Monday, 14 May 2012

Experimental Unschooling Day 1

The more I thought about it last week, the more I wanted to try a week of no structure - just to see what I (and the boys) could learn from it...  so today was day one :)
Today DS2 & 3 are still shaking off the tail end of the cough they picked up last week - and I've had a persistent headache for several days now, which is very rare for me - so I'm guessing it's a nasty virus that I thought was just a cold but has hung around longer than expected.  Not that that's a bad thing - it's so lovely just to be able to go at our own pace rather than forcing ourselves to carry on regardless - it just means that whatever I deduce from ourexperimental unschooling week, I need to take into account that we were a bit 'under-the-weather' & possibly had less energy/enthusiasm than we would normally have.
Anyway, we started today with the sole request (as last time) of no Wii or d/s until after lunch - but I think I'll drop that for the rest of the week... after all, I'm kind of intrigued to see just how much screen time the boys would choose if left to their own devices.
DS3 was in mega-cuddly mode today - he wanted a 'Go Diego Go' DVD on (which we watched all the way through and then some more), and was really happy snuggling up to me and smothering me with kisses while we watched (I would not swap this job for anything!).  So his first bit of learning-without-trying was via educational TV - picking up facts about wildlife and learning some Spanish too.
DS2 spent A-G-E-S on Reading Eggs.  As I've said before, I think he's on a level that's far too easy for him, which would bore me rigid if it were me... but he really does seem to enjoy it, so I'm happy to go along with it for as long as he wants to.  After all, what's most important to me is that he gets his appetite for learning back - and if this is what it takes, then so be it.  Maybe he is just being lazy in taking the least challenging route, but it seems more likely to me that he's just lacking in confidence & this is his way of rediscovering it.
DS1 found a Star Wars colouring set that he had been given, lost, & then found again while tidying his bedroom on Saturday - so he spent a nice long time colouring in his pictures and then showing them to DS3.  I've noticed that whatever he works on, he wants to show or tell as many people as possible about what he's doing.  I count it such a huge privilege that I get to be one of the first people he involves :)  He then went on the computer once DS2 had finished, and had some time on Grid Club which he loves, playing games about food and outer space.
Later we all went out to post some letters and drop in at the local shop.  I did ask DS2 to find the prices, and DS1 to add up the total as we went - but in retrospect that wasn't really autonomous learning as I doubt they'd have bothered if I hadn't asked, so I'll try not to do that again this week, with the purpose of the experiment really being to find out what the boys would CHOOSE to learn if it were entirely up to them.
Anyway, once home DS3 helped Mummy bake a cake (a banana & pineapple cake, which he nicknamed "smooshy cake" because he so enjoyed smooshing the fruit in the mixture), DS1 & 2 had fun playing with fridge magnets, & they all played some games quite nicely together, with very little intervention needed from me, which is always a bonus :)   Inevitably the Wii & d/s went on in the afternoon... it will be interesting to see how much time they spend playing on them when the restrictions are lifted.
So, one day into our experimental week, and it was a nice day mostly - until late afternoon, when they did get a bit bored & restless (after the Wii and d/s went off).  Games consoles seem to rob them of a/ social skills (once it's switched off there sems to be an increase in fighting & screaming) and b/ the ability to think creatively for themselves (switch it off and - unless they're fighting - they are more inclined to wander round aimlessly instead of engaging in other play).  For those reasons I can't imagine not having restrictions in place, but I do want to see if they have any sense of self-regulation - and if they notice the impact of spending large amount of time on games consoles.  Up until then we'd had a lovely day though, so it's proving an interesting week so far.

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