14 November 2007

Alright, I will succumb to the peer pressure. Or spousal pressure I suppose.

I'd started out this entry meaning to give an update on what's been going on in my life, and somehow a rambling post about homeschooling came out. It's fitting, I suppose, as homeschooling is a large focus of my life (and time!) these days. So, rather than an update about all my activities, here is an update on our life as homeschoolers:

I started out the year thinking we'd go with a semi-structured approach to homeschooling, having a morning routine that included all of our book work as well as chores. A couple of weeks into it I felt that things weren't really that interesting and Nick was feeling less than enthusiastic about his work. I experimented with different scheduling for a few weeks until I came to the conclusion which I'd been to intimidated to realize before then: we're unschoolers. For anyone who isn't familiar with the term, unschooling is also called delight-driven learning and the basic idea is that real learning takes place when a child's interests inspire them to learn about something. Each unschooler you ask will likely have a slightly different definition of what unschooling looks like to them, and my interpretation is that I provide Nicholas and Lily with materials and experiences which will likely facilitate their learning. I follow their leads, making suggestions, offering help, and learning beside them.

Some days we read for hours, either fiction (Charlotte's Web and Alice in Wonderland have been our latest) or non-fiction (thank you giant stack of Usborne reference books!). Some days the kids build and create with materials ranging from giant cardboard boxes to clay (which you apparently need to bake at the right temperature if you don't want to fill your house with smoke...). We've done some science experiments, done some workbooks, and played board games. We bake, we do laundry, we paint, and we sing songs.We've spent many hours outside playing and investigating and enjoying this amazing fall weather we've been blessed with this year. We've also taken part in a football clinic and a tour of a pottery studio, and we'll be taking part in a weaving clinic next month.

There are many treasures in homeschooling that I hadn't predicted and this experience is so rewarding. It's satisfying to watch my children learning and growing and I appreciate that I get to enjoy so many more hours of this than I would if Nick were in school all day. Our pace of life has slowed significantly as I'm learning to do what is in our family's best interest.

My only regret so far is that we didn't make the switch from public school last year as we'd considered, but it's not something I dwell on. Sometimes I struggle with finding time for myself, especially since Lily is at that stage right now where if she naps she tends to stay up until 10 pm, but being involved in LLL, Usborne books, and a few other things gives me a reason to get out of the house alone. And I of course periodically have those moments of "What in the world was I thinking? I'm going to mess up my kids!" but I've thankfully got a fantastic support system which helps me to get back to a place where I can realize that I'm doing the right thing.

So..yeah. That's what's been going on with me. What's been going on with all of you?


Liam J. said...

Oh, not much. Writing a novel, breaking the computer, y'know, the usual. (:

captcha: ypenasa: Your parrot eats nothing asidefrom saltines, arr!

El Cliff said...

Not much...guiding airplanes around, hurling luggage to and fro, making jokes at the expense of other people...you know, stuff. :)

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