Monday, September 14, 2009

Staycation 2009: Unschooling

If I wasn't working full time and then some, I'd be an unschooling mama. Unschooling is like homeschooling, except that sometimes homeschooling implies duplicating a teacher or parent-led formal classroom, with curriculum, textbooks, workbooks, assignments, etc.

The concept of unschooling--as I understand--is following your child's interests, and allowing them to play, create and learn about the world through experiences rather than through memorizing facts and figures. So if a child wants to make brownies, then then by finding and following a recipe, measuring the ingredients, would foster reading, math and science... and it is something they chose to do so they are more motivated learners.

To me, unschooling is a natural progression to attachment parenting, natural parenting and connection parenting, all of which I've embraced in my parenting journey. It also aligns with the developmental approach, that I've learned in my child development and early childhood education classes, and that we do in our childcare program at work.

So, a few weeks ago, I had a week of vacation, but we stayed home. So on the first day of the vacation, or staycation, I asked Maiya to make a list of things we could do at home that were fun. Here is the list she came up with (when I remembered, I marked the days we did each one):
Things We Can Do At Home That Are Fun This Week
  • make playdoh (Tues/Fri)
  • green playdoh (Tues)
  • clay (Tues)
  • play games (Thurs/Fri-Memory Game/Candyland)
  • a little bit of TV (Wed- actually it was a lot that day)
  • origami (Tues/Thurs/Fri-she wanted to do it every day)
  • construction paper (Fri)
  • water painting
  • coloring
  • play in my room a little (daily)
  • play outside a little (Fri)
  • ride my bike a little
  • play in my little house
  • drawing
  • build some stuff with blocks (Wed)
  • do some magnet toys (Wed)
  • cook some pretend food (Thurs/Sat)
  • make snowcones (Tues)
  • read books (Fri, a few mornings & nightly)
Other things we did:
  • Nisei Week Ondo (Sun)
  • swim class (Tues/Thurs)
  • climb the steps/Baldwin Overlook (Tues)
  • Aunt Liz & Family for dinner (Wed)
  • Culver City outdoor concert (Thurs)
  • Jewish Shabbat Dinner (Fri)
  • Ballona Festival (Sat)
By the end of each day, I was exhausted. The first day, Monday, I had a nice day of pampering, going to lunch, a movie and the spa with Lily. I also read a few books, did some work on the house, and worked out a few times. I did enjoy kind of floating through our days without much agenda, and letting Maiya choose our activities from her list. I also took the Monday off of the next week, but we sent Maiya to preschool that day--I needed a day off from my "vacation." Pictures on many of these events to follow over the next several days.


Janet said...

Whew. After a day of unschooling, I'd need a stiff un-virgin drink!
Actually, my dream is to take a year off and road-school. Rent an RV and see the states, learning about things as we get to them, visiting science museums, exploring historical sites, etc. Your sister thinks I'm nuts!

Anonymous said...

Jenni, you are the best mother, ever!
Maiya's Idaho Bubbe