Monday, June 29, 2009

Unschooling, schedules...rAmBlinGs.

So, if you think homeschooling/unschooling is stupid, prepare yourself.

This post isn't up for criticisim. It is here because we have gone through some changes over the past few months and I want to blog about it....

In May we made the big decision to homeschool. This idea has been in my heart for a long time. I knew it was right for Parker, but I had no idea how to go about it.

My logical self went out and bought curriculum and workbooks, schedulling 15-20 minutes of "school" time after meals each day. Parker balked.

After a month of misery and me seriously questioning my homeschooling chops I posted on a homeschooling group I belong to, for ideas and inspiration.

The replies I got were frank; WHY was I forcing him to learn these things? Was I really so worried about him learning to write at 6? Who cares about counting by twos and fives?

I decided that a period of "de-schooling" was in order... honestly, more for me than for Parker. It was me that needed to let go of my conventional ideas about schooling.

So I stopped. We played, slept in, played some more.

One day P came into the diningroom and asked for a paper and pencil. He sat down and wrote a story about a little girl with sausages for fingers. Some of the words were spelled phonetically, but I understood every word and it was the loveliest of stories... brought tears to my eyes.

I had been pushing something so mundane on him. He was bored.

The more I thought about the schedule of school and the conventionality of it, the more I realised that it is just another way to train a child to conform to a traditional 9-5 work week, often in a job that isn't interesting, or challenging.

While I feel that there is nothing wrong with a 9-5 work week, the boy's Dad works in a conventional (albeit family-friendly) job, I don't want the boys pre-conditioned to that life.

I want them to choose what they want to do, be, the hours they want to work. I know people who are so ingrained with the idea that they have to work long hours to be respected that they cannot take time off at Christmas to spend time with their family.

While it is important for kids to understand convention and conformity, I rather think that 6 is far too young to live these things. How can he become who he IS when there are so many things he wants to understand and I am teaching him that counting by twos is more important?

Since then we've dropped the homeschooling idea. We are unschoolers. It works for us.

We sleep us much as we want, not feeling the need to get up early and rushing around to conform to someone's school schedule.

We eat popcorn and a tiny bit of chocolate in the mornings.

We swing in the hammock and read a book.

We fill our pockets with rocks and feathers.

We squish coins on train tracks and guess which will be flattest.

We water plants and pull weeds.

We wash the floor, pick up toys, bake bread and tidy the livingroom together.

We count all the money in our piggybanks.

We visit the Science Center, Zoo, Museum, grocery store, world - together.

We are happy.

Here is my promise as the loving Mama of my two little people...I will let them BE.


Mel said...

Yippeeeee!!! Welcome to the Wild Side, the Lunatic Fringe, the place where all the cool kids are hangin' out!!! *grin*

SO glad you've found your way...SO very glad...

Feels pretty good, doesn't it?

~love and brightest blessings~

Kris said...

Cool. I am so glad you are doing something that makes you all happy. Isn't that what life is supposed to be about?!


Mama J. said...

YES! It is...and, while I recognise that it isn't for everyone, it really WORKS for us.


Jennifer said...

Glad you found what you and your family needed. It must be a really freeing feeling for sure!

Sara said...

Sounds like you have found the perfect fit for your family. Best wishes with it. I am looking forward to hearing all about your adventures in unschooling. xx

Sherry said...

Just happened upon your blog and wanted to say hi--nice post. :)