I have a just turned 6 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. We started homeschooling this past fall. I bought a Waldorf curriculum. I liked waldorf in theory, but we have completely abandoned it! I find that the most productive way to work is just to follow my daughter's lead. My problem is with (and this is silly, I know) the criticism that I get from my mother, who thinks that I shouldn't be teacher my daughter "what she wants to learn" but that I should be teaching her "what she NEEDS to learn." As if there is a difference, right? Then I have my own anxieties about unschooling (and homeschooling in general, at times): I don't know what I'm doing; Can I teach "this" before I teach "that"?; How will she ever learn "that" if she won't try "this"/ That all being said, I think that unschooling does fit us best. My daughter is very bright and she is very stubborn and strong willed. I feeli like I need some encouragement from those who have felt the same way and survived it all.
- topicUnschoolingtagged by amandamae, 4/30/13
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I think we might be unschooling!???post #1 of 44/30/13 at 7:22pmThread Starterpost #2 of 44/30/13 at 8:51pm
I have skeptical grandparents on both sides. No body buys into homeschooling, let alone a relaxed, unschoolish approach. I deal with this by never mentioning unschooling. What is the point?
As for feeling anxious, this is how I dealt with it. I started out the school year with the decision to help my son (then 6) learn to read and do basic math. Shortly after that, I differed the idea of doing math completely and indefinitely. I didn't have a curriculum. I never even considered delving into the other subjects (formally or informally) first graders are supposed to cover; I was pretty sure my curious, inquisitive son will do that all by himself. But I was anxious and I was not confident. As the only homeschooler around among my group of friends, there were times I felt pretty doubtful about my choices when I saw what their kids were learning in school.
Still, I decided to go slow. I could tell that he was ready to pick up reading so we went with that. He spent the first half of this school year just trying to learn phonics and reading his books. In the meantime he got into so many other things that fell under American history, math, health, science by just watching documentaries, asking questions, doing experiments, talking to other people, and with daddy and I reading books aloud to him. He also got into audio books in a way I never expected. Then, in mid-February, I noticed he wasn't grappling as much with reading anymore. It was coming to him with a relative ease. His focus was was shifting/waning so I popped math in. Now he is going through 1st grade math all by himself; he will be finished in a couple of weeks.
In the mean time, while he writes a little here in there, his effort towards writing has been negligible. Many times, he asks me to write things down for him even when he could do it himself. I don't refuse or make him write things down himself. If I did, it will put a damper on his current obsession with composing poetry and dictating them to me.
People around us are worried about his inability to write now that he has turned 7. I know for sure he is not ready to write. So, I just keep swatting questions away. When he is good and ready, he will learn writing. Instead, we are choosing to move on with math. As for reading, he is into Nate the Great and Magic Tree house books. We just ordered a bunch of Boxcar Kids books. As it warms up and the summer is approaching, we are looking into learning some piano. We will be prepping our balcony garden and planting seedlings soon. There will be weeding, watering, and harvesting. Lots of hiking and outside exploring. Some soccer. Legos. Mostly though, a lot of just wandering around.
My point is, For me the beauty and the benefits of homeschooling (unschooling) became more clear as time went on. The more I watched my kids thrive, the more confident I felt about my choices. Treat your anxiety as part of your learning process to homeschool. Dealing with other people's questions and skepticism is part and parcel of the journey. You will be fine.post #3 of 45/1/13 at 8:05ampost #4 of 45/3/13 at 4:04am
There are lots of different ways to deal with skeptics, but most grandparents deserve something better than a brush-off and boundaries. They love your children deeply. They care, and they want to understand. I think it's important to reassure them that you understand there are things children need to learn, and you are keeping an eye on those skills and bits of knowledge as you tread an educational path that is looser and more joyful. Your hope is that by living a full rich life that is integrated with family responsibilities and community life, your child will see why it is necessary to learn things and will be motivated to learn them. From observing and talking with other unschoolers this seems to be the case: not on the same schedule that school children learn them, often ahead of schedule and sometimes a bit behind, but generally unschoolers seems to learn all those necessary bits precisely because they're necessary. If you don't separate children from real life by sticking them in school, what's necessary for real life becomes clearly evident. And if that's not the case, you'll see that and adjust your approach as needed as the years pass.
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