We’ve been unschooling since the last millennium. (Wow, that sounds impressive, but really isn’t.) When my second son was born in 1999, I decided I didn’t want to miss any more of the daily discoveries of my two boys, so I left the corporate world and embraced an entirely new lifestyle.
Our unschooling day in 2012 of course doesn’t look like it did in 1999. Actually our unschooling day today doesn’t look like it did yesterday. Unschooling means we meet our needs at the moment, and our needs are constantly changing.
Here is what our Friday looked like on September 7th, 2012.
I wake up for the second time. I was briefly awake when my husband kissed me goodbye around 5:30am. Our Sleepyhouse is mostly still sleeping and is very quiet. I have my breakfast, read, practice healing meditations for my health condition, watch hummingbirds, and check in on Facebook and Pinterest. It is typical that I have early mornings to myself. I believe young teenaged men need their sleep.
My 13-year-old son wakes up. We enjoy hang time on the couch, while his brain defogs. We watch Ned’s Declassified. I share with him my actual junior high experiences and assure him real school is nothing like Ned’s Declassified. I point out that the lead actor playing the part of Ned was actually homeschooled.
With his brain now awake, DS13 informs me he is going down to the game cave in the basement to play video games. What he actually does is wake up our parakeets. He removes their covering and tends to their food and water. I have not asked him to do this. He sees the birds and chooses to meet their needs before meeting his own. Witnessing my son’s responsible act inspires me to tend to the laundry.
I’m baking banana bread. Possibly the aroma brings DS16 out of his sleep coma. I know he was up very late writing. He prefers to stay up later than the rest of us because when our Sleepyhouse is quiet, he enjoys reading and writing. He has several film projects he is currently working on. Some of which are his own, and others are collaborations. He also has been working with a film making mentor. I sit with DS16 while he eats his breakfast, asking how the writing went last night.
DS16 hooks the laptop up to the TV and watches an internet video on film making. DS13 is on the downstairs computer. I feel blessed to have these resources at our disposal.
DS13 chooses to get off the computer and is curious about what DS16 is watching. We all end up alongside DS16, who is now watching an internet critique countdown webisode of the top ten Batman episodes. DS13 and I eat peanut butter sandwiches while we give our opinions regarding the countdown and discuss other top ten lists.
After swimming, we stop at the credit union so the boys can deposit their paychecks. DS16 has a web video business, and DS13 has a pooperscooper and lawn-mowing business. I think its awesome they are young entrepreneurs, and one of them has discovered a way to make money doing what he enjoys.
We get a text: Dad will soon be leaving work. We decide to kill some time in the hospice thrift store. DS16 enjoys being frugal. He finds a few pairs of pants. DS13 prefers to wait in the car, playing games on his iPod. We then meet dad for an early supper of pizza. DS13 spends some of his money playing skeeball, happy to get a high score. I enjoy that we have the pizza place to ourselves. As an unschooler, I love this perk.
We’re back home. DS16 decides to work and write more of his script. DS13 decides to go on the computer and play a game. My husband plays a car race game on a console, buying race cars. I sit beside him and enjoy Pinterest.
DS13 is reading on the couch. Hubby is helping me with wrapping up the remaining daily household chores. DS16 has invited a friend over, and they work on computer special effects and editing film clips.
DS13 heads outside to practice BMX tricks. DS16 is in the basement game cave, still visiting with his friend. My husband and I watch a few episodes of International House Hunters we have on the DVR. DS13 later joins us after about an hour of bike riding.
DS16’s friend leaves and we all sit down with snacks and watch a movie.
I decide to go to bed. The guys tuck me in with nightly prayers, and then head down to the game cave for “midnight” gaming. This is a weekend routine, late night game time with dad. They usually hit the sack around 1:00 or 2:00am.
No Typical Days
I’m frequently asked, by those unfamiliar with unschooling or by new unschoolers, “What does a typical day look like in your home?” There is no typical day. As you see above, our daily quest changes based on our needs and desires.
My boys have grown up as autodidacts. They are young men who take ownership of their own educational choices. I’m still helping to facilitate where needed, but my role has greatly diminished compared to when we first begin in 1999.