As is my custom of justified procrastination, I decided we would go for a walk after lunch, instead of tackling one of my 11 to-dos on the list. I was oblivious to the 48-degree drizzle before mentally committing to the exercise, but I was as indifferent to the boys kitchen-towel-and-apron attire as they were to the weather, so we went walking.
The neighborhood tour led us to a discussion about the meaning of “neighborhood” and “community,” and soon the boys were listing all the community members they could think of. They amassed an impressive list of retailers, grocery stores, entertainment centers, miscellaneous businesses, and community health & safety organizations.
Next, we drilled down to specific jobs that keep the community running, such as what types of truck-jobs we see coming through our neighborhood.
The mentioned of police officers and jailers spawned a discussion about courtroom operations and jobs, which morphed into learning about the three branches of our government, checks and balances (kind of like “rock-paper-scissors”) and our important job as citizens to learn and vote.
All three boys were very enthusiastic and involved contributors to the walking chat and just as their little brains were feeling full, we arrived at the playground.
We heard a high-pitched sound near the playground. To me, it sounded like a distant storm siren, but I concluded it must be a vacuum. A few minutes later, we started smelling sawdust. Ian asked why it smelled like my wood-burning tool. I asked his thoughts and he correctly surmised that it must be a wood tool and that, like his Dremel, it rubs against the wood so fast that it makes heat and makes the burning smell.
After leaving the playground, Isaac asked why the grass looked yellow. We talked about how soil nutrients can affect a plant’s color and how some plants behave differently in winter, and why some trees have no leaves and some are still green.
What a rich “unschooling” experience we had! I’m glad I chose to put off the chores for a while longer.