Hard Answers to Easy Questions

I was at a wedding this past weekend for one of my oldest and dearest friends who was also unschooled. She is now an anthropologist and college professor, so I was surprised when one of the women seated at my table asked how any of us homeschoolers got into college…

I know many of you are still having these conversations, but I really haven’t for years!

Another thing the woman asked was, “What did you do with your time?”… I actually understand this question, although it’s really hard to answer. But it’s the kind of thing I want to ask when someone tells me that she or he has an obscure sounding job title. I want to picture and understand what a day looks like, in a life so different from my own.

Of course, the journal my mom kept only represents the days of one year in my very young childhood. But what if I handed someone a page of that journal when asked what we did with our time?

On November 5, 1987, what we did was examine moldy pumpkins, argue over names in our imaginative play, and count the legs on insects…

Thursday, Nov. 5

* → Read Three Sisters

Looked at MOLDY pumpkins with magnifying glasses.

Read The Best New Thing by Isaac Asimov.

Pretend: the girls live in space like the children in Asimov’s book. However, there is a problem with Mindy. She has been Rada (the girl in the book) since last night. Camille & Lindsey want to be Rada also — both of them can accept 3 Radas. Mindy wants someone to be Jonny & doesn’t want 3 Radas. So she “can’t talk to anyone except the mother” (me).

I suggest that the family is 3 girls: Rada, Rohada & Rudy. Lindsey agrees to be Rudy, but there are still 2 Radas.

→ Breakfast passes without incident: everyone eats their (very small) bowls of cereal. No wasted food! YEAH!

* → After breakfast, the 3 girls go into the “exercise room.” Mindy has begun to talk to the other two, thank goodness… They’re in a spaceship going to Earth now — with lots of stuffed animals along for the ride! “Oh, look at Earth!” says Mindy. “Let’s get out & leave all our dolls inside!” says Camille. They run & laugh & roll down a hill (a mattress at an incline) like the children in the book.

November 5, 1987

November 5, 1987

→ School bell rings. We talk about mold & study it again, talking about the colors & the other characteristics of the mold. Kids draw it & we all sound out the word MOLD (and write it)… We thought of words that rhymed with mold.

→ Then we turned our attention to insects & spiders. We talked about numbers of body parts & of legs… Where legs are attached. We all drew an ant & a spider… We sounded out & wrote words INSECT and SPIDER… then we studied models (counting body parts & legs)…We looked at all the insect pages in the book How Come? Easy Answers to Hard Questions by Joyce Richards.