decide on some painting too.
The next couple of hours are spent playing. They play in the bedroom together on the bunks, an imaginary game. They play outside on the trampoline, with the doll house, they ride bikes and skates. I am busy in the kitchen making some snacks for the week and they are happy to entertain themselves, except for a few arguments I have to help mediate.
Morning tea time. We usually have fruit or veggies.
After they’ve finished eating, Miss 8 asks me to read her some of her animal book. We were talking last night and she said she wanted to do more ‘animal research’. She has said this a few times now so we talked a bit more about it and exactly what that meant and what she wanted to do. She didn’t really know what she wanted to know, just that she wanted to learn more about animals. We decided to make our way through this whole book from beginning to end, reading a page a day, and see where that led her. She is keen to begin! The first page is about the characteristics of living things. We also learn about cells and particles and a discussion starts about what things in our house are made from materials that were once alive, and therefore contain cells, and what things are made of particles.
She’s keen to keep reading and the next page is about the classification of animals. I’m surprised this interests her but she’s fascinated. There’s a chart on the classification of the Grey Wolf, one of the animals she’s interested in. She wants to learn the names of all the levels of classification and repeats them over and over until she’s got it: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. This amuses me because I remember being made to memorise this at school. People think children won’t be motivated to learn these kinds of things because it’s ‘boring’ when you’re forced. But when you have an authentic interest you are intrinsically motivated to learn what you want to know. Sometimes that’s stuff you’d learn at school anyway. Force is so harmful and unnecessary.
We’re still talking about the different classification levels and she’s organising it in her head and trying to understand how they all fit together. I remember that there’s a tree of the animal kingdom in another book that might help her visualise better and ask if she wants me to get it. She says yes and sets about finding Wolves in the tree, comparing to the chart in the other book. It makes more sense now. She decides she wants to know what other species of wolf their are and goes to grab the laptop.
She googles ‘species of wolf’, using the book to help spell, and I help her find a good page with the information she needs. Then she wants to look at videos and searches ‘wolf hunting strategy’ and watches some clips. Her sisters join her until it’s time for us to go out.
Today we’re going to an art gallery with friends because there’s a children’s exhibition on that’s all about light. The little girls get to have a nap on the trip.
Interacting with a giant kaleidoscope. Miss 8 is wearing an outfit she made for herself.
You can see yourself in it and change the image when you move.
Light play! Miss 2 especially loves the light tables and all the bits and pieces to put on them.
There are also projectors and different loose parts to play around with.
‘Pirate ship in the sea’ sculpture by Miss 8.
This ‘echo table’ was really cool. They enjoyed making patterns with their shadows.
Afterwards, we had a snack outside with friends but then things got a bit hectic. All four children seemed to be running in different directions, there were roads and cars, there were arguments with friends and tears. I was having trouble keeping an eye on everyone let alone comforting people who needed it. The kids were excited to be with friends and not hearing me when I was trying to talk to them. Plus, we needed to get home for ballet soon. I was getting stressed out and frustrated and wanted to go home! Somehow I finally managed to get the message across and we headed back to the car, a few of us grumpy.
At the car we had some cuddles and comfort and connection and that helped a lot. We talked and were all feeling much better when we left. On the way home we turned up some favourite music and sang loudly and danced. Mood successfully brightened!
Miss 8 had a ballet lesson not long after we got home. The other girls played together outside. I hung out the washing and found this adorable scene when I came around the corner. I love that they get to spend so much time in each other’s company, building strong bonds. There’s so much love between them.
After we pick up Miss 8 the girls want to play Minecraft. They chat to their friends and play games. The little girls want to chill and watch some TV. Their Dad gets home and we all have dinner together.
After dinner I read some of our current chapter book to the older girls.
The evening and bedtime happens as it usually does, everyone is sleeping by 8.30pm.
And now it’s time for a cup of tea for me!
How was your day?
Thank you for sharing your day. I love seeing how learning happens in different houses. The light exhibition is just define. My boys would love it. The post felt very real, especially about sharing your struggles.
Oh I’m glad it was helpful ❤
This is so great! I’ve never read that your girls watch tv, and it’s so nice to read that! Because mine do the same in the morning and afternoon. I guess I felt like that was too much…
They weather is amazing here today and we went for lovely bike ride down our favorite trail, all was good until my 3 yo got tired and couldn’t keep up with the rest of us. I got a little frustrated and raised my voice. He cried the entire way back, it was challenging! But once we got back to the car I gave him some water and tried to stay calm. But then the biked bumped his head and it started all over again!
Oh so hard those big feelings!
Love your blog and we really love unschooling and wish I had discovered it sooner. Understanding what we are doing is still very much a challenge for our families. I however feel totally immersed and am amazed at all the learning that has happened for me, let alone my children! We are into year two of this new found lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. It is so exhilarating!
Oh I’m so glad! Such an amazing life.
Thank you so much for sharing! I would love to know what the animal book is that you and Miss 8 are reading?
Hi Ashley. That’s our fav one! Here: http://amzn.to/2uMXaoJ
Wow, amazing light exhibition! Also love Miss 8’s dress she made, so cool.
I really enjoy your blog and the photos as well. It may be very off but I was wondering if you have a favorite company you buy your daughters’ clothes from? I really like the colorful leggings and the little dresses with flowers. 🙂
Oh I’m pretty sure those ones are just from Target! 🙂
I love these day in the life posts. They really help to reassure me that the days where others think we do ‘nothing’ we’re actually doing a whole lot of important stuff, which often gets overlooked.
Thank you 🙂
Today the big boys (8,6) and I went to a production of Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat at the local Steiner school, while Mr. 2 hung out with Nana. Followed by lunch with friends, an outing to Kmart for some new Lego and a costume. The rest of the afternoon was spent building and playing with the Lego, and a dress up game with one ‘shadow assassin’ and one ‘cloud assassin’!
Tomorrow we will be playing in the forest with friends 🙂
I always feel like I miss so much when describing our days, because so much is not what we are doing but what we are discussing – lots of discussion about politics in the car when we are going anywhere at the moment!
YES!!!! So many car discussions!!
It all looks so idyllic. Clearly your children feel upheld and loved. It was delightful to read about your day.
Oh thank you ♥
It’s amazing how similar your day is to mine! Every day is a little different but our rythmns are very similar. For some reason that comforts me! 😄 thanks for sharing!
I know this is 2years old, but I have been considering unschooling. I pulled my kids out of school 4years ago and have done cyber school, but it’s just as stressful for me and the kids. EVERY day there’s tears 😢and stress. Learning isn’t fun it’s torture. They have to sit 6 hours to get it done by friday. It’s to much. This is what I want our home to look like. Thanks for this !