Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: on top of a mountain, rural NY
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I do know a couple people who have a very routined day of school at home. Most homeschoolers I know are a mix of all sorts of things-like me!
I use unit studies (there are all kinds of homeschooling techniques-unit study, textbook, classical, etc).
The unit study covers everything. They do recommend you add a math program, though.
I ask my kids what unit they want to do-we just finished ships and floating, which was a ton of fun. The kids picked most of the activities listed in the book, but I picked a couple, too. We are learning together.
I can't really say when learning begins and when it ends. It really is a lifestyle and it goes on all day.
For example, they went outside to build a ship out of boxes, the broom, made maps, made flags, an anchor, etc. ( I stayed in the house to catch up on laundry) While they were out there, they found a cocoon under a rock to my garden wall. (It was the gangplank of the ship). That led to a totally different topic since they wanted to know what caterpillar made it. We found out that it was the cocoon of a wooly bear caterpillar which would turn into a tiger moth.
Most of their day is unscheduled-playing is learning, building with blocks is learning, catching tadpoles is learning, brushing the horses, climbing on haybales, watching the calf drink from her mother, etc. Basically everything is learning.
I don't know how to "label" our kind of schooling. We do a mix of all sorts of things and most homeschoolers I know do the same. I guess I could call it relaxed or eclectic. We have curriculum, but are not slaves to it. We use them as references. We use our unit study the most because the kids LOVE it so much.
I know that we are not unschoolers, but the major chunk of each of our days are like that of unschoolers. Even when we are doing our unit studies, it is child-led. They pick what they want to do and all our rabbit trails that we go on every day are due to the kids' questions. Our unit study book said floating and ships would take about 2-3 weeks. We finished it in 8, because we got on a huge tangent about pirates and a few other things that weren't even related to ships or floating.
I agree that many people "sieze" their children's playtime and try to make them learn something instead of just letting them play and learn on their own or just play for the pure fun of it.
Some of what we do I might call real-life learning. Such as the things that must be done everyday or situations that come up in real life-birth, death, divorce of a friend's parents, any questions the kids have.
Cleaning the house, making meals, baking bread, taking care of the animals. My in-laws have cancer. One of them almost died last fall after surgery. We went to 3 different non-family funerals. One was a cremation, one was a burial, one was a very close friend and it was like a party rather than mourning. Did I continue on with our kings and Queens unit? No-there was more important real-life learning going on. Lots of discussion, hugging and crying and laughing even. Learning to comfort others and ourselves, too.
My dd got the opportunity to be a model in a child's book about grief. She was the main character and my dh and I were in it and so were my in-laws. My MIL was the grandma that got cancer and died in the book. (She is alive and doing well and is in remission right now)
A lot of our friends thought we were crazy for letting dd do this, but she wanted to and it was really helpful for her (and my in-laws). The book came out 2 months ago. It is amazing to see us in it. We are friends with the illustrator.
Also, kids are ready for certain things at different times-aknowledging that and going with it is child-led. My dd was reading when she was 4, almost 5.
My ds was not ready for anything like that and now is just ready at 6 and is already sounding out 3 letter words-but the key was I waited until he was ready and wanted to. We would still be waiting, but he decided he's ready.
Well, sorry so long and kind of all over the place. I think everyone has their own style and for me, I don't label it. Everytime I do, I jump out of that particular box. LOL