Thursday, September 25, 2008

Unschooling Up the Coast

Normally, our homeschooling is done very systematically. When we find subjects or stories or experiments that grab us, we go in that direction for a while, but for the most part, I have a To Do list and I stick to it. This week, we are doing the crazy unthinkable.

We UnSchooled.

At the last minute, I decided to meet The Pilot up in Coos Bay, Oregon. It's a lot further out of our normal six hour drive, but it has been worth it. We've been living our learning experience the whole way up, while here, and plan on learning more on the way back down. Here are our lessons, so far...


This is California's Capitol in Sacramento. The front part used to be used for governement business but is now a museum. The administrative offices are still connected, but no Governator sitings. Maybe next time...


This is Shasta Lake at sunrise. If you look, you can see that the recent droughts have been hard on this lake, as with most of our other bodies of water in California. We drove by the dormant volcano that is Mt. Shasta, but didn't stop to take pictures. Maybe on the way back down.


We attempted crabbing. Although we caught a ton of crabs, they were either too small or too female and had to be thrown back in. During the crabbing session, we came upon a star fish or two and did some observations. We also found schools of jellyfish... little white ones and big brown ones. We accidentally caught a big brown one. Eeew... A fisherman on the dock brought us a little white one for the kids to touch the tops of. More observations. It was pretty cool and the kids are still talking about their findings.


Our tour of the Umpqua River Lighthouse was quite an experience. I thought we were just going to learn about the machenations of the lighthouse, but there was a ton of history and drama being had. Right as we drove up, we were treated to some rain. Right on cue. I mean, what kind of lighthouse movie doesn't have rain and fog? We learned about life at the lighthouse. You know what? Women are pretty tough cookies. More on that part later.


Someone screwed up in the ordering of the lenses and lights at some point. Because of that, the lights have to be accessed from below. So we got to stick our heads up into the housing. Kinda cool. Kinda sickening. But an experience we wouldn't have had by reading a book.

Today, we head back down, this time on the 101. Lots of beauty on that road. We're planning to stop in San Francisco and visit City Girl's new apartment as well as the opening of the new California Museum of Science in Golden Gate Park. We're also going back to the Exploratorium. That is the coolest hands-on learning experience I've ever been to. I think the kids like it, too.

I'm learning a lot this week. Mostly, that it's okay to veer from the planner when it comes to an opportunity to unschool. I also learned that I need to have that planner to keep me honest. Otherwise, I'd just keep on driving and driving and driving...

The adventure continues...

4 comments:

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

That is a lot of learning! And stuff they'll remember forever because they experienced it. can't wait to do fun (ahem, educational) stuff like this with my little one!

Thanks for sharing!

Ann said...

Cool trip. I love traveling....

theresa said...

Very cool!! :o)

KingdomWriter said...

Sounds like an amazing trip, kids learn so much faster doing hands on stuff than just oogling a book!
Sounds all good for you guys.