Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

The Day the Juice Bottle Mooed


What is our lesson today?  Today we learned that juice bottles can make the perfect “moo” sound.  When you hold it up to your mouth and make a decent sounding cow noise it starts to sound pretty realistic.  It’s kind of awesome.

This is the joy of unschooling.  Lessons happen in totally unexpected places.  Kids are able to have the freedom to explore and create, even late at night.  This particular thing happened just after dinner.  It sparks discussions, like how musical instruments work.  It can be a lot of fun.

And that’s how things work around here.  We don’t have formal lessons.  We don’t plan out our learning.  It just happens while I’m kicked up on the couch with a book, Oz is killing zombies on a video game, and the baby is enjoying his new-found skill of clapping and is learning how to stand up all on his own.  There’s no formality to it.  It’s just fun.

We’ve been watching a lot of television, and in other families that’s not seen as a good thing.  For us it inspires some really great conversations.  I know some families put a lot more emphasis on books, but we’re sadly not a lot of readers.  Television is great because we can all sit down and watch it together, then talk about it.  The pause button is my friend.  We stop movies and shows to discuss things that come up so we don’t miss anything.  What we see inspires games and activities.  It’s just a great time to relax, spend some time together, and learn.

I couldn’t imagine it being any other way!  I can’t imagine how life would be if we had formal classes or if I sent the kids to school.  Our time would be spent very differently.  We wouldn’t have these moments of the kids making very convincing cow sounds with an empty juice bottle.  I would miss out on so much.


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

4 thoughts on “The Day the Juice Bottle Mooed

  1. I think it would all come down to what works for each individual family. Thats one of the things which I really love about your blog. You never push your views or preach why what you do is better than anyone else. You talk about the joys (and sometimes the challenges) of your choice, but (using this post as an example) mention that it is great for you and your family “I couldnt imagine it being any other way”. You do not ‘bash’ other people for going the formal school route. It is a great quality.

    • That’s exactly it! Do I think every family that can unschool should? Well, to be REALLY honest, yes, if nothing else because trying it out could be a lot of fun. At the same time, I totally understand that not every family wants to. Oz thought the same thing with school originally. “The kids should at least TRY going to school once. They might just like it.” He’s since changed his mind. There are huge advantages to every decision when it comes to school. For example, school kids will do things my kids never will, like school dances, and maybe even things like prom. They’re never going to experience traditional school field trips, or will get to write for the school newspaper. At the same time, there’s a lot of things school kids will never get to experience that my kids do. Of all of the options out there, there are so many advantages and disadvantages for each choice.

      The way I see it, I hate it when friends and neighbors say, “You should put your kids in school!” Then list all the reasons why school is so much better. I can’t stand it! If I can’t stand it, why should I do it to everyone else?

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog! It really says something to me that other people are enjoying it. It means I’ve actually got more of a purpose than simply documenting experiences my family has had over the years.

      • I stumbled upon you a few months back. I was – what i call “a silent witness” – you know, someone who is following but does not interact. When I followed it was because the whole “unschooling” thing was SO beyond me. I am HUGE on school, education, empowerment etc, at the time I was kind of like “wtf. this woman doesnt school her kids? wtf is wrong with her”.

        I sat back and read post after post, and I began to understand what you did, and the meaning of “unschooling”. I understood your point of view, learned you have your childrens best interest at heart, and obviously that you are not crazy. What I have come to learn is that a lot of the pre misconceptions stem from the term “unschooling”. I think the best definition I could give is that you are technically homeschooling, but at each individual child’s pace/interest/abilities. You are not sitting at home all day watch soap operas – you interact with them, talk to them, are honest which them which leads to learning..

        I do believe one of the big things is that you are so understanding of each persons choices and do not “bash” the opposing views. You educate on unschooling, while able to see the pros and cons (ie – school dances, proms etc).. I also, do not doubt for one second, if any one of your children asked to go to a formal school that you would deny them of that. I am sure you would talk to them, hear them out, explain things to them, and if they are still all for it, I am sure you would enroll them.

        It truly says a lot about you as a person and a mother.

      • I think you’ve totally proven I’m on the right track! Personally, I HATE the term “unschooling”, yet I use it for a reason. I much prefer “whole life learning” “lifelong learning”, “child-led learning”, and “child-directed education”, but “unschooling is a title that most people use to identify what we do. It makes this a great platform to educate people on what it is we really do. At first most people, like you, have that “WTF? She doesn’t teach her kids?1!?” moment. Over time they kind of start to get it. It starts to make sense, just like it did for you. I hope that I can help build a bigger understanding of this “unschooling” thing from a less…well…confrontational point of view? I know a few unschoolers that are very, well, blatantly anti-anything but unschooling and institutionalized learning, which has led more than a few people to shove their fingers in their ears in a “la-la-la-I can’t hear you!” kind of way when they hear “unschooler” because they think I must hate schools, everything about school, even the idea of school fills me with disgust, because that’s what other people have led them to believe. They’ve been exposed to other unschoolers that make it seem that way. An example that comes to mind is a friend who SWORE (with no evidence to support it, mind you) that MOST homeschoolers get a worse science education than kids in schools because their parents don’t provide it in the curriculum. I argued that my experience was just the opposite, and that there are a lot of unschoolers that pursue science to a much greater degree than their schooled peers ever could, which is true. I’ve known unschooled and homeschooled teens that have taken college level science courses for things they were interested in because it seemed the most logical choice. She HAD to tell me how unschoolers were the WORST because we don’t force our children to learn the necessary subjects to be successful, and that my opinion was purely based on the fact that I hate the school system and want it abolished, so of course I’d make up lies like that. Now, this is a very extreme case, but her exposure to unschoolers had been the reason for her opinion. Her research brought up certain resources (which I’m not going to list because I don’t want to pinpoint anyone for being a bit on the rabid and negative side about any alternative to unschooling), which led her to feel like we were all school hating parents that had a vendetta against the whole system. I’m trying to put out a view of unschooling contrary to that, which shows us as nice, normal families that simply do things differently.

        And who knows? Maybe some family will read my blog and decide that you don’t have to be anti-school, or a huge supporter of the works of John Taylor Gatto or John Holt (okay, okay, so I am, but that’s beside the point) to unschool. It doesn’t have to be about politics or religion. It can simply be about the beauty of sharing wonderful, fantastic, fun experiences with your kids, in finding a lesson in even the simplest of things!

        Hey, I think I just found a mission statement for my life! Putting politics aside to encourage families everywhere to cherish their moments together, use everything as a learning experience, and take every possible chance to encourage their children to be unique, expressive individuals!

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