unschooling: home

most of my unschooling posts are from adventures out and about but the majority of our unschooling really happens in our home or from everyday living. a principle of unschooling i love is that learning comes from life. it comes from doing and everyday curiosity. it comes from letting my girl get into just about anything she has the motivation to. this results in an extremely messy house most of the time.

but darla reminds me often that “messy is about having fun” so we get into things a lot. and i try to use everything, all the doings of our life as teaching moments.

here are a few moments from this past week: darla drawing heiroglyphs on our concrete porch, drawing observations in her nature journal of a caterpillar she found, studied and played with for a few hours, and learning to play checkers {and re-learning for me} at our local coffee shop.

thanks for checking in on our unschooling this week.

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what is unschooling?

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since i’ve been passing our summer adventures off as unschooling i’ve received lots of questions about unschooling, mainly: what is it?

the truth is, i don’t know exactly. My first exposure to the idea of unschooling was on a tv program called extreme parenting. when i first saw it, probably due a bit to dramatic tv editorial, i thought it seemed very strange. but something piqued my interest and i began to poke around on the internet for more information.

i follow a couple of blogs {here and here} that employ unschooling in their homes. with the homeschool movement back in full force, unschooling now seems like not such a big leap.

what has appealed to me about it thus far is that it allows me to educate darla in a very fluid way. i don’t have to prepare intricate lesson plans. i or darla can determine an activity or adventure for the day and we “see what we can see. find what we can find.”  also, unschooling just makes sense to me. children learn by doing. children learn by seeing. children and ADULTS learn by gravitating towards their natural interests.

but i admit i am just now starting to really dig my fingers into the research. i just picked up my first two books on unschooling. i hope to follow these up with more. See, i’m unschooling myself.

i’ll share what i find out. then you can read if you want to and unschool yourself. or not.

unschooling: ohio historical center outdoor session

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dear people of ohio,

take your children to the ohio history center. you’re welcome.

i’m going to tell you about the second half of our day at the ohio history center along with these amusing photos. sound good?

for the second half of the day we visited the Ohio Village. activities like these are a dream come true for me since traveling back in time is my ultimate life goal. before we could actually visit the village we had to dress ourselves appropriately:

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OMG, the bonnets!

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I like to call this next one “Sad Bonnet” because this is when darla faked sadness and said i never take pictures of her. hahahahaha. future darla has now read a whole entire blog composed just of pictures i’ve taken of her. silly sad bonnet girl.

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and in her sadness she declared she did not like the bonnet any more, so i wore the bonnet. and this took me back to the days when i would run around the yard in my own bonnet and prarie dress playing Little House.

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after dealing with the dressing and undressing, we were finally able to cross the bridge over to the magical Ohio Village. a place where all the volunteers think it’s funny to chastise you for wearing shorts and claim you are showing your undergarments. {it’s not funny.}

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indecent exposure aside, that did not stop us from having all kinds of old-time fun. like making lace!

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yeah, darla made lace! can you believe it? she also almost stabbed a woman but it’s cool.

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this was the point in the timeline that i started feeling like the ohio village was really, really rad. i mean, darla made lace!

side note: does it sound cool when i say rad?

next up, more dress up!

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and there it is. a dream come true for me. i finally got to wear a hoop skirt. i cannot for the life of me understand how those things ever went out of fashion. it was so breezy up in there! i want to make my own. i also want to be corseted but apparently i missed the boat on that about 27 years ago.

we rounded out with the druggist, the toy maker and the barn but i stopped taking pictures here. do we really need to see 50 pictures of our day at the ohio village? no. we don’t. although a few years from now I may be lamenting the fact that i didn’t take more pix of that hot, beautiful day. { i think not though. }

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ending on an advertisement for ridding your body of tapeworm seemed like a good idea. so there you go.

also, i’m going to bet that the kickapoo indians never saw a dime of money from this enterprise.

so that’s the end of a fine day of unschooling. the ohio historical center gets a top-notch rating from me for offering us an extremely interactive experience on our first visit.

thanks for checking in on our unschooling today!

unschooling: ohio historical society indoor session

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i’m going to begin this post with a pun. brace yourself.

i can really see myself in that vintage airstream.

oh gosh that’s good. you’re probably embarrassed now that you’re reading that.

but as a matter of fact i can see myself in that vintage bathing suit too. and in that vanity. wait, that’s you. i can see you in that vanity. but i can also see myself and envision a life buzzing about the sweet 50s modular home we toured at the ohio historical society last week. why was i born into the wrong decade?

i guess it’s because i was born when i was so i could birth you at the time you were born and everything is right as it should be. but i’ve never felt very attached to this time period. i’m nostalgic for things i never even experienced. this is weird. don’t be this way when you grow up.

