14 March 2011

unschool monday :: observing


It's been an interesting ride, this unschooling thing, of late. Our owlets teach us so much... One of my favourite things about unschooling is that we ALL learn together and from each other. The big learning curve for me has been standing back and observing. Even when I felt like there wasn't much going on and that my perceived loss of connection with big owlet was creating problems, there was other stuff happening for her. Growing and changing and learning in her own way. As I mentioned, we lifted screen restrictions completely and rode out the first couple of weeks of screen overload and it seems she is able to self regulate after all...

I've learnt that if I'd stopped worrying about what she was doing (or not doing), and stopped to observe her learning process, I'd have a whole lot less to worry about. While we were fighting over how much time big owlet spent in front of the screen, she was also making her own films. She filmed herself doing just about everything, like drifting off to sleep. Curious about what she looked like, the process of capturing herself on the screen. It was like a total emersion unit in all things screen related and had it been something like books I'd have been so much cooler with it. But it wasn't and I wasn't and now I know.

So I'm spending less time facilitating their learning and more time observing it. As new opportunities arise, I make sure they have access to them. I do think about things that they may be interested in and strew their paths with interesting bits and pieces, but really they are finding their way so well on their own. And whether or not it makes sense to me is completely irrelevant.

little owlet: knock, knock.
huz: who's there?
little owlet: chicken
huz: chicken who?
little owlet: because the pirate said so!
huz: that doesn't make sense.
little owlet: it doesn't have to. It's a joke. It's supposed to be silly! (like duh)


So Autumn is here and I always find the start of a season a good time to start things afresh. We usually begin with a seasonal table and instead of setting it up beautifully with a few sparse items and guarding it for a week before the owlets start dumping bits and pieces on it, I decided to take a different approach. I put a piece of fabric down and a few bits and pieces, like a faerie and some toadstools... then I observed. Tiny seasonal bits and pieces started arriving, like little apples and walnut shells. A bunch of leaves just starting to turn. Then big owlet found a box of wax and they began modeling little gnomes and spent the rest of the afternoon playing and storytelling. Sometime during the week, I'll tidy it up a little and the process will begin again.


At the moment, strewing means I'm the social director. It seems to be more about making sure play dates happen and trips to town than bringing home a book from the library. On the latest trip to town, big owlet asked me why women carry handbags and men don't. On every outing since, she's packed a handbag with a play phone, lip gloss, a set of keys... she asked me for some old make-up to play with. My initial reaction is of discomfort - seven year olds don't need make up! But when I stand back and observe, remember that it is her learning process, not mine, I can see that she is thinking about what it means to be a woman. Something we've talked about lots. And I can see that if I stop trying to show her the way, but observe and help her find it on her own, she'll be an amazing woman indeed.



  1. LOVED the singing lessons. If only I could sing that beautifully.

    It is so amazing the things we learn about our children when we can get our of their way. We have no restrictions on computer time (we don't have a tv) and my son (who is 4 1/2) will often turn it off and say "I've had enough" and then he wants to do something else. And while he's on it he is learning songs. Music seems to be a big passion and so he is absorbing as much as he can from all the songs he learns and then he turns around and tells me he needs to make a CD. This involves many tracks, song titles made up by him...and the songs made up and sung by him. I realize that he is learning about songwriting. It's incredible how great his songs are at 4 1/2 and they are all made up just out of his head.

    Anyway, just wanted to validate your offering for today. Letting them find their way sure does feel better than attempting to control them. (Which never works anyway).

    Happy Monday,

  2. Hooray for Big Owlet self-regulating TV! I know it's something you've struggled with..

    Gorgeous photos.x

  3. X's hair is sooo cute!! She is looking so grown up. Ive been doing lots of observing lately too, in fact Im just about to link to unschool monday about it! Glad to here the screen time has worked out for the best, scary at first hey, phew.

  4. This journey you're on is amazing, Lauren, and SO inspiring. Imagine. Just observing. Being part of it all and yet separate—letting them be… Look at what comes. It's stunning.

    I love Big Owlet's singing lesson! Imagine her filming her own sleep. I know what you mean about, 'if it had been books.' I have that bias as well. But now you know and now I see, too!

    I love your gentle musings, Lauren. Your discoveries and stories. I completely love coming here.

    Now for a technical question! I'm wondering about the linky button, maybe you could help me? I can't see anyone else's links. It says 3 entries so far, but I can't click on them. I couldn't last week either. It's like a treasure hunt and I've lost the map! I hope you can help. I so love reading everyone's unschool monday thoughts. :)

  5. Ah, there all the links are—Hooray! Thank you, Lauren!

  6. Oh Mama Owlet how I do love this! I've got a bad case of the jitters and you've balmed my soul.

    Thank you.


Share your thoughts...