Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unschooling Day Dreams

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to make our homeschool more fun, more relaxed, more meaningful. I like what we've been doing...but even though I've simplified so very much, I still feel time crunched and more list-bound than I'd like.  I want more empty space in our lives, more time for the kids to explore their own interests, more time for them to be outside, and more time to play chess (the kids' new passion). I just want to feel more relaxed!!

Lately it feels like our learning is getting in the way of their learning. If that makes any sense at all! I feel like I am often interrupting other perfectly legitimate things they are involved in because it's time to start lessons. This morning, for example, Christopher was curled up on the couch reading a chess book, Grace was outside feeding and visiting with the ducks, and James and Rose were looking at photo albums. A big part of me was screaming Leave them alone!! They are busy!! 

But, I felt too guilty abandoning our routine, so I interrupted them and we started reading A Wind in the Willows, followed by math.  And then felt guilty, that I didn't just let them be.Sometimes I think I am  a closet unschooler!

So this week I am doing a lot of pondering, and  lot of reading. These have been some of my stops:

Project Based Learning
Bravewriter Lifestyle
Teaching Your Child to Love Learning
Cool Math Games
Best Homeschooling
Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything
The Unschooling Unmanual
Unschooling: A Lifestyle Of Learning

I am also rereading The Unschooling Handbook , which was the very first homeschooling book I ever bought. I had planned to unschool from the start, then chickened out after reading The Well-Trained Mind and discussing it with my husband. Looking back, in my more enlightened state, I can see that I could have easily unschooled everything except math and a bit of phonics and probably be at the same spot we are at now.

 So, as I seem to do pretty much every February, I am reconsidering our educational path. I don't think I could ever be a 'true unschooler'. Yet I am sorely tempted to just do math and a bit of writing (and possibly Latin?) and encourage "interest following" the rest of the time. We are coming up on a break soon, and I am debating taking the next week or two before the break to experiment with "almost unschooling" in this way.

Almost unschooling. There's got a be a better phrase. 

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