Exciting Times, Slow Times and Unschool Holidays

There is nothing more exciting than watching a child who is gripped by a passion.

Early each morning, my 13 year old daughter Sophie knocks on my bedroom door. I invite her in and the first thing I notice is her huge smile. Her first words are always the same: “I’ve got so many things I want to do today. I can’t wait to get started!”

Sophie’s excitement is contagious. It’s also encouraging for a mother. This is what unschooling is all about. I have a child who absolutely loves learning. She is going to do amazing things, I’m sure.

But sometimes a child doesn’t seem excited about anything in particular. “What are you passionate about? What makes you feel alive?” I ask my nearly 17 year old daughter, Charlotte. She shrugs her shoulders and says, “I don’t know…” and I’m tempted to get anxious but I know I should trust.

I talked about these exciting times and slow times in this week’s podcast. I also mentioned the holidays. It’s the end of the official school term, which shouldn’t affect us as we’re unschoolers, but it will. Tomorrow my school teacher husband finishes work and he will be home for two weeks. And this will change our unschool days…

This Week’s Podcast Notes

Blog Posts about Mistakes:

Blog Posts about Sophie and Photography:
Sophie’s photography blog: Dancing Among Daisies
Blog Post about the Unschool Year:

Charlotte and Drawing and 3D Animation:
GIMP: ‘… the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.’Blender: ‘3D creation for everyone, free to use for any purpose.’


You can also find me on my Stories of an Unschooling Family Facebook page!

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    • Vicky
    • September 18, 2014

    Firstly, I'd like to prove that I listened to the end and didn't turn off after the first five minutes by mentioning that I listened right to the part where you mentioned that people might not be listening to the end and might have turned off after the first five minutes! And, no, I didn't skip to the end. I enjoyed the middle bits, too 🙂

    I've been itching to take our children on a round of museums but it's not doable, right now. I hope you will share your discoveries.

    I have worried about a lack of passions before but I guess my real concern was more that the children weren't passionate about the NSW curriculum! When I finally convince them that the official syllabus is mind-blowingly interesting, my life as a homeschooling mother will be a piece of cake.

    BTW, how do you record days when you spend all day on one subject like NaNoWriMo? Our AP likes to see balanced days and weeks so I rush to squeeze in stuff just to satisfy them.

    Interesting talk, again, Sue.

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for listening to ALL of my podcast! You are always so encouraging. I appreciate that.

      We don't often have the opportunity to go to a museum so we're really looking forward to going to Canberra for a few days. Of course I will share what we discover. I hope you don't get too bored while I describe our adventures!

      Your comment about the curriculum made me laugh. Mind-blowingly interesting…Oh my! Just think how dull our kids would be if they really loved the syllabus and preferred doing that to exploring real life! Yes, it's not always easy trying to satisfy the authorities. It sounds like you've had a much more difficult time than me as far as APs go. Trying to satisfy them must be very frustrating.

      Our AP has never said anything about balanced days. I don't suppose she has even noticed if they are balanced or not because she has only ever looked properly at the summary of learning I present to her each registration period. I think it all evens out over time and we can show our kids are getting a 'balanced' education (whatever that means!) Anyway, she has always been happy with our records.

      When it comes to November and we're spending most of the time novel writing, I will still have other things to record. There's daily exercise, cooking, reading, everything we discuss around the table, DVDs we'll watch, religious activities, homeschool group, piano lessons and practices… I'll just keep my eyes open for things to record. The girls won't spend every hour writing and most of the other things they will do can be written into the records notes in some way or other. Anyway, I hope it works out that way!

  1. Reply

    Thank you for sharing Sue, so much of that podcast was very relevant to me. I really do agree that quiet times are anxiety causing to Mums but seem to be fuel for the fire once it returns. Certainly for myself, I will have periods of intense creativity and business as well as times when nothing in particular takes my interest. It's all good!
    I think Gemma would be very happy for you to participate in NanoWrimo this year – she wants a sequel to "The Angels of Abbey Creek" ASAP! I just read the dinner party chapter with the younger girls, I particularly liked that chapter, and the girls loved "Jeremy" (made extra funny by the fact that they have an uncle of the same name).

    1. Reply


      Those periods where our kids are very passionate about learning are so enjoyable for mothers. We get so excited, don't we? Unschooling is obviously the right way to go. But those slow times… yes, I think we do get a bit anxious and there is a temptation to push our kids along… which only results in conflict.

      Quiet times… fuel for the fire… Oh yes! I suppose it's a bit like taking a long holiday. We usually can't wait to get back to work after a break. Just imagine if learning was fast-paced and intense all the time. I don't think learning works that way. I'm sure there's lots going on inside of us during quiet times. I find with writing, I can get to the point where I get fed up and run out of ideas, and even hate writing. If I leave writing for a while, one day the ideas start bubbling up again, my enthusiasm returns and I'm off again. Maybe it's the same for all creative activities.

      You are so kind leaving a comment about my book. Thank you! Jeremy was a completely true story. That's exactly what happened with one of our pets. The dinner party story is mainly Andy's story (he likes cooking for friends) but I mixed in another true event (the storm) and made up the ending. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      I have already written the sequel to The Angels of Abbey Creek. I wrote it as my NaNoWriMo novel two years ago. And last year, I wrote the third book in the series. What I really should do is not write another novel, but spend some time editing these two stories and getting them ready for publishing. You made me smile telling me Gemma would like more Angels stories. Thank you so much!

    • San
    • September 20, 2014

    I loved this! I listened to the end and your lovely voice kept me company whilst I cleaned and sorted the playroom/learning zone! I will have to hunt out the previous episodes!!

    Hope you are having some lovely family time x

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for listening! I really appreciate that. You can find the other podcasts easily if you click onto the 'My Podcasts' button in my side-bar. The link will take you straight to Podbean where all my episodes are listed on the same page.

      I hope you are feeling better and have been able to rest a little since the wedding. I enjoyed looking at your photos. It was so lovely sharing the big day with you!

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