One of the original things I wanted to post on this blog was my daughter’s love for rosemary. (This addresses a larger purpose of writing the blog: creating another online reference example of what unschooled learning looks like). As I’ve said before, I am not a huge fan of parks even though my daughter is. She gets a thrill out of climbing and sliding and swinging, and she learns a lot, but I often need to be directly involved and get self-conscious around other parents. I am a big fan of just walking outside and seeing what we find. Very often, that’s the rosemary bushes outside our apartment. It took a few tries, but I eventually taught her to breath in and smell a piece, and she went through a phase of tearing off several pieces and handing them to me (in this dry area of California those rosemary bushes are tough and hardy, they can put up with many many toddler attacks). Now she’s 22 months and she knows what rosemary is, which makes me just as proud as knowing the ABCs would. More importantly, she knows that plants have intriguing properties–they smell, they have flowers, they have different textures. When we go for walks, she’ll want to stop at other plants (sometimes for quite a long time), experimenting with their feel, smell, texture. I can’t always stop, but I try to the majority of the time–one of my favorite benefits of being a stay-at-home-mom (with one kid) is being able to walk very very slowly. That way, she gets exercise and she gets to learn about the complexities of the world right outside her door. Sometimes on a sidewalk 100 feet from our home I’ll have 20 minutes of being in my own head because she is in her own head, squatting down and learning about a plant (sometimes pooping in the process!–which is another topic, giving her non-rushed time to take care of business). Her desire to interact with the world around her is amazing–like when we go hiking and she chases butterflies and lizards and checks out the rocks and sticks. Even with a toddler I feel that reading about unschooling has taught me a lot–it’s taught me to think “why not say yes?” and let the exploring and experimenting happen.