We are just embarking on unschooling our little girl K who is 5. While this may sound strange to those already on the unschooling path (yes, of course she has been unschooling since birth!), I have been home educating my older three boys for seven years and have LOVED the idea of unschooling but have often felt obligated to their other parents to "produce" school work-type stuff as proof that my experiment, as it has been called, has been effective in giving them a good enough education. As it turns out, this was not necessary as I have yet to be questioned about anything educational by either of the other two parents.
Needless to say, it is all rather exciting. I am very inspired, mostly by K herself as she has had a massive leap in mental/intellectual growth in the last couple of months. The questions coming up are amazing. My favourites are "What does encourage mean?", "What does the word attitude mean?" and "What does wouldn't mean?" These are just ordinary words but it shows how she is thinking and incorporating those words into her vocabulary.
I have been sourcing things, events and ideas to strew in front of her to see where they will lead. It is a lot easier at this age to start the strewing process because they are pretty much interested in everything. As I only came onto the concept of full unschooling when the boys were probably 13, 11 and 9 they would often look at me weirdly when I suggested things, wondering what the educational value was behind the idea - ha ha. I am a LOT more subtle than I used to be although it is also becoming much easier because I am presenting it from a place of interest and passion on my behalf rather than I need to share this with the boys as it's educational.
So K, my husband and I have been to a dip, dip, dip day at Mt Penang Gardens where we made grass heads, sailed seed pod boats, had water bomb fights and dip netted. We have ridden bikes from The Entrance to Chittaway Bay and played in a sensory park at Long Jetty, surfed at Shelly Beach and collected a great array of rocks, shells and sticks from along the beach. Today we visited the Hunter Wetlands Centre where we met up with a lovely group of ladies from Playdates for the Planet, a group of preschool aged kids with excursions that are ecofriendly. Upcoming events include a visit to an organic farm on Saturday with lunch as well - yum!, a train ride with lunch at the other end (public transport), Fig Tree Gardens and a visit to a Nursery among other things. How can a child fail to learn?
We have also made up a big poster with about 60 things on it to do this summer inspired by this blog. This has been a real winner and we already have about half of them with stars on them. It's just a great reminder to add lots of fun to our life.
With K growing up so rapidly, I have had a mini epiphany. As the older boys went to school around this age I remember vividly the separation between our minds, like we had lost a connection or something and I put this down to them being at school all day. Before they went to school I was so in tune with them, seeming almost to meet their needs before they became obvious even to them. With K, we are even closer as she has never been to preschool and has only been away from me for a dozen days in her life. I tend to be very finely tuned in. But today, as we drove away from the Wetlands, she was sitting in the back and I was covertly watching her in the rear view mirror. She was so far away in thought and I was fascinated watching her face process all of these thoughts. Suddenly she came out with something so far from anything I was thinking that it hit me. It is a developmental thing that they start processing their own thoughts, it's not that they have a larger influence elsewhere. I am very excited to see this happening as she is turning into her own person, if that makes sense. I love to see the connections she is making between all of the experiences she is having.
Looking forward to more of the same this year.
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