Creating a stark field

In a discussion group I'm not on, there was some criticism of Learn Nothing Day, or rather of the unschoolers who share happy stories of learning, on that day. In a public exchange about those objections, Karen Angstadt wrote something beautiful. I'll quote what she's responding to so hers shows better on that field. :-)

I wrote:
I think it serves its purpose, which is to create a field against which learning can be starkly seen, and it does it lightly and simply. It's something we can use as shorthand througout the rest of the year, when people say "Will there be days they don't learn anything?" and we can say "July 24."

Karen's response:
This: "I think it serves its purpose, which is to create a field against which learning can be starkly seen" was so spot on for me. When I first heard about Learn Nothing Day, I was still very new to unschooling. I was uncertain that all learning was equally important, and I was still dividing life into "subjects"—lots of deschooling was still needed.

I told my kids and they told me quite certainly that it would be impossible to go a whole day without learning. But we tried it anyway. And I saw SO MUCH MORE learning happen because I was watching so closely. It was like a big curtain was lifted that had been preventing me from seeing clearly. When I think back today about that moment, it feels like THAT was the real beginning of unschooling for me. It still feels electric in my memory—all the connections I made that day about learning and its value to the learner within the place and time it is learned. I am so grateful for Learn Nothing Day.

Internet discussions are impermanent, but it might still be visible here:
(Karen's comment four or five years after her first Learn Nothing Day)

1 comment:

  1. By e-mail, Megan V. wrote:

    On Learn Nothing Day, my kids had the gall to ask me about methane and we ended up in front of a periodic table of elements talking about what the chemical makeup of a fart is! I told them many times throughout the day, "we're not supposed to be learning today!", but they just rolled their eyes at me. We also talked about the atmosphere on one of Saturn's moons (Titan), which was a big no-no. Here I am talking about astronomic science with a 4, 6, and 9 year old that definitely "shouldn't" be learning this stuff until the--I don't even know when because I don't remember ever learning about Titan's atmosphere (thank God for Google and National Geo Kids). My dad also got a big kick out of Learn Nothing Day. He basically told me good luck! What a fun reminder of how learning is always happening :).


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