Imogen has started full time university work. She’s studying professional writing and publishing. She’s also having singing and piano lessons and preparing for exams. You wouldn’t think she’d have much time left over in her day, would you? But recently…
- Imogen has pulled on her running gear, and headed down the tracks with us, whenever I’ve suggested a run.
- She was eager to watch the TV series, Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, when the other girls and I settled on the sofa to enjoy it.
- She couldn’t resist watching the opera The Love of Three Oranges, with us when we discovered it on Youtube.
- Of course, she had to join us again when someone slipped The Life of Birds into the DVD player.
- She wasn’t going to miss out on a trip to the library so she could borrow a towering pile of books.
- And she certainly couldn’t refuse an invitation to go on a picnic.
- She wants to listen to the stories of the saint of the day, and enjoys the discussions that follow.
- She listened eagerly while I read about the Incorruptibles, and then chatted about St Bernadette, St Catherine of Bologna…
- She wants to look at the Vermeer paintings I am strewing on the wall.
- When we discovered Vermeer’s wife’s jacket was edged with ermine, it was Imogen who rushed off to find out what ermine is.
- She wants me to print a set of art cards for her, just like I’m doing for the other girls.
- She joined in with a discussion on medieval weapons, and one on secret codes… and all the other discussions that seem to begin spontaneously around the dinner table.
- She finished another draft of one of her novels.
- She has cooked, and drawn and written blog posts…
- And done so much else in the past couple of weeks that I haven’t taken the time to record.
- Did I mention she also did full time university work? And music lessons and practices and choir and piano teaching?
Imogen grins and says, “I am. Does unschooling ever stop?”
“Look at you, Mum,” says Sophie. “You’re much older than Imogen and you’re still unschooling.”
Sophie is quite right. I’m learning so much every day. I am definitely unschooling.
I think back to the end of my own school days. My friends and I couldn’t wait until the final day of the final term of our final year of school had been completed. How light-hearted we felt as we sailed through the school gates for the very last time. No more school! We’d survived. And I never wanted to learn anything ever again.
At the time, I didn’t realise that school (as I knew it) and real learning are two different things. One does finish eventually. The other continues for the rest of our lives.
“Do you want to watch Swan Lake with us?” Gemma-Rose asks Imogen.
“Of course! I can’t let you watch it without me. I’m not going to miss out.” Then Imogen adds, “When are we going to watch another Shakespeare play? There’s still a few I’ve never seen.”
But I know Imogen will see them all eventually. She might be too old for school, but she hasn’t run out of time.
Fortunately, unschooling never ends. It’s just part of life.