I know how busy my life is by how sparce my journal entries become. This habit started when I was 15–I can look back in my journal and see huge gaps and then a mad rush to fill everything in. So, here’s the mad rush!
The year I spent homeschooling my oldest, The Golfer was in Kindergarten. Not showing any of the dyslexia symptoms that his sister did, I figured he would thrive at school. He had a great teacher, and great friends, but still managed to NOT enjoy it. He started the year being passionate about math–he would frequently challenge me to write him math problems to complete, and then try to do his sister’s 3rd grade math when he finished up his. By the end of the year he refused to do any more. “I hate math!” he told me over and over. He didn’t like reading, didn’t like writing…the only thing he enjoyed was recess and the bus ride. This was an unexpected turn of events! But, because I had already started homeschooling, and I knew there were other options besides sending my kid to a place they didn’t love (for 6 hours!), I pulled him out of school at the begining of 1st grade (last year) and enrolled him in the COVA program I was already doing.
I knew I needed to be organized and structured with 2 homeschoolers and 1 toddler. Honestly, those traits are not my strongest, but I rallied and made calenders, charts, time sheets, daily goals, cubbies, and even more charts. I had us timed down to the minute! I structured it in a round robin kind of way–The Naturalist for 15 min. while The Golfer did his workbook, then The Golfer for 15 min. while The Naturalist did her workbook, etc…then computer time, then reading time, then snack time, then repeat over and over until our daily work was done. It was a good system, we got all our work done, the kids lmemorized the curriculum. But! I realized some things. 1) Workbooks and my kids will never be friends. 2) My kids would rather talk things our than write things down. 3) My kids do not learn linearly. Their minds are like that old TV show, “Connections” (remember that?!)–trying to connect things together into a coherant story. If it doesn’t relate (to sometimes seemingly unrelatable things) , then it doesn’t compute. 4) My kids really enjoy going out and doing rather than sitting home and ‘learning’ at a table. 5) That kind of structure and discipline was killing me. Sad, but true.
I started wondering…could they still learn without a curriculum? What would that mean in the future? What about high school? What would happen if we disengaged from a traditional school day completely and made homeschool into something all of us enjoyed? Did people even DO that? Could WE do that?
Our trip to Yellowstone in Sept. 06 made my decision for me…but I’ll save that for another blog. Suffice it to say, here we are, happily unschooling now for the relatively brief time of 6 months. But, I feel like it’s been what I’ve wanted for my kids (and myself) for as long as I can remember!
Filed under: Homeschool/Unschool |