First of all, this post is coming at the end of the day because it was “Homeschool Day” at a very cool place called Hickory Dickory Dock. Unlimited laser tag, bumper cars, and mini golf PLUS 25 tokens PLUS pizza and a drink for $5.
We had a pretty good time ditching math and writing assignments for the day, and instead went RED VERSUS BLUE for two hours of tactical mayhem. What was fantastic about the games was that, even though there were 20 school-aged kids ranging from about 6 through 15 (plus me) running around trying to “shoot” each other, there was no aggression.
Players would stop to help players of the opposite team adjust their vests. Older kids routinely let themselves get ambushed by younger ones. I even had an adorable sidekick through several games, despite the fact that she was ostensibly on the opposite team.
A 40 year-old man who sticks around the house to endow his children with wisdom instead of working is a modern, progressive dude. A 40 year-old man who stays at home by himself instead of working is either a lazy bum or creepy. Both get to play Skyrim all afternoon.
How will the kids get socialized?
I mentioned this briefly in the last post, but seriously people. What is so magical about cloistering children for 6 hours a day only with kids the same age? Because you walk down the hallways of most high schools and think, “This is what all of America should be like?”
Do the kids do school in their pajamas?
Um, no. They don’t wear pajamas. They sleep on the couch in their regular clothes, despite the fact that we paid Swedish Furniture Engineers good money for bunk beds we had to assemble ourselves. But I’m not bitter, no
How do you know if it’s working?
Because we undergo the same meaningless-yet-quantifiable exercise that school kids do: pretend that the ability to fill in bubbles with a #2 pencil will provide a reasonable prediction for success. And also because my kids are really cool people who do things like attempt to code the genetic sequence of a cell. For fun.
And also because they are learning things that aren’t taught in regular school, but are far more important to Life, such as how to see the long game and that “smart” is something you do rather than something you are.
What curriculum do you use?
This is a fun one, because we unschool. In real terms, this means that for the most part I don’t tell the kids what to work on. They may disagree with that assertion, but then they don’t know what it’s like in “real school.”
Basic skills, such as how to create an outline or to edit an essay, are incorporated in the things they already want to do. Whether it’s writing a blog entry about Minecraft or recording a podcast about the end of the world, they’re learning real skills (as opposed to how to diagram a sentence).
Do you have set hours?
Nope. Unschooling. We learn when the time is right. Well, mostly. I do have the kids finish some basic tasks in the morning (including 20 minutes of math on Khan Academy). But mostly the learning happens when the questions arise. I sneak in, lay down some learning, and disappear back into the night. I’m a freaking ninja of didactitizing.
There’s not one, because eff the system!