Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring Break for an Unschooler

Spring Break is kind of an oxymoron when you're unschooling. "Hey, let's take a break from doing all the cool things we love doing!" and do what instead?

Well, we did take a bit of a break since most of the class-type things the kids have been doing were cancelled this week (horseback lessons, etc.) and went back to my hometown to visit with my mom and dad. Of course, we still had a load of fun adventures - my uncle sent up a boxload of lemons from his trees and my mom has all these antique citrus squeezers so we made homemade lemonade. My dad had a big oak tree fall on his property and it had an enormous honeybee nest inside (like on Winnie the Pooh and the Hunny Tree) that the bees abandoned when it fell, so we could clearly see all the honeycombs they had built inside. Very cool! We rode horses, went to the science museum (remind me never to do that on spring break again, I forget how crowded those places get), DD played her violin at a nursing home where a 91 year old former violin maker resides who loves to hear her play. We also got to eat some great BBQ from a stand that my dad and step-bro started up (if you're ever in Medford, OR, be sure to visit the Smoke-n-man!. )

Come to think of it, that's one of the things I value most about my own parents - they've never stopped learning, living, following their passions. My dad has always loved to cook (his dad owned a restaurant, so maybe it's in the blood), and in his 70's decided to have a BBQ wagon made and took it around to fairs and festivals all last summer. My mom owns her own business selling hearing aids, following her own interests, and also loves to hike, kayak, and camp. That's one of the things I love best about DH's and my lives too, we've always followed our passions and our living (financial) came from that. I hope the same for my kids, that they never have to "settle" for a dull drudging job that they hate.

So many times, I've heard that used as a justification for school: that we need to prepare kids for the boring years of work ahead of them by making sure they know how to endure endless hours of things that they don't like doing now. Personally, I've never understood that argument. In the first case, if their working lives truly are going to be filled with boring drudgery, it would make more sense to let them enjoy a wonderful childhood now, when they don't have to work. Secondly, why should we aspire to lives of boring drudgery? What would the world look like if we all worked at things we loved? Whether that's selling BBQ or hearing aids or programming robots or being a musician. Surely the world is a big enough place for us all to have joy-filled working lives.

When spring break doesn't have to mean a break from anything, you know that every day is filled with the things that matter most.

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