24 July 2012

How the Kids Ruined my Learn Nothing Day (again)

Well before I had chance to stop them the two older ones had pulled out a book of worksheets from goodness-knows-where and started doing number matching and addition with money respectively!  Oh well, I thought, there goes another Learn Nothing day.  I mean, seriously, even if I was aiming for "nothing that looks remotely like learning to my dad" we failed before breakfast.  Must try harder.

When the little ones were busy picking up the clean clothes they had kindly emptied out, Jenna and I watched an episode of (yes, slightly unsuitable) The 4400.  We ended up talking about civil liberties in different eras, especially relating to the (black American) South Korean veteran finding the world now so very different to his life in the fifties.  History and politics.  Drat.
I had a bad case of "need to get out of the house", so we went for a walk.  More fool us, we chose a place that had inconveniently decided to have a fayre showcasing local heroes, from the emergency services and so on.  I was quite determined not to learn anything I didn't have to (OK, really, not to spend money on the giant slide that only one child would actually want to come down, or spent unnecessary time in large crowds) so we walked around the lake instead.

We were doing rather well until we found a big sign about ice on the lake, and had one of those horribly educational (normal natural) conversations about why ice forms differently depending on how deep the water and how low the temperature and what plants are growing under the water and so on.  It took in climate around the world, how ice depth can be measured, how plants breathe, how to safely cross ice if you really really have to, and how much snowfall Estonia had last year.


The children "helped" Martin make a raft out of sticks, built a pretend campfire, listened to echoes, watched dragonflies mating (don't you just love having kids who ask those kinds of questions at the tops of their little voices?), and found a HUGE fish happily hiding out in a dark spot.  "It breathes through its GILLS, Morgan!"  Shh, Jenna!
In the car, I worked out that because of the kind person who gave us their parking ticket as we arrived, I had enough money for us to go out for dinner on the way home.  I mentioned that it has been a long couple of weeks, right?  ;)  In the restaurant, Jenna was trying to read the French and Italian vintage menus in a frame on the wall.  I asked her how often I say we have money for dessert, and she replied in a percentage, and explained to me that "percent" means "out of a hundred", so we converted some percentages into fractions out of curiosity (yeah, FAIL, I even accidentally tested my older daughter out of sheer shock that she knew what a percentage was).
Back at home, Rowan found an old picture of me with my family, and we ironed out some confusion about the passage of time - ie that the "mummy" was Grandma Rhoda, and the little girl she was determined to think of as Jenna was in fact me, and the little boy she thought was herself was my brother Jay.  Then we went through the fun "when I'm a baby again" conversation with the three year old.

Morgan:  HOW many times do I have to tell you, we are NOT growing small!
Rowan:  Well *I* am.
Morgan:  No, we all get OLDER.  We all grow UP!
Rowan:  I'm getting small.  I'm going to be a baby again.

Okaaayyy.  Oh and now Morgan is watching Mythbusters.

Every single year.  Even though I believe that we're learning all the time, we *definitely* have days when it doesn't *look* like we're learning anything.  And believe me, there are days when I panic and look really hard.  ;)  But every year I think, ha, Learn Nothing Day, I bet we do it this year - or at least Learn Nothing Visible.  And every year they only go and look like they're actually getting a school-hours-full-time "proper" education.  *sigh*

I'm not sure whether they are secretly proving my point, or deliberately making me look bad, or what.  It's so confusing.  Maybe next year, eh?  ;)


  1. Just marvellous and to think my poor son is tied to a booklist and curriculum from his ever helpful "teacher" mum!! Pip might just escape all that as I'm determined to keep her under the radar!

    Well done for such an intersting "Learn Nothing Day"

    Hugs San xx

    1. Hey, no beating yourself up! You're facilitating the kind of education you feel he needs right now: for *his* needs and *his struggles right now!

      My panics and wobbles aside (haha) I think my point is as soon as I think one way "isn't working" how I think it will, it does all over again. :S They seem to learn plenty - almost always in spite of me, whatever philosophy I'm swinging towards. ;)

  2. I love days like this, more so if they are not planned.

    1. :) I rather like the days when I make plans and they actually work out - but I've got to come to terms with the fact that only two of the six of us work like that (and I'm not one of them)!

  3. Oh dear! Those pesky kids scuppering your plans! ;) and btw, was going to suggest the 4400 to you, I watched it many years ago and loved it (I now own the complete boxset) - so much so that when I first started watching Heroes, I'd get annoyed with it and I felt the 4400 had already been there, done that. Ultimately they take their own course and I do really enjoy heroes, but the 4400 continues to capture my imagination far more than heroes, and I think it holds up to repeated watching far better.

    1. Yes, I watched the 4400 first too and kept doing the same! I've just decided I'm OK with Jenna watching with me.

  4. I find that they seem to learn best when things flow freely and naturally.There is this conditioned feeling that I should be structuring, strewing, planning etc... but there they all are doing it (learning) anyway.
    Sometimes it seems when I try to involve myself more it's like throwing a spanner in the works!

    1. Yes, I do often say that the main challenge in unschooling is getting myself out of their way (and getting out of my own way too)!


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