An Unschooling Holiday


I crept out of bed this morning just before 7 o’clock and met my kindred spirit, Charlotte in the kitchen.  Neither of us likes lying in bed late. But everyone else… they were all still snuggled up under their quilts, enjoying a relaxing start to the day. No need to hurry. We are on holiday. Yes, our third term of the school year has just ended and holiday atmosphere prevails in our home.

I wonder why holidays mean so much to us even though we are unschoolers?  Haven’t we vowed not to classify our days as ‘school days’ or otherwise because we recognise that learning takes place all the time? Don’t we enjoy our unschooling days together? All that is true. But we still look forward to holiday time.

I was talking about this with the girls the other day.

“Dad will be home for 2 weeks,” said Charlotte. “That makes the holidays special.” Andy is a school teacher. “I’m looking forward to spending time doing things with Dad. We can relax in the mornings because he doesn’t have to rush out the door.”

“And it’s nice to have a break from the few formal subjects we are studying like Latin,” decides Imogen.

“Perhaps holidays are special because we learn different things from normal,” suggests Sophie. There’s lots of learning still going on but everyone seems to spend more time on individual projects that require minimal assistance. Our family learning is put on hold for two weeks.

Personally, I love holidays because I can toss the records book into the basket, knowing I won’t have to scrawl a single note about achievements, progress, plans, learning experiences… for two whole weeks. The records book: an unavoidable nuisance to satisfy the authorities. I am free of it for the moment.

I enjoy strewing and sharing and discussing life with my children. But for the next few days I am leaving them entirely to their own devices. Ordinarily, I make myself available to my children for much of the day: I am willing to read to them, help them with projects, drive them to music and other lessons, arrange trips to the library… But during the holidays I can take time for myself. As we no longer have any very little ones (sigh!), I can blog first thing in the morning if I want to. Or read a book of my own. Or go shopping.

Last night, Gemma-Rose came to say good night. I insisted on a huge hug. “I haven’t seen you all day. What have you been doing? I’ve missed you.”

And it’s true. Although holidays are good, and I enjoy time to myself, I do miss the close contact with my children and our usual routine.

As I cuddled Gemma-Rose, I thought about the term that has just ended and all the things we’d done together. “Didn’t we have fun with our cameras when we went bush walking? And I enjoyed Princess Ida!”

“I liked learning piano with Immy,” said Gemma-Rose, “and reading together.”

“I wonder what will happen next in White Boots,” I pondered.

My youngest daughter’s eyes lit up. “I can’t wait for the term to start so we can continue reading.”

Yes, I am looking forward to another school term too.

But of course, we have our beach holiday first. Seven whole days spending time with the girls, sharing new experiences together. I can’t wait.

We all need a change from our everyday routine.Yes, we all need holidays. Even unschoolers.


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Comments

  1. Reply

    Hi Sue,
    It is a mystery why we call it school holidays, but its down time isn't it.
    Today Brid is reading about Ancient Egpyt and then she dragged out a Roman history picture book. Shall I mark these as schooling??? Or just fun.
    Its nice when the children identify the time they need to spend with there Dads'
    Leanne

  2. Reply

    Hi Leanne,

    Yes, we all need 'down time'.
    However much we enjoy our days together, it's still good to have a change every now and then.

    If my girls read a history book like Brid during the holidays, I will probably not put it down as 'schooling' because then I would have to get the records book out and write something! Lots of learning is going on but it will never be written down because that is one of the wonderful things about holidays: I don't have to worry about recording it to satisfy the authorities!

    I guess all learning is fun unless it is done to satisfy someone other than the person learning. So Brid is having fun and you can count it as schooling as long as you can be bothered to write it all down! Does all that make any sense? I somehow think I am writing lots and not saying much at all!!

    God bless and thank you for your comment.

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