A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

I thought it would be nice to start a little series to share what it is like for us to live an unschooling lifestyle. Everyday is very different, here is what today (26 January 2020) looked like for us.

It was a Sunday so the start of the work week, usually this is a day that I leave open as we can sometimes get busy at the weekend. So our day started slow, other than the excitement of a new football kit, which had to be put on in full right away! Little T managed a few short games of Angry Birds with Mr T before he went to work. (This little guy has always been an early riser which has had its challenges but recently we have following less of a bedtime routine and just getting to bed when he is tired and this is shifting his wake ups to slightly later. Which is nice, but actually a slight negative when it means less time to see daddy before he goes to work.) Once daddy is gone there is a bit of quiet morning job time which is me unloading the dishwasher and he is fiddling with LEGO or other small toys. Today I prepared some oatmeal for him. Having finished eating only half of the bowl he proclaims that we forgot morning movie time! We retreated to the tv room and watched a LEGO Justice League movie. Depending on what he chooses I may watch with him or get on with some of my own work, today I was feeling a bit unwell, so I sat close, read a few emails and then watched with him. 


(Having a morning movie is a new thing for us, he really enjoys tv whilst I struggle with helping him regulate the amount he watches, we use Netflix and the unlimited options make it hard for him to stop. I find saying we can watch one movie does the trick, he gets to watch something and I have a limit that I can hold.)

Our next movement would be to get outside for some training, though from end of movie to out the door was probably over an hour. We sat down and I ate and he had more of his breakfast whilst perusing over a Where’s Wally book, I spilled something in the kitchen that needed to be vacuumed which led to sword vs Darth Hoover (the loving name of our vacuum) and whilst I got myself ready in the bathroom he messed around with water beads and chatted with me. We were both completely dressed, water bottles filled, destination decided and ready to walk out the door and he says, can you just read this book before we go out? And we sit on the couch and read the book. 

Today we were off out on our scooters, using the outdoors to further our ongoing goodies and baddies role play. We each have an imaginary team (any character we see in tv or movies) that we call out to battle each other or who may come along on adventures with us. Today he needed to collect a new baddie on a faraway island, which also was the same location of a favourite eatery. We scootered there and he was hungry so we went in for eggs, bread and olives. During the course of our visit there, we spent a lot of time drawing on the kids menu, tea was spilled and cleaned up, we chatted about artificial coloring in foods and what makes something ‘real’ food.

Heading home we stopped at a playground on the way. Here we continued our role play and also interacted with another family who arrived, including their Husky which Little T was enamored with! We could have stayed longer but I was feeling under dressed for the blustery weather so we continued towards home for a quick stop in our local supermarket. He helped push the trolley around and decided he wanted to use his pocket money to buy some sweets to share with Daddy this evening as I was going out and they were having a boys night in, this always includes a discussion of how he will have to pay me when he gets home, which he sometimes resists but always goes through with it. Here we continued our conversation about food dyes and artificial flavours as we chose some fresh juice to use to make our own jelly (jello).

Arriving home he instantly strips down to just his underwear, that is just how he is most comfortable and spends most of his time at home. We had found a balloon whilst we were out which lead to a long game of keep it alive. He repaid me the money for the sweets (he actually gave me one Dirham extra, more on that later) and I gave him his weekly pocket money (a new thing for us). He has a money box divided into three: Spend, Save and Share. So we divide his money between and counted to see how much he had. He is currently saving for a LEGO Star Wars Death Star, which I am afraid will take a very long time but it is what he says every time. He has started asking me what I am saving for. We would like to visit Thailand again this summer as we loved it last year so I tell him we are working hard to save our pennies to go on this holiday. We decided to make a jar to collect coins to save for our holiday, we got into his sticker drawer to cover the jar with Thailand themed stickers, mostly leaves, a sun and of course a pirate. The extra Dirham he gave me starts the savings. 

We went into the kitchen and made jelly together. I was then hungry for lunch, whilst I prepared my lunch he says, I’ve got a crazy idea, and takes the empty 5 gallon jug and fills it with a bit of water, first tries to drink directly from it and then tries to use it to fill a glass, both ideas create quite a mess. I offer him the tools needed to clean up the water and he says I’m not doing it, he walks away and I continue my own work, and it isn’t long before he is back in and mops up the water and returns the big jug to where it was.


