How do you unschool?

Uluru in Australia/Peter Nijenhuis
Unschooling typically lacks a predetermined plan. That is one aspect of the lifestyle that appeals to my adventurous nature. The following is a course of events that illustrate how unschooling has worked in my family:

I have recently found myself surrounded by all things Australia. I did not plan to study Australia. I have previously had only mild curiosity about the continent down under. Nonetheless, my children and I are seeing signs of Australia at every turn.

  1. Top Secret Adventures, Case #12455, Dilemma Down Under (Highlights.com) is sitting on my desk.
  2. I just finished reading Steve and Me (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2008) by Terri Irwin, widow of "The Crocodile Hunter." My sister put that book in my hands, because Terri Irwin is from our hometown.
  3. While I read Steve and Me, I never had to consult the Australian dictionary, because I had already learned the common Strine words from the Top Secret Adventures Guide to Australia. I took frequent breaks from my reading to share anecdotes with my kids using words like swag, billibong, and drongo.
  4. After reading Terri Irwin's memoirs, I rented all the Crocodile Hunter documentaries.
  5. The kids and I checked out a map of Australia and I pointed out the equator. We talked about how the earth turns in relation to the sun and how the seasons are different in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. We discovered that the middle of the Australian continent is a big desert and most folks live on the coasts.
  6. My daughters have been watching an Australian television series about mermaids. The title of the show, H2O: Just Add Water (Jonathan M. Shiff, Film Finance, 2006), inspired an interest in chemical formulas.
  7. Now we really want to take a family vacation to Australia. My grandmother has visited Australia and has friends who live there. One of them called during our Christmas Eve party when it was already Christmas morning in Australia, prompting a discussion about the international date line.
  8. When I put Steve and Me back in my sister's hands, she gave me Mutant Message Down Under (Harper, 2004) by Marlo Morgan. I enjoyed it so much I located her next book, Mutant Message From Forever. Both books shared lots of aboriginal wisdom that I in turn shared with my children.
And on it goes . . . .

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