Saturday, October 6, 2012

Burdock balls, leaf jumping and pumpkin carving

What do burdock balls, leaf jumping and pumpkin carving all have in common? As unschoolers they all signified the last remnants of summer and the beginning of our 'official' unschool year.

We didn't use the local school calendar to determine our schedule for learning. The way we saw education was that it happens 365 days a year. It didn't make sense to lock ourselves into a meaningless 180 day schedule, nor did we consider classroom learning our only option. In fact, we thought of the world as our school.

If we followed any sort of calendar at all it was based on nature. We settled into a routine of structured learning from the time when the leaves fell from the trees until the pussy willows appeared in the spring. That was our unschool year. Any time before or after that was playtime! Time to play, time to travel, time to relax, kick back and let life unfold. There were adventures to live, people to meet and places to explore. We learned lots from our play and travels.

One fall our son actually introduced me to burdock as an art medium. Growing up burdock was simply a nuisance, especially when it gets entangled in long hair, either your own or in your horse's tail. I remember long hours combing it out of both. My children were always so creative with what nature provided. They could turn the simplest thing, such as a pile of leaves, into hours of fun and learning.

Relax. Kick back and enjoy those early fall days. Don't be in a rush to crack open those workbooks or start with the drudgery of lesson plans. There will be time for all that once winter sets in. Go outside, lift your face to the sun and create something exciting from nature's own palette. You'll be creating some wonderful memories as well.

Burdock can be used to sculpt shapes such as balls...

...or a burdock dog!

Some of the best playthings fall free from above

Pumpkins serve a dual and fun

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