Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Departure

In March of 2007 the Lizard King and I made the decision to homeschool Princess. Having always wanted to be a teacher, I was as excited for me as I was for her. I learned about unschooling and was fascinated by it. It sounded so beautiful and natural. I wasn't sure it would work, but we started on that path and found that it does work and it was wonderful. Princess learned to read and is figuring out math as we live our lives.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I've been feeling so very conflicted. I trust and love the unschooling life and it works well for us. Still, I felt like something was missing.

A few days ago I pulled out some old workbooks that I had purchased in the very beginning. We started with a Strawberry Shortcake telling time workbook. We worked on this until we were half way through the book. When I wanted to stop, I got the same disappointed response that I get at the end of a playdate. "Awwwwww! Can we do more? Pleeeaaaase?"

The next morning at breakfast Princess told me she wanted to work in that book again. I told her that when we got home from ballet in the afternoon we could do it then. Her response was a big whine. She was begging me to work in this book. We ended up being 30 minutes late for a playdate because she wanted to do school work!

How can I deny her this when she loves it so much, simply because I want to live this unschooled life? Isn't part of unschooling following your child's passions?

We have been working on some things over the last few days. For science we have done Sid the Science Kid, watching the shows and then doing the explorations ourselves. We bought a sketch book from the craft store and decorated it to use as a science journal.

I bought some writing paper and Princess started writing and illustrating a well know rhyme.

We read to each other every day. I've ordered a Montessori style math program. I purchased Story of the World Volume I where we can learn history in a story format and do activities related to what we learn. I found a geography book at The Learning Palace.

Princess is having the best time! She absolutely loves it! I'm pretty relaxed about how we do it and when we do it and even if we do it. So what are we now?
I've decided we are eclectic homeschoolers for a couple of reasons. What we're doing is pretty eclectic. We are doing school work with an unschooly attitude. Unschoolers would say that we aren't unschoolers and traditional homeschoolers would call us unschoolers so I think eclectic works well. The other reason? I like the sound of the word. *eclectic* Say it! It's fun!


Such Lovely Freckles said...

Well, I've said it before, and I'll say it again... the beauty about homeschooling is, that you don't ever have to stick to one thing. You can change your mind 10 times if you want. I'm so happy, this is working out so well for you guys. Your daughter is a smart cookie. :) She loves to learn. How cool is that!!

Zayna said...

You're is fun...eclectic.

And yeah, now and again I still get hung up on labels but it doesn't really matter.

As long as you're enjoying the experience. And it sure sounds like you both are.

Anonymous said...

Life is all about learning!! Of course she loves to learn, it's because it hasn't been forced down her throat. She has the freedom to explore and enjoy the learning process. The thing about unschooling is that there's no set curriculum. I certainly don't think that means you can't have curriculum available for her. That's what we do. I have tons of work books and learning materials available. I also have Gabby pick one things she wants to research every day. In my opinion children natually crave knowledge and it's important to me that Gabby be motivated to continue learning every day. The best thing about homeschooling is that we can use the world as our classroom. That should include all types of learning materials for her to be exposed to. Gabby loves workbooks too and she takes great pride in completing them. She even asks me to give her "math tests" (never thought I would do that) but there's no pressure in this environment. We even use flash cards as a game. I say go with the flow, there's no reason to feel conflicted. Expose her to everything and support her along the way (which is what you already do :)

Momma Bear said...

i'm learning so much about schooling in general from your posts, thanks!

Lisa said...

It sounds like you're schooling like us. Sometimes we do worksheets, sometimes we don't. We do follow a fun math program otherwise we wouldn't do very much math. I try to avoid it like the plague! (I've never been a math person.) We have Story of The World Volume 1, we just haven't gotten to it yet!

Shady Lady said...

Thank you all for your support! You are awesome!! Momma Bear, I'm so glad my homeschool posts are helpful to you. :) There really are so many options.

Alicia said...

I've always called our family "relaxed eclectic" for similar reasons. I have unschooling friends who say we're unschoolers, but we're not always. I try to keep it fun, but I'm not above handing out math pages or announcing that we're all going to play a spelling game now. :)

Also, I'm so anti-authority that I don't even like having to follow unschooling rules! And there are a surprising amount of them too! All for us parents, of course.

The root of unschooling is supposed to be child-led learning, though, and it sounds like that is exactly what you guys are doing. If she chooses to do workbooks and schooly stuff, it's still her choice. Unschooling doesn't rule anything out, it just doesn't FORCE.

Just the same, I like the "eclectic" box best anyway too. :)

Nice to meet you, BTW!

Shady Lady said...

Alicia, thanks for stopping by my blog! I totally get what you're saying about unschooling rules. It's a lot to take. I think we're settling in quite nicely into our eclectic homeschooling style.