Sunday, February 3, 2008

Back to Reality

I am such a derelict blogger, finding the time is a huge challenge. In any case, we have returned from a wonderful vacation and are settling back into a routine.

As I mentioned, our vacation was part of an international gathering of unschoolers. Now, it is hard to define unschooling, as that is kind of an oxy moron, but the general thrust is that all learning is child-led. There is no set lesson plan for the day, no work that MUST get done. I don't really subscribe to this way of thinking, especially as my children get older. That being said, it does make a lot of sense to me in the abstract. Children are naturally curious, and they want to learn. There are days when we spend hours learning about the spider in the cobwebs I haven't cleaned. Other days we get so caught up in baking or nature walks or drawing, that not much else gets done. Those days, we are unintentionally unschooling. However, the next day I emphasise the traditional book learning that I feel needs to be addressed.

All that being said, I am also curious. I want to know how families have completely unschooled successful, productive children into their adulthood. I know it happens, as I have seen these (now) adults with my own eyes! They have attained college degrees and are now leading happy lives in their chosen field. I fail to grasp how it is possible to unschool algebra or geometry. I can't even get my son to want to tie his shoes, how in the world do you get a math resistant child excited about algebra?

I am off to ponder these complexities, perhaps the 8 loads of laundry I have waiting for me will inspire radical thinking :)


Nan Patience said...

"Unschooling." Never heard that term before.

Welcome back, I missed you! I like hearing about other approaches to life, people who think outside the box.

Hatushili said...

IMHO, unschooling can only really be effective in today's world when taken as a philosophy of learning, not a methodology. That's not to say there won't be exceptions here or there, of course...

What you're talking about is wise use of your teaching moments with kids. We have a curriculum to move through, but we also use the day-by-day moments to teach the things they express an interest in learning! Sounds like you're doing the same...


MamaCole said...

Very interesting concept. I think I would have the same problem inspiring them, though. My 11-year-old is only interested in cartoons and fantasy. Oh, and animals. If it were up to him, math would never come into the picture.

Nice to see a new post!

Mom of 3 said...

Sorry all, real life has definitely given me a full plate! I will try to be more diligent in my blogging :) Thanks for the encouragement.

Would you care to write my blog for me? You said in two paragraphs what I blundered with a whole page!

Eager Beavers said...

Read your blog once or twice before, but didn't leave a comment...we have one too, so feel free to look! I'll get Rachel to tell me how to link your blog onto mine (you know, put your title on so people looking at mine can click to yours) as I am still pretty computer impaired. I feel so tech-ish just having a blog! :) Anyway we homeshooling East Enders have to stick together, right? See you tomorrow---Jen

j-m said...

Welcome home! I did think of you, warm and having fun, while I slogged away at work, walking through freezing temps and killer winds for a few days.

I have thought about the unschooling concept, but never met any "finished" adults, so I couldn't really judge its success. I think your blend of traditional approach with the freedom to get sidetracked in long teachable moments is more my style. In the classroom, I definitely like to be student-led, as long as the tangents can be somehow relevant, and we do eventually cover everything we're supposed to (including preparing for those awful mandated tests!)