It’s (not) Learn Nothing Day (here): ROW80 Update, July 24, 2013


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 What is ROW80, you ask? Why, it’s Kait Nolan‘s baby, The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life!

So, I guess I ought to explain that rather tangly title up there. In the unschooling world , today is Learn Nothing Day – a day intended as a joke/experiment to see if it is actually possible to go an entire 24 hours without learning anything.

It sounds a little silly, maybe, as evidenced by these criticisms, but, in truth, it’s a simple and elegant example of how natural learning works, and, for those of us who were traditionally schooled, it can be a huge eye-opener about how much we really learn each day, and how impossible it is to stop -even for a day.

But here’s the thing.

My kids refuse to play.

Yup, that’s right. They are not willing to even try not to learn, not even just for a single day. They learn every other day of the year, and greedily, they want to learn on Learn Nothing Day, too.

To be fair, they tried for two years, and then they were done. They want to learn, and they see no reason to stop.

So, since they are contrarily actively learning today, I bring you instead pictures from a few years ago, the first year we tried to learn nothing. Enjoy the pictures, and read more about our past efforts, here…

Dead-eye Burton with the Lego gun he created.

If I myself wanted to Learn Nothing today, it might have been better not to have continued with my NaNo effort, because I learned a lot about my characters, their interactions, and the plot. I might also have avoided photo editing, because I learned more about how to use the paintbrush more efficiently, and gained skill in other effects, too.

I could have avoided watching a Peanut Butter Gamer video with Jeremiah, because I learned a lot about MySims Kingdom. I could have happily avoided learning what it feels like to step barefoot on a wooden rhythm stick…but it’s a little too late for that.

Really, I am trying not to learn here…so watching the local news is just a mistake…

Fortunately, I watched PBS just before midnight, so all the fascinating bits I learned about the Buddha, and the potential discovery of his remains, are “safe” learning.

I wish I could say I’ll get through the rest of the day without learning…but my record is not very good, and there are hours to go yet…

And now, without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to….in the form of my ROW80 Goals Progress…


Create new blog headers for Trueborn Jottings and The Unfettered Life, using new loglines. On target.

  • I have created a prototype header for Unfettered, but it’s too small, and the blog title was appearing mid-frame. More experimentation is pending.

Prepare Wordless Wednesday Sayen Gardens post. On target.

  • I began editing the pictures using PicMonkey. Progress is slow with the program, so, if the post isn’t ready, I will carry it over for next week, instead.

Write Coffee and Conversation post for July 29 (my birthday). Pending.

  • I have ideas forming in my mind; nothing written as yet.

Young Coquette and book love.

Prep Write a Story With Me post for July 29 posting. Pending.

Keep up with comments and sharing. On target.

  • I have kept up with comments.

  • I’ve shared a little; there will be more of this once I finish my


(July CampNaNoWriMo) -Continue writing. On target.

  • NaNo current total: 85,923 of 100,000 words. Less than 15,000 words to go, now!

Continue with Perchance to Dream writing. On target.

  • Current total: 35,471 of 50,000 words. Almost four-fifths of the way there!

Continue detailed planning one scene ahead for each POV character. On target.

  • Planning complete through scene 12.

  • Scene 10, Amanda’s POV, in progress.

Tidy up The Stars are Fire corkboard cards. On target.

  • I updated the status of all scenes. Small beginning steps.

Keep updates current, and interact socially around NaNo. On target.

  • Internet outage in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (prime writing time for me), foiled me…lasted a couple of hours. Updated when the connection was restored.

  • Social interaction was good, via #CampNaNoWriMo and #ROW80, mostly.

Learn Nothing day coincided with a folk-tale puppet show at the historic Schuyler House, Ummm….way too much learning, there!

Business-y Stuff:

Maintain sponsor visits. Target attained!

ELA and Mathematics for both IHIPs and fourth quarter reports. Pending.

  • Nothing yet. After NaNo!

Check in with WANA113. Pending.

  • Not yet. Again, this will be a bigger focus, post-NaNo.

Post to at least one NaNo forum. Pending.

  • Again, not yet. As I get closer to finishing, I will get more involved in this social aspect of NaNo.


That’s about it, except to say, that after what seems half an eternity, the heat and humidity have broken, and it is actually cool outside. The air conditioner is off, the windows are open wide, and I am weeding and hometending, with more vigor than I have in weeks. =D

May July roll sweetly to its end, for all of my readers!

To peek in on, and/or encourage other ROWers, click here!


  1. Yey, another inspirational post and lot’s of tummy writing done. It’ would be a sad day to learn nothing and unless we slept through it dreamlessly, it would be pretty impossible I should think. But then, I suppose that;s the point. 🙂 Well done on all your writing Shan, and gosh, I so wish our heat would break. Dubai is hellish in Summer. 😦 XX

    Shah X

    • Shah,

      It definitely was a yummy week for writing. Now, in the space before I dive headlong into my initial editing runs for Bounded and Chameleon’s, I am enjoying a lot more Facebook browsing, reading, and blogging.

