A month away from “Learn Nothing Day”!

End of the year quarterly reports are in, courtesy of the USPS, as of this morning.   This year I am really on the ball and also sent my letters of intent, my IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan), which basically says, “We unschool – we can’t tell you in advance what we’ll be doing, but we’ll send in quarterly reports telling you what we’ve done” and of course Maya’s standardized test scores.   So for me there’s nothing ‘school-wise’ to do until November.   Hooray!

For Maya and Ben, of course, today’s mailing of their quarterly reports changes nothing.   They both started new books last night after a late night book run to Barnes & Noble at Union Square – it was the only store still open that had the book Maya wanted – and in addition Ben has suddenly been reading out of a book on wild animals we’ve had lying around.  “What is more dangerous, a lion or a tiger?”  he asked yesterday, and when I said they were both pretty dangerous, he said, “No, tigers are more dangerous because they can run faster.   I read it in that book.”    Cool.      Then, this morning he came out and asked where the book of weird facts was.   This is one of those books that I buy and then strew around, but it had gotten put on a shelf in a fit of cleaning.   Now it’s back on the couch, and the weird fact of the morning?   That the owners of Mattel named the Barbie and Ken dolls after their kids.   Much giggling and looks of disbelief when this was revealed.

Gamestar Mechanic has re-entered the realm of interest.  Yesterday Ben created a game with 13 levels, and came out to the living room last night just after 11pm to tell me with undisguised pride that he published it and it already had 1 play!  (Meaning someone else on Gamestar had played the game he created.)   It’s called “Key 2″ if you feel like checking it out (www.gamestarmechanic.com).

So learning, as always, is in full swing even as Maya’s schooled friends – and some homeschooled friends – look forward to the cessation of ‘learning’ for the summer.    But as Sandra Dodd so aptly pointed out with the creation of “Learn Nothing Day”, a tongue in cheek attempt to have a day where nothing was learned, learning happens whether we want it to or not.    As she wrote on her website regarding Learn Nothing Day, “we have had no great successes to date”.   It is impossible to learn nothing for an entire day.   If you go on line, you see headlines  – you have just learned something.   Read the paper?  Learning.   Turn on the TV?  Learning.    Sandra told of picnics where children began teaching each other how to play games, or made up new games.  Learning!    Maya and Ben both pointed out that even if you spent the entire day locked in a dark room, you would learn what it’s like to spend the entire day locked in a dark room.

Schooled children don’t stop learning just because school is out, no matter what they’ve been trained to believe.  You might even argue that’s when the real learning begins, because in summer they are allowed to pursue their own interests.  (Unless of course they are shipped off to sleepaway camp where all their time is programmed…)

Why don’t you give it a try?   Mark the date July 24th on your calendar as Learn Nothing Day.   Then be aware of all the things you learn that day in spite of yourself.   Then multiply by 365.   It never stops.

And that’s a good thing.

About Amy

Amy Milstein was born and raised on a farm in Indiana, but after 20+ years considers herself a full-fledged New Yorker. She is married with two kids, who do not go to school but are instead life learners. This means they learn by living in the world (real life ) instead of hearing about it and simulating it in a classroom. With her family, Amy loves to travel, read, watch movies, write, sew, knit - the list is endless.
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