Monday, May 2, 2011

why? where? who? what? when?

My kids just could not help themselves. 

This past weekend was incredible
with the kids learning, doing, building, making, 
thinking, asking, wanting, 
keeping so very busy every minute of every day.

(And it was kind of insane how they just kept on going, 
so I grabbed an old exercise book 
and wrote it all down as the weekend went by)

This is what they did. A simple list, really!

1. Read about Greenpeace and asked, What are Genetically Modified Foods? (boy)

2. Looked up Genetically Modified Foods and read out information to whoever would listen. (boy) 

3. Wrote a stunning story based on this painting

Paul Ryan
Welcome to the Forest

 and submitted it for a competition at the City Art Gallery. (boy!)

4. Helped her dad do all the grocery shopping 
(while finishing off her ice-cream cone). 
(girl—who couldn't wait to hang with her dad)

5. Researched a Winter Vege patch and looked up Winter crops. 


6. Read Youngzine(boy)

7. Researched who invented the Computer. (girl)

(And did you know it was a dude called Charles Babbage? 
And it all started with the humble Abacus?  
…And then there was this guy who created a programmable loom for weaving, 
and the whole thing took off from there. So interesting!)

8. Learned how to lay a carpet from a DIY video at the hardware store
(and compared carpet, tile and rug prices like seasoned carpet shoppers!). 
(boy and girl)

9. Prepared a beautiful Italian dinner using his own Italian cookbook. 
(boy and Helper Dad)

10. Watched Getaway, a travel program on T.V. and fell in love with the jellyfish of Palau. (travel-hungry boy and girl)

11. On a gorgeous sunny Sunday, 
went scootering all along the foreshore and into town. 

(hmm, I wonder who did that?)

12. Created a design for an iphone app
decided we had to learn how to make iphone apps 
right this very minute! 

13. Downloaded an app-making program and learned about LUA, 
a computer programming language. So hard, and yet, so fun. 
(Techno girl and boy)

14. Cooked some more—this time, french toast, pasta, and scrambled eggs (my boy was on fire!) (Chef Boy)

15. Created a Temple for the cat god Bast. 

(Architect Boy)

16. Walked the dog. (Us!)

17. Played with Convertbot and investigated how small nanoseconds were. (boy)

18. Read a book about dragons, a book about world history
the Book of General Ignorance, and a book about Everyday Life.  
(my beautiful Bookworm boy and girl)

19. Began writing a story about a dragon and a leopard. (girl)

20. Made a beautiful owl bookmark for her mum. (girl)

and finally,

21. Played with an awesome app that altered jazz songs 'til they sounded like pop songs 
(which made a boy and a dad laugh a lot!). 
(boy and his Silly dad)

All on a single weekend. Amazing, no?

The thing is, kids—it was the weekend
Weren't you supposed to spend it lying around and 
scratching your bellies and watching the cartoons?
At least for SOME part of the weekend? 
(just like I did when I was a kid?)

Weren't you supposed to be relieved no-one was making you learn anything for two whole days??  

What was the matter with you lot— were you unwell? 

But they weren't, of course. They were completely Alight.
 They were busy and engaged, and so filled with joy.

And I realised: We are on this path now. This insatiable, delighted path. 
Where learning has blended seamlessly into our Everyday. 
Where my kids have no sense of where learning begins or ends. 

It's simply how and who we are.
We are Life Learners.

And we love to learn. We really, really, really do. 
It's deep in us. Kind of unshakeable. 
As part of us as breathing. As real and warm and good as you can imagine. 


Doesn't that make you smile?

I'm linking this with Owlet's lovely
Unschool Monday. Come see!


  1. Wow, that's awesome! I still have a couple of very young owlets (although, I generally refer to them as Wild Things) so our house is still a little Rumpusy and Sesame Street like. But maybe one day my little kids will be as awesome as your big kids!

  2. Another wonderful post! You rock Helena!

  3. Wow! That is a lot of learning going on! I can't wait to complete our curriculum this week and give the kids some freedom over the next few weeks and see what happens....this will be our little experiment in unschooling. Do you suggest anything, gently nudge them...or just let them go?

  4. How wonderful! I wish my kids still had so much enthusiasm. I was just thinking today how I would love some smaller kids to play with again. Mine are getting to that teenage stage far too quickly. Such creative little bunnies you have there. Out of all my five kids only one loved to write. The rest avoid it like the plague. :-( I do so love reading about all your adventures. And I also love to see all that amazing artwork. What a wonderful un-schooly kind of weekend. Of course it was fun!

    Big hugs xoxoxox

  5. What a great link up!! Thanks for sharing, we will have to join you one Monday!! It's wonderful what children will do when we set them free :). And writing it all down makes such a difference if we want to know if life learning really works. Thanks for all the links too! The kids and I will have fun exploring those (especially Corona!). "Learning blends seamlessly into the everyday"--perfect :).

  6. :) Love this. All of it--so, so much.

    It's a good life.

  7. Our days are also much like this...isn't it grand?!

  8. LOVE this!
    But what do we *do* all day??lol

  9. I love that about this life. They learn and learn and there is no difference from weekdays or weekends or day or night (but for when dad is home with us). They learn every single moment happily and with passion. Doesn't get any better than that! :)

  10. What a lovely weekend. Learning all all around, just as it should be. I wish I could incorporate more of your 'learning' I wish I could give up the structure a bit. I do to a point and then I just kinda freak out on the 'what ifs" Silly me. Smart Helena.

  11. oh you've supported these young souls well. i hope i do as good cheering for my little one.

  12. I look forward to my days being more like this :)

  13. I love this post, Helena. I love those magical moments where you realise it can be so effortless and organic and just living. xx

  14. What another fabulous post! And what wonderful, amazing children! Some of our days are a bit like that, and some bits of our weekend days are like that. I love them when they occur!


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.