      It feels good not to be so intensely focused, even if just for a few days.

      I loved heat – until perimenopause came calling! Now, I just melt. I am sending you many chilly thoughts – snow, ice, igloos, cold wimds….is that helping at all?

      Thanks for all your lovely encouragement! =D

  2. I’m intrigued by the Learn Nothing Day concept. (part of me is like ‘yeah, I could totally do that, in fact I feel like I do it all the time!’)
    There are days where I spend most of the day sleeping, which leads to the thought: does making sense of a dream count as learning? You can learn something about yourself, but it was something already inside of you… hmm… maybe getting a bit too deep and meaningful.
    Anyway, well done on all your other tasks, and while you are complaining of the heat, just remember those of us rugged up from head to toe, hating that moment when we have to strip down and jump into bed, and equally that moment when we know we must get out of the warm cosy bed and face the day!

    • Buffy,

      Next year, you could give it a try! And not only does understanding your dreams count, but HAVING them is often learning, too – your deeper mind working through your life. I often use dreams to fuel my writing, by rereading just before I sleep, then setting my intentions on what comes next. I may not remember specifically dreaming about the story, when I wake, but I always wake with new ideas.

      The Buddhists make a practice of learning their own deep places, so I don’t know that there is such a thing as too deep a learning.

      I used to love the heat, and the humidity. Now, though, perimenopause is playing with my personal thermostat.

      In a few months, all you bundled souls will be cavorting on warmth, and those of us now cavorting (or baking,as the case may be), will be bundling…

      Cycle of life, cycle of seasons…

      Stay warm!

  3. I completely forgot to Learn Nothing (yester)Day. Not that I would have even tried… I tend to avoid doing things I know I can only fail at.

    Well, maybe once for the joke….

    Despite the heat, you got a lot done. It’s good stuff. Glad you’re rediscovering your hometending too with returned vigor. It’s nice to have a place feel like home in your heart as well as your mind.

    • Eden,

      The funny thing about Learn Nothing Day is that, by failing, you win!

      It’s a joke, and it isn’t.

      In past years, we’ve had a lot of fun trying to find ways we might avoid learning. This year, Annalise suggested dying – until I pointed out that, even in dying, one would learn what dying was like – and therefore fail…

      What it does, more than anything else, is make me aware of all that subterranean learning we all do, pretty much all the time, without really even thinking about or noticing it. And the effect lasts longer than one day.

      I was thinking last night about ordinal and cardinal numbers, and how kids “study” them in school…yet, is it very likely that a child growing up in the world won’t learn to use those numbers, quite naturally, as they grow? I don’t think so. Both of mine did, even if they don’t know what they’re called right now. That part doesn’t matter as much as being able to use them.

      Today, I watched Annalise count up the money she’s saved. She was very efficient, and accurate, and used her own system – one I, with my school-trained money brain, wouldn’t have thought of.

      I never taught her to count money. No one did. She learned it because she’s had an allowance since she was three, and because she’s starting to understand that saving her money means that it’s there, not just for impulsive purchases, but also for things she couldn’t buy for herself if she spent it all…

      Again, I didn’t teach her, but she’s watched Jim and I save up for things for a long time now, and we talk with both kids about our budget and long-term plans. She sometimes watches the news or kid-business shows, and she’s undertaken a business venture or two…

      I might not notice all the learning – honest, real-life, useful-right-now-and-not-just-to-pass-the-test learning that goes on here nearly so often if I hadn’t played the Learn Nothing Day game…

      Of course, no one’s gonna be mad if you never try it, either! =)

      It does feel good, after most of a month where my focus was on trying to stay cool, and on adding words and crafting stories…it does feel like a setting-to-rights is the perfect way to welcome summer’s waning, and the coming transitional energy of fall. I’m even thinking about moving some furniture!

  4. I never fail to be impressed by how much you manage to do. And your Nano word count is nearly there. I want to cheer you on.
    The forums are a great place to meet people though. I hope you have time to visit and be nosey.

    • Debbie,

      I finished my Nano count at 5am, July 26. I’m in the middle of a scene, and will validate my totals when I get to the end of it (later today or earlier tomorrow).

      I’m getting to some of the other goals now, and will find some time to play in the forums before the month is over. I have been active with my cabin, although I have made only casual connections, that way.

      Thanks for the cheering, and, as always, your kind words. I am blessed with a life that offers me a great deal of time for writing, so long as I am prepared to do most of it in short bursts, around and through other things. Fortunately, I like flitting from this to that and back again, so it works for my resltless mind that loves shiny new things! =D

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