Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Best Day of the Week

Today was the first day of fall, and we went with our neighbor friends on a long hike through the Buffalo River National Park. It was warm and sunny, clear and dry. We ate apples and meat sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches and fresh peaches. We ran down dry creek beds and scampered up smooth and craggy rocks. I got to thinking about how glad I was to be there, how happy I was to be part of this particular family, how grateful I felt to be homeschooling.

But wait, was this about homeschooling? I had to give that one a little think. Today was Saturday, and Saturdays always throw me off a little bit when it comes to tallying homeschooling (not a habit I indulge much, but keeping a homeschooling blog, I sometimes get to wondering about what "counts" for a post and what doesn't).

Some experienced unschoolers say to new unschoolers that it might help to imagine every day as Saturday. I think by that they mean that every day can be the best day of the week. You can wake up on your own time and do what you like best for the whole day. The day is yours. What you eat, read, play with, wear, listen to or watch and when; who you talk to or how long you stay quiet; where you go or don't go--most of these things (with some real-life realities in there) can happen the way you like best. If Saturday is the day you association with the most freedom, choice, and enjoyment of being alive--if that's your idea of the best day--then by golly, make your homeschooling like that.

Today, we did. This is what our best day, which just so happened to be a real Saturday this time, looked like:

We rambled around, free with our time. Security was evidenced in hands-up, easy smiles, and an equal willingness to try something new or pass. Some parts of the hike we ran through. Other places, we lingered. There was food when we were hungry. Water to drink. Friends to play with and talk to, or time alone.

The landscape itself was terrifically interesting, and just challenging enough to give a little thrill of mastery at a good foot placement or a solid jump while still being accessible. For three boys who like to play pretend best of all, there was plenty of fodder for imaginative scenarios.

There was helping, holding, gentle reminding, practicing patience, offering compassion and working through difficult physical and emotional places together.

Sure, we learned things, because that's what people do, especially when they're enjoying themselves.

There were challenges. A couple of short meltdowns. Peanut butter exploded in our bag. We ran out of time to do one of the things we wanted to. Some spots on the hike were crowded. Other spots were hard on our bodies or a little tedious. But, that was OK. We still wanted to be there, and when we didn't want to be there anymore, we left.

I just Googled "life of Saturdays" to make sure the phrase didn't have a dual meaning that I didn't know about. It doesn't seem as if it does. However, it does seem like there are a good number of people who think a life of Saturdays is a pretty fine idea. I can't say I disagree.