Friday, November 2, 2012

Look What We Almost Missed While I Was Yelling at You to Finish That Worksheet . . . or . . . Why I Lean a Little More Toward "Unschooling" Each Day

My kids are outside again in the middle of a school day -- even the seventh grader. Outside playing when they should be at school. But they aren't really playing. They are standing awestruck, witnessing a quiet miracle of nature, seeing it unfold before their eyes right in their own backyard.

All morning they kept sneaking outdoors to see if it had happened yet. Eventually they stationed Julia outside with Wenxin's camera -- ready to video at a moment's notice. Finally, Nathan informed me that if I wanted to see it happen, I should drop everything and head out the door immediately.
I could have kept plowing through my plan for the day. I could have insisted on doing the next math lesson in the book. I could have made them stay on schedule.
But then we would have missed this.

It was amazing -- way better than studying the life cycle of a butterfly from a book.

I will probably never be an unschooler. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, unschoolers believe in letting a child learn naturally. Instead of using formal curriculum and traditional instructional methods, unschoolers let a child initiate his own learning and follow his own passions.

We have curriculum. A lot of days we follow a lesson plan. And we have books - tons of them. Unschoolers we aren't.

But the longer I homeschool, I find myself leaning toward less structure, not more. Wanting a lifestyle of learning, instead of a homeschool day that starts at eight and ends at three. Praying for kids who love to learn instead of kids who memorize for the test.

Look at Katherine and Julia in the photo above. They are engrossed in the film Julia just made of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis in our own backyard.

They are learning.

And for just this once, the math book can wait til tomorrow.

Little by Little


  1. Awesome! What a beautiful moment. Good job, Mom! :)

  2. Love this!! Last year in my first grade classroom we had butterflies for our lifecycle study - one morning in the midst of morning meeting a kid calls out "they're coming out!!" and we threw the schedule aside and spent the next 45 minutes on our tummys around the tank watching nature with our own two eyes!! Great photos and great learning!!

  3. It is amazing to watch. We've done the butterfly kits, but I think finding it in nature is way better. Good for you letting them have that moment. I'm working on relaxing myself. :)

  4. Love this! :) I could never be an unschooler either....but I definitely have leanings toward one. This looks really fun!


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