by Samantha Stopple
Last night at the end of our “knockabout“ unschooling day my son asked me to sing Everything Possible, by Fred Small, a favorite bedtime song. “You can dream all the day never reaching the end, of everything possible for you.” This describes a recent lazy yet, busy unschooling day because unschooling makes everything possible.
Jade, age 9, spent most of her day listening to a Box Car Children book on tape in the living room while her brother Corbin, age 7, played on the GameCube™ and decked out his Playmobile™ knights. I spent the day in our family room reading my book, folding the laundry, and crocheting. I was available, of course, to listen to Jade’s explanations of how the Box Car Children lived differently than we do and so that Corbin could show off his knights.
At one point they got bundled up and went outside to play. This ended in a squabble. To console Corbin, he and I played a few games of Mancala, which is one of our new favorite games, I won the first few games but in the end Corbin prevailed and kicked my butt. Corbin returned to decking out knights, I returned to reading, and Jade listened to her Box Car story a little longer.
Later Corbin asked for cornstarch, food coloring and water to make cornstarch goop. He enjoyed swirling it to together and pointing out the colors and patterns he made. His sister joined him in the kitchen, swirling and mixing too. They used forks, spoons and their hands. Both of their hands turned blue and were still blue after they washed them to play Sonic X, a favorite video game.
On Sonic X they created Chao, animated baby-like animals. Like some animals in real life, Chao start life as an egg. Once hatched, they can be named and given different abilities in order to play games in the “Chao Garden.” In no time the Chao left the game and became real-life imaginary friends, playing in and around the house with Jade and Corbin.
When my husband and I started getting tired, he and Jade headed to her room to finish Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. While Corbin I snuggled in bed together to read The Fat Cat by Dav Pilkey, which we have read every night since we checked it out from the library a few weeks ago. Corbin likes to embellish it with different names for the cat. Then Corbin “read” If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to me almost putting me to sleep.
Then I turned out the lights and as I sang Everything Possible I thought to myself, everything IS possible with unschooling: blue hands, embellishing stories, talking about books, reading, decking out knights, imaginary Chao friends and best of all spending time together as a family. In the end, “the only measure of your words and your deeds, Will be the love you leave behind when you're done.”
This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2005 issue of Live Free Learn Free.
Samantha, her husband Stephen, Jade(9) and Corbin(7) live and learn in Lawrence, KS. Her passions and joys included unschooling, reading, writing, spinning, gardening, and spending time with her family.