To Amuse and Delight

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Snippets: Learning with Loki

I am linking up with's blog hop "Snippet's from Unschooling". Some people are under the assumption that unschooled means un-educated. This misunderstanding is very far from the truth. "Unschoolers" understand that there is no one right way to learn or to teach. We embrace the freedom to do what is best for our own children. We learn with our children, we do not compartmentalize when and where learning takes place. People outside of this way of thinking find it a bit of a mystery how it "works". I think the Snippet's from Unschooling blog hop is a wonderful way for people to see a glimpse of what unschooling looks like from the inside. 
What I am blogging here just happens to be what is going on at the moment in my home. I have no idea what next month will look like. That is the beauty of unschooling, it is never stagnant. Like our children's minds, It is alive and green with constant growth.
This learning thread started when my husband wanted to take our daughter to see The Avengers movie. He was a comic book fan in his youth and for years made his living drawing comic books. Our daughter wasn't interested in going, but didn't want to squelch her Dad's enthusiasm. When they came back from the movie my daughter was changed. She was Loki obsessed. She wanted a Loki toy, so she made this crocheted Loki (with his little "frost bear"). She read every book she could find about Norse legends. She even asked me to cut her hair to be more Loki-ish. I did. It is more manageable and looks great. She asked me to buy her some styling mousse. I did. This is the first time she has ever cared about grooming her hair. Sure, Loki is a bad guy, but so far this is good.
My girl found out via the internet that there are many other Loki fans out there. She discovered the cosplay craze and spent much of her time studying Loki's costume and accessories and figuring out how to make them. She purchsed the Making of the Avengers book with her own money to get better photos than she could find on the internet. She made Loki's scepter. She trashed Loki's scepter and made a better one. She started a blog and blogged about that process. After much trial and error she got the scepter where she wanted it. She and her Dad are currently working on the Loki helmet. 
After looking at quantities of photos and video clips of Tom Hiddleston, the actor who play Loki, she realizes that it is not actually Loki she adores, but it is Tom. She prints out his bio which includes a list of his acting credits. We look over the list for something suitable for her to watch and settle on Return to Cranford, the BBC drama based on the Cranford books by Elizabeth Gaskell. After watching Return to Cranford multiple times, she and her little sister act out scenes and even assign parts to their friends to play out. There is a very dramatic train crash scene which becomes quite popular and my girls spend the better part of a day setting up their train set, finding just the right cow toy and playing out a particular scene. If you have seen Return to Cranford you know why our little cow is wearing grey pajamas.
So after really enjoying Return to Cranford, my daughter decides that she would like to see the original Cranford. We all watch it (more than once), it is a big hit all around. She then wants to read the Cranford books. She does so and she loves them. As I was busy getting breakfast together the girls came down with their noses in books. You see she's reading Cranford again. She begins reading to me while I cook. Of course I love that. After reading to her for twelve years, I reap the reward of being read to. We have a discussion about why she likes Elizabeth Gaskell's writing style better that Jane Austin's. Tomorrow we are going to the library to pick up Gaskell's novel Wives and Daughters. 
Learning will happen naturally, the tricky part for us parents is allowing it to.

"You may not find a complete and direct cause-and-effect relationship between interest and learning, but we bet you'll find at least a strong correlation. Generally, when we learn due to interest, it's pleasurable, straightforward, and effective. When we learn due to coercion, it's unpleasant, difficult, and useless and we often forget the learned material as soon as we can afford to."
from Guerrilla Learning by Grace Llewellyn


  1. I love this. I must pick up the works of Elizabeth Gaskell! Thanks.

  2. Eve, want to come over an de-school me so that I can unschool my kids? I really really hate this year of homeschool and only the Lord's command to continue keeps me from giving up completely. We have so many amazing things at our disposal right now, and we aren't enjoying them at all because there is a constant strain in our home. Think you can help?

  3. Dear Eve,

    We love Cranford, too! I had no idea that "William" was the bad guy on Avegeners (I haven't seen it yet)! How could he? :)

    We mostly unschool, too, with the occasional bout of something that looks presentable, so we can show the grandparents.



  4. I love EVERYBIT of this post!!!! are you reading Guerilla Learning???!!! I know you love it.

  5. First off my daughters (who are 21 and 16 by the way) are Loki obsessed too. Probably because they were unschooled too ;-p
    Sadly people do not get unschooling. All I can say is it so worked for our family. Clarice

  6. I'm hoping to get a blog post written by next week about unschooling our son who is now graduating in December as a computer scientist.

    I'm thinking it is getting more respect that when we first started. :)

    1. Brenda- I am certainly looking forward to that! It would be such an encouragement to beginning unschoolers and an opportunity to show people the wonderful results that can come from natural learning.

  7. Such a beautiful post...I know exactly what you mean when you say "after twelve years of reading to her...." ! I love to be read to, and to read to others, so when my own children came of age to read and discuss and discern their favorite books and authors with me it was truly a dream realized. Thank you for sharing this peek into your amazing days Eve and kindling a half-forgotten memory of my own. Me thinks you are a poet. :)))
    P.S. Hope you are staying safe and dry after the storm(s).