It's a holiday for unschoolers, and gosh, do we ever need it!

June 13, 2009, blog post by Kelly Sturman/livingjoyfully
Mark your Calendars

Backup copy in case that one disappears:

July 24th is Learn Nothing Day!

It's a holiday for unschoolers, and gosh, do we ever need it! That old adage "you learn something new every day" is so true!  We are learning all the time...

"You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn"
~Alanis Morissette, "You Learn" 

Don't we deserve a day off?  ;-)

So, with the holiday just six weeks away, we are going to have to think hard to figure out how to take a day off from all this non-stop learning!  Obviously, we can't go anywhere; we'd see something new or meet someone new and then we'd learn something.  So, we'll have to say at home.  But stay at home and do what?  

Let's see... maybe we could just sleep the day away?  No, that won't work!  How many creative ideas arise from dreams?  Lots!  That opening guitar riff to the Rolling Stones' song "Satisfaction"?  It came to Keith Richards in a dream. Likewise, Paul McCartney woke up one morning with the melody to "Yesterday" floating around in his head.  Here is a list of some other songs and stories, including The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and also Frankenstein that came to artists while they slept.  I'm sure the list is not all inclusive!

Okay, so sleeping all day is too risky.  Hmm... maybe we could "zone out" in front of the ol' "boob tube" for the day?  Ah, no; that won't work.  'Cause "boob tube" is a misnomer; there is really so much to learn from watching television. Even if we carefully avoid all the "educational" channels, even if we steer clear of the game shows (where we might pick up a fact or two), even if we try really hard to find something incredibly insipid and or asinine, there remains a very really risk that our brains are bound to make connections between what we are watching and what we already know.  That's what brains do. The next thing you know, we will be thinking creatively, and having ideas, and learning.   Uh-oh!

Okay, maybe we could play games all day?  Hmm.... well... we can't play Boggle or Scrabble or Scattergories or Upwords or Malarky.  Mad Libs is out. Ditto Monopoly, Clue, Statego, Battleship,  Othello, DaVinci's Challenge, Mastermind, chess, checkers, Go, card games of any sort... Heck, even Jenga requires strategic thinking.

Video games, maybe?  Lots of folks say those rot your brain!  But wait.  Even those folks admit that video games can improve eye-hand coordination. Kinesthetic learning. DRAT!  And the truth is, many video games teach so much more:  reading, writing, typing; goal setting and problem solving. Economics, both micro and macro; history; mythology; science and technology; geography and mapping skills... and and and on it goes.  Looks like we'll have to avoid video games, too, on Learn Nothing Day.

Well, golly gee!  This is really going to be a challenge!  It's a good thing we've got six weeks to plan; we're going to need it.  How can you go a day without learning a single thing?

But seriously...

For more on what can be learned from watching TV and playing video games; these are just a sampling of the many articles out there discussing the benefits:

From The New Yorker:

From CNN:

From Wired:

From Discover:

From Live Science:

Real and imagined languages


Erster Internationaler Welt-nichtslerntag

translated by Bea Mantovani, who also contributed Mandarin:


Just for fun:
Mandarin Chinese (I hope you can read the characters, I wrote it in
phonetics next to it just in case.)
第一国际无会日 (di yi guo ji wu xue ri)
(not 100 % sure this would sound great to a native ;-)


O le aso e leai se mea afia.

emmy tofa


From Hema A. Bharadwaj in Pune, India:

It's "Aaj kuch mat seekho". Meaning "don't learn anything today" in Hindi.
And in Kannada it is "Evat enoo kali byadaa"
and in Marathi it i s "Aaz kaahi shikoo nakaa"


Learn Nothing Day translated into lolspeak:

dai wut bees fur lernin nuttin

but no klikn doze linx on dai wut bees for lernin nuttin! humorz be
notoryus fur sneekin inta yuz brainiaks and makin yez lurn stuffiez.



ghoj pagh jaj
(If someone would like to expand on that or correct the grammar, that would be fine. Nancy Wooten is not fluent in Klingon, but did the best she could.)

I've translated it into the "op" language I used as a kid: Lopearopnop Noptophopinopgop Dopayop

(add "op" to every consonant (including "y" whether it's used as a vowel or consonant).

