Today I decided to get out my camera (unusual for me, I typically just snap photos for Instagram and my own records when I remember on my phone) and document a day in our life. I’ve always loved reading about other people’s unschooling lives, so I hope this is enjoyable for someone!
Every day looks SO different as an unschooling family. Today was a home day and started with Cameron (now 8.5) and Lucy (6) grabbing themselves breakfast while I breastfed Ava (2) in bed and got her ready for the day. Once I got up, I made them a platter of fruit and vegetable snacks for while they played. Since I started making platters it’s made food much easier. I just put them in the fridge and they bring them out when hungry. Cam fed our pets with me amidst this too.
Their interest in Pokemon has came back lately with all three of them playing role playing. This game revolves around pretending to camp and I popped in and out while I had my own breakfast and did dishes.
Speaking of having a day with no plans, after breakfast Lucy asked for me to read some books we got from the library. The first of which was called ‘Today We Have No Plans’. I thought it would be a story about having lovely days that we could relate to. I was wrong, haha! I won’t link the book as I wouldn’t recommend it but it details a full week of unhappy childhood with school and grumpy, busy parents and plans. It concluded with how their Sundays finally felt relaxing and fun and free. Cam commented “this is just sad, that’s our days every day,” and oh how I’m glad my kids feel that!
Our weeks have a rhythm with soccer practice on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and soccer training and game every Saturday. Cam does violin lessons each Wednesday and Lucy’s occupational therapist visits every other Wednesday. Almost every Tuesday and Thursday we meet with our unschool group at various locations (nature, parks, discovery centres, art gallery, zoo, beach, museum, science centre, botanic gardens, roller skating, bowling, ice skating, trampolining, etc).
But the days themselves vary as much as the people living them do! Our time is spent following their interests and needs with much play.
Last night Cam and his Dad watched a premier league game together and Cam recorded the stats like how he saw they did on TV – as well as some visuals of his own. These stats refer to goals, minutes, penalties, half time and the teams. He showed me these and worked on a game plan diagram while Lucy drew and Ava played with her doll.
Soccer has been a passion of Cameron’s for years and he loves it in all capacities – playing, training, playing virtually, watching and lots of discussions of strategy.
Lucy drew an abstract drawing of houses inspired by shadows. I pointed out the symmetry in it after I read Rosie Revere, Engineer, which I really recommend. Cam loved how it said “The only true failure can come if you quit.”
Next they ran outside to play and I tidied up and put some washing on. I could hear the giggling from my kitchen which I can see them from. Outside we have a large swingset, trampoline, mud kitchen, bikes/scooters and balls. They spend time outside daily, often after periods of sitting playing, on computers or doing art. They tend to naturally cycle through activities that are active and those that are more focused; naturally following their bodies needs.
They’re often exploring, here Lucy excitedly showed me furry leaves and seed pods she found on a vine on our fence while I was preparing an experiment Cam asked me to help him get. Downstairs we have our laundry and a small multipurpose room we have turned into a little art studio. Lucy also checked on some paintings she is working on.
Cam followed the instructions on a water filtration kit and watched what happened with different filtration mediums. Here it was sponges and coffee filters. He noted how slow it was and inefficient – it didn’t remove everything.
Ava generally follows along with what each of us is doing observing and playing. She’s at an age now where it’s clear how much her understanding is expanding and she’s often asking “what?” and “why?”
Meanwhile, Lucy had grabbed a crystal excavation kit she bought on the weekend and was busy hammering away. Lucy really loves sensory things and learning hands on.
We got a bigger tool from their Dadda’s shed to to the job quicker, ha! We talked about how crystals are formed and found. Crystals are something that has come up more than once over the years so she already knew a lot. That’s one beauty of unschooling is that they learn naturally in a non-linear way – different topics are visited and revisited as they become meaningful and interesting to them!
