09 June 2008

Unschooling: A Work of Heart

One day I might write an ebook with this title. Since our family took the leap into the great unknown of educational freedom, life has never been the same. Recently on an unschooling list, someone asked about what a typical day looks like in our homes. The problem with such a question is that it almost never looks the same. Some days are rather lethargic - people reading, zoning out on the computer, playing video games, watching movies. There are days and days at a time when the TV doesn't go on - although the warmer weather drives us inside and that seems to peak this time of the year.
Kendra is an avid writer. Those are her plans for the summer - to write. She got a good start by handwriting letters to some of her friends. She got stocked up on supplies - making the purchase of a 3 ring notebook, paper and is currently in pursuit of dividers.
Kaitlyn is always creating something. She and Kullen have been playing a lot of Nancy Drew mysteries on the computer. She finished a painting she was working on and has recently begun to design her own chart of personality traits, and how the zodiac influences that. Let me restate that we believe the magnetism of the universe, the placement of the stars and how that affects all living things is the design of the Creator. No worries about witchcraft here.
Kullen has a new hatchet that Uncle Robert gave him when he and his dad went to visit the elderly uncle. Kullen adores him, and I am sure that this will be a prized possession for years to come. A few days ago, he plunked Gray's Anatomy book down in front of me and wanted me to help him look up the spinal cord. Something about Quasimodo piqued his interest in abnormalities. The book he chose was a bit too technical, so we borrowed Kendra's Biology II book that specifically targets anatomy. He learned without teaching how to use the index and research different parts of the body and has been telling me some of the fascinating things he's learned.
I find it fascinating that the kids are free to pursue their own interests as much or as little as they want. I love it that they can dive into things they would be told in school they would have to wait for a few years, or take it much further than the overview they might get. I love it that they can explore and develop their natural gifts without a teacher telling them they are doing something wrong - and find those things that don't work naturally with trial and error.
I know that there are a lot of other kids in various forms of "schooling" who do these things as well. Homeschooling allows students far more time for pursuing personal interests than traditional schooling does, but often I find these children locked into rigorous "elective" schedules often much more catered to the interests of their parents than their own and have little time to follow their own bliss. A lot of these kids don't even get a break from these rigors in the summer.
This time of year, I start hearing the chatter in the homeschooling circles about the next "school" year. The year hasn't ended for us - it lasts all year long. We're sticking with unschooling - all the way baby!

4 comments:

  1. I had to smile when your son got a hatchet. I do believe that only a boy could treasure a hatchet like they do. How funny.

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  2. Cool Julie! I'm now reading up on it; and I gotta tell ya, I like what I'm learning. It seems to just be the best fit for me and mine. Thanks for being used to deepen my understanding of what it's all about.

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  3. Love hearing about the activities. It makes me smile.

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