A Collection of my Random Thoughts on Unschooling, Free Play, and Reading

Well, I have spent the last two days in bed. Being sick is not my forte. Alas! I have used my time wisely, though–  I have been doing a bit of research this morning on unschooling and I’m drawn to it for my Little Man.

Whereas Hula Girl has always been drawn to facts, memorization, and asking, “Why,” Little Man is much more likely to be interested in experimenting, observing, and asking, “How?” He is an independent person, and he thrives on problem solving. He is rarely interested in the things and activities I present to him, but he is annoyingly persistent when he wants me to join him in something he comes up with on his own. He is clever and creative, and he loves to figure things out. Hand the boy anything with buttons, screws, or wires, and he will be focused for a good long while.

I think all those qualities are excellent and necessary for a lifetime of unschooling. Unschooling flows naturally when one considers my main goal for my kiddos right now: to give them as much opportunity for free play as possible. Unschooling, like free play, allows children to ask questions and pursue the answers on their own. It allows them to use their imaginations. It gives them plenty of time to ponder and consider and daydream. You betcha I want my kids freely playing as much as possible. And unschooling seems like such a fit for Little Man.

I also want to focus on my kids’ social and emotional development, and some of the things I’ve come across this morning have reminded me what my goals in these areas need to be. Socially, I want to get the kids engaged with people around our neighborhood. I texted our across-the-street neighbor this morning. I asked if she would be willing to allow her son, who is just a year older than Hula Girl, to play outside with Hula Girl, relatively unsupervised, this summer. The kids will be five and six, and I told her I would like to set limits on how far the kids can roam. One positive is that we know (and like!) all the neighbors within those limits. I think this freedom to roam is good for children, and I’m excited that Hula Girl will have the opportunity to play and interact with neighbors without me being right there the whole time.

Another way I want to engage the neighbors socially is by having the kids help me bake goodies and share them. I plan to send the kids next door to the neighbors on either side of our house, who are both retired guys, with plates of cookies or baskets of muffins. I want to have them help me prepare for afternoon get-togethers with other moms and kids who will be invited over just because.

Regardless of our methods of schooling or the ways we spend our days, one activity will not cease: daily reading. Both children enjoy reading tremendously. Hula Girl can read simple stories on her own, but I think we will continue reading out loud to her untik she begs us to stop. 🙂 Little Man asks me to read him books at least seven times a day, and I do! I was thinking about how glad I am to have married Jonathan, as he is a guy who loves to read! Our kids see the example we set and reading is not ever a chore for them; rather, reading is a fun bonding experience and they get to learn about characters and topics they find interesting! I had a discussion with Jonathan’s aunt, who is a teacher, the other night. She has first graders and she said she can always tell which kids are frequently read to and which kids aren’t. The kids who are read to just have such an advantage over the kids who aren’t! I’m just glad we have created a home environment in which reading is normal, everyday, and fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: