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Saturday, March 14, 2009

What Kind of Homeschooler are YOU?

I am an eclectic homeschool/un-schooler!

I'm currently working on un-schooling myself and have been so doing for a good while. I have come to feel, more and more, that the "sit down and study" way of doing things doesn't work nearly as well as "hey, look at this and let's learn more!" way of doing things. The former would be what most people think of when they think of schooling or any sort. The latter is more the way Un-schoolers' way to "do school". I'm not there yet, but I'm moving in that direction.

The traditional homeschooler will have their children in a desk or at a table completing workbooks and reading textbooks. Not unlike the schooling children receive (?) in the system for teaching large groups of kiddos. Unschoolers DO things. They'll take trips (obviously I haven't been doing this much as I haven't had a vehicle), make things, watching things, etc and then talk about their experiences. The conversations are the "tests" and the doing is the "classroom". I seek to emulate this practice more. Yet I do feel there are subjects and types of information (like Math!) that I do not feel confident in teaching adequately by following an un-schooling philosophy. Thus the eclictic homeschooler part of who I am as a homeschoolin Mama.

My move toward more un-schooling may have more to do with a shift in perception and understanding than actually un-schooling myself. But I DO think I have to get rid of many (even most!) of my teacher-education and expectations resulting from that "higher" education because it all often leads to frustration and lack of acknowledgment of the REAL learning that is and has taken place in our homeschool environs. Most of those real learning times that I can see more clearly now really had nothing to do with sitting at a table or in a desk.

Thus far in my homeschooling journey, we have used two "formal" curricula. I've mentioned them before (How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Math-U-See). I also ascribe to some Charlotte Mason principles. Outsourcing parts of my kiddos education via classes (like Dance) and/or tutors (like Piano) is awesome and I do and will apply them as necessary and possible.

Additionally, I have grown to see the value and wonder of unstructured time and play for my children! I didn't see or understand this idea nearly so clearly when Ria was itty bitty. As a result I was constantly working with her on some-schooly-thing or other. Kat has a much more active imaginary world than Ria did. I'm sure this is partially because she has an older sister, but I'm equally sure it has to do with the time I have purposefully left her to her imaginary play, which has been regular and often. She is quick and bright when I "do school" with her, if she's interested, of course. When she's not interested, she's just like a regular two-year-old. And that's certainly okay... since that's what she IS! She's also a different learner. She doesn't prefer to sit the way Ria pretty easily tolerated at the same age. It will be interesting to figure out what works for Kat... and HOW to make it work!

I plan to continue to use those curricula (mentioned above) and possibly add others as I feel a need and/or desire. I've heard a few awesome comments and read more about Apologia Sciences and I'm really interested in that cirriculum. However, I do NOT expect that I will ever WANT to purchase a full on one-source-curriculum for any age/grade of a child or children of mine. I'm totally happy, content, and confident with the practice of remaining on our current course as an eclectic homeschooler with un-schooling tendencies! It totally works thus far. If it seems to NOT work at some point, I will re-evaluate and make changes so that it continues TO work!

Why, in the world!, would I try to fix something that is NOT broken!?? Well, I'm not going to. And (in response to many who make a comment (those near and far), even accusation, on the same subject of my reply): if I'm a mean Mama because I'm doing what I believe and, yes, even KNOW is best for MY children, then so be it. I would rather be "mean" as these individualS perceive me, then feel less confident in the presence of my Father when I stand before Him to be judged on my stewardship. This is NO judgment from ME against any one else's choices. But I stand firm and steadfast in my own.

I know that almost every parent out there is simply doing the hardest job possible: the best they can in general, but specifically the best they can by their kids. So why is it that others give ME a hard time when I'm doing the VERY same thing? *sigh* We're traveling in the same direction, we're just taking different roads. Mine is better for me, but may not be better for them. I'm all right with parents who really are doing their best. Can they be all right with me? I don't try to "convert" them to homeschooling. I simply talk about my own experiences. They, parents who send their kids to school, often do try to convert or guilt me onto their road. :( This is not Father's way. We ALL have agency. Not just the mainstream!!

So... I'll stick to my eclectic homeschooling with un-schooling ways, thank you.

If you homeschool, what kind of homescooler are you??

Want to read what others homeschoolers say about various and diverse subjects? Click on over to The Homeschool Cafe for the Carnival of Homeschooling. It's Blarney in celebration of St. Patty's Day. I'm participating. If you homeschool, why don't you do it, too!?? The more the merrier, I hear. :)


vicki said...

THat 'sit down and study' mode of teaching and forcing learning is, I believe, the reason so many children/youth drop out of school. I appreciate your methods and style. I think it will continue to be effective and your smart girls will always be smart.
The gov't-and many private-schools are making too many of our smart children dumb.
Your children are blessed in that their teacher strives to understand each individual so she can meet their needs. Go-o-o teacher!!

Mommy Bee said...

I found you via your comment at babymakinmachine, and liked what you said there so I had to follow you back to your profile and then your blog. :)

I was homeschooled, and in a fairly eclectic style. What you're talking about as ideals sounds a great deal like what my mom did with us. My mom is a great fan of Charlotte Mason and living books, and has dabbled in a bit of many things (most of the things you mentioned as well as Waldorf). Anyway, she's just started a blog to track her homeschooling stories, and I thought you might like to see it. http://blackscoolhomeschool.blogspot.com/ It's pretty new so there's not a ton there yet, but it's growing. :)

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