3 October 2011

unschool monday :: juggling

My creation

There's less than an hour left of Monday. This post is late. I know. It's because I've been doing what I do best... juggling. Meeting the needs of three happy owlets, as well as chatting on the phone and eating dinner... you understand. People often ask me how I divide my time so that each owlet gets my attention and so that we get all the learning done...

The truth is, I don't know. We just muddle through. The way we choose to parent and our owlets learn, means that we work towards an open dialogue with them, where each of us communicates what it is we need. Its a family centred approach. As needs arise, other family members strive to make sure they are met. In this way, the owlets learn what they need to and we get things done. So I don't really allocate time, or divide it. We just live and learn along the way.

As for what activities or ideas we strew... they happen so organically. It seems to be more about seizing each moment. For example, the other day, Little Owlet marched up to me at the clothes line, with her gardening gloves on, and announced that she was into gardening. After some digging around, she asked for some plants to put somewhere. Anywhere. So I talked to her a bit, showed her a kids gardening book and thirty minutes later, we were picking out seedlings at the local gardening centre. Then we got home and it was dinnertime, so we didn't plant the seedlings then and there, but we booked a time to do it. And we did. What's followed has been a lovely little unit study in gardening, if you talk about it in education speak.

It can seem like unschooling is all about dropping everything and doing whatever the child needs at that moment... and how do you do that if there are three children? Well, you can't. But you can talk about when might be a good time. And you can make sure you stick to that plan. Follow through. Just as you would for a work colleague or a friend.

So what if an owlet is hanging around waiting for something to happen? Doesn't that mean they lose interest and the moment passes? Not really. If they are keen to learn, they will keep asking. Anyone who's ever met a three year old can attest to this! Just make sure you get back to them. Give them your time when you can. Listen. Say yes. And keep juggling.

The photos at the top of this post show our "classrooms" for the past week. The park, the playground, our back garden, cubby houses and camping tents, the kitchen, a market, pinball, the lounge room... You can see more unschooling classrooms over at Unschooling Sarahs as part of their monthly linkup. Maybe you'd like to join in?


  1. Thank you so much for this post, Lauren. It comes, as always, at just the right time. :) I have a girl who asks all the time, "Can We? Would you? I'd like to—will you do it with me?" I try to say yes as often as I can, but I know sometimes I say, Okay, we'll do it, but then don't follow through…Recently I've noticed, having let our life become busier and busier and busier, that I'm not remembering to help her realise all her lovely dreams and projects. I don't like that at all!

    So we've been talking about planning, about setting aside a proper day or days, a proper time, to do all the things she dreams of. So I can "make sure to get back" to her, just like you've suggested. :)

    Your words make it all seem easier, somehow. You make me feel I will be able to meet all her needs and desires, that I really can be there to help her with her dreams. As always, I am so glad for you and your lovely thoughts, Lauren.

  2. This is a wonderful post, and it captures how we live our life, too!


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