Monday, March 24, 2014

How Learning About the Various Homeschooling Methods Helped Ease My Fears

It's easy for my fears to derail my homeschooling efforts.  We've had one of those weeks where I'm questioning all that we are doing and learning.

I never thought that by learning more about the various homeschooling methods I would feel better!  



After all just reading about the methods didn't meant I had changed anything in our approach.

After a nice long week off and many reassurances from our families that my boys are growing and developing just fine.... After a week of reading all the unschooling and delight directed learning blogs I could find... After a week of talking with the boys and really listening to them, watching them play, hearing them talk, seeing what they're really interested in... I thought we were all set.

I found many quotes that reminded life is a journey and we should enjoy it.

I realized that I had once again been panicking about all that they have not yet learned.

 I worry so much about them learning everything I can teach them even thought I know that it's just unrealistic.  I know that, yet I can't seem to get that message to sink into my brain! 

I wanted to head back towards a more unschooling approach and I was happy.  The boys were happy.  Life was good.   

Then my husband voiced all of his fears to me and I faltered again.  Funny enough, he was having all the same sort of anxiety about all the same sorts of subjects.  His fears being voiced aloud at a time I was struggling with my own did not help much.  I don't think either one of us felt all that much better by the end of our discussion either but we did agree that we don't want to send them back to public school (phew!), we agreed that they're still young and they still have plenty of time but it left me feeling a bit uncertain again.
 
As much as my husband supports me and all the work I do for homeschooling, most of the work does fall to me and like I told my husband I have no guarantees for him that I'm not screwing it all up.  I only know what I can and can't motivate the kids to do.  

  • I know what they do and don't retain when I force through the knowledge.  
  • I know that we can't all be crying, yelling and in tears over our school work or else no learning will ever take place.  
  • I know that if we're all miserable every day we're going to quit, give up on homeschooling and feel badly toward one another.  
We're still looking for middle ground between total schoolwork all the time and complete unschooling and I just have to lean more toward unschooling.  It's where I find I see the most connections being made, where we all find the most joy in learning and it's where we love homeschooling the most. 

I have always used the terms delight directed learning and unschooling interchangeably and only after reading several delight directed learning blogs have I learned that they aren't really the same thing at all.  

All this time I've been struggling to be a strict unschooler when I now realize we're more of a delight directed homeschooling kind of family.
  • We work together to pick topics we want to learn about, field trips we want to go on, new experiences we want to try and while I guide them with the actual work I'd like to see being done, they pick the topics and areas of interest.  
  • We have whole days, weeks or even months where we completely unschool and they find their own areas of learning and interest.  
  • We have weeks or months where I pick a lot of areas I'd like to cover and we plug away at those for a bit until they're off on another tangent they'd like to explore more in depth.  
It's funny how just this tiny discovery this weekend has helped me feel better about what I always see as our disjointed way of approaching school. 

It helps so much to read blogs of other homeschooling moms (especially moms of older children who have gone through all this and have kids successfully in college or careers!). 

It helps to read about their struggles and know I'm not alone.  

I'm not the only one whose kids don't happily cheer at the sight of a workbook,

 I'm not the only one who kids grumble, moan and complain.

 I'm not the only one who feels frustrated.  

I'm not the only one who buys curriculum books and forgets about them a week or so later. 

Sunday, found me back to feeling content with our decision, our journey and our life and I sat back to enjoy my family.  Evan wanted to buy some new toys and my husband offered to make them all some.  The boys picked out some swords from the Lego Chima TV show that they've been wanting and my husband cut them out of wood (though Ian helped make his own sword).  The boys painted them, played with them and had a great weekend outside.

Alec and Evan paint their swords

Ian helping dad to cut boards down

Ian tracing the sword shape onto the wood


Ian learning how to use the saw

Ian's turn to try it out (don't worry we're right
next to him!
We went, as a whole family, to the grocery store.  We talked about nutrition and Ian was able to estimate the cost of our groceries (he was only off by $5!).  We listened to more of our book on CD and the boys filled their dad in on the story and what has been happening.  We talked about Greek gods and Roman gods and I was so pleased when Alec could tell us all what the difference is between these two groups.

The boys hiked, biked, used their scooters and enjoyed playing outside.  Ian and my husband worked together to put together a wooden bulldozer from a kit Ian had gotten from Christmas.  Ian used tools and learned how to follow the directions. 


Ian read a new recipe and made chocolate chip cookies for us all!  He's turning into a really good baker.  We talked about fractions, equal fractions and reducing fractions while he was cooking.  He had to figure out how many tablespoons of butter he needed when the recipe called for 3/4 cups.  He was ready to flatten the butter out into the measuring cups when I showed him that 1/4 cups equal 4 tablespoons.  I then asked him how many tablespoons in 2/4 (or a half cup) of butter.  He told me eight so I told him he then had to figure out how many in 3/4 and he said 12.  I told him he had just added fractions!  If he keeps up with all this baking and cooking he's going to be a whiz in fractions in no time at all! 

 In essence they showed me all that they learn through life and that what we're doing is working.  Blending their interests with my need for more traditional schoolwork is just fine and we're all going to be OK.

Linking Up With:



Tots and Me

The Homeschool Post




4 comments :

  1. I totally understand! We started out doing 'school', then we deschooled, unschooled, and now have settled in nicely as VERY relaxed eclectic homeschoolers. There are weeks that we never sit down at the table to work on math, reading, etc... then there are weeks that we accomplish a lot of subject work. I realize though that no matter what kind of week we are having we are learning just in different ways.
    Your family experiences look amazing! Thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I have found that having this blog helps tremendously; when I fear and fret over everything we're not learning I can look back and see all the different ways we are learning.

      Delete
  2. Love this! It is such a big step and it's good to know that you don't have to pick one method and just stick to it forever, you know? #FridayFrivolity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really had thought I'd find one way and that's what we'd do.. but we have changed methods and how we approach schooling so many times since we started homeschooling.

      Delete