I first learned about unschooling 8 yrs ago and thought it sounded great. But then I lost confidence and put my daughter in Kindergarten. Since then, I have homeschooled my kids off and on, but generally in a more structured way than unschooling. I think I had a hard time trusting that they would really be able to learn what I felt they needed to learn. I would always start out strong but after a while I would begin to slack and then I would lose my confidence and put them back in school. Well, now I have once again started homeschooling 3 of my kids. I have a 14 yr old who does not want to homeschool. She tends to be a homebody so I suppose going to school is a pretty good outlet for her. She also tends fit in well with the way public school does things. I also have a 10 yr old who does very well in school and is always earning awards for good behavior and such. The interesting thing about that is that it has nothing to do with my parenting or his schooling. It is just his personality. I kind of think it is a bit unfair that he gets rewarded for just being him, and my other kids don't because they don't happen to have that type of personality. He is special and amazing but so are my other kids, (IMO, hee hee)! I plan to homeschool him next year because I have many reasons for why I want to homeschool besides the academics part. One of my biggest motivations is that I am glad to have this time to spend with my kids and to develop our relationships. My three that I am currently homeschooling are 13, 9, and 6. My 13 yr old is bright but they would never have realized that at school because he was basically ignored. He didn't like to participate and he wasn't a trouble maker. It was always a stress for me to make sure he was doing his homework. I pulled my 6 yr old out because she was pretending she couldn't read very well or do math well, but when I worked with her at home she seemed to be doing just fine. But again, trying to get her to do all that homework after a full day of school was crazy. My 9 yr old was doing fine, though we weren't fond of her teacher who tended to yell a lot. All of this said, I have always felt in my heart that homeschooling would be best for our family. I think I would have been very happy to be homeschooled when I was a kid. Now for the converting to unschooling part. I have very relaxed standards with what we do. I try to encourage my kids to do the 3 R's, most everyday, but I have tried to give them as many choices with it as possible. My youngest can be quite resistant, but I don't mind too much because I don't think academics should be pushed when kids are younger. I guess i do push a little since I have a rule that they can't watch tv or play on the computer until they have worked on the 3 R's. but again, they generally get to choose how they will work on them. I do have my 13 yr old work in a saxon pre-algebra book. I've told him that it is his choice whether he does it or not, but if he wants to go to college (and he says he'd like to be a computer engineer or a herpatologist) than he needs to start working on his higher math skills. That seems to be fairly motivating for him. He wavers between wanting to be responsible about his education and just not caring too much about it. As for m 6 yr old. She reads well, but she sometimes pretends she needs more help than she really does. She will randomly read things out loud that are fairly complicated, but when we are having reading time together she suddenly forgets how to read as well. I only have her read as much as she wants at a given time because I don't want her to feel that reading is a chore. I am trying to help my kids see that learning takes place all day, everday. Not just when we are doing more formal stuff. I definitely let them learn any science or history or any other subject as they have the desire. I have to say, though, that it is pretty easy to sort of steer them into various subjects just by showing an interest in them myself. Or I pay attention to little things they bring up or ask questions about. For example, they like to watch a pair of house finches that we can see from our kitchen window and they want to know about the mom laying eggs, and how they make their nests, etc. Now that I have tried to be more relaxed about homeschooling, it has become so much easier and less stressful. I don't think I could do it any other way because I am too laid back. The more I read about unschooling the more confident I feel about my choices and feel that my kids are going to be fine, perhaps better than fine. I am happier and they are too. It is only when I start to get grumpy and stressed about them doing more formal work that it begins to wear on me. Then I just read some more about unschooling and suddenly I can breath again and feel happy and good. I love it!
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3/27/13 at 2:34am