Monday, June 6, 2011


I just figured out why I am an unschooler.  Shanna is watching Ponyo for the... 11tybillionth time.  *sigh*  Hm.  She hasn't figured out yet that this movie is actually in Japanese.  She will.  It's not going to take much longer before Noah carping on how bad the voice acting is will start to bug her.  Because he is really obnoxious about it.  I'll bet that soon he is going to get annoyed and sit her down and show her the movie in Japanese.  He will be sitting there explaining his value system of why he believes the acting is better.  Why it is more effective, etc.  However... Shanna doesn't speak Japanese.  So he is telling her extensively how much better the movie is... if she can read subtitles.  So then she will discover a motivation for learning to read.  We are taking her to Europe for a month.  That kind of travel will continue to happen for us because I really prioritize it.  My kids are going to have a lot of exposure to a lot of different cultures.  Shanna is going to want to be able to talk to people.  She is going to be able to keep watching Ponyo when we are home.  She will want to learn how to "talk" to the characters.  I am fully capable of providing her with the curriculum for learning Japanese.  There are websites, books, dvds, classes.. If she wants to learn I can absolutely provide access.

I don't need to put her into a language immersion preschool to provide her with access to learning other languages.  I've been kind of stressing about the fact that there is a Chinese Montessori preschool opening up a few blocks from my house.  That would be a "good opportunity".  But there are a lot of reasons that it is a complicated decision.  Not least of all is money.  I would have to increase our income or completely give up on all travel.

I'd rather travel.

And that sounds capricious and like I don't care about my kid, right?  But have you met me?  Have you read my blog for more than about 30 seconds?  Do you really think my children will grow up illiterate and out of touch with the world?  I can casually reference topics from politics, religion, history, math, science, english... We talk about the molecular structure of water as we are practicing pouring into cups.  My children will have weird spots in their education because I do.  But I can promise you that moving through 25 schools taught me that not everyone is learning the same things anyway.

And that's ok.


  1. Heh, Ponyo on DVD is only in Japanese at our house, and Lina doesn't seem to care. She likes the English end theme better though for dancing.

    I wish Netflix had the subtitled version.

    Our current addiction is Dora. So Lina's taken to saying ¡Ayúdame!, ¡Vámonos!, and counting in either Spanish or English as the mood strikes.

  2. have you seen the Soul Travelers blog?

    it's a family that basically travels full time for the last five years with their now ten year old daughter.

  3. yes. devoting yourself to your child's education, including field trips to, oh, anywhere in the world, rather than sending her to chinese montessori preschool definitely registers as selfish. how dare you give her a completely amazing childhood?

    the cool thing about unschooling and traveling is that adding a second student just barely increases the cost, whereas your chinese montessori preschool bill would double once calli joins up.

  4. (oh, and by "the cool thing" i meant, one little bonus on a long list of reasons unschooling and traveling, as an alternative to traditional school, are fantastic.)

  5. You'd know, I'd be perfectly happy to speak Japanese to Shanna when we're there. The only reason I don't really is out of politeness. In my head, when I talk to kids, it's mostly Japanese since that's what I'm used to right now. It takes a bit of thinking to switch it to English.

  6. Also, there will be plenty of us around teaching them bits of languages. I use spanish casually with kids, use dutch occasionally, etc. I can count and know a teensy bit of japanese. And that's just one of us.

    No. They don't need chinese immersion preschool. :) Visiting China before they're adults, though? That would be pretty awesome.