In case you haven’t noticed, school has been the last thing on my mind this month. My original school schedule had us taking the month of December off because I know how crazy it gets for me. However, as it drew closer, we were all enjoying our curriculum so much that I decided to keep going through the end of the year. Of course, that was before our whirlwind Thanksgiving trip.
After we got home, I had precisely two days until Noah’s birthday, then four days until his party. Once the birthday festivities wrapped up, we still had a full three weeks until Christmas, but somehow we never got back on track and I decided to just let it go. We finished our lapbook and continued to participate in our regular classes and meetings, but our classroom at home has been pretty much untouched. At least by me. The kids have been in to read, do crafts or play games, but I haven’t seen it aside from the week I locked it up and hid the Christmas gifts in it. Our formal curriculum, needless to say, went nowhere.
But on the way to nowhere, a funny thing happened . . . Noah began teaching himself. One day, he found a subtraction workbook in the back of the car and worked his way through it in two days worth of car rides. I had no idea what he was doing until he shouted from the back seat “What’s 76 minus 42?” Of course, I went with it and somehow explained double digit subtraction in the rear view mirror.
He also began – out of the blue – stating sentences in past, present and future tense and incorporating other bits of our language arts lessons into everyday conversation. He started devouring books – reading Ava’s books to her as well and diving into his new Magic Tree House chapter books.
I’m still not sure quite what to make of it all. Since I have at least some curiosity about unschooling, I wonder if he would always learn best on his own. Or is it the combination of structure and free time – the break from our everyday routine – that spurred his interest? And of course, even if less structure does work for him, will it work for Ava too?
Sometimes I wish there was an all-encompassing manual to homeschooling my particular children . . . but I guess in about 10 years, there will be.