I couldn't help but laugh. It's exactly what our year has been like. Well, aside from starting out with classical education. That is just way too much structure for anyone in this family. But mentally I did spend the first few months sizing up all of our options, making sure we had found the best fit for all the important first grade subjects, and just generally worrying that I was somehow going to mess my kid up for life.
Then I started to find my groove and relaxed a bit. We introduced the list and started enjoying our time together rather than constantly wondering if so-and-so was doing homeschool better or how much more the kid next door might be learning with seven hours a day at school plus homework.
But it wasn't until recently (probably the last third of our year considering we'll be learning "year round") that I let go even more. And the last week or so, I've been running a real loose ship. Because the more I learn about unschooling, the more I want to drink the Cool Aid. And as I integrate it more and more into our lives, I am seeing what a great fit it is for our family.
I don't know why I'm surprised. We've been "unschooling" our kids since they were born. We just didn't call it unschooling. We called it parenting.
We tune into our kids, listen when they talk, dive in when they express an interest in something, give them lots of unstructured time to be creative (whatever that ends up meaning), and use the whole entire world for our classroom. There are no school days or hours because learning happens all the time. Everything you do presents a teachable moment. Everyone you know becomes a teacher.
|Geocaching with a friend/teacher @ Cumberland Park.|
But it's the non "academics" that surprise me the most. When I step back and don't tell Liam what to do for a few days (aside from the classes and things we have already committed to), I am amazed at some of the stuff he comes up with. He stays busy all day, making things, reading, starting businesses, thinking, playing outside, teaching Finn, inviting people over for dinner, you name it.
He occasionally watches a show or plays a video game (there aren't really any limitations), but not nearly as much as I would think that he would. Except when he does, of course (we all have those days...). But he's always learned a ton from screens so I don't really have a problem with it (like making maps for Canada and Greenland then locating them on the map...inspired by Phineas and Ferb).
It kind of blows me away how well unschooling works for our family (although I hate the name). I might go so far as to say we've finally found our niche (a little of this, a little of that plus lots of unstructured time). Although, if there's one thing I've learned this year it's that things are constantly evolving. Check back with me in the fall. I may be singing the praises of a school-in-a-box style curriculum.
Although, I'd be willing to bet we'll still be making it up as we go along, using the world as our classroom. We're having way too much fun to stop now. And you never know where the next big lesson might show up...
|"Field trip" - Courtney Jaye at the Basement|