Cam started on the next stage of his water filtration experiment with layers of quartz, granite and charcoal. He doesn’t often need my help to do experiments anymore but definitely loves discussing them with me and having me look up more information as he does them.
He is definitely a verbal learner and he really enjoys discussing everything he is learning and hearing me do so too. He’s much more likely to talk and talk and talk about what he thinks and saw and learned than he is to write it down. But he still retains all the information because it’s all led by him and that’s how he naturally processes things.
Lucy viewed her crystals under our 3D specimen microscope. She decided to ask to borrow our friends rock tumbler to smooth the rough specimens she uncovered.
I love that to them, learning is all play. No coercion, expectations, testing or manipulation. Cam was exploring so many concepts through his own experiments with this kit and sharing several hypotheses.
Here Cam was talking to me about the gaps between each medium and how he could see the drops were already clear by the second section.
Next I played with them on the trampoline where we played a game of trying to make each other laugh and I raced around with them on my back. Good exercise for mama! It was lunch time by then so we grabbed some food and headed inside.
Like I said earlier, Lucy loves sensory input so that chalky block that hid all the crystals to excavate? That got smashed up by Lucy into a fine powder and even managed to get through her hair so it was bath time! I helped her clean her hair while Cam and Ava continued playing.
Lucy then jumped on Minecraft for a bit and played while eating more lunch. Our kids have a chat room where they privately can talk with their friends through their headphones (I highly recommend their headphones for those who game and want wireless ones!) and work on things together. I love that they can play and socialise between seeing each other!
Then Dadda came home after his oncologist appointment somewhat early. Whenever he comes home from work the kids all generally go outside and play soccer and games together with him while I have a hot cacao and a moment alone.
They then read more library books – this time with Dadda. Lucy likes to copy Cam learning to read lately (photo from earlier in the day because I was showering). Cameron prefers an adult reading chapter books to him lately.
Before we knew it, it was 4:30 which means Cameron’s soccer training. He trains 3 times a week (once before his soccer games on Saturday’s). His passion for soccer is so inspiring to me. It’s something magical to witness.
The girls stayed home and baked banana bread with Mike. Ava watched on as Lucy measured out and mixed all the ingredients. She really enjoys baking.
After soccer we came home to dinner which was leftovers – much easier for these late nights! Then while I wrote this blog post, the kids watched TV with Mike before getting ready for bed. We don’t do bedtimes but they were all asleep around 8PM tonight.
Tomorrow we are meeting with our unschool group so now I’ll prepare for that!
Thank you for reading!
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Hello I love your lifestyle and your way of parenting. I was just wondering how you would deal with if one of your children wanted to go to school? Would you allow them to make their own decision or would you keep them home because of the terrible school enviornments? I hate the school system but tv and movies show kids that school is fun and normal. So my daughter shows interest in going.
Thank you for this post…..it is inspiring. We homeschool and I border on unschooling but with the constant tug of fear…..fear I am messing them up, fear they are missing out etc. I even lean close to your respectful parenting which is the way I began to parent when my first was born but again out of fear (constant criticism too) I changed and followed the norm which brought out a controlling nature with fruits that arent pleasant……how do I go back to listening to my gut….to unschoolling and respectful parenting without fear…..with schooling at the moment my fear is around technology…..with all the talk about how bad it is yet t.v. and playstation are what my children are drawn to at the moment (possibly used as an escape while I went through my micro managing)….I read your post on no boundaries too…..do you have no boundaries with t.v. and technology too….any feedback will be appreciated I am trying to be intentional in getting back to where I started. I read in a post that you say you are a non-believer yet I see so much of Jesus in the way that you parent…..it is uplifting.
Renee Harding says
Please tell me what trampoline you have! I love that it has a cover. I’ve never seen one like that.
Thanks! It’s always nice to see other folks unschooling days! We see the same sorts of things here: learning is reinforced by real life as it comes, all the kids have different ways of approaching problems, everyone is having fun!