How our Unschooling Day
Meditation, Meteors, Mars, Macaws, and more
By Priya Desikan
I love the way most days start. I usually wake
up, put away the washed dishes, make myself some black tea, and part of
my breakfast, – my kanji/porridge – sit down to browse the newspaper,
and then go into the stillness of meditation listening to Deepak Chopra.
Yes, I am making this a routine for myself as I can see what a
difference it is making to me and my life. My son sees it too now, so if
he wakes up earlier than usual and sees me with headphones and closed
eyes in front of my laptop, then he just goes back quietly into the room
and sits with a book or iPad until I finish. That is something I am
truly grateful for – that he understands how much it means to me and how
much it has helped me in my responses to him and other things that
happen every day.
After that silence and stillness, sometimes when
I am inspired to write something, I start it off, or else just wait for
it to trickle slowly inside me through the day, until my cup is full and
I share it with others through my writing. I so love the way my day
starts these days... there is so much more peace and balance and energy
to it than there was before. It is quite magical when one goes with the
However, most times I feel my day starts truly
only when Raghav is up, as that is when I feel that our house comes to
Today was another usual day until he woke up, and then for the next half
hour or so, there was a non-stop conversation about a host of things,
one thing leading to another and another, and learning flowing along
that path and in the many spaces in between. All that I can do as a
participant in this flow is to be with it and watch it with awareness
and wonder...and enjoy the unfolding as it happens.
I wish to share here the flow that happened this
morning – just another random day in our lives.
Raghav usually likes to just cuddle up with one
of us in bed for quite a while until he is ready to get up – sometimes
just lying in silence, but most times talking about something. Today, as
we were lying down, I reminded him about the video that he said he would
watch and hadn’t. It was a video sent to him by my cousin, about a wet
towel in space. He took out his iPad and made me find the link again and
sat down to watch it with me. We laughed together at how the mike was
dancing and floating around in space and watched the
rest of it keenly. That triggered off a question about what would
happen if we were to sneeze in space, what a space suit is and why
astronauts need to wear them, why we need oxygen in space, spacewalks,
While we Googled for some of these things, we
found a website that had some questions and answers on different things
about space. Raghav likes websites with loads of pictures or videos and
little text to read at a time, and so this website was something that he
Raghav then explored all the questions there that he liked. These are
some of the areas he explored…
He told me a story about that meteor: How it must have left the
atmosphere of Mars; how it was born in a dust storm on Mars, over a
volcano on Mars; how it escaped the atmosphere, came flying fast at
1500km per hour, faster than the Spice Jet plane we went on, and landed
on earth; how people must have been there in Antarctica in an igloo,
that it must have been dark/night time, and they woke up in the morning
to find the meteor at their door when they went to hunt for food, how
they must have had machines to find out things about it....
“For the next half hour or so, there was a non-stop
conversation about a host of things, one thing leading to
another and another, and learning flowing along that path and in
the many spaces in between. All that I can do as a participant
in this flow is to be with it and watch it with awareness and
wonder...and enjoy the unfolding as it happens.”
He read about meteors and meteor showers.
He described to me how in 1994 a meteorite landed in Antarctica from
And then a question to me: “How old were you then?” When I told him that
I was twenty-four, he said: “So you were born in 1970?”
Then he asked me if I would like to be a meteor. I said yes, to which he
said: “But then would you like to go so fast and then land and get hurt?
You must have brakes or landing gear like an aircraft!”
“How would you feel if you were a meteor or an asteroid? Would you like
to be flying around?...I would rather be a bird!,” he said.
“Can we make a macaw costume? Anyway, I like being a parrot/macaw as I
like to flap my hands like wings sometimes when I run.”
“How do we make a macaw costume? What about the tail?....if we make it
out of newspaper, then we have to find a way to make it stand out.”
“I would love to be a macaw – it is so colorful!”
“I would like to be its perch. I have one – a foldable one – my hand!
Also, I am like a moving chair for it....as I will keep moving around
the house while it sits on me.....so my whole body would be like its
He then wanted to know if I would like to have a macaw as a pet. And we
moved on to discuss birds, what they eat, what is freedom, and bird
families. He thought about how we could have a macaw as a pet and yet
allow it to be free, by building a bird house for it where it could come
and go as it pleases.
The conversation then flowed on to friendship and how it would be his
friend, and then about other pets – what kind of dog he would like as a
pet and why, why we cannot have pets in this apartment, his feeling
lonely and wanting to have more friends....and the conversation and
learning flowed on through the day beyond this half hour or so....just
like any other random day.
I so love the way the flow is so different each day – the different
worlds we explore with our thoughts and imagination….always flowing,
always shining....where we happily go with the flow of the moment, not
thinking about where we are heading or why we are flowing......but just
flowing....because it is so beautiful to just be, the way it is right
Priya Desikan is part of a life learning family that
lives in India and had a 7-1/2-year-old son when this article was
written in 2013. Since 2010, they have been on this
journey, celebrating, sharing, and co-creating their journey. They do
not follow any external curriculum, but rather the inner curriculum that
drives their child. He is a self-learner and their days are spent
exploring things that he wants to, in a way that he wants to, with his
parents playing the role of facilitators, listeners, and co-learners.
You can find Priya’s writing on her blog Flights of Fancy.
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