I mentioned yesterday that we are homeschoolers/often unschoolers. I thought I would elaborate on this a little bit. It helps me as well as sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.
Then I look at our 9 year old son. He is smart, social, outgoing, loving and kind beyond words sometimes. His bond with his 2 year old sister is something I dreamed of as a little girl. I am an only child who longed for another sibling, but that wasn’t part of God’s plan. I LOVE to watch our children play together. Even watching a movie… they will sit in their little moon chairs side by side and their heads have to touch.
Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way taking credit for our amazing kids (yep, I’m gonna keep bragging about how awesome our children are, but that’s a parent’s right and I wouldn’t expect anything less from anyone else), or saying that homeschooling is either superior or the way for everyone. It’s just that sometimes I need to step back and look at it from the outside. (This blog already helps me with that.) Then I see that, hey it is working. Our kids are progressing. They are happy, healthy, loved and learning.
So, on to our schooling methods. I have been officially (in the eyes of the law) homeschooling our son since he turned 6. As parents tho, we begin homeschooling from the day we bring them home. We are always teaching our children.
We have been pretty heavily following book and internet based curriculum the whole time. While this has definitely worked and progression has taken place appropriately, I have found that as he has gotten older a lot of the fun has started disappearing and we began to start disagreeing and being generally unhappy about school work.
At this point I began studying the concept of unschooling and its methods and results. We now spend about 25% of our week homeschooling – making sure the reading, writing, and arithmetic are being kept up with and the other 75% I have been trying to embrace the unschooling concept. To a degree. On a Sunday night, I will ask our son what he would like to learn about this week. Whatever he answers, that will be our subject. For a day, a week or more – whatever is needed. Sounds crazy, right?
This has been revolutionary for our learning. Because he wants to learn it, he puts everything into it. And so far the things he has asked for have been amazing. In the last few weeks we have studied the complete history of movie making, Leonardo Da Vinci’s greatest inventions, how toilets and sewer systems work which led us on to how we get our drinking water, and we are now studying photosynthesis. We jump online and watch youtube videos, write up projects, do science experiments and learn TOGETHER. I am loving it as much as he does.
If you are a book-based/curriculum-pushed homeschooler and are feeling pressured or like the fun is gone, I would encourage you to read up on unschooling. It may just allow you the freedom to enjoy your children and your day a little bit more.