What is Life Learning?

What are these words, “life learning”? Do they not do school? Like, at all?

Life learning can be interchanged with unschooling. However, my husband and I prefer the term life learning. We do not have a curriculum we follow. We do not sit down in the morning after breakfast and have school at the kitchen table. The kids are not memorizing facts and figures and they definitely are not filling in worksheets.

So, you ask again, what is life learning? What are these people doing all day?

We live life. Oh, it sounds so simple. It is so simple. Every person who has been born has passions and interests and hobbies. They have likes and dislikes and each one has had to discover that for themselves.

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Most people in the industrialized world have also had to attend school and put many of their interests on hold for many hours a day. How do people learn before school? They experience life. They live life and they ask questions and get answers. Somehow, when they reach age 5, they suddenly need to be told what to learn and how and where to get their answers. Then after schooling for 12+ years, they start remembering that they have things they want to learn about. They pick up a book even though they haven’t read for pleasure in years. They find a documentary series that leads them to learn more and more. They find a comedy series that they delve into. They start asking questions again and finding answers. (I also acknowledge that some people are able to find a passion within the school system, but most find it outside of that confine.)

Rico explores life through many lenses. His favorite is animals, and namely, large cats. Here, he is a tiger but most days he is a cheetah. 

Rico explores life through many lenses. His favorite is animals, and namely, large cats. Here, he is a tiger but most days he is a cheetah. 

Instead of taking a 12 year hiatus from life and learning, we are choosing to allow our children to continue on their own path of discovery. We are allowing them to breathe in their own space. We are giving them time. Time to discover who they are without control and force. Time with their parents and siblings and extended family and friends. So. Much. Time.

Our days vary. Most of the time no one wakes with an alarm (unless Jordan has to leave for an early appointment which is rare or I have a client to work on, which is less rare).  The kids find something to watch, which is usually Sofia The First, or they start an imaginative game. Jordan and I wake up and work out together. We have our morning devotional of a thought, scripture and sometimes a song, then breakfast. After that we follow interests. Sometimes it’s down the rabbit hole of YouTube or Netflix documentaries. Sometimes it is painting and art. Sometimes we head out to Costco because we need some things and the kids really want some samples. Some days we clean the house and relax at home.

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Interwoven into these days are talks about space, cheetahs, dancing and ballerinas, songs, Jesus, heaven, Rapunzel and Heavenly Father. The boys often do math problems, unprompted, in the truck while we drive places. Fredhead learned to tell time on his own and Wheezer is learning to write letters. We are also learning about other people’s needs, wants and desires and how those coincide or derail ours. We are learning loads of forgiveness and charity. At this point, I think Jordan and I may be the ones that are mainly learning charity. But, it’s a lesson we all need to learn, so why not now? And why not together? 

Life learning is allowing everyone in the family to follow their interests. It is supporting them as much as you can in any way you or they can think of. It is not allowing “children to run the house.” Instead, it is all of us living together helping each other to discover why we are here and helping each other reach our goals. Life learning is simple. It is lovely.

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To read more on this subject, check out these books: