Today is Learn Nothing Day. Learn Nothing Day was started by Sandra Dodd in honor of unschoolers who are learning 24 hours a day 7 days a week – these kids need a break!
But, as she said, “we have had no reports of any great success thus far.” Which is, of course, the point. It is impossible to go even 24 hours without learning anything. As we were returning from a birthday party this afternoon Maya listed all the things she’d learned today, pronouncing that she had ‘failed’ Learn Nothing Day in miserable fashion. She must have learned at least a dozen things. Probably more.
So when people ask me, “But how do you know they are learning anything?” I always think of Learn Nothing Day. I know that when people ask that question, they are referring to “the things that kids need to know as designated by the school system”, which may or may not have anything to do with actual learning. If I am feeling particularly feisty, I will say something like, “Well, did you learn anything today? How do you know?” Which usually gets me an eye roll or a “that’s not what I mean!” response. If I say, “I know they are learning because they live in the world,” most people are confounded. Some will sputter. I always thought saying someone ‘sputtered’ was just a descriptive word authors chose, but I can tell you it is something people actually do. I have seen people sputter before my eyes as they try to comprehend that my kids do not follow any approved (or even unapproved) curriculum!
Just last week someone asked me, “But at what age are you required to put them in school?” When I told them there is no such requirement, they said, “But then how will they get in to college?” To which I gave my standard answer: I don’t know if my kids will want to go to college, but if they choose to go, there are many universities who are thrilled to take homeschoolers because they find them to be better at handling the freedom afforded at college. Much shaking of the head followed this, as the person I was speaking to (who has three children in private schools) looked at me as though I had suddenly materialized in front of him from some alien planet.
Greetings from the alien planet of Life Learning.
Happy Learn Nothing Day!