Many people wonder how unschooling really works in real life. I know I used to scour the internet for stories about what an unschoolers day looked like. Now that we are unschoolers ourselves, I truly understand what others meant when they said everyday was different, but overall kids learned what they needed.
Today we took a hike as a family and I decided to try to identify learning through the lenses of “school” subjects. A hike is just a hike right? How much can you learn from one hike? Well, if you open your eyes it is so easy to see that the learning is everywhere.
Obviously a hike is exercise, so that is physical education, aka gym, covered. Elijah was picking some different kinds of plant leaves and asking what they were: biology obviously. Like the last time we went hiking, Hailey decided to practice her writing skills in the dirt, and then read us what she wrote. Reading and writing covered. She drew some pictures as well, at least a half dozen of them, so let’s mark art off the list.
We hiked by the Great Miami River and talked about how big this river was; how it went from one part of Ohio to another. We talked about how the other hiking trail we went to last week was next to the same river, even though it was in a different city and explained how that worked. There is some geography for you.
There were some very large, very old trees to be seen. We chatted about their age and how long they had been growing. Some basic history checked off this imaginary list. Hailey decided to pick flowers for each of us while hiking. She counted each one as she picked it, then decided to keep track of how many she had given each of us and the difference between us, as well as how many more she would need to get to a certain number. Real world math-check.
We found a spot close by the river and went down to explore. The kids were tossing in pebbles and sticks; what floats, what sinks? Papa showed them his skipping rock skills: physics and basic scientific method being touched on here.
A bit further down we spotted some geese and a few deer. We observed them for a few minutes. They were pretty. Animal biology is always a winner for the kids.
So there you go. In a matter of a couple of hours of a kid paced hike we managed to naturally touch on many different schoolish subjects. Questions were asked, critical thinking ensued, curiosity peaked. Learning through living, no force, no trying to hide learning. Unschooling is amazing.