Enforced Unschooling


Child is bucked off of horse, hits head on fence, gets concussion. A few days later same child dives into bed and hits the headboard, loses vision for several hours, worsens concussion symptoms.

Current treatment for concussion symptoms means that there is to be: no school work; no exercise; no television; no computer; no learning anything new. Well then. Most of us plunk sick kids down in front of the tv, give them liquids and let them rot their brains while their bodies heal. Time to work out a new approach. She’s not supposed to be reading much, either, but I’ve allowed her reread all of her favorite novels because, dude, what’s left?

For the first week my daughter lived under the trestle table in our living room. We padded it up with comforters and pillows and she listened to audio books and put beads onto pipe cleaners. Then she crawled out and painted a little bit.

The following week she read, probably too much. Percy Jackson, The Red Pyramid, Harry Potter… No horse back riding, no climbing trees, no multiplication, what in the heck did we do? Housework. We bought chickens and took care of the rest of our animals better than we usually do–spotless cages, well-bedded stalls, extra hay. We watched a little bit of tv and I allowed her to check her email twice that week.

We have gone to the zoo, had a few play dates, went to a spring break retreat in the mountains, ‘learned’ Reiki, told stories, watched Daddy capture a swarm of bees, practiced showmanship (yes, technically exercise but we have to do *something*). We have relaxed, shopped, thrifted, cooked and eaten a lot of yummy food, built fairy houses, stomped in a mountain creek and found an old mix CD I made years ago with the best songs ever on it.

I’m something of a fatalist and believe that life is carrying us along in the direction we are meant to go. We can fight it, swim upstream as hard as we can, but the current is still going to drag us along to our destination. So it seems to me that this concussion episode was a series of events that have turned into stepping stones that have helped us to relax, detox, let go of some of the pressure of keeping up with the Jones’ (the homeschooling ones) and allowed us to enjoy tubing the currents in our own river. We waved on our way past.

Categories: 4th grade, about us, animals, livestock, animals, pets, extracurricular, family fun, homeschool | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Enforced Unschooling

  1. Tina,
    This was so heartfelt and beautifully written. ❤

  2. Are those BEES hanging off that bird bath? Yowza!

    I think one of the greatest skills you can learn is how to be fine without a lot of stimulation. So valuable. And usually there’s so much stimulation we don’t really have to learn it.

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