Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A New Direction

We have been leaning into homeschooling this year. I have difficulty with big changes but if I do them in baby steps I'm fine, so, we leaned. It was last March when we first decided to homeschool and although we had to finish the school year due to contractual obligations we really started the day the decision was made. We no longer cared about grades and tests and things we knew didn't matter. We were just trying to finish the year with as little stress as possible.

We started off thinking Kya would stay in school; Jace was having difficulties and this seemed to be the best solution but Kya didn't "need" to homeschool so she would continue attending public school. It didn't take long for me to get over that misguided notion. We quickly realized that she was getting up early, coming home tired and still had tons of homework and wasn't really learning anything that we felt was valuable. She was also missing out on opportunities to go places and we were always rushing to leave those places so we'd be home before the bus. So in November we decided to pull her out of school too.

This was a bigger adjustment than I'd first anticipated. I was having such an easy time with Jace because he just naturally wants to learn. Kya naturally wants to play. I didn't want her to "fall behind" so I started doing some very structured things. I wanted to reassure myself that we were on the right track. Over the course of several months we tried several approaches which included cheklists, schedules, and "learning baskets." None of it felt quite right and it certainly didn't feel natural. We would stick to it for a while and then it would start slowly phasing out.

I've come to understand that the reason I couldn't stick to it was because deep down I wasn't really comfortable with any of it. We are unschoolers. Maybe not dyed-in-the-wool radical unschoolers but unschoolers none the less. I believe and trust in my children's ability to learn through their experiences and interests. I believe in it to my very core. Of course I still have inevitable moments of panic, especially about math, but I'm coming to terms with those things.

I do still like to be able to look back and reflect upon things so I can reassure myself that they are learning and growing (like I said, I'm not quite a radical unschooler). So, I've decided to keep this blog as a way for me to be able to do just that. This isn't a blog about what types of "school" things they are doing because I won't be requiring that from them. This is a blog about our life experiences and how those experiences create opportunities for them to naturally learn. So, here goes!

No comments: