Day 1: An experiment

Today is the first day of our year-long unschooling experiment, the first of our 365 blog posts. I didn’t wake up knowing it would be. I wrote this on Facebook this morning:

[Boy] told me making toast had taken 200 seconds (he was counting), so I asked him how many minutes that was, and he came back with 3 minutes 20 seconds. So then I asked him what fraction of a minute 20 seconds was, and he came back with 1/3. Three (and 1/3) cheers for kitchen table math!

After that he wrote up a worksheet of addition problems, then solved them. I thought, he can do this. He can be in charge of his own learning. He wants to learn. I will help him, when he needs help, I will facilitate, I will be interested, I will read to him whatever he wants me to read, I will take books out of the library that I want to read to him, and ask him if he’s interested, I’ll make some suggestions, but mostly, I’ll stay out of his way.  I will do the same for Girl. They are amazing. I’m going to let them be amazing. And I want to write about it, every day, so that I will remember.

And so this blog will partly be about my kids being amazing. But it will also (sometimes) be about them being awful, and about me being tired or frustrated or worried. It will be about the specifics of what we do in a day, and also about the balancing act this kind of life requires: time and money, their wants and desires vs. my own needs and limitations.

After hours of self-directed activity today, Boy had a real whopper of a melt-down. He tried to hit me, pinch me, even bite me. Because it was time to get ready for ballet and soccer,  because his Dad was making paper footballs with his sister, because…who knows? My sweet amazing Boy, trying to bite me. He fell asleep on the bed. We missed ballet and soccer. I called the pediatrician to get a referral. I felt sick with worry. I thought…maybe I’ll start the blog tomorrow. No one has to know about our worries. But then I thought, no, this is part of it. I can’t leave it out. Even if no one else ever reads this blog, I want to keep a real record of our (almost) unschooling year. And if someone else does read it, because they are curious about what unschooling might look like, how can I leave out meltdowns (even my own)?

Boy woke up, I gave him some dinner while Papa read Girl two stories and snuggled her to sleep, then I read to Boy about how bridges are constructed, until I just couldn’t read any more and he kept reading to himself. Then he read his Lego books. Then he came back out to the living room and talked about…something. Then he finally fell asleep. End of Day 1. See you tomorrow.

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