The Experiment Begins
So I read a bunch of books and blogs and internet articles on the topic of unschooling. I did that because in my heart I’m an unschooler who allowed her fears to keep her, and thereby her child, a prisoner of the educational process. But, I have sorta already blogged about that so I’ll zip through that part then. After reading a bunch of blogs, books, and articles I found one of two things to be true. Either the book just didn’t connect with me, or rather I didn’t connect to the book, OR the book didn’t supply me with the information I felt I needed. Here and there a gem or two might be layng in the midst of the reading I was doing – enough to keep me interested and searching – but nothing jumped up and said ‘See, here, this right here….this is how YOU know you are meant to be an unschooler!’ Then, I found the book that did just that. ‘Free Range Learning’ was that book and not only did it give me the chutzpah I needed to cry out ‘I will unschool!’ it gave a lot of fabulous resources for a myriad of subjects. I don’t remember now how I stumbled upon my next pot of gold, probably through my unending quest for information, but I found a book called ‘Deschooling Gently’. I wasn’t even done with the first chapter before I KNEW we were going to become unschoolers. This book is a treasure, in my opinion. The title makes it seem as if it’s not an unschooling book and the author even acknowledges the question, “Is this a book about unschooling?’ with the answer, “yes and no.” It’s easy to understand why she says that. You could follow the guidelines and suggestions in this book to deschool your children, and more importantly yourself, and then move into whatever form of home based learning/schooling you’d like to do. So, it’s not a book about unschooling. Then again, you can use the guidelines and suggestions in this book to deschool and just keep on moving along with that until one day you will realize, “We’re unschooling and loving it!”
I don’t know that to be factual on a personal level via my experience with it – yet – but my gut tells me that will be true for us as well. So, in essence we begin our unschooling experiment/journey by going back, back to where we should have started but didn’t know enough to do it this way the first time. We begin the process of deschooling. From the nuggets of information I’ve gleaned from the book and through my own needs and desires here is our plan for deschooling – inappropriate homeschooler style!
Punky will get to choose a period of the day, spanning 2 to 3 hours, where she has my undivided attention. During this time, if she’d like to work on a project together, read together, play games together, work on her math (she still wants to do math), cook together, go for a hike, whatever it is she wants, then that is what we will be doing. The rest of the day is hers to explore, play, putter and piddle, as she wishes. We will still continue with our outside of the activities that we are involved in, which include: Park Day with our HS group, Co-Op class (a different subject each week), library writing class, tap dance class, and for the next 8 weeks her participation in rehearsals and performances for ‘The Music Man’.
That’s it. That’s our deschooling plan. For now, anyway. Who knows what will be discovered, changed, tweaked, added or thrown out! I have come to understand that when I am excited over learning/doing something new I should expose Punky to my passion – without forcing it upon her. I’ve looked inward as to what it is I’d like to learn or do. The first thing I realized was that I want to be a better cook. I want to enjoy my time in the kitchen. I’m going to look into finding a cooking class (if this little town I live in offers such a thing) and see if Punky would like to participate with me! Another item that has me excited is something a friend shared with me – Think! Activities. I shared the website on my facebook page. The website/blog has little projects kids can do to that are designed to be fun, creative, and to help them think outside the box. I’m excited about those and have already shared some of them with Punky, who seems to think they sound interesting. Who knows? She may take to them or not. But, I’ve created little index cards –“Think Challenge” cards - each with a project on them and they’ll go in the task card box that I have that includes project suggestions for History and Science.
The best part of this process is that I, for the first time, feel like I can RELAX about homeschooling while I too piddle and putter as we find our new way to learning and living fully!
I’ll keep you posted! ;-)