Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Learn Nothing Day 2013



Having failed so spectacularly last year on Learn Nothing Day, that day when unschoolers everywhere do their utmost to take a break and learn absolutely nothing, we thought we'd try a different tack this year: We'd only do things we'd done before, and see people we already knew.

We started off with a lie in, and wandered downstairs to eat an ordinary breakfast and watch some Pewdiepie videos we'd seen before. We set off for home ed group armed with only toys we've already played with, and picked up a packed lunch on the way.

As we were driving, Squidge pointed out a 'smooth' cloud among all the fluffy clouds, and also one that looked like a dog. I mentioned that the smooth cirrus cloud was actually a lot higher up than all the fluffy cumulus ones, it just looked close. Oops. A sideways glance at a smiling Squidge confirmed that he was oblivious to my slip up. Unfortunately Sprout piped up and told him how rain is made. I reminded them that we were supposed to be learning absolutely nothing today, and Sprout laughingly agreed to try harder. Two seconds later he asked me how wind is made. *sigh*

Ok, so a quick explanation of how wind is made, and then we'll try harder.

Squidge suggested covering our eyes and ears, which they both did (and Moppet too although the reason was a mystery!), and as I was driving I just did in spirit. After a bit of giggling Sprout started telling me about a game called Deadpool that Nerd Cubed had played. A few minutes into his synopsis, he asked me, "Did you already know about Deadpool?" Nope. "Trolled!" he squealed and laughed raucously, "You learnt something!"

That then pretty much set the tone for the day, with both boys sneakily trying to tell me things I didn't know, or furtively trying to get me to tell them things they didn't know. Each time followed by the triumphant cry of, "Trolled!" Why pupils dilate and constrict, along with experiments and demonstrations ('very creepy' was Sprout's verdict). How cars are made. How twins happen. Whether conjoined twins with one body and two heads are one or two people, and why. How paint is made. That the cola we bought to have with lunch tasted like medicine, and that Coke was originally sold as medicine. Whether Holy Water is a real thing, how different people might answer that question, and whether drinking it gives you superpowers. The difference between naming ceremonies and christenings. What happens to someone's heart rate when they get scared (complete with experiment involving a heart rate monitor!) What special objects Sprout is going to use in his tabletop Lego RPG game that he's developing and why. Demos of the K'nex frisbee launcher that Squidge invented, and of the Iron Man arm that Sprout designed. Whether people always have only ten toes.

Plus quite a few they weren't even trying for... Why chargers sometimes get hot. Why Grandma doesn't like it when you make up new rules for games. Why a clean water supply is so important. Why Haribo melted in the car today but didn't when chocolate melted in there the other day. Why the game Klonks and Klones resulted in me having round bruises on my face for a week as a kid.

Ah well. We tried. As I reflected that we'd done pretty well to make it almost to lunchtime before the whole cloud/rain/wind/weather debacle, Sprout pointed out that actually, before we even got out of bed this morning, he'd downloaded Blockheads for Squidge, showed him how to play, and asked me what the letters S-A-P-P-H-I-R-E spell. So we'd failed even before our feet hit the floor.

There's always next year.

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