Robin B.
(Ropobopinop Bop)

O Dia de Nao Aprender Nada


"O Dia de Nao Aprender Nada "

Alex Polikowsky, Ambassador to Unschoolers (if any) in Portugal and Brazil

That last comment was written in 2008, and now in 2014, there are MANY unschoolers in Portugal and Brazil!

Several things have been translated, and there is a video with subtitles, mostly done by Marta Pires and Alex Polikowsky. Traduções em Português de algumas informações sobre o "unschooling".

El Dia de No Aprender Nada


The first translation was "El primer Dia Internacional de Aprender Nada", but later Barbara wrote this:
My translation spurred some internal disagreement (as so many do) about the use of the double negative in Spanish: Part of me still wants to call it "El Dia de NO Aprender Nada", as that sounds more natural, while my initially submitted contribution was "El Dia de Aprender Nada" as a more literal "Learn Nothing" day translation, which to me has some philosophical connotations (not just that we would try NOT to learn that day, but that by "learning nothing" we would be somehow "learning about nothing" if you will, which I realize is contrary to the intent of the holiday :) but still struck me as meaningful in context. So, my disclaimer is, for a purist, the transilation "El Dia de No Aprender Nada" might be more appropriate.

Barbara Perez

La Prima Giornata Mondiale del "Oggi non si impara"

Chi pratica l' "Unschooling" (ovvero, l'apprendimento naturale ed autonomo) ha bisogno di una vacanza. Quando qualcuno chiede se fanno scuola famigliare anche durante l'estate, loro rispondono sempre di si. Quando qualcuno chiede se mai prendono una pausa dall'apprendere, loro rispondono di no.

Ed è molto tempo che questo succede.

Il 24 Luglio, 2008 sarà la prima (e forse l'ultima) Giornata Mondiale dell' "Oggi non si impara", una vacanza per chi fa "unschooling," anche se può essere celebrata da chiunque lo desideri.

Per i cittadini dell'Utah la Giornata dell' "Oggi non si impara" sarà celebrata il 25 di Luglio.

Italian translation by Melissa Dietrick and family. Thank you!

Learn Nothing Day pages in English and in French.

La Journée Sans Rien Apprendre

Programme préliminaire
pour la première célébration internationale de

Les unschoolers ont besoin de congés. Lorsqu'on leur demande s'ils s'instruisent en été, ils répondent "oui". Lorsqu'on leur demande s'ils se reposent parfois de tous ces apprentissages, ils répondent "jamais".

Et cela fait bien longtemps que ça dure.

Le 24 Juillet 2008 sera la première (et peut-être la dernière) journée annuelle "Sans rien apprendre" pour les unschoolers, bien qu’elle puisse être fêtée par quiconque le désire.

"La Journée Sans Rien Apprendre" (Learn Nothing Day) sera célébrée le 25 juillet dans l'Utah (les citoyens de l'Utah sauront

Plus sur unschooling, en français (More about Unschooling, in French)

Translation by Sylvie Martin and Jeanine Barbé, with the help of Bea Mantovani
and the offer of more help by Anne Mills. Thank you all!

DISCUSSION about the word choices:

"La Journée Sans Rien Apprendre" is a fully translated page here

There were some problems with translating "void in Utah":

Sylvie wrote:
"With Jeanine, we had difficulties for the word : VOID. I think we understood.. is it like "Day off" ? If yes, it's "jour férié" in french."

Sylvie, it's like that day is not allowable, or is not applicable, or is cancelled out in Utah for the 24th. (It's because they have a big state holiday that day, Pioneer Day, and it's all about celebrating the history of Utah.)

Anne Mills wrote:
Whooo that is a tricky one ;-)

I would offer "pont" but not entirely sure, as it is in French the meaning of a day off that allows to connect with the pending week end.
Otherwise I dunno.

Bea Mantovani wrote:
I would write: "La Journée Sans Rien Apprendre" sera célébrée le 25
juillet dans l'Utah (les citoyens de l'Utah sauront pourquoi.)

or maybe

...sera exceptionellement célébrée le 25 juillet dans l'Utah...

or something like that

ps: I like "sans rien apprendre"! I was thinking it could be translated "la journée où on apprend rien" but that sounded kind of awkward... It's not easy translating "learn nothing day" in another language. lol (that might make it hard to learn nothing for people who speak several languages... what if they start thinking about how to translate the name of the holiday? lol)

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