Thursday, September 26, 2013

A New School year. A few thoughts about that.





We are well on our way into a new year of learning. I suppose that is the technical and more formal way to say it. Truth is, we never did stop learning. GASP! All throughout the summer we have been in the garden and forest, have attended workshops, and even taught a few. All of the excitement is too much to recount here, but I promise, we had fun! So much fun that I have completely neglected the blog here! Sorry!! 

We started "officially" in class in late August. I suspected the boys would need a little time to get back into the grind of daily work books. And I was right...but, finally, we are at a good pace. I have been looking into formally teaching Griffen, and have looked at some curriculum. During my search, I came across this post by a fellow blogger. I'm not sure I agree completely with everything the blogger has said, but I do know that neither public school or "schooling" at home have fostered a love for learning in my children, and they certainly didn't have my children excelling in academics. I can give you test scores to prove that. It doesn't work because it doesn't foster the love and passion that my kids have deep inside. Little by little we are learning to shake off the secular model for learning. More and more, I am seeing that when I allow my children to be wild and free, giving them opportunity to learn through experience and adventure, they grasp more. When I release the chains of confinement and stop directing them so narrowly, they are free to roam, and often find themselves in a world of learning that I had never fathomed they could ever find on their own. Children are brilliant, but only if we tear down the walls that restrain them, allow them to dream, and pursue those dreams. One thing that I never foresaw when we began to homeschool was the change in my children's persona. Rather than following the grain of peer influence, they are re-finding themselves. Truly, I thought the damage had been done and that I would never get them back..the real "them". But again I had underestimated them. They have come back with strength and resilience. Just one year. It resonates with me, families teach their children..it's a great design. Mothers and Fathers, Grandparents, Elders, the Community. When we come together to rear our young, we can accomplish great things.

 I went on to search a bit more and came across a great post about unschooling. I had certainly heard of it, but upon reading the post, I was quite enlightened..and pretty inspired. I decided to print it off and read it to my kids. They thought it was brilliant and urged me to let them free range. 

And so, this morning, we let go...just a bit. I am a little anal about structure, schedules, and the like....and my kids don't drop far from the tree, but I think the spontaneous bug hunt this morning was a start. Cylas declared that he was going to learn how to speak French and proceeded to register for Babble.com and Carter decided to make Chocolate Chip cookies all by himself...then proceeded to take half of them to a few of our elders in the neighborhood as a good deed. Hey, we may have missed a few English studies today, but I am very impressed with the kids ambitions. It's a journey, like a corner that we are turning on. I think I will forgo an official curriculum for the 3 year old for now, and just learn to have learning moments with him. I'll teach him yes, but not in the rigid way I thought I would...I think it will look much much different now. 

Oh! And I should mention that both Cylas and Carter have jumped at the idea of keeping a blog. They love to write short stories, and so I have linked them up...their pages can be found by clicking the tabs at the top of my blog.