back after being offline (warning, this is LONG)
..and enjoying being caught up on what you all are doing. We moved mid May and I finally got high speed internet...no way was I going to go back to dialup after having high speed before! The move was hectic, as I got my appendix and a ruptured ovarian cyst out the week before...I knew I shouldn't be lifting too many boxes but I had a deadline to meet.
The house we are in is HOT (1 1/2 stories) so we are "camping" in the basement on air mattresses at night which the kids think is neat. The big back yard is great, and I even have 2 large pine trees in the back...I have always dreamed of getting a Mayan hammock and can just picture the 4 of us reading and lazing around in it.
I am in a "re-analyzing unschooling /homeschooling" mode or at least my philosophies about it y'know? Ds (I posted about this a few pages back under "homeschooling and developmental delay) was at a developmental clinic this week, and is awaiting genetic testing (due to some physical features he has) and while cognitively appears to be 4, has the gross motor skills and speech of an 18 mo to 2 yr old, for example has to place hands on stairs and semi crawls up them although he stands, squats, runs ok, and only speaks 2-3 word sentences and is majorly garbled, although his understanding of speech is excellent. Of COURSE the ped I saw was sympathetic to homeschooling
...NOT. I didn't do so well explaining homeschooling to her put on the spot like that and I hope I was not defensive sounding as I reminded her that it was not the purpose of the visit to discuss it when we kept going on and on about it.
: I am really having to concentrate on having the attitude of getting some "tools" for him from physio, etc to use in a RESPECTFUL way with him and not just have all of us walk in with a major focus on his weakness and getting him "fixed" to fit into their round hole, and just keep seeing my sweet smiling boy. OK, I hate the word "special needs" but already people are questioning my decision to homeschool even more, yet I know that even my dd too with her "quirks" (mostly high sensitivites at this point, and she is being tested for auditory processing issues in Sept...in a way I wish that we would have gotten her assessed at 3-4 yrs old as I see in her brother a carbon copy of her at that age, except her speech was better) would be crushed in the school environment and does so much better at her own pace.
All this is making me question myself as an unschooler
: (OK, this is a support thread here, I might as well share this). I am going through a bit of a panic attack now, not necessarily is unschooling right, but am questioning how I "do" it if that makes sense. I just can't help especially now comparing how dd is in "school terms" and while I see her making HER OWN progress in the 3 R's, she would definitely be behind in a school sense, more like the level of a kid in grade one instead of two. It is so hard for me to trust her when I see her peers writing stories and learning adding #'s 1-18 by using manipulatives and on and on in school this past year. Yet my smart dd would think this is just bulls#$t as it is out of context and not meaningful to her, and she writes only a word or two on her drawings and knows some "math" (meaning logical thinking, patterns, concepts of big/small etc but not "arithmetic" if you know what I mean) because they came up IN REAL LIFE in situations meaningful to her...I keep trying to remind myself what Joyce Fetteroll says when she talks about on her site about the 3 R's being "learned" because they are a side effect of doing what we want to do and what brings us enjoyment, that they are tools. I know that I have NEVER implicitly taught her to write the alphabet for example, but over a long period of time she now knows how to because of ?'s she has asked, me providing her with paper and pens and a little "office" at her request, that she is reading albeit on a beginning level because SHE wants to know what the words say or wants to play Starfall,
etc, I keep trying to focus on that, that it has happened that way and so will other learning, but it is hard.
What I am questioning is more what my role is, about "strewing" (do I get such and such a game because it will teach her some math skills, etc. She can smell manipulation/hidden intentions a mile away
) and at times I feel like I am "coasting" lately without a real "plan" if that makes sense. I guess I "plan" by making mental or real notes of things, like we have been talking astronomy for a while now, and I know next weekend there is a meteor shower so we are planning to go out to see it, but I guess I am talking about trying to decipher the grey line between manipulating...do I get Math-U-see just to explain a concept as long as I don't "expect" her to do a set amount everyday, or will dd get stressed by that...and just relaxing and enjoying life and trusting the learning will happen. I guess the issues with ds have got me questioning things too...will homeschooling be "good" for him. Which all leads me to muse on my goals in unschooling, that HOW MUCH do I REALLY value my kids happiness in thier lives TODAY, their autonomy in learning (and realizing what is meaningful to them may not be what my "agenda" is for them), their uniqueness and thier developing into thier OWN person, etc.
So, as you can guess, my head is spinning lately
and I just wanted to pour it out here to people who wouldn't tell me to just get Calvert and start following it!
Anyone want to share their own musings in response, I am eager to hear from you!
Tina, dp James, dd Stephanie (7) and ds Jonathan (4) here in Manitoba, Canada