Then I sat down to eat and he sat next to me working on a dry erase number writing book that I had left open on the table before we went out on our scooters. (He recently started enjoying a Water Wow! Book of numbers and has been using it in the car, so I thought if I left this out be may also be interested. In the car I hear him whispering to himself, “The perfect 7!” so I know he is wanting to form the numbers.) While I eat he traces over a few numbers and does some of the activities when I read them to him, also a lot of scribbling. We also have a quick video chat with Daddy, as he wants to tell him about the sweets. I see he is getting fed up with the writing so I suggest calling his grandparents. He has a good long video chat with them whilst rolling around on me, moving around from different toys and finally sits down for a little snack. We finish the video call and he gets a book for me to read to him whilst he eats. 

Before we know it Mr T is home and it is a rare occasion that I am rushing out to attend a workshop on fermented foods. We exchange a quick chat and kisses as I grab my things and head out the door. Only for me to realize as I drive away that I left my ingredients in the fridge, I call and ask them to bring them down to the car. My parting view of Little T is him running through reception wearing his shirt as shorts as he was in a rush and there were no shorts nearby. It gave me such a giggle. 

As far as I know those two had a lovely time together. Eating eggy bread and sausage, playing Angry Birds and cuddling up with some tv to fall asleep to. 

This was really one of the most beautiful days. Things don’t always go so smoothly, but I thought it was a good day to start with and a great example of the many learning opportunities that are presented just through simple daily life. 

-Mrs T

Finding a yes

Today our four year old ate ice cream for breakfast. This is not a regular occurrence but through the lens of parenting in a new way I was able to say yes to something that in the past would have been an automatic NO. I have been observing a lot recently and noticing we are finding a way to say yes more and more.

In the case of the ice cream, it is not something I usually have at home at all. But he requested it last week and then forgot about it. When he asked me this morning the voices in my head were saying, “No way! Ice cream is not for breakfast!” But then the awareness muscle I have been working on reminded me, the time of day actually doesn’t make a difference, do I want to start the day with a battle of wills, and if he eats it now it will be gone and it won’t be an option on another day. So I supported him as he tried to find it in the freezer, reminded him to get a stool so he could get it on his own and then sat next to him and enjoyed my morning mug of hot water whilst he ate some ice cream. It was a small individual pot and he didn’t even finish it, there were too many other things to interest him that he didn’t stay put for long. 

So while I don’t think it provided a great nutritional start to the day (but I can make up for that later) it did provide a connection between us, respect for him and his ideas and I think it had an impact on how the rest of our day flowed, it is only mid morning as I type this but it has been wonderful.

Another example of this was a few weeks ago. He and Mr T had ordered some mini figures from BrickLink and he had been waiting for them for awhile. Some days hearing they were not here evoked some big (angry) feelings. On this particular day he asked Mr T when he woke up when they would arrive. We had tracked them and they were in the shipping facility about 15 minutes from our house. “Lets go!” said Little T. It was seven am, Mr T was lying in bed and the office didn’t open for another hour but Mr T said, YES. This yes changed the trajectory of our day. I was lucky to lie in bed for a few more hours. They visited a new part of town. Had a drink in a local tea house and found one of our favorite eateries, SARAVANA BHAVAN that we didn’t know was so close to us. They had quality time together eating idly and dosa, and discussed that it was possible they wouldn’t get the mini figures when the office opened, as they could have already been loaded on the truck. Additionally Little T is not always the friendliest to new people and throughout this morning everyone had a hello/please/thank you or high five, and I think it was truly because of the connection that was made between him and his dad. 

The story ends happily and they were able to take the package from the facility. He held tightly to it in the car all the way home as he didn’t want to lose any precious pieces. Another beautiful day followed based on that simple yes.

This type of parenting isn’t always easy, and the yes can be hard to find or to do when your own inner child is shouting at you from the inside that this is not they way it was for them. But it can be the way forward. It is the way for us.