Friday, September 11, 2009

I recently discovered Joyfully Rejoycing, an extremly comprehensive unschooling resource that will answer just about any question you may have. It will also answer questions you didn't realize you had until you see it there.

One of the things that the site really clarified for me was the difference between unschooling and eclectic homeschooling:

Unschooling is trusting that the paths children choose for themselves will lead them where they need to go. They will learn what they need for themselves. Parents are there to facilitate and provide an rich environment of paths for children to explore.

(That's oversimplified of course. Parental attitude towards life and learning is a big part of unschooling. We can't expect kids to get excited about the world if we never are. We can't expect kids to follow interests that have never run through their lives in an interesting way.)

Eclectic homeschooling is parents having an idea where the children need to go and then letting the children have a big say in what method of travel they use to get there. Science might be videos or experiments or classes or whatever appeals to the child. Eclectics may have requirements that kids will write, but how and what they write will depend on the child's interests. There will be a focus on specific subjects and skills.

I love this definition, especially because she clarifies in the middle that we still have a responsibility to help our kids see that the world is an exciting place, full of possibilities. I also realize that I was holding onto some things that I think the kids should learn and have been tying myself in knots trying to figure out how to make sure it is learned naturally and authentically. I can see now that I need to let go of those preconceived notions and trust that they are learning what they need to right now through our enthusiastic exploration of the world.

I also see that I have been lax in sharing certain interests because it was easier, more convienent for me to do so. My reading is done primarily in bed when everyone else is asleep so I won't be interuppted but by doing that I have put reading out of site and they don't see me modeling reading for pleasure. Meditation is another thing that I generally do when the kids are asleep, this time early in the morning instead of before bed. I will continue this practice because it centers my day but I'm bringing in another time for meditation during the day so the kids are introduced to the idea, can ask questions, and perhaps choose to join me. I borrowed some wonderful books from a wonderful friend so I am prepared to talk to them when and if they ask but unlike other things I've wanted to introduce in the past I'm going to leave this one entirely up to them. I'll let them know I need some quiet time, let them know that they are welcome to join me and leave it at that. No cajoling, no pressure, just an introduction and an invitation. And I'll try not to be disappointed if they don't follow but even if I am I know up front that will be about my needs, not theirs and I'll just have to accept it.

No comments: