There’s this idea that homelearners spend time each day sitting at a desk doing worksheets and times tables while the parents supervise. That may be true for some, but not for the homelearning families we know, and certainly not for unschoolers. The day we spent this past Tuesday was a great example of what we do instead.
We headed out in the morning (but not too early, we homelearners don’t like to rush our mornings) to a Pumpkin and Herb farm about an hour’s drive from the city. We met two other homelearning families there, one Waldorf family (who, after this preschool year is finished, will be homelearning instead), and one other family whose eldest goes to afternoon kindergarten (they had to leave the farm early in order to get the son to his class). We all wandered the pumpkin field and the kids learned how pumpkins grown (on vines that crawl along the ground), how they develop their orange colour after starting out green, and that they came in a variety of colours (we saw yellow, white, red, and speckly pumpkins). We each had a wheelbarrow and the kids played with those and collected a few pumpkins. After we were done exploring the rest of the farm (including some chickens and a lovely little market setup with wonderful farm-fresh veggies and fruits for sale) we paid for our produce and headed to a nearby bird sanctuary for a picnic lunch.
After eating we went for a walk through the reserve and saw a wonderful sight – a large flock of Snow Geese flew around us in a circle, eventually landing in a nearby field. The photo isn’t that clear but the white splotch behind DD’s head is the flock. Apparently, their numbers will quadruple over the next few weeks, and we’re all planning to return next month to see them again. These remarkable birds perform an annual migration of 5000 miles roundtrip, from their summering grounds in the Russian Arctic, to their winter grounds right here in the Fraser River Delta of British Columbia. It’s quite a sight and we were all thrilled to see them, and on such a beautiful autumn day, too. So we talked about migration and other related topics all while the kids soaked in the sights and handed out their regulation birdseed to the local ducks and chickadees.
As we headed back towards the city, I thought to myself what a wonderful day we’d had. How the kids (and the adults) had learned something without even really trying, and while thoroughly enjoying themselves. And this was not a field-trip, this was just Life as a homelearning family. Now tell me this doesn’t beat school hands-down!