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  • Nick Adkins

Unstructured Learning

I'll admit that before this all happened, I was craving some sort of change. I feel like I've been burnt out for the last three or so years. The daily grind had become too normal for everyone--for us, probably like many others, we scrambled from one activity to the next, filled our weekends with plans, and spent nights rushing through dinner to get to homework, before the kids had to take showers and start their bedtime routine. For someone who likes to sit quietly and daydream, it didn't allow for much idle time.

Now we are forced to stay home. It's certainly not what I had in mind when I was craving change. I worry about people. I worry about my family. What I am trying not to worry about is my kids' education. That's not to say we're not educating them, but so far, we have avoided structured schooling at home. Instead, we're looking for learning opportunities in everything we do. We're using this time to let the kids guide their own learning with their personal interests.

Logan, 12, has been granted permission to use a hatchet to chop wood for a fort he is building in the woods. Eli, 11, is using tools to build a homerun wall for his baseball field. There is much to be learned from these activities, but in the past, the time wasn't there. Inside, we've been playing a ton of board games. We have the time to pull out a whole bunch from way high up in the closet that haven't seen the light of day probably since we moved into our house. We've spent a lot of time just making each other laugh. There is a renewed sense of family that the busyness of life had robbed from us.

Of course there has been a lot of screen time too. Maybe too much. Probably too much. But we have tried to find learning in that too. We watched the Kindness 101 series on Youtube as a family. I will likely write a separate blog about this. It was super good and I highly recommend it! Also in the realm of screen time, the boys have been playing Fortnite. I personally don't like Fortnite, but it has given them a way to chat with school friends. I've been surprised with the level of communication their 'squad' has had. Better than most Zoom meetings I've been on!

Will we embrace whatever form of distance learning is implemented by our school district? Of course! But in the meantime, we're going to make the most of this downtime.

However you are handling this time, the most important thing is to stay safe and healthy, friends! Take care.

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