Monday, September 7, 2015

From "Public School at Home" to "Structured Unschooling"

During my epiphany, you can read about HERE and HERE, I read lots about unschooling. Why pushing your kids too early is bad, how pushing them to get good grades ruins them, and learning to trust the natural process and believing in the work of children.

The last thing I wanted to do was to make my kids hate learning. I love reading and writing and until the last 2 weeks I've done a pretty good job of helping my kids love them (and even math) too. But then I got caught up in the idea that my kids had to be the shining example of homeschoolers who "achieve" more than their public school counterparts; and I started pushing and drilling and I STOPPED PLAYING.

So now, instead of making the Bear do stupid grammar exercises and read a boring text book about the writing process, I'm just going to let her write. Let her write her lists and song lyrics. Let her type an email to her cousins. Let her doodle and practice cursive. BECAUSE SHE LIKES IT.

Now, instead of making her do 4 pages in her math text book each day, I'm going to let her choose not to do it if she wants. She wants to skip ahead to the multiplication section? AWESOME! She wants to spend 3 hours playing prodigygame.com? FABULOUS!

My kids used to love doing these things. I just hope that the last few weeks hasn't ruined it all for them.

Each day we'll have our school time from about 8 am to about 11 am, where their activities will need to be some sort of schooling activity. But if that means they want to paint and play with magnets the whole time then I'm going to let them do it. I want to foster their creativity and curiosity, not squash irrelevant math facts and phonics into their brains. When the time comes that they want those skills they will know how to acquire them!

My favorite quote on the topic was found HERE, it says, "Unschooling is not unparenting; freedom to learn is not license to do whatever you want." I also loved this quote about drilling kids with math they aren't developmentally ready for, "All that does is teach them to see math as something people aren't expected to understand" (page 181, Kohn).

If you're curious about unschooling here is my suggested reading list: Inspire, not Require by Simple Homeschool. Child's Work by Nancy Wallace. Yes, I Can Write (a blog written by a girl who was unschooled). What is Unschooling an article by Earl Stevens. The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and 'Tougher Standards' by Alfie Kohn (I only read section 2: Starting from scratch, Education at its best, and Getting the 3R's right).

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