It’s vacation, so what are we doing? A whole lot of not so much. I have a feeling when all four kids are home we’re going to stop observing school vacations, but for the time being we’re going to go with it. It only makes sense when we’ve got one still in school.
So what have the kids done today? The same thing they’d do every day, if you gave them the chance, play Minecraft. This is incredibly in line with the unschooling thing. I’m not directing them on what to build. It’s an exercise in cooperation, given they’re playing on console, not the computer (which is how I’m able to be writing this at the same time). A good deal of what they do is conflict resolution. They don’t always get along. It’s always in creative mode, but they like to come up with stories for their building. They also like to create their own houses and to live as neighbors, which sometimes means getting in each others way. I have had to institute a couple of rules (like no TNT), but for the most part I let them go and do their own things.
As for the writing part, I’m not just talking about me. Corde has started her own blog as a part of trying to get her into writing more. You can check it out at Jolteon Fan Fic. As the name would imply, she’s writing fan fiction, though her current project is really more of a creative writing project. I haven’t edited any of her work, so it’s all in it’s raw form, spelling mistakes and all. I’m hoping over time she slowly improves, but that blog will help show her progress. It’s also cool for her to get her ideas out.
And the guitar playing? That’s all me. How can I show my kids how to follow their passions and learn new things if I don’t live by example. Playing guitar doesn’t come easy to me, and I’ve had to work really hard to learn what little I have. I’m really struggling through it, but I’m learning, slowly. I think that in itself is a lesson. I’ve taken a few months off because my skin has been doing what my skin does. It was painfully bad for much of the winter. Now I’m picking up where I left off, which isn’t exactly easy. I have to work hard at it. It would be different for my kids to see me do something I’m good at, something that comes naturally to me, but now they see me working and working hard.
That’s a part of this whole unschooling adventure too. The kids need to see me working on things I’m learning. They need to see me following my passions and learning things that are new to me. If I want my kids to be readers, I need to do more than just read to them. I need to show them that I read too. If I want my kids to follow their passions and work hard at learning something new, I need to work hard at learning something I’m passionate about. If I want them to take on challenges, I need to be willing to do the same. Whatever I do, I’m modeling what adult life is to them. And how can I expect them to do things I can’t even do myself?
Over the next few months I intend to start working on things I’ve been meaning to do again. I’m going to be picking up my guitar more often. I’m doing yoga every night, and I’m going to start working on doing yoga in the morning too. It’s an intense workout, but I’m never going to build up to it if I don’t just do it. Once we’ve got the chance to get a couple more dance DVDs, I plan on getting back into dancing too. (Yes, I know, as a belly dancer I should be able to make up my own practices, but without a DVD to follow, I tend to get lazy about it…)
This is something I think a lot of people don’t realize about unschooling. It’s a lot of work. It’s not just work in getting kids to do something more than playing video games all day. It’s also work because you have to model for your kids what you want them to do. If you live by example, they’re likely to follow. If you show them that you never do anything hard, never follow your passions, and do nothing but veg out all day, why would you expect them to do any different.
When I set out to write today I didn’t think I had anything to write about. Nothing special happened today. It was just more of the same, with a little more arguing than usual. There were no shocking revelations, no incredible moments of understanding. It seemed like just another boring day in our house. I had no idea I’d be the one to have that incredible moment of understanding myself. This is why I absolutely love being an unschooling family.