He juggled for hours every day. He looked up juggling instructions on the internet. He invited Eli over more often than usual so they could juggle together. He brought his juggling balls along when we went places.
Eight weeks later - only eight weeks - he was good enough to be asked to juggle at a Renaissance Faire in Monroe, WI.
What does juggling have to do with unschooling? Unschooling means we help our children pursue their interests, we support them in their passions, we assist in whatever ways they need. And in doing so, our children learn. Juggling isn't listed in the "scope and sequence" section of any curriculum, I know, but anyone can see that he's learning many things in addition to juggling. He's researching, committing to a task, challenging himself, and setting goals for himself. He's reading about juggling, networking with other jugglers, and applying his juggling knowledge to real life situations.
Unschooling, really, means we live life fully, without worrying about all those schoolish terms above. But rest assured, all those schoolish things are happening, all the time. We just don't name them and quantify them and demand they happen in a specific order on a specific timeline.
If school were to teach juggling, it would be broken down into a easily-measured objectives. You might have to learn specific steps and do them in a specific way and a specific order, proving you've mastered each level before you can move on to the next. You might be tested on it to prove you've learned something. You might not get to touch the juggling balls during the first few lessons. You might only get to read about it, or use something easier to juggle like scarves that waft slowly through the air. Your juggling skills, or at least participation or attention to the lessons or willingness to cooperate, would be graded.
By that time, juggling has become very very un-fun.
Unschoolers just start juggling.
And sometimes, if they like it, they continue juggling and find themselves performing a juggling act on stage at a Renaissance Faire in front of strangers.