There must be something in the middle - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 09-29-2011, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I rarely post anymore, on any forum.  I try not to subscribe to any one particular way of thinking/schooling because I end up being a failure and take it out on myself.  I end up blaming curriculum, feeling disconnected to my children and frustrated.  But I feel like I need some kind of support system.  My children do not wake up begging for language arts.  I do not have notebooks full of writing and creative stories.  They are 5 and 7, kinder and 2nd grade.  They are tons of fun and I love them to pieces.

 

I think we are more classical educators but there are internet places that follow a strict classical method and when I visit those places and read what people are doing I want to crawl in a damned hole LOL!  I settled on some fine curriculum ( so I thought), until I start reading all the reviews about my choices.  One side thinks they are great, the other side is that my kids will end up being epic failures and fall behind the average.  I don't know how to decide if I am doing enough.  I enjoy the fact that they have enough free time in their little lives to do things they enjoy. 

 

I'm not looking for an excuse to slack, or have limit learning time,  not at all.  I'm just wondering if more homeschoolers take the "middle of the road" approach or a strict side?  I feel very scattered right now.  I appear to be organized, I always have a plan for the day/week, but i am constantly thinking in my head that I should be doing something else though I don't know why LOL. My kids are smart, have VERY good life skills and common sense.  Adults comment how they love the conversations with them.  Maybe it's just hard to feel satisfied knowing other people are leaps beyond us in some areas. 

 

Anyone go in and out of this thinking?  I am usually pretty "up" about the way we school.  DH just says "half those people on the internet don't even have kids." eyesroll.gif

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#2 of 12 Old 09-29-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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yes. basically, i get it.  my oldest is 5 though.. so i don't really have any great advice or solutions and i don't know if the people on the internet are really better than us or not .. i've put together all of our curriculum myself.. so there are no bad reviews out there, but its all on me..  i'm just trying not to stress about it .. 

 


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#3 of 12 Old 09-29-2011, 10:49 PM
 
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Um, that sounds about like me. 
Fighting the kids to do something that makes us both miserable (especially at these younger ages) isn't high on my own list of priorities. 
I figure we'll get to things when we get to them.  I have my (very loose) plan and goals I have on hand.  But, um, life happens.  Sometimes the 100lbs of peaches sitting in the homeschool room to can up for the winter take precedence over reading every single read aloud that week.  I totally get a bunch of books on tape so we do 'school' in the van while running errands, and count Mighty Machines on Netflix as school as well as any book-on-DVD's that go along with any of our Sonlight/FIAR books.  Today my 5yo and 3yo and I compared a sagging store sign to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and my 7yo, 5yo and 3yo made The Parthenon out of wooden blocks the other day, so I don't feel too bad about 'slacking.'

I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I'm actually kind of proud that my 7yo is behind others his age in certain things.  He excels at building/creating/thinking things through in wacky ways, but is a little behind in his lowercase handwriting and reading.  Because we do things at home, we (and he!) can take his time with things until they're ready to click.  Heck, today we read part of Life of Fred as a bedtime story, and he wanted to read more before I cut him off and sent him to bed.  :)

As long as you and the kids are happy and both learning, I say it's good.  It doesn't matter what other people say about a curriculum if it works for you.  If they say it's bad, well, that means they'll be willing to sell theirs for bargain basement prices, right?

 

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#4 of 12 Old 09-30-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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Count me in as one who thinks they don't do enough... I try to tell myself that its the nature of the beast -- no matter WHAT you do, you can always do better... but my kids are happy...  They m ight not always get along... they might not know how to read yet (I'm not fussed about that one, since my oldest is only 6 and LOVES books... he just needs to be read to...) but they are happy, inquisitive kids...  I'll take that! :)  (And really...when you think about it...what do they REALLY need to know?  THey need to know how to take care of themselves, how to find out what info they are interested in/need, and some basic reading and writing... even the WORST homeschool parent can manage THAT!!! :)

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#5 of 12 Old 09-30-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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I originally planned to be a very classical homeschool family. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that isn't what my child needs.  

 

I was thrown for a loop and I felt like we were spinning our wheels for a bit,  but then she just blossomed. We lean more towards unschooling than anything else, but are too schooly for true unschooling- I think.  

 

One thing I really had to do was to focus on what she needed to learn instead of what I thought she needed to learn.  That finally clicked for us last year, and we largely follow her interests, though I do watch for big gaps and shape things around those on occasion. 

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#6 of 12 Old 09-30-2011, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well thanks, this is helpful.  I know it sounds terrible but sometimes I asked their friends what they did in school today.  It's "hmmm, i forgot, nothing, learned how to flip on the monkey bar, homework," etc LOL.  I know there are great parts to their day I'm sure, i really am not down on public school though it's not for us.  I really need to remember that our day is full of life experience.  They have access to "real life" all day long.  This is much different than being just their person and a lunch box in a classroom having to simulate real life in a school setting with a classroom full of kids. 

 

Feeding the worms our scraps/coffee grounds, analyzing what happens in the upcoming days, planting seeds, learning to make a sandwich, estimating grocery items and adding them up.....I actually made a list of things my children did on their own and throughout the day with me/each other last night from the time they got up.  I was amazed and quite proud. 

 

If anyone is reading this and feeling like there is not enough to your day, take a piece of paper and write down everything your kids did that day.  It was actually quite eye opening and lovely.  I may just start doing this from time to time if not just to have a "blog" of their day.  I snapped a few pics too, so this just may become a type of journaling for me, that one day they can appreciate.  I have read that list twice this morning with a grin!

