Learning slowly means the children are playing and I call them over to have breakfast. We eat pancakes while I read aloud from a new book they are excited about. They intervene with questions and exclamations and we wonder about things out loud and promise to look them up. I make a mental note to find videos about the largest underground cave in the world. It’s 18 times as big as the 02 arena in London, we find out.
They want one more pancake each and more reading – did you know that the Greenland Whale is thought to live up to 500 years? We try to figure out what was happening in the world when this whale was born. P shows us how slowly the whale moves – 3 feet every 3 seconds, apparently. L wants to try it too. We wonder how they live so long if they move so slow.
L wants to go skating on the pond and P wants to bake. She bakes on her own, listening to an audiobook. Some days we see friends and they play for hours in the snow. Other days they do crafts and listen to music. P sometimes works on the zine she’s putting together with her online SDE community, or on the two books she’s writing (one is fiction, one is a history book). L is sometimes up for a science project, or building a new ‘invention’ or doing some phonics on the Nessy app.
We watch a documentary about rock music, or perhaps they play Minecraft. I make popcorn and snuggle by the fire to read. I point to the sunset over the pond, and we pause to watch.
There are hard days – people are grumpy, layers need to come off and be put back on, teeth need to get brushed and dishes pile up in quiet accusation. No one has warm socks because they are somewhere between being worn and landing, clean and occasionally folded, in drawers. Things break, I need air, people bicker, there are errands to run and emails to send.
Some days we have places to be, or classes, and some days we don’t and time flows on, sticky and delicious. I sew. They draw and make things. We measure and figure. We read more books. They build and create and imagine. We talk a lot – about dreams and where places are and who invented clothes and why do some people have more power and how would you make cheese.
We read some of our novel before bed (currently one of the Poppy Pendle books). They beg for another chapter, and I read it, because early mornings are rare.
This is no particular day – but it’s also an average day.
Sometimes living and learning is intense and deep, other times we hop lightly from one thing to another. It’s never predictable, and at the same time it’s steady and familiar.
This is Slow, for us. This is unschooling, for us. This is us living our lives – weaving our own separate threads and regularly coming together in a colourful pattern or a tangle or something in between.