Monday, March 14, 2011

A week in the life of an unschooler

I am very busy. So busy that sometimes I feel like I am neglecting my unschooling 12 year old. So today, I am going to write down what's happened this past week (that I can recall anyway) and see just how bad it is:
Sunday.
She and her friend help out at the launch of a youth group I start at my place of work (an environmental organization).
There, they help put the display boards up and set the table for the refreshments.
When the youth arrive they watch the film "the story of stuff.' After juice and pizza the youth (all older and in high school) gather to discuss what ideas we can move ahead with.
My daughter is unafraid to be one of the first standing up and suggesting that kids like to  "be a part of something that is cool," and that we need to have something to draw other kids to social change - "has to be catchy."
The other kids agree.
They decide that they want to create an anti- ad video for screening at film festivals, schools, and other community groups.
Back home, she pines for a dog. She reads. Plays piano.
Monday
My daughter who likes a little 'self created' structure and a bit of a plan to her day begins the morning by doing some math (with my help) from a work book we picked up at Chapters. She then writes a three page essay on her favorite soccer player, is disgusted that her favorite female soccer play does not even have her own team. She listens to music.
She goes out to the yard to check on her quinzhee hut that her dad and she built. We then head to the library and to get groceries. She pines for a dog.
She does a lot of facebook, talks on the phone, goes sledding with her friend  next door. In the evening she has a piano lesson.
She goes to bed and I read her  Jurassic Park where we learn about DNA, chaos theory, genetic engineering technology and what happens when humans do not understand nor respect natural limits.
Tuesday
She tidies the house, pines for a dog, listens to me read the news, reads a little of Jurassic Park, listens to music and works on her dance routine, reads up on Koala bears and then goes out to check on her hut. Does a little math and makes grilled cheese. Goes cross country skiing with her dad. Her oldest sister has her watch Hetalia (anime manga) and tells her about the cold war and the countries involved in that and more about the axis powers --and how she plans to 'cos play,' (dress up) as England at the spring Anime North conference in Toronto and would she like to come too?
In the evening, we go to a free lecture given by an astronaut ('Planetary Stewardship). She aims to get his signature and she does.

Wednesday,
She helps her older sister decide what to wear to school. She watches a film about wildlife in the amazon, she researches how she can start her own animal rescue group and how she can raise money for WWF. She contacts the WWF to find out how to get her fundraising package.
She decides that drawing might be the answer and she immediately begins a collection.  She does some math. I remind her that she needs to practice piano. In the evening she watches Billy Elliot and learns about strikes, scabs and the tough life of miners as well as following your dream- if you have one. She pines for a dog. She goes to bed with a bed time story (Jurassic Park).

Thursday
We read the news online. Friends come over for French language and drawing. We get bagels at the coffee shop and stop to talk to neighbors. She walks the neighbor's dogs and pines for a dog.At dinner time we talk about GLBTQ rights. In the evening we go to our hip hop class. We read some more of Jurassic Park. She also has another book on the go (How to Steal a Dog) and reads until lights out. 

Friday
She hangs out with her dad. They see what the weather and temperature is like in other parts of the world. They go skating and then to the University where he works. She shows the students how to make buttons for their working group. She has a chess game and nearly beats her dad. She pines for a dog. She reads. She goes on facebook and talks on the phone with her friends. At dinner, we talk about when it is appropriate to intervene if you think a friend has depression. We discuss depression and it's causes. She plays piano, reads and goes to bed.
Saturday
In the morning she goes track and field. We walk back home stopping at the library. She hangs out on the computer.Her sister and she make funny video clips. In the afternoon she goes to soccer and then hangs out with her friend. They dress up in costumes and play spies.  She pines for a dog. They have a sleep over.

All this, and much much more.  It really helped to put this down and understand the breadth of authentic learning: all that living and learning -learning incidentally, problem solving, researching, creating, collaborating, self-directing-that we might not think to account for if we go by the book.

4 comments:

Our Pace said...

Maybe I need to do this.

Anonymous said...

Great idea. We are new at unschooling and worry that we are not doing enough. Will our kids be well rounded enough?

Anonymous said...

@anon- it seems like this child is getting a tailored education-one that fits HER. That is the point of unschooling. Well-roundedness is a 'school' concept not worth bothering with.

rfs said...

The question of well-roundedness comes up time and time again but I can assure you that it is not a true concern. As third commenter said (and I agree) well roundedness is a concept perpetuated by public school thinking which in my opinion shortchanges students and has them ending up less proficient at going after what they are really interested in and as a result-becoming really good at. Well roundedness will steal the precious time you have to become really really good at what it is you really really love.

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