FAQ: What does unschooling look like?

-A week in the life-

Unschooling looks differently in different families. Each family has its own unique set up, location, income, local possibilities and other contributing factors. What unschooling looks like in our family will most likely not be replicated in your family but I hope you will be encouraged by the variety of activity presented in this weekly reflection and the endless possibilities for learning.

Our current daily rhythm begins with daddy waking up early to his alarm and taking a daily walk or bike ride. Generally, by the time he returns, a combination of myself and Miss 5 and Miss 8 are awake. This is not always the case as our children sleep as long as they need to so, consequently, wake when they are ready. Mr 13 sets his alarm and then decides if he wants to get up or sleep some more. Predominantly, he gets up. We breakfast leisurely and eat well.

Whilst we are entering slowly into the day, Miss 5 and Miss 8, normally watch YouTube on their tablets. Miss 5 likes watching barbie play whilst dressing and playing with her own barbies. This week she has also had a side tray of sensory material available. She has explored play dough, floof, home made slime with hama beads in, kinetic sand, and moon sand. Miss 8 simultaneously crafts. She has spent the majority of this week drawing and painting. She is working on portraits and roses. Mr 13 also watches YouTube. He catches up on his subscription list. It is mostly gamers, pet videos and magicians.

Miss 5 and Miss 8 like to get dressed in the morning. They will change outfits several times during the course of the day, including incorporating dressing up outfits. We will then spend the morning deep in activity together. This week, our mornings have included:

  • Playing with the rabbits and kittens in the garden (daily)
  • Miss 8 dictating a story to me about eight pandas that escaped from the zoo.
  • Miss 5 bathing barbies
  • Sending videos of Miss 8 singing the first musical phrase of a song to her friend because I didn’t recognise it and she thought her friend might know what it was. She did.
  • Dancing in our living room to different songs that we know.
  • Playing on the tyre swing and trampoline.
  • Making a gift box for friends, including home made cards, origami, hama bead gifts and home made bracelets.
  • Unpack our weekly vegetable box. This evolved into a clear out and clean of the fridge. Miss 5 and Miss 8 took responsibility for a shelf each.
  • Making home made slime.

By midday, Mr 11 tends to be awake too. He logs on to his PC and Skypes his best friend. They play Roblox and Minecraft together and discuss current affairs whilst also laughing about toilet grenades.

Mr 13 joined us for a walk in the afternoons. We went to the local woods, climbed trees and played on tree swings. We watched the squirrels and listened to the constant hum of bees and wonder if there is a nest up in the trees somewhere. The children literally roll in the dust and return home with a thin layer covering their bodies.

On the way home, we picked up a dolly pram, that a local resident has placed outside their house for free. We checked on ‘Lockie’ the stone snake that we have been contributing to make longer, that sits on another resident’s front wall.

Mr 13 and I finished watching series 3 of The Big Bang Theory this week. He has been experimenting with different camera settings on his phone and playing with the panoramic view. There has been a lot of adventures in Minecraft with his friend via Discord. They managed to unleash the Wither and subsequently built an underground bunker, for all ten players, in preparation for an attack. He has also set himself to learning to play the piano and downloaded an app to help him, he has played daily since he got it.

Mr 11, Miss 8 and Miss 5 visited friends for a play date. There was gaming, face painting, doll bathing, crafting, and trampolining. Mr 11 and I talked at length on the journey about new games he is playing, the value of the fire service and toilet grenades.

Miss 8 had free reign in the kitchen and has produced one batch of cookies and two batches of cupcakes, all to her own recipe, all delicious.

We got the farm set out and organised all the animals into family groups. We then had a birthday party at the farm.

In the evenings, daddy goes out with Mr 13 or Mr 11 on a bike ride. Mr 11 likes a long ride. We play board games or card games together or watch a film snuggled up. The longer evenings means that all four children play outside on the trampoline late into the evening. They have devised their own game that involves a gymnastics mat and blankets.

Miss 5 and Miss 8 end their day by feeding treats to the kittens and then with stories read to them before bedtime, as does Mr 13.

This is our current rhythm. Every day is different in our house. Most of our time is spent in discussion or negotiations, answering questions, pondering, figuring things out and wondering ‘what if?’ Plans are always fluid and being present and responsive to each moment is invaluable.

Please note that this entry was written during lockdown 2020 and therefore our normal social activities and excursions were unavailable.

Read more:

House of wonders

Frequently asked questions

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

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