I know it's not easy to embrace a whole new philosophy and way to life overnight and that's essentially what unschooling is... a whole new way of life. It's hard to de- program myself and look at learning in such a different way. Delight led learning does scare me a bit because I always think that there are things they aren't going to want to learn about that I truly want them to know. It's hard to see in the short term the long term outcome and it's easy to focus on the here and now and panic. I can't fail at this because then I fail my kids. No one wants to fail their kids. But I believe they will grow, learn and thrive mainly because I do care so much and because they will be having to much fun not to thrive. They'll end up learning in spite of themselves I'm sure. But, wow!, is it hard to let go of those "they should know this by now" thoughts. So very hard!
I look back at my old posts though and long for days like those. I loved when we focused on play and the importance of play. I loved when we played games with abandon, followed our bliss, and, quite frankly, even allowed screens. We always love field trips and while we have taken a hiatus for the summer we're all anxious to get back to them (though this is due to hot days, high crowds and just summer business not any sort of homeschooling philosophy).
Yesterday and today I had such long "to do" lists that they were all left on their own to follow their bliss. Evan and Alec mostly found bliss in the Wii, TV and computer. This was one time I didn't mind all that much (though I still didn't love it!). Ian was gone most of the day yesterday at a sleepover and then to play at another friend's house. He swam in the pool, dug in the dirt, rode bikes and had a ball. The other two boys took occasional breaks from the screens to play with Lego's, Beyblades, and Star Wars characters. We played the Scrambled States game and ran around the yard for a bit. Alec did his laundry (without being asked or asking for help). They played in their rooms for a bit and Alec read quite a few of his library books. He was so engrossed in the book Cougars that he had to read at least 4 of the pages out loud to me. Apparently Cougars are moving more towards the East every year and he was shocked to hear that one had been spotted as far east and north as Greenwich, CT. We were talking about Belize and Alec told me that must be near Brazil, so we found it on the map and talked about the countries that surround it as well.
When we picked Ian up the younger boys started playing a game of football with Ian's friend and started learning some of the finer points of the game as well as some new terminology. Evan found some toys that had numbers already on them and told me it was a 10, a 15, and a 20! During dinner the younger two boys took off to sell pencils and beads to the neighborhood. Evan wanted his note pad to write down the costs and prices and keep track of all that they were selling. All the boys helped us figure out how much pipe, foam, and supplies we needed to make all of the kids at Evan's party their own nun chucks. They watched Wild Kratts, watched The Indian in the Cupboard and compared the movie to the book. The list goes on and on. It's amazing to me as I sit and write all that they did in just two days. Looking back, even without my involvement they incorporated math, reading, writing, geography, and vocabulary into their day as well as many gross and fine motor activities. It's hard to teach myself to see what they are learning and not think about what they aren't. It's hard to remember I want to focus on the process, not the product. I want to build self- motivated learners that can lead and teach themselves. If you're interested in homeschooling, and in particular learning about unschooling, you should check out these blogs.
- The path less taken
- Heart of the Matter-- top unschooling ?'s answered
- Heart of the Matter-- riding the fears of unschooling
- A Day in the Life
- Zen Habits-- the Beginners Guide to Unschooling
Here is my new mantra! :