Chasing Cheerios

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unschooling Fun

Now that O is talking nonstop and asking lots of questions, we're having a lot more opportunities to "unschool." Before she was talking, we told her about everything around us, etc. but now we really know what she is interested in, and that is so much fun. Her two favorite questions to ask are "What is it? or What's that is it?" and "What does that mean?" She is NOT satisfied with a simple answer. The girl wants DETAILS! Here are a couple of examples that I'd like to document just so I can remember to tell O about them one day :)
She asked Elliott what a light switch was. She wasn't satisfied that it was just a light switch, so he went into great detail telling her all about electricity. He took her outside and showed her the power lines and told her all about voltage and where the electricity comes from (he works for an electric company, so he was thrilled with her interest in this subject). I'm sure most of this was way over her head since she's just 26 months old, but she was really listening and paying attention to him. Since then she's talked about electricity quite a bit. This morning she told me about daddy showing her the power lines, and she said "daddy buys electricity at his office." She definitely has an understanding of not wasting electricity, which is something that she hears often when we make sure all of the lights are off when we aren't using them. When we were at her grandparents house this past weekend, she worriedly told me that they'd left a light on upstairs :)
O has also been interested in her veins in her wrists lately. Elliott also went into great detail explaining what her veins are and what they are used for. He must have also told her about bones, because she's been talking about her bones, too. This new questioning stage of her language development is SO much fun!
Oh, one more unschooling story...O LOVES for us to tell her her birth story, and we probably tell it at least 4 times a day. I realized last week that although O knows that she was born at X:08 pm (although she usually just says Xpm when asked) on a Sunday, she did not know her actual birthday. Oops! I told her that her birthday is July XX, and she has proudly been sharing that information with everyone she sees ever since then. She also adds in that July XX is her Guh-guh and her cousin, Emily's, birthday, too. Although she's a little confused about her cousin Emily, since she has two Auntie Emily's :) I've also told her that she was born in 20XX (I made sure to tell her this since I am always amazed by how many children in elementary and even middle school who don't know the year in which they were born!) O won't say 20XX, but she will fill in the X if I say 2000... She loves it when I ask her questions like this (She gets a sweet little proud grin on her face), so I'm trying to think of more. Let me know if you have any ideas :) Thanks!

edited to delete personal info at Elliott's request :)


  1. Just hold off on the "how you were made" bit. She may ask soon! My 3 year old is proudly drawing sperms and eggs and telling everyone how daddy put sperms into mummy to make her. OH BOY. Not every-one thinks this is funny or appropriate! Me, I think information should be given at the level it is asked at - I give you 3 months before you too have pictures of sperms and eggs!!!

  2. It just gets better as they get older! My 4 year old now asks, "How did people get all over the world instead of in one place?" "How did bread get made?" "Why do people stop getting bigger?" "Why aren't there clouds inside, too?" It really keeps you on your toes!

  3. i love these questions.. your O and my shea are the same age (shea born july 18), but he isn't verbal yet. i love watching his little brain work, tho, so i can't wait for him to ask some of these big, great questions!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing those examples. I have been a little unsure about you the unschooling idea is supposed to work and your examples really made sense to me. It looks like I have a LOT to learn before my little baby reaches this questioning stage. I dont' think I could have explained electricity to a 2 year old.

  5. Hi Melissa, this suggestion may have to wait until O is a little bit older, but my sister loves it when we ask her, "How old will you be in 2009? 2010? 2015, etc.?" We've used this fun questioning as a way for her to practice addition. We started by asking simple ones (only 1 year away) and gradually moved on to years further into the future. Eventually, this can also work in reverse too! (ex. How old were you 2007?)

  6. Her questions are great, but I love more how you and El are taking the time to answer them. Yes, some things may be over her head, but why not give her the information when she is so willing to learn. We have been this way with both of the boys. JC in particular has always wanted extreme details about everything. So, we explain as much as we can. You'll be amazed at the things she will remember later and that she will actually understand. Good job Mom!

  7. My firstborn is a real talker and he`s CONSTANTLY asking questions, too. He`s shown a lot of interest in electricity two, interestingly enough. :)

    The questions we deal with most often right now include "Where are you going?" "What`s this?" "What happened?" and "Why are you doing that?" If his little brother is having a tantrum, Dorian is right there, wanting to know why he`s upset and what we`re going to do about it. :)

    He`s recently decided that he needs to go to work sometimes, too. He will get on his trike, tell his brother, "Goodbye, Dante. I have to go to work. I have to get money." and off he goes. Mostly he pretends to sell pizza to earn money, which I have no idea where that came from!