Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Works For Us

I realize this tends to be a reoccurring theme in my posts, but nobody reads this really. It is more of an electronic journal. And on the off chance you happen to this-"thus is the life of a Homeschooling Mom."

Being that it is our first "official" year, we are meeting all different types of families in Sam's home school groups for the first time. It truly is a melting pot. We have met families with all different lifestyles-stay at home moms or dads. Families where both parents work. Adoptive families. Families with one child. Families with six. Families of all races, backgrounds, and "economic classes." Families that use a variety of different teaching methods.....I have encountered families who adhere to a strict "school" schedule. They do all the core subjects. Piano. Violin. PE. Even recess. I have met some who are more lax. They get their "school done." But at the bare minimums and play or cook or work on projects the rest of the day. They use their text books and work books and barrel their way through until lunch when they stop. Some don't stop until 4 or 5 o'clock. I have met families who use online curriculums. And some that do unit studies. I have yet to meet any like us. We may never, but I think we will. Of course many families will allow the child led learning in some aspects, especially once the main subjects are completed.

Seeing other families and their cabinets upon cabinets full of curriculum makes me nervous. Of course I ask myself if I slacking as a Mom. And I go home and think about if we have done enough this week. It seems like I never remember what we do at home. All I can think if us "Well, we went to the Center. Then gym twice. And the library and play date on Friday. Man! We are always on the go." But that's not true. It's really not. And moments like these I am grateful for Facebook Timelines and my pictures. It shows me and reassured me that all we have done, even if it is not as conventional as others, we are learning and having fun.

I saw where we had baked pumpkin cookies-new recipe-completely from scratch. We played Chess and other board games. Computer games. We built a fire together as a family. Not to mention cooked Smores on it. Studied our Rooster who has decided to roost on the back porch where it isn't quite as windy. We used a loom to weave a pot holder. Collected State Quarters. Played with friends. Planned a Christmas party. Went on a field trip. Read. Grocery shopped. Practiced math facts in the car. Played with fractions. Answered questions about what certain words mean. Wrote a book. Started reading "Trumpet of the Swan." Drew in our nature journal. Watched videos of trumpeter swans and their cygnets. Learned words for different male/female animals. Went to church. Talked about God, death, bullies, and handling emotions. Went on a long nature walk. Talked about the History of holidays. We talk a lot. (We also started researching and planning on using some traditions from early Thanksgivings. Something we do every year.) And all that was just this half of the month. Maybe the cookies were the end of October, but you get the picture.

But really, with all the self questioning I go through almost daily, I always come to the same conclusion. In the end what works best for YOUR family may not work for another family. We get stuff done on a lax schedule because it us just-us. We can go with the flow and Sam likes the unschooling method, which works for me because she is always going something productive. And mixing in a little Charlotte Mason here and there doesn't hurt. Using Living Books. Drawing in a Nature Journal. That is all fun and games and cuddles and warm times for both if us. Maybe there are days when seemingly nothing gets done, and we tend to focus on those days. But all of us, homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike have those days. Always have. Always will. We just have to keep going and trust that God has lead us down the right path, which is always does if we listen.

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