November and December are so full of birthdays, holidays, special occasions, and extra curricular activities, that we have scheduled a two month break in our normal schooling. We are halfway through. I call it a break because we’re breaking from the normal math, writing, etc, but you know that learning is always happening. Right?
I have one “academic” goal for these two months. I want to read with the kids three novels: The Giver, Tuck Everlasting, and Doctor Dolittle. We are working through them at the same time to allow for different areas of interest to be enjoyed. The Giver seems to be the favorite for the olders and Doctor Dolittle for the youngers.
Is this enough to be doing for two entire months? Yes. It’s enough because we aren’t just reading the books. We are savoring them. And we are discussing the ideas we read about as we go about our days. It’s like a crash course in good literature and the introduction of new ideas to discover and build upon. Why not enjoy books all year instead? Well, we do. We read a lot. But I wanted to give special time to The Giver since it is such an intriguing story, and while we were busy with the holidays, I thought it the perfect time to read it along with a couple others.
Of course we are doing more than just reading together. That only takes an hour or so a day. We’re also doing a lot of shopping and wrapping, baking cookies and learning new eating habits, (since we’ve found that at least two of us benefit from a gluten free diet). We are playing. A lot. And the ideas we’ve read about or talk about or that they’ve seen on TV shows get played out. It’s great fun watching my comedians kids act out these crazy ideas. It also gives me insight into what they know and where to go from there. I bought each kid a new calendar, and we are working on related skills from memorizing the months to scheduling one’s days. There’s also library trips, visiting people, church activities, theater, dance classes, music practices, Boy Scouts, playing school, emailing friends and family, and even learning to read. Yes. My kids tend to learn big things like reading when we take time off of school. They’re special like that. 😉 Not really. It’s just another proof that learning is happening all the time, and for my family, it happens best when there’s no pressure. That’s one reason I love these breaks and take at least two a year.
I planned this season to be one of really enjoying the holidays. We’re doing that, and we are still learning through life and through sharing of ideas. I imagine unschooling looks something like this. I dont consider us to be unschoolers in the purest sense because we don’t follow this pattern year round, but during these breaks I suppose we could be. We still have a few more weeks before we pick back up with our regular work. I wonder where these weeks will take us? What adventures and new lessons will we encounter? Who will surprise me with some new skill or understanding? I’m looking forward to good things. Oh this journey called education…