What I Learn: Unschooling as an Adult

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from Idzie I’m Unschooled. Yes, I can write

I talk a lot about learning in a general sense, but sometimes people want to know a bit more about my learning, my experience as an adult unschooler, and how that works. How do I decide what to learn next? How do I find the information that I need? How do I learn? I addressed the question somewhat in a recent patreon post, but as was pointed out by someone, if your background is one where learning is something divorced from your own interests and daily life, it might not be as obvious as my suggestion that “learning is as simple as living life while curious.” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that, and so I figured maybe I could try to use some actual examples from my own life to illustrate the various ways I learn about the things I care about most. While the more conventional understanding might be that a curriculum comes first and then it’s followed in order for learning to happen, that’s obviously not how I approach things. So instead, I thought I’d look back on the past year or so, and try to condense it into something like a portfolio: this is what I’ve been doing, and these have been some of the helpful resources I’ve used. Makes sense? Okay, time to dive in!

Media studies aka I watch a lot of TV shows and documentaries
TV watching might have a bad rap (documentaries not so much), but as I’ve discussed in other posts, I actually interact with the shows I watch (as do many people!): I watch them with others, and I look at the content critically (not in an I Only Watch Good shows way, because some of my faves are trash, but with an eye for what is well and badly done story-wise, what biases or unspoken assumptions are at play, etc.). And on the flip side, I watch documentaries not only to learn about their topics, but for the beauty, the experimentation, and the art inherent in a good doc.
The how: watch lots of things, read reviews and discussions online, watch video reviews and deconstructions, talk about TV and documentaries with others.

This is an art and form of self-expression that I cherish, and I’ve been learning more about it, building skills, and amassing my own personal product hoard over the last couple of years. I admired others for a while before I took the plunge myself, and it can admittedly be overwhelming. There has been lots of Googling, reading of reviews, Instagram inspiration, and trial and error along the way… But mainly? There’s been YouTube!
The how: YouTube tutorials, product reviews, hauls, lots of experimentation and practice.

White supremacist hate groups and ideology
With the belief in the old adage that it’s important to understand your enemies, current events should provide a pretty clear picture of why I started digging deeper. White supremacist hate groups have been around for a long time, but greater exposure in recent times has lead to a resurgence, and understanding what’s behind it has seemed deeply relevant.
The how: News articles, short form journalism, documentaries, long-form journalism, conversations with others.

Starting in the winter, I made the huge stride (for me) of actually exercising regularly! Yay phys ed I guess?? It involves working through some anxiety (not about the swimming itself, more about being alone with my own thoughts being difficult), building up stamina after not being physically active for a long time, and finding the meditative moments in leisurely treading water, the swirl between my fingers, and the sound of my own breathing as I float on my back…
The how: Buy pool membership, go to pool, swim.

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