Monday, April 16, 2018

Unschooling Networks

It happened again.  The kid's network appeared on my radar.  Walking through our local art museum last week, I was stopped by a passerby who was leading a kids' art tour, "You're No. 1's dad aren't you?"  Then, this weekend, we went camping at a state park 20 or so miles away.  We hiked three miles into the nearby town of Stinson Beach where, while waiting in line at the local snack shack, 1 ran into one of her art teachers from last summer.  They took the time to catch up on the artsy things that had been going on in their worlds, and then they headed off their separate directions.

Kids and networks.  It's a thing.  In my experience, unschooling kids tend to build networks for themselves and their families.  They build them the same way the rest of us do: by being outside, living life.

It seems to be that simple.  Just by being out and about, interacting with the world that's around them, they network.  I frequently meet people on transit who know me because they've seen me with my kids, who they've  actually sat down, and had discussions with my on the bus.  The kids are meeting different people each week.  They're also building routine, seeing some of the same people over and over.  Better even yet, for, me, the same people are seeing them over and over again.

Is it a power-network?  I don't know.  The oldest kid here, No. 1 is seven years-old, so only time will tell.  Is it a valuable network to me though?  Yes!  Very!  When my wife and I walk past Gumps, a chic knick-knack shop in downtown San Francisco, (think about where the Gilmore grandparents would shop for Christmas gifts), the guards at the entrance stop us and ask us where the kids are.  When I drop in for coffee in Noe Valley, people ask me what the kids are up to.  When I stop at the corner store to pickup a bottle of wine on the way home, the owners ask how my family is doing.  You get the idea.

Every time the kids grow their network, I feel a little more cozy here in our major metropolitan town of San Francisco.  They're making contacts.  They're learning where and what things are.  They're finding people they care about, and who care about them!  All this from unschooling just giving them the chance to wander around!

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