Monday, April 23, 2012

Learning out in the world

The Unschooling Tools series at Ordinary Life Magic is all about GO! this week.  Nice coincidence that we happen to be having a lot of interesting Out right now of the Big City variety!!  I am laughing at all the things being absorbed this week...talking about all the different jobs people have in the city, why people might work at night, how someone might ride a bicycle with a prosthetic leg, why there is so much advertising on "regular" television, observing so much interesting architecture, observing people, people, people, people washing windows waaaaay up on a skyscraper, people working as doormen, people serving, walking, driving, touring, guiding, whistling...looking at the city signs, traffic, the night sky, the fog settling around the tops of buildings...whew. And that's before we went to the Museum of Science and Industry.


But the Big City (of Chicago) isn't the only place we explore. Our town, our little tiny town, keeps us plenty busy.  Just this year we've taken part in a walk around our town to raise awareness about homelessness in our part of Ohio and visited the State House to learn about our state's government and deliver valentines to Governor Kasich to express our thoughts about fracking.

We've taken part in monthly music events, as audience members and as performers.  We've gone contra dancing to live music.  Together we are one third of the Athens Homeschool Marching Choir, meeting once a week to sing and play.

We've heard visiting musicians, like An da Union from Mongolia, and attended traveling performances like Stomp!  In just the past couple of weeks we've seen a dance concert, attended a lecture on sports psychology as it pertains to stage fright (really! and it was interesting to all of us!!), attended an art opening, participated in an art show, and watched a performance art piece presented by a mother and her seven year old daughter.  Eliza performed in a piano recital, and we watched a collaboration between student choreographers and student pianists, and attended a showing at the International Film Festival on campus.  Most of this is since January, people! In our small town!

We've formally explored the nature around us, learning how to band birds, attending an owl prowl, and an event at the local nature center. We visited the United Plant Savers sanctuary, and learned about protecting native plants.

Weekly we take advantage of our library, sometimes for special events like "Travel to Japan" or an Irish storytelling evening, sometimes just to find books and movies and spend some time volunteering by tidying up shelves and reshelving books in "our" section.  Going to the library also means visiting with one of our favorite librarians, Mary, who speaks to us in French or sings part of what she's learning in Choral Union right now, and with Tom, who is a library patron who chooses the library to work in, at his laptop, for much of the week and who always wants to know what's going on with us.  He and Eliza became fast friends when we moved here and they'd chat about books or Irish dancing or whatever she wanted to chat (and chat and chat) about.

We bring the outside in when we invite people to perform in our home, giving us an occasion to polish off our own talents and learn some new ones.

We spend so much time out in the world that I sometimes get selfish and protective of our time, and we hunker in for a bit to regroup and find some rhythm closer to home.  But the beautiful weather beckons and we're quick to throw the plan for the day out the window, or better yet, take it with us out into the woods or to the top of a hill.

 It is possibly my favorite thing about our living this way: the freedom to choose where to go and when, the freedom to spend our days mostly as we wish (Eliza really wishes she were fishing right now, and she's putting away her clothes from the trip, so I guess it's not always exactly at that moment how we wish...but mostly);  the absence of lines between "learning" and "not learning", how everything from a conversation at the farmer's market to the stack of library books to a visit to the historical society museum fits into the realm of learning through Life.


slim pickins said...

testing testing...

Debbie said...

that last picture takes my breath away. xo