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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are done with our schooling experiment. In short: there is too much mourning for the beloved things that are lost, and the substitute is meaningless and bland and I can't abide forcing the transition, for I feel the loss as well.

However, we can't go back to the "same old" both for logistical reasons (my own schooling) and because emotionally everyone was drained. But with school, the time spent at home, there was no energy left for their passions. It was all recovery time (spent stressing about schoolwork for my oldest). We are all drained, but in a different, soul-sucking way. What felt like a burden now just feels like a vacuum, and the end effect is too similar to be worth it.

While I won't consider what we will be doing as "unschooling", there needs to be a significant amount of consent and input into a plan that works-- that accommodates my needs for my school, including time spent on campus, as well as their own desires.

We need a discussion, and I'm collecting ideas we will need to consider, and ways we can implement them. They don't need to be strictly unschooly. For example, I need them to commit to some chores (and I need to commit to follow-through in reminding them).

Here are my ideas:

List what you want, without reservations, and we will start with the ones that have the most room for everyone and see what we can do to get as close as possible to the rest of them.

I want the girls to develop a "learning" plan. Maybe "learning" is the wrong word. But we spend far too much time on the couch and in each other's faces, and the winter homeschooling dull-drums is fast approaching.

I'd like them keep a calendar record of their work. They get to define "work" here.

I'd like them to work a little on handwriting and spelling, and move forward with their math and other academic stuff. No timeline, no expectations of improvement. I want them to dedicate time to chipping away at this. Yes, not unschooling, but I've reached my comfort threshold until they have removed what seems to be logjams.

I need a way I can advocate for myself in the future without submitting to a fight.

We need family meetings, or meetings individually, or both. Probably both. They have to grant this, or we can't homeschool. They *have* to make time for this, and they never have.

*
I'll add to this as I think of it. Ideas?
 

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I'd like them to work a little on handwriting and spelling, and move forward with their math and other academic stuff. No timeline, no expectations of improvement. I want them to dedicate time to chipping away at this. Yes, not unschooling, but I've reached my comfort threshold until they have removed what seems to be logjams.
I don't have time right now. (we are moving) But I want to say that this is where I am with N (10). We are following his lead. I am having him write which leads to spelling. I'm also in the middle of getting into science with him. A little directed from me.

So, just wanted to say that I get where you are coming from. :nerd:
 

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I'm sorry the traditional school didn't work out for you. HUGS.

I have a few thoughts, scattered as they may be:

When you have to be on campus for class is there a space for the girls to do some school work of their own? A study room, library space, conference room? They should be old enough to be on campus with you but in a space for an hour or 2 as long as they can find your classroom, a bathroom etc. Possibly provide them with a cell phone if you have an extra one? This could possibly take care of 'all' the school time for the week for them if done correctly. I'm not sure how independent they are for learning, maybe they would prefer to read when you are in class?

What do you and the girls want writing/spelling to look like? Are you comfortable with typing essays? writing grocery lists? taking notes at a family meeting?

I know when we were and still are doing quasi unschool/school type things , I was in a much better frame of mind with a schedule. For example: Monday is library day, Tuesday we go to the park, Weds/thurs you have campus, Friday we have house chores, Saturday is grocery and Sunday we get caught up and family meeting.

I am all for the idea of weekly meetings and the list of ideas to organize who wants what and prioritize.
 

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Big shift, big ideas, sounds like you've got a bunch of great thoughts going here! Wow!

This makes me think of the interval when my eldest, after long years of ambivalence, seemed to have finally lost interest in violin. Due to that lack of interest and lack of ready access to a teacher we gave up on lessons. That resulted in an epiphany for her: she realized she really missed it and was ready to really change her approach in order to keep violin in her life. She's never looked back.

I would totally do a combination of the ideas you proposed ... start with wide-open brainstorming of interests and desires with your girls, individually and together, and let the list of ideas gestate and expand for a few days. Then move to a family meeting where you talk about reimagining your homeschooling in a way that addresses your new reality with its constraints and potential pitfalls. And then maybe move back to individual discussions about nuts and bolts.

You might discuss what they liked about school, what they missed about homeschooling, what they didn't like about homeschooling previously, and what they learned as a result of their week at school. Also ... what is it that works so well for them at 4H and girl scouts, and how might you be able to replicate parts of that elsewhere in your lives. And maybe you could develop as a theme "exploring more of who we are as individuals [while still supporting each other]."

So many possibilities! I confess I'm envious.

Miranda
 

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I'm sorry for all the turmoil. Sounds like a tough time! But maybe now that they know they hate school, it'll be easier to brainstorm ideas with them on how to make homeschooling work.

I think your ideas sound like a great place to start.

What do they love most and miss about their homeschool time? Is it possible for everyone (including you!) to get what they most want?

For them developing "learning plans" and keeping records of their work, have you read any of Lori Pickert's Project-Based Homeschool stuff? It's basically child-directed, but with a little bit of framing to help structure things for the kids and parents. Don't know if that would help you, but it's just an idea. Not so much specific subjects, but bigger goals and plans.

As for the handwriting/math/spelling/traditional academic subject stuff, do they have ideas about how to work on that? It seems like they could make their own plans and have you help remind them to stick to what they've laid out, with regular reminders, and occasional opportunities to revise the plan.

As for chores, I guess we're not unschooly there (I need my kids to help clean up!), so I'm not sure how you suddenly insist on responsibilities if they've never had any.

They must have some portable interests they could work on in some common area when you're at school.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I do know Lori Pickert's work and have fallen off from reading most of her stuff. I'll look back into it. For now, I'm feeling drained today. My youngest is going to miss her friends, and she's still on the fence. Today's a new day, I'm withdrawing my oldest and probably my youngest. She'd vote for homeschooling if she didn't have to come to school with me.

Thanks for the ideas so far. That gives me something to work with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for asking.

I have some packing to do for a camping trip and an early morning departure, but I'll say briefly that it's OK, and mostly good. I am seeing some nice things that have held over from school, and there has been minimal fighting mostly. I'm enjoying the spaciousness of our time, but I miss the hours to myself. I had a really hard day yesterday (personal reasons) and in that moment I felt the weight of responsibility back on me, but I'm not sure how much of that is my depressed brain searching for reasons to feel bad or what, because the girls were mostly fine that day.

Anyway, mostly positive. I'll write more on Friday.
 

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I missed this thread by a few days, but I used to take the kids somewhere (like a cafe) to talk about all of the things they might be interested in...they talked, I wrote...we'd end up with about a page. Sometimes I would add something, but it was mostly a kid generated list. Then a few months later (not on any schedule, and sometimes only at the beginning of the year) we'd repeat, look at the old list, decide what was still relevant.

Deborah
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We've had to have these conversations surreptitiously. My youngest especially wants total control over the flow of her life. My oldest likes the idea, but not enough to apply herself, but I can work in some casual conversation about this kind of stuff, but I need to be very careful about letting her lead. Both are more mindful about my need for prep, and both can do a lot on their own. We are working out as we go, and so far it's mostly working out.

More updates as I go. My classes are starting, and if I am on here too much, tell me to get back to work.
 
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