Friday, July 13, 2007

Unschooling: Vacation-Style Learning

Since it's summer and schools are out on break, this question, "Do you take summers off?" finds its place among the homeschool FAQs my kids and I hear. Seems like a simple question, but because people equate learning with school and all its trappings and because we don't "do school," it really isn't.

My first thought is that the truest answer is "no." We don't stop learning after we've clocked 180 6-hour days or because it's June. We aren't burnt out and in need of a break from learning because learning is not a chore when it's driven by imagination, curiosity, delight, interest, or passion sparked from real life experiences -- both the regular everyday stuff and the new and exciting stuff.

However, the question about taking summers off probably really means something more like, "do you take summers off from school work?" The answer to that is a huge "yes!" We have also taken off for the Fall, Winter, and Spring ever since we took Riley out of preschool about 3 1/2 years ago.

I suppose the most honest answer would be to say, "Well, the way we learn actually looks more like a really great summer vacation than like school." Even though the person asking is probably just making conversation, it's always fun to take any opportunity to sew a few unschooling seeds.

In the spirit of vacation-style learning, here are a few of our vacation pictures from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. This was Seth's first trip to the ocean. Riley was 2 last time he saw the ocean and Maya was not even 1. Everything was new for them: the ocean, the bay, the beach, the dunes, the dolphins, the birds, the fish, the boats, the hermit crabs, the palm trees...


Holly Simpson said...

Riley was reading this post and told me he learned something else new today: the difference between "FAQs" and "facts." ;-)

Laurie said...

I couldn't agree more! I get this question many times from strangers and, particularly because of time and the fact that it's really none of their business anyway, I usually just nod yes. But I like your answer - I might have to tweak that and use it myself. ;)

My oldest will be at the age of compulsory schooling this fall and my mother asked me today, "So that's when you'll start doing real school, right? I picked up some workbooks so he can work on writing." uhhhhh, thanks moooom.