While the majority of our society is getting ready to start another school year, we decided to kick off our 'un'school year with some carpentry lessons. My children's papa and his family came down to farmsit next door to us and the kids each had a project they wanted to work on. My 11 year old girl wanted a new rabbit hutch, my 6 year old wanted a tree swing and my 14 year old wanted a treehouse.
In our family, there is no back to school shopping or counting the days until the end of summer vacation. There never has been. There are no alarm clocks or bus schedules to sort out. No after school activites, studying for exams or learning information that we will forget next year. Instead, we listen to our bodies and wake up when we are fully rested. And then? We go about our day as we do any other day.
Kids are born to be curious and have an innate yearning to learn. When we force our childrn to study what we feel is important, the majority of that good learning just stops. I have found (like most things) if I just get out of the way, my children know what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.
I have never sat down and formally taught my children to read. But instead, I have read countless books to them, daily...and now they know how to read.
I have never sat down and formally taught my children how to do math. But instead, I have cooked and baked with them, daily...and now they know how to do math (and cook).
We have taken hikes in the woods to identify trees, leaves, flowers and plants. We have learned which ones we can eat, which ones are poisonous and which ones will help us heal. We play family games, we laugh, we cuddle. We hatch out chicklings on our farm, raise them and collect their eggs and then, towards the end of their life cycle, we slaughter and gut them, while identifying the organs, and eat them for dinner.
And today? Well, today the kids are learning how to measure, cut, tie knots, and build. They are learning, like everyday, how to resolve conflicts, take turns and share. And when the day is done, they will have a new fort to call home. Ah, the days of summer...if only everyday could be like this...
Oh, wait...they are. And for that, I am grateful.