Gaining Perspective On “Unproductive” Days

When I think of a typical unschooling day, I tend to start blending all the awesome things that have happened over several days into one amazing experience.

There are days for us that are filled with life, learning, and adventure. But more often than not those things are spread over weeks, and in between we have what I often fear are unproductive intervals.

Some days my kids just want to veg out and play computer and watch YouTube videos. Or we have a day filled with bickering and fighting over every little thing and I fear that their attitudes have been soured permanently.

Not every day is hunky-dory in unschooling.

Making value judgments

I have learned through reading other unschooling authors and through practice that when I sense that something is unproductive I need to evaluate whether I am making that judgment based on actual evidence or on my perception of an activity or experience.

Unschooling has caused me to change my perspective on the value of:

Media and Computer Usage

The modern technologies we have available to us are so amazing, and yet only a slim amount of the population actually understands how computers and the internet work. Before I probably would have judged playing video games or online gaming as entertainment only, but I have seen the skills that my girls have obtained from pursuing such activities.

Television and music also play a large part in the girls’ learning. They love picking up little facts from shows and we have had some great discussions that started with something they watched or heard.

Bickering Between Siblings

One attitude can set the entire mood of the day in our family. While I previously deemed days where fighting was seemingly constant and never-ending as shameful and wasted, I now see the benefits of working out differences and learning to love people that you don’t agree with all the time.

Learning isn’t always about knowledge. When my kids argue and bicker, they learn about communication and relationships – which they will need in the real world.

Alone Time and “Decompressing” the Mind

Even though I am an introvert and love my own alone time, I used to be very unforgiving of my children when they wanted to spend time alone, or even just passively unwinding.

I felt that we always needed to be doing something.

But just as adults need time after a long day at work to decompress and refocus, so  do our children. And it is healthy to learn to spend time alone.

So now when one of my children has a day where wants to be alone for a while, I respect that and teach my other kids to honor that as well.

After all, some of my most creative and lucid moments have been when I am looking introspectively or analyzing experiences and events of the past (and future).

So even on days when others might look at our life and think we were very unproductive or lazy – we happen to be learning in spite of their opinion.

What are some activities that you have deemed “unproductive” in the past?  How did you change your perspective about them?

Do you have unproductive days in your home?

~ Aadel

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