Friday, March 27, 2009

The Unschooling Co-op

In discussing the rigidity of homeschooling co-ops, some friends and I (while dyeing eggs with plant materials whilst our children ran amok and feigned a slight participation) wondered what an unschooling co-op would look like. I thought it would be just like what we do anyway. On Tuesdays, we get together at my house for "Art Day" and only sometimes ever make art. Instead, the children play and discuss and scheme and whatever else it is the children do. On Fridays, we get together at another woman's house for "Lego Club" and only sometimes ever build with Lego. Instead, the children play and discuss and scheme and whatever else it is that children do. Meanwhile, the mothers might make a craft or celebrate a holiday or simply drink tea and chat about how stressful things have become (despite all our time spent making crafts and drinking tea) or about unschooling and rigidity in things that are not unschooling.

On Friday, instead of building with Lego, we made lots of dyes from plant materials (clockwise from top right): turmeric, onion skins, beets & red cabbage, and blueberries. We also used some old liquid chlorophyll I had but couldn't stomach (it was minty and salty! blech!!!) to make some green. We used about a quart of liquid for each pot plus two tablespoons of white vinegar for mordant. After the dyes boiled for a long time, we poured them in bowls so the children could dip eggs in cooled liquid. Dyeing the eggs raw in the boiling materials produced the darkest results and also the most edible eggs. We also tried pre-hard-boiled eggs which became rubbery and inedible if boiled again and produced light colors if dipped in cooled dyes.


Julie said...

I think that's the same reason we've never organized an official "co-op", as the kids will do what they want to do, and not what we had planned for them to do:)

We get together in similar ways like you guys do, and the kids play and the parents do the prepared craft (sometimes the kids may join in for part of it, or on a rare day for the whole thing) and chat. In the end it's all good, because we don't seem to come with a preconceived idea of how it will turn out, and by now pretty much know how it will turn out:)

Julie said...

wanted to add that your eggs are beautiful! I'm determined to do the natural dye thing again this year, haven't done it for 3 years now, but the colors cannot be beat. we also experienced the overcooked egg thing not realizing that they would need to cook in the particular plant material for so long.

Mel said...

Love the egg dyes!! Thanks for the tip on the raw eggs....perhaps this year it won't be a disaster!

Whittney said...

Because you asked me to, Hi :)