The Whole Foods in Ft. Collins, Colorado has everything we need for the moment: a healthy lunch, a little caffeine, outdoor (read: dog-friendly) seating with electrical outlets and free wifi. I’m catching up on work, as well as researching some of what we’ll do for the next few days. Noah has been pretty much off grid since St. Paul, Minnesota so he’s taking advantage of this opportunity to YouTube his way through lunch, while updating PubG on his phone.
We get asked so much, in Indy and on the road, what our school days look like. What type of curriculum do we use? Have we started school yet? Do we take the summers off? What grade is Noah in now? I’ll dig deeper into these questions over time but here’s the thing: for the most part, life is our classroom. We’ve tried just about every form of education made available to the general public. We’ve done Montessori school, homeschool co-ops, hybrid homeschool/charter school systems, a public Reggio inspired magnet school, and more structured type homeschooling practices. What we’ve found is that, for Noah, a child led unschooling (or rather, roamschooling!) lifestyle is wonderful.
I consider my most important job as Noah’s primary educator to be the observer and facilitator. Beyond that, Noah chooses his own adventures in life based upon his interests, his passions and our location. From time to time, when I feel like life is not presenting him with enough opportunities to hone in on particular skills, we will actively work on those skills in a more organized way. He will work from English/grammar and math workbooks on occasion and that also helps with handwriting practice. He is an absolute bibliophile who can spend hours with his nose tucked between pages. He has been this way since he was a very small child and, to this day, nothing makes him happier than the smell of old book pages. When we’re driving for long stretches and he gets too carsick to read, we listen to audiobooks, podcasts and NPR then have long discussions surrounding what we’ve learned.
Don’t get me wrong, Noah is almost 13 and can game and stare at a screen with the best of them. That being said, even though I was not a movie buff or a TV watcher before Noah (I have never owned my own television in my entire adult life!), I have to take into consideration and respect that film is a passion for him. He’s not a passive consumer of movies and shows out of boredom, he studies and critiques them very carefully from all angles. History, music and film have been his passions for as long as I can remember and I see some, if not all, of that being integral to his life and career path as an adult one day. What he will do as an adult or how he will do it is still yet to be determined, but I am confident we are working in the right direction of figuring out and achieving his life goals.
Some days for Noah amount to not much other than online gaming with friends, just like any other modern tween. However, the majority of our days include bookstores, museums, long hikes or bike rides, National Parks, historical sites, cooperative roll playing games with friends and much, much more. Every opportunity, every experience, leads to a vast amount of learning. Every day, we practice life skills that will put Noah on the path of becoming a capable and independent adult. Never, ever underestimate the learning potential in any situation, no matter how silly or mundane it may seem…life can be the perfect classroom anytime!
Over time, I will be writing posts that are more specific to our day to day life as unschoolers/roamschoolers, as well as addressing any questions we’ve encountered on our educational path. If you have any questions that you would like addressed, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.