Did you wake up today knowing you were going to go somewhere different, see something new, or do something that you’ve never done before? Or did you follow your same routine, talking to the same people, doing the same work, and reading the same things?
Now, I’m a firm believer that you can’t get through a day learning NOTHING new, even if you’re the type of person who never breaks routine, or shifts interests or activities. We all learn something every day. The difference is some people learn far more things, and a variety of things, because they are purposeful about putting themselves in contact with unusual and interesting people, ideas, concepts, places, and objects.
Exploring something new and different each day, or as I call it my daily dose of adventure, feeds your spirit in the same way vitamins and minerals feed your physical body.
There are three essential ingredients in my daily dose of adventure: I have to be very curious about the topic, it must be something that is new to me, and it’s something I can do in a day.
Curiosity About the Topic
In my family, our daily dose of adventure usually is about finding out an answer to a question we’re curious about. When we read Vacation under the Volcano, a Magic Treehouse book by Mary Pope Osborne, the kids were fascinated about volcanoes erupting. So, today our adventure was making our own volcano erupt. Yesterday we noticed a lot of ants on the floor in the kitchen. We wondered if they’d rather take little bits of marshmallows or salty crackers back to their home, so we gave them some of each and watched what they did.
Some days we go to a different playground (I wonder if it would be more fun there?), or buy a new fruit at the store (what will this taste like?) or listen to a new song (will we like this style of music?). Some days we plan ahead for things we’d like to do, and other days, when we have a lot of errands, house chores or other responsibilities, we take time to pause and observe something we’ve come across that day.
I like to keep a journal of things we’ve been curious about that we’d like to explore someday. Sometimes we might have questions that are difficult to answer in the moment but we don’t want to lose those ideas, either.
Learning Something New
Our daily dose of adventure is always something new. We usually have other projects we’re working on that take days or weeks or even months to finish, or other things we like to do that we’ve done before. But the daily adventures, those new and different things that spark our curiosity and wonder, those are some of the greatest moments I have with my kids.
Can be Done in a Day
They are also adventures we finish in a day. They’re short bursts of discovery. And it’s in these adventures that a lot of our longer projects and activities are born. They feed our quest for knowledge and the mini adventures I wrote about in a previous post.
Since we are unschoolers, our days often revolve around several adventures. We do not use a set curriculum or schedule so if we are curious about something, and it really captivates us, we are free to spend hours on it or even the whole day without feeling we are “getting behind” in our spelling or math.
Those who want to set a strict schedule might find it harder to fit in a daily adventure. A highly curious child probably won’t stay that way if he or she isn’t allowed to feed that curiosity soon after it occurs and for an extended period of time.
A child who is allowed and encouraged to have daily adventures will see his world for what it is: interesting, captivating, waiting to be explored and discovered; a child who is told what to learn by others will grow up not really connecting to his world, seeing it as a place untouchable, unapproachable and not really worth his time.
Show your child that questions do matter, that there are things to be curious about. Don’t get so concerned about skills like reading, writing or learning to manipulate numbers that you turn them into required tasks instead of leaving them be what they should be – another part of this world to wonder about, play with and have as part of a daily adventure.
What is one thing you could read about, watch, or go do that would satisfy some question you have? Can you create a list of ten things right now that you’d like to learn about more? What item off that list can you research right now?
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