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#7 of 12 Old 09-30-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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It was really hard for me to make the leap to trusting that my child is learning 'enough'.  I do have a teaching degree, but I never have used it really.  I also have a profoundly gifted child who is 2E (PG with  Aspergers) it's been an enormous leap of faith because for about 18 months she wasn't visibly 'learning' at least not the way it looks when you view it through the lens of a public school classroom.

 

Since she was very advanced already, I chose to take a step back and just watch.  I saw snippets of learning throughout the days here and there.

 

And then... she simply exploded over the past year or so (she's almost 10) it's been really interesting to watch, and she has really taken ownership of her own education. 

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#8 of 12 Old 10-01-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 425lisamarie View Post

 

If anyone is reading this and feeling like there is not enough to your day, take a piece of paper and write down everything your kids did that day.  It was actually quite eye opening and lovely.  I may just start doing this from time to time if not just to have a "blog" of their day.  I snapped a few pics too, so this just may become a type of journaling for me, that one day they can appreciate.  I have read that list twice this morning with a grin!

I do this at home, too.  We are unschooling, but it's hard to see that if you just look at my records of what they've done.  I started this for the same reason, knowing that some learning can be so incorporated into the reality of the day as to be invisible.  I know I don't need to do this, but it also makes a good journal, as you've said.  As night time descended upon the bedtime hour, I started printing out the week's night sky highlights from stardate.org and posting everything on the fridge.  The girls love doing a few minutes of stargazing and wishing before crawling into bed (unfortunately this time of year is usually cloudy here.  Oh well!)  Now I use the back of last week's highlights for this week's "homeschool calender".  (I also print out star maps from KidsAstronomy.com.)   Maybe I'll relax in the future, but it's really been a lot of fun.  I'm glad this has eased your stress some.
 

 


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#9 of 12 Old 10-01-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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We are so middle of the road that it isn't funny.

 

Where we live, we are surrounded by ultra-religious "school at home" and unschoolers.

 

I used to read a variety of blogs and boards and it made me SICK. (Oh, and my kids are the same age as your kids!)

 

We are very relaxed classical educators. I've just realized I've got to do what works for us and screw everything else. Figure out what YOU want for the kids. Who cares about what a curriculum or some uber-blogger says? For us, we have a set amount of workbooks that we do, and we probably do so much less than everyone else.

 

But...we're happy. The kids are learning. My daughter, within just a few months, went from so behind and unable to read to a total chapter-reading bookworm. That, on its own, gave me the power to say I CAN DO THIS!

 

Yes, us middle of the road people are out here...we're just not yelling from the treetops :)

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#10 of 12 Old 10-02-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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I get it.  I consider us unschoolers with a classical bent.  Talk about feeling like I don't do enough AND too much at the same time!  lol  Maybe relaxed classical is a better term - mostly I just allow dd to pick and choose what she wants to read and do but I heavily strew her path with classics and Latin and the like.  It works for us but I still have my moments of worrying it's not enough OR that I am coercing her too much.  :/

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#11 of 12 Old 10-04-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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Me too! There are days where I am utterly and completely amazed by what we accomplish (especially since we have a newborn) and what she knows.... Then the other days I think we have taken unschooling to a whole new level. The She Plays and Creates So Much By Herself It Borders on Neglect level. wink1.gif

Also, when we hang out with those kids who go to that Super Academy, the girl who is 7 and in 4th grade and speaks 3 languages, I have to stop myself from comparing. I can go on either side of this in my head (My kid is so smart, I'm not giving her enough, must ramp up everything.... or Those parents are....) both are pointless and detrimental. Just different paths. 

I try to remember that learning can be joyful, frustration can be worked through and isn't wrong.

HS is like mothering. Some days I feel on top of my game and others, I feel like I was too distracted to make it delicious.

 

And most days, I think only my children have any idea of what I am talking about since my brain hasn't returned to it's prepregnancy state. I include that last statement because I'm not even sure my post makes sense :)

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#12 of 12 Old 10-05-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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I love this! 

 

I took pictures for a few days in front of my SAHD&HSerD because it was stressing him out and just me pulling out the camera actually got him beaming and I haven't heard a word about the whole deal we had before had.. that was last week. We also have adventure school a lot (we go places). DH is such a closet unschooler, but I never say that to him... I keep in the back of my mind his outlook though. I have been having fun learning french and sharing that with my family. Fred is now teaching me his own language :D, lol! He also started a mushroom journal for a day.. that was wicked over the top schooling for us and got me happy he had his first moment answering his own questions (can I eat this or will it kill me... BTW... we have not had any to eat because it is so hard to be clear.)

 

I have been seeing a lot of interesting affects from this one thing though.. yes my kids are little, but really and happily having them help me make the home a home, meal help, and a bunch of Montessori type importance.. blah, blah.. being a clean, neat, prepared kind of person and happy home... When they are like this.. things tend to get better, nicer, studious, creative. We don't have a great routine, but we have finally reached an age where they know where it feels to be "ready for the day" and "ready for a magical family dinner" etc and it feels nice. I always wonder how this will effect them as adults.. like we live, relax, jump to the beach or the zoo, act crazy, whipe our hands with our under side cloth when it is the only thing left, but I really try to make healthy living a top priority. I wonder if they will want a small house when they grow up and tiny piles of laundry and simple healthy food? It seems to make the world go round around here. We have a lot of fun too. 


Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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