anyway, i want you to know how much i enjoyed this day with you. there was so much to take in at the historical society. i loved watching you check out the 1950s home. i loved the somewhat disturbingly detailed scenario you were making up about it being your house as we went through. it’s pretty rad the entire exhibit was so interactive. at least i think it was…maybe we weren’t supposed to touch things, play with toys and put on clothes…but we did. i wonder if you’ll remember this day. can you stop whatever hover activity you’re doing right now as you read this and come tell me if you remember this day? thanks.

this is just half of the day. we spent the afternoon outside and i’ll post that for you separately.  and one last thing, since a future you is reading this, i hope you will have good news for me that i somehow managed to acquire that bathing suit and airstream from the past. i’m assuming there’s time travel. actually, this blog is a portal.

unschooling: the audubon center

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one of the things i struggle with the most with unschooling is feeling the self-imposed pressure to see that you squeeze every ounce of information from the great resources we have available for free in our world. i often have to stop myself and ask is she enjoying this right now? if she’s enjoying it then she is learning. if she’s not then she is reciting information to pacify me.

this was my struggle when we returned to the audubon center last week. our last trip here was on a monday when the center is not open. i actually love breaking this park up into an indoor/outdoor experience. there is just too much to experience to fit it all in on one day. but you had been asking to return on a day when the center was open ever since so that’s what we did.

you seemed to breeze past all the things i wanted you to explore at first. i could feel myself switching into control mode and i had to take a deep breath and let it go. you really wanted to play dress up in the animal outfits. me thinks those outfits are the whole reason you’ve been asking to come back. once i reminded myself that you are learning by playing i was able to incorporate some substantial information into our play. eventually you became curious and wanted to put a little more effort into fact-finding. we spent a few good hours there playing, looking at exhibits and lunching while reading books about caterpillars and butterflies in the bird-watching library.

i will have to remember that sometimes you’re going to be locked in and intent on information intake like when we went to blacklick and sometimes you’re just going to want to put on a bird costume and run around. both are valid and important. sometimes you’re going to want to read a book and sometimes you will want to veg in front of a movie. both are valid and important.

i want this to be fun for you. i want you to know that the whole world is yours to learn from. it’s there for the taking. i know i need to put the work into myself to remove the expectations i have so that this can be fun for both of us. let’s have an adventure together. let’s let it last all our days.

ps. plus when i let you do what you want it often looks like this


unschooling: mythological creatures park

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if you follow this blog religiously, like you all do, then you know that we { read that as I } have a soft spot for the mythological creatures fountain near the santa maria. it has some official name but i don’t know it. we packed a picnic lunch and spent some time reading, relaxing and building houses for ants.

first, i must tell you: i made the most bomb ass peanut butter sandwiches. they were fresh honey roasted peanut butter with some of our fresh strawberry preserves. i took that picture to commemorate it here forever.

darla ran around the park for a while, then ate and ignored me while I was all crazy and trying to read books to her. she was too busy making “creations” of paper dolls and building houses for ants. i eventually scrapped the books and helped her build her ant homes. it was a smart move to flow where her natural interests were at the moment. i showed her how to make a cube and we had a nice discussion about that. we spent some time looking at the santa maria, talking about boats and portugal and chistopher columbus.

i’ll always remember this unschooling outing as it was the last we’ll have on RuJu. we also learned a valuable lesson about bike thievery while downtown. this is one of those moments that i wish this blog was famous and some bike company would swoop in with a sponsorship opportunity and give me a new one…but no. we’ll get it worked out somehow on our own.

but really that bike sponsorship thing would be handy. can someone work on that?

anyway, thanks for checking in on our unschooling adventures.

unschooling: cherry picking

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we had cherry trees growing up. i used to sit in them for hours and eat sun-ripened tart cherries by the handful. i jumped on the chance to take darla cherry picking this week. if the trees hadn’t belonged to someone else I would have let her climb on up so i could look back on myself as a kid because i’ve somehow figured out a way to reincarnate myself before i’m even dead.

we compared the difference between picking cherries and strawberries and just had nice conversations about the orchards. darla was more interested in meeting new people so i let her do her thing, reminding myself that it’s important she learn from others. it’s always fun to sit back and listen to her discussions with other kids and grown-ups. it’s a built-in assessment opportunity.

and who can pass up the opportunity to have fresh cherries for 4th of july? hello cherry cobbler. darla requested we make some cherry jam b/c our strawberry jam is flying out of the fridge and into our mouths at an amazing pace. i’m also thinking of trying to dry some using the car window method.

one thing is for sure, we’re hooked on these food field trips. i can’t wait for black raspberries!

thanks for checking in on our latest unschooling efforts.