Thursday, August 16, 2007

Welcome Aboard!!!

This is my fifth year "home schooling". My intention was never to be the "teacher" and my kids the "students". I never had any intentions of turning one of our rooms in our home into a classroom...with little desks lined up, etc.. That is just not what we do. I have read sooo many home school books. So many ideas. So many curriculum's. What I do has evolved in so many ways.

I heard about "unschooling" and a light came on!!!! Most people have no idea what unschooling is. This is not exactly what I do..but you get the idea.

I plan to put all of the stuff I'm going to use this year up soon. I am so excited for school to start this year. :)

The following is from

Ever hear of the private school Waldorf? (click link) This is what they do.

What is unschooling?
Have you ever described 'red' to a person who is color blind? Sometimes, trying to define unschooling is like trying to define red. Ask 30 unschoolers to define the word and you'll get thirty shades of red. They'll all be red, but they'll all be different. Generally, unschoolers are concerned with learning or becoming educated, not with 'doing school.' The focus is upon the choices made by each individual learner, and those choices can vary according to learning style and personality type. There is no one way to unschool. Click here for more definitions.

If you don't do school, what do you do?
Read, play, sing, dance, grow things, write. All of these things and more are things unschoolers do. We do them because they interest us and bring us joy or because they help us accomplish our dreams. We do the things that have meaning in our lives and contained within those activities is real learning.

You mean I'm supposed to let them run wild?
Unschooling doesn't mean not being a parent. Children need loving adults interested in helping them grow and learn. Choosing to build a lego village will include the opportunity to learn math and culture, maybe even history depending on the type of village. We do chores, have a family life, and participate in the wider community. The children are actively engaged in living and learning during all of this.

But, what about math?
It's easy to see how children can learn many things without using traditional, formal methods of teaching, but many people see math as a huge stumbling block, mainly, because most of us have learned to hate math because of the way it was taught in school. There are a great many ways to encounter math in the real world. Geometry can be found in quilt making, algebra in painting a room. Shifting perspectives, from textbooks to the real world is sometimes difficult, but math that is actually used is math truly learned.

Is this legal?
Yes. Each state has its own specific guidelines that many unschoolers choose to live within. Some, like NY, are more difficult than some others, but there are unschoolers in every state in the union.

How do you know they are learning?
You will know by listening to them speak, by watching them play, just by being with them. You will know they are learning at 8 the same way you knew they were learning at 18 months. You will see them use their skills and knowledge. This does take some effort on the part of the parent. The information is not contained on a worksheet or within a report. It is not all nice and neat and tied up with a grade. It's spread out over the course of the day while the children are living their lives. You have to be observant and tuned into your child, in order to know.

The nice thing about this is that it's great fun to observe your children so closely, to be so in tune with their lives. It brings contentment to both parent and child to know each other so well.


Kelli said...

I think this is such a great way for kids to develop! Nice work. I have read so many good things about the Waldorf system. :)

Anonymous said...

I would love to have gone to your homeunschool! What a great adventure in learning! Your children are blessed with a wise mama. Do you like Charlotte Mason as well as Waldorf(which I love!)? Kelly Y

Staci said...

Yes!!! I love Charlotte Mason...I should of blogged about that..hmmm. I have to read "A Charlotte Mason Education" before each school year, just to remind myself that I CAN DO THIS!!!

I like Waldorf's ideas on learning, but there are some other wacky things they do that I don't really care for.

busybusymomma said...

Sounds very cool. :) We've been "unschooling" as well, though I did order curriculum this year since the younger ones are keeping me so busy, and Ellie has been wanting more "work". I think the ACE will appeal to her much like it did to me.

I'm excited and hoping I'll get called to a birth very soon. I found a good deal on a doppler but I'm nervous about buying it because I haven't had a chance to "do" anything yet. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I'm not sure about the whole unschooling thing. Maybe because it's all new to me. This is going to be our first year of home schooling, and we're excitd to get started, we're starting Monday! I also have to admit that I wish I would have called you! I didn't spend nearly as much as I emailed you about, but did get way more than I think I'm going to need. Now I know for next year!!!

Staci said...

Just don't stress yourself and your kids out...remember to make it fun!! Don't torture them with the things they hate...find ways to teach it that it is fun.
Example: My oldest hates math "papers". So I started doing his math on the dry erase board...and he loves it. Voila! no math papers, and now he likes math. Yes, it is more time consuming than just giving him a math paper, and saying "do it"...but, well worth it. :)

Good Luck everyone with homeschooling this year.


melanie said...

thanks for this information. we are planning on homeschooling our kids and i've been throwing around so many ideas in my head. its always good to hear from a real mom who's really doing it!