Ever get struck in the middle of a crazy, hectic day by overwhelming wave of gratitude for being able to share a special moment with your kids? Well, that’s what Thankful Thursday is all about. Each week, I’ll aim to share a special moment that I would have missed had my kids been away at school . . . and I’m counting on all of you to share yours, too. It will give us something to reflect on during those other six crazy, hectic days!Don't hold me to this, but I think I'm teetering on the edge of unschooling - and I like it. I'm still not sure why I'm resisting at all, other than that its free-flowing nature goes against the structure-loving side of me. At the start of our homeschooling journey, it just didn't seem like it was for me. But the further along we get, the more I'm taken with its appeal.
Perhaps it's that in observing my kids learn, I actually get to see and measure the true value of real-life experiences . . . of learning about what they're interested in on their own timeline. It's so much more than they ever get from a workbook!
Noah can tell me about the intricate workings of a car engine, diagram the internal organs of the human body and grow tomatoes from seed - all because he wanted to learn those things. But if I asked him today, I doubt he would remember what a homonym is. And if truth be told, I really don't know that I'd ever seen the word "homonym" before we started language arts last year - and I certainly don't feel that it's held me back in life.
This week, I blew off an entire morning's curriculum because he was engrossed in rebuilding his model solar car. It didn't work when he built it according to the instructions, but he was determined to figure it out. With no guidance (hey, what do I know about building cars???), he not only made it work, but also reconfigured it into both front- and all-wheel drive options just for kicks. Somehow, the process behind that project seems much more valuable than learning the state capital of Wisconsin (something that, again, I've gotten along without all these years).
On Tuesday, we had a wonderful day - art class at the museum, lunch with friends for which we brought some math/reading games, playtime at the park and Odyssey practice. It was so nice that I thought it would be hard to top. But I have to say that Wednesday was equally nice in an entirely different way - a quiet day at home filled with child-led learning. Noah built his car, Ava and I read books, we did a little math and reading on our ocean unit and watched the Deep Sea DVD.
And speaking of Ava, she's reaping the rewards of progressing at her own pace. All of a sudden, she is ready to learn, and I'm so relieved that I didn't force it on her earlier (like my schedule-loving self really wanted to do). She's sounding out words, reading her Bob books, writing deliberately (as in, anything more than a scribble!) and understanding numbers. It's been an amazing few weeks watching her take these giant leaps forward.
It was probably the middle of last school year when I realized that unschooling would probably be a great approach for Noah, but I was concerned that Ava needed more structure. In hindsight, I think she just needed more time.
I suppose there's no reason to put a label on our schooling style, so I won't. After all, the only certainly I know is that things are bound to change! But today I am thankful for the wonderful homeschooling mama's who have shared with me over the years - both in person and through their blogs - to provide me the info I needed to keep my mind open to a less structured approach. I think the kids and I will all be happier - and learn more - because of it!