Friday, September 4, 2009

Unschooling and Charlotte Mason Collide

Living an unschooling lifestyle, I went with the kid's passions for workbooks that they developed over the summer and of course after looking at all the fancy workbooks Abeka offered, they couldnt wait to get their hands on them. I asked them to promise they would give it a real try if I were to spend all that money. They did and overall we just realized on our journey that it became boring and looked very much like "school at home" very quickly. Early on, Kayla hated the history book and I told her not to read it if she hated it or skip around. She did that for a bit. She skipped all around in the science text, reading things about butterflies and crickets that interested her and that she could "hook" real life to. The boys actually loved the read alouds I made science and history and health books into. The workbooks went buh bye pretty quickly. Being an unschooler, I figured we would never use this curriculum as intended and we didnt, but the kids quickly mulled through what they enjoyed and gave up on it after 7 weeks and asked me to cuddle up with them on the couch to do some much loved five in a row books. We have been doing that along with reading the Bible everyday and its something they wait on me for each morning. They do some math pages when they are bored, and they actually have come up with this writing game they like to do everyday. They like to have me set the timer for 3 minutes and write as much as they can about anything they want in that time frame. They get so excited to do this and share what they have written about with me and each other. Its so sweet to see everyone's interest in each other's often hysterical stories they make up. This may be a phase like many unschooling phases that will just die off, but in the short term they/I love it and everyone is having a great time. I sold the Abeka and I know some would say I should have made them stick to it because we paid 640 bucks for everything the kids wanted, but you know what? They dug everything they wanted from those workbooks/textbooks and I still made a good amount back selling them and they learned what interested them in that curriculum and also learned how awful it would be to be forced to do that curriculum the way it was intended to be done. I always have to be careful not to get caught up in worrying about the $ aspect and/or the "making" them do school aspect. Its always something I have to stay aware of. My kids love to write in these beautiful writing books I bought them, their best writing. They enjoy copying sentences or even paragraphs from books. They will often pour over a favorite book, finding their favorite line in it to copy exactly as its written. We live on an acre and they have a pony they ride all the time. Kayla is a fashion designer these days along with our family baker. She even designed a gorgeous apron that she wears to bake! It is so fun to watch them enjoy living, learning and growing. I strew their paths with many educational things and they ask for different curriculum's because we enjoy browsing things that our friends from the homeschool group might be using, but in the end, they usually grow bored and I respect that and get rid of things that cause anything but fun and joy when it comes to learning. Because they enjoy nature notebooks and the outdoors along with copywork, we have been looking at Queen homeschool and there are a few things there that they wanted me to order so I did and I will bet $ they will dive right into the things that are coming because they chose them and they will use them as they want to, not as any prescribed way. That is their freedom and their right because this is their education. I am their facilitator. I introduce them to neat things that I think might interest them and purchase within reason, things they want to try. The one thing I do strongly encourage and we do each day is a 5 minute read from the Bible. I feel like in order to have strong Christian values, I must live it so they can follow my example, but I also must read to them from the Bible. Most days they enjoy this time. Its not meant to be a time to silliness though and I try to keep them quiet and reverent during this short snippet each day. Ultimately, I am concerned much more about their souls then any pre prescribed learning curve. I do try my best to make sure learning is happening each day even in the most subtle of ways because Nate would have a heart attack if I didnt and he is the head of our house, therefore, in respect and submission to him.....we honour that request. It is always in a way that the kids can be excited about though. I refuse to push anything on them. They have to want it!


Nicky8 said...

hi Janet, I Would love to see pics of you r new house....can you post some??

Cyndi said...

OK, so I don't know if you remember this or not, but I am the one who kept saying that home school wasn't for me right now. Well, after a year of public school for my oldest in half day K, I am homeschooling this year! I am teaching her and the twins who are 4yrs, and we are having a great time. I am not using a purchased curriculum, but we are having "school time" each day b/c hubby wants them to learn structure and how to sit still for at least five minutes:) I never finished my ECE degree, but I feel confident coming up with my own curric. because I know my kids and I feel like I know what they should be learning at this point. Anyway, I was curious why you don't just design a curric. to meet your children's needs instead of buying them for so much $$$? I buy workbooks from the bookstore and then I come up with science and social studies activities that apply to us. I read from picture books and make my own flashcards when I feel like it would help and my kids really like it. The other day I wanted Brindy (6) to touch every other number on a grid to 100 and count by twos out loud. Well, she hit 12 and had a fit because she couldn't remember what it was. She said she "quit" homeschool, but the next day I asked her to design a poster of the 12 dancing princesses and write the number 12 on it. I gave her a card to look at and she had fun drawing the picture. Later, she came running to me because she found the number 12 on a coloring page in a workbook, and today I noticed it was exactly 12:00 noon so I called her to come take a look and asked what time it was and you know, she got it! I like homeschooling more this way with a little workbook, and a lot of mom creativity. I am not planning on buying a curriculum any time soon and I think you would do really great without one! You have a certificate right? Anyway, I just blog about our home school stuff so hubby can see that we are learning each day. He is fine with it so far. Good luck and check out my blog on here to see what I am talking about:) -Cyndi