Monday, March 7, 2011

Unschool Monday: Mess

Before I had children I was a neat-freak. Everything had its place, civilisation would crumble if an item was not in its place while not in use. These days civilization is lucky if it doesn't crumble a few times a day. But it's not just that mess bothers me, mess prevents her from learning, right? It's unattractive, disorganised, makes daily business harder to go about, makes tasks take longer. How can she learn when she has to navigate a minefield of toys or clothes on the floor? Well, this weekend my big girl taught me a lesson: she learns just fine amidst mess *shudder*

Thursday our house could have been out of a magazine. So clean, my soul was at peace. Friday I got sick. Saturday I was still sick and Ealesy joined me. Sunday I was feeling well, but lethargic, Ealesy was still sick. Hurricane Harriet had spent three straight days making uninhibited mess while her parents were powerless to keep up with her.
bubble wrap pants
In my fragile little mind this meant that no learning, no fun, nothing productive or positive could happen on Sunday night. But, for the first time in her life, Harriet spent three straight hours amusing herself, while her parents lay lifeless on the couch.

Mess facilitated great play. She was immersed in her games, it was a rare moment when she wanted to include us. Usually she's not interested in any activity unless one of her parents is by her side, joining in. 

cup of dough
She entertained herself with bubble wrap, chalk drawing, an imaginary game where she was taking a baby to unschool group. Another imaginary game where she "cooked wainbow ass cweam" for our "dinna." She pulled apart the long string of band aids joint together in their wrapping, and after Ealesy made a pie for dinner, she spent ages playing with the left over dough. And everything that grabbed her attention did so from the floor (err, except the dough lol).

Turns out what I see as mess on the floor, Harriet sees as a great big activity table. I was reminded of something Owlet Mumma wrote about "strewing the path" for our children's learning.  On Sandra Dodd's unschooling website "strewing" is defined as: "leaving material of interest around for our children to discover."  As it was, Harri strew her own path over the weekend. And in so doing taught Mumma a thing or two.

I'm joining in with Owlet's Unschool Monday.

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