What might a day in the life of an unschooled only child look like, on a day when her mother is working? Well, like one of these, perhaps.
Currently, on Mondays I need to be at my store at least 3-5 hours. Ideally this will be 12-3, but it’s flexible. Yesterday I had a chiropractor’s appointment in the morning in the same building as my store, and we had the opportunity to join some friends on a nature walk in the afternoon, so our day looked like this:
7:45 am Mom gets up, meditates, does yoga, makes tea, eats breakfast.
8:30 am Neko wakes up, eats breakfast.
9:30 am Mom leaves for the chiropractor and to work at the store for a bit. Neko and dad stay home, Neko watches a bit of TV.
10:45 am Mom comes home, picks up Neko and dad, and we all go to the Weaselhead, a beautiful park here in Calgary that follows the Elbow River into the Glenmore Resevoir and is made up of some really nice woods.
11:00 am – 2 pm We spend a couple of hours roaming the woods in the Weaselhead. We look for deer prints, point out chickadees, see ducks in the river and check out the field where the wild strawberries will grow in the summer. Neko hides in the bushes and we find her every time, which makes her mad. An old friend of Neko’s comes along and the two of them spend the walk beside each other talking quietly – later she tells me they mostly talked about Narnia.
The kids playing on a log down by the river. Sorry about the creepy ghost faces on the kids besides mine.
2:15 pm Dad and Neko drop mom off at the store to work some more. Then they go to the library to pick up some books we had on hold; to Toys R Us so Neko can spend her $20 gift certificate from Nana (she chooses a stuffed cat that meows, purrs and walks); and home for some crackers and cheese.
4:00 pm Neko and dad pick up mom from the store. We get home and Neko runs off to play with the twins from down the street, who are nine (and frankly, not very nice to the six-year-old – cue conversation about how we let others treat us, and how to stand up for ourselves). She plays in the park with them for about an hour. Then we eat delicious Pumpkin Dal over brown rice. She then plays with them for about another hour.
7:00 pm Neko watches a bit more TV.
8:00 pm Neko has a bath, then dad reads a chapter of Prince Caspian to her while mom goes for a run. At 9:00 her eyes are closed before her head hits the pillow.
Today, Tuesday, I had to work all day, so it went more like this:
8:45 am We all wake up. Justan and I didn’t sleep at ALL (weird mutual insomnia) so we are beat. We all stay in bed until 9:15 and snuggle.
9:30 am They drop me off at the store for the day. They come home and eat breakfast. Neko watches The Cat Returns (a Studio Ghibli movie).
12:30 After lunch, they pay a visit to a cool playground near my store. Next, they have to meet up with someone Justan works with.
2:30 A visit to the Glenbow Museum in downtown Calgary, taking in the exhibits and making masterpieces in the art room with watercolour pencils.
4:30 pm Home again. Neko plays with the girls down the street again for about an hour.
5:45 They pick me up from the store. We come home and eat pizza (bought frozen from our favourite local pizzeria). While the pizza cooks, Neko practices typing words in Pages on my laptop.
6:45 pm We go to the park down the street with Neko because she wants to show us the big pine tree she can climb. She can climb really high! We play in the playground for a bit.
7:30 pm We come home and practice writing. I say word combos out loud and Neko writes them, then makes them out of pipecleaners. She gets bored with this and plays on Reading Eggs for a bit.
8:15 pm I read a chapter of Prince Caspian to Neko, she eats some almonds as a bedtime snack, we snuggle and she’s off to sleep.
So there it is. A bit too much TV sometimes (though she watches more on days Justan mainly has her), usually lots of time outside, plenty of socialization, no worksheets, no real structure (she’s a kid who does fine without a routine), and I spend my days wavering between feeling guilty for not giving her more math and literacy work, and confident knowing that she’ll pick it all up when she is ready – maybe in the fall. Maybe when she turns seven. Right now we have lots of time. And she’ll have these sunny days with her friends, and her mom, and her dad, to look back on, always.