Every year when the little orange and blue bottles of Elmer's Glue hit the shelves, a part of my past ideologies of public school creeps it's way into my subconscious, creating a momentary widespread fear and panic ~ Are my kids learning everything they need to know?  Are they missing out on socialization?  Am I qualified to teach them?  The usual course of action is to run to the library for the latest copy of "What Your___Needs to Know" and then to Amazon for a stack of coordinating workbooks.  Fortunately, life quickly hits me in the head before I've had a chance to finalize any purchases; the librarians kindly recheck my book choices before I've even left the building.

Every year it gets a little easier, and this year especially, the panic is almost non~existent!  Just a few minutes of observation and I know that this way of learning is what's right for us ~ Not bound by standards, curriculum, or testing.  Just everyday living and a passion for learning.

Unschooling Physics::
Jake built this contraption out of a rope, a harness, and a branch from a maple tree.  Strong enough to hold a 14 year old upside down and also works as a zip line between the two towering pine trees across the way. (I'm really better off not seeing that one!)

Unschooling Math::
Endless card games; this one in particular is Rummy 500.  

Really, we just wanted to find our own pine nuts and make pine tea after watching this video from one of our favorite naturalists, Frank Cook.

  They taste amazing...

The boys found this caterpillar in our maple tree.  They looked it up here and discovered it is a Hyalophora Cecropia (aka Robin Moth), which cocoons over the entire winter and emerges in the early part of May.

The boys decided they didn't want to dedicate their entire winter to protecting a cocoon, so the caterpillar went back in the tree...

Last but not least...   Music::
We have quite the ensemble with a viola, acoustic & electric guitar, bass guitar, bongos, harmonicas,  and a peddle organ.  I think we're planning on adding a full drum set and keyboard to round out the show!

If you are interested in learning more about unschooling, I suggest reading everything by John Holt and John Taylor Gatto.  Mothering.com also has some wonderful message boards for unschooling families.

Meanwhile, happy learning~


  1. Hi there!
    I just found your blog post on our Natural kids team blog :) We've started our unschooling quest this year and I'm excited and nervous!!! Thanks for your post - it makes me happy to see your boys learning and living life in your photos. Good luck

  2. Great post, I love hearing from those who have been walking a non-traditional path with education for a while and still have doubts. My son is only four and we are just beginning to open those doors...starting with pulling him out of preschool (he is unhappy there) this week. Thanks for introducing me to Frank Cook too! Really inspiring.