Monday, February 22, 2010

Why do you unschool?

Now that is a loaded question!
I would love to hear YOUR answers to this as well!

Here is our journey to unschooling.

My 3.5 yo daughter (who is now 7) was being signed into school. What a day! Most parents would feel excited, a bit sad and relieved that this day has finally come. What was wrong with me? I didn't feel excited. I felt a lot sad and had a knot the size of Mount Everest in my stomach. I watched my little (tiny) girl play with the crafts and "socialize" with the other children. I was watching to see who would one day possibly be her close friends, if she seemed happy and how the teacher interacted with them. Everything seemed fine yet I was not. It all seemed so unnatural to me. I was sending the most important thing to me ever off to a building with a bunch of other most important little things for their parents. Would I see her eyes light up? Would she turn to her teacher instead of me? This other adult who I had no idea what her morals and values were? Would I miss the most precious moments of MY life? Of hers?
I trudged on and pushed my feelings aside. All of the other parents seemed fine!
So this is what got us into homeschooling. This one pivotal conversation.
Me: If my (tiny) 3yo was crying for me would you call me? Would you comfort her?
Teacher: Well I will be busy with all of the children, I can't call you every.single.time.
Principal: The first day you arrive with her she may cling to your leg and cry. You just have to
shake her off and walk away.
Me: I believe this is the one moment I seriously considered not sending her.
Over the summer I felt sick every time I thought about school. Halfway through I hear from one of the other parents that the teachers were switched. THEY DIDN'T EVEN NOTIFY THE PARENTS! How could that be ok? Here is this adult that is going to be spending 7+ hrs with my child and I haven't even met them! Did I already say this all seemed so unnatural?
SO I delved into the overwhelming world of homeschooling. Sonlight, Waldorf, Enki, Right Start, Letter of the Week, Charlotte Mason all jumped out at me and screamed...Read me. Read me. Read me. and my head was screaming STOP! OVERLOAD! It was so completely overwhelming for me at the beginning! Not only was I struggling with Is this the right decision? but I was also struggling with HOW to teach my children.
We chose Sonlight. This is a wonderful curriculum and GORGEOUS books! I would proceed to take out the schedule daily (lets face it...a few times a wk :b ) and go through what my children should be learning and at what time. No honey, put that creative art down! We need to read about how a bee pollinates a flower! See where I am going here? I could see their eyes glaze over. I could see their shoulders slump. I could see the exact opposite of what I wanted homeschooling to be. Don't get me wrong. A lot of curriculum is wonderful and entertaining! It is just when that is the problem. Bees pollinating flowers can be very interesting. In fact, my children loved this. When it got to the technical side of a watch for ex. they lost complete interest.
This is when I started researching unschooling. It rang true It was us! Unschooling is not for everyone. It is for us though.
Soon I will get into A Day in the Life of us Unschoolers but we'll save that for then.
Why do you unschool? How did you get here?


~Leslie said...

Well, I don't consider myself to be an unschooler. But I have moved from a very "school-like" idea of homeschooling to a very relaxed and flexible one. Because each of our children is different, I'm doing what works with each. My eldest likes the idea of school (since I'm a former elementary school teacher, it's easy to do this with her). But this doesn't happen on a daily basis. I'm flexible enough to let her "do school" when she's interested. She likes structure and routine (at times) and I provide that for her.

My younger two and interested in "school" every now and then. We do a lot of pretending, dressing up and acting out. I do limit the amount of screen time they have and are very conscious of what they watch (I usually do PBS or a video such as veggietales). We spend a lot of time outside, when weather permits, exploring nature, bird-watching, gardening, playing in the creek, digging in the dirt, etc.

I read to them as much as possible and when I can't, we are usually listening to some book on tape or CD. The girls are enjoying the Chronicles of Narnia series presently.

We also do art and crafts. I try to keep them busy but not overloaded with stuff to do. Our days can be very easy...and very hard, depending upon how you look at them. (smile!)

From your comments on my blogs, I see that we have a lot in common. It's so nice to meet another mom doing similar things!

Neely said...

Yes it is nice. :) Thank you for sharing.

Cathy said...

hi there just read your message and cant email from this computer sorry. we arn't adopting just felll inlove with a little boy on Reeses rainbow and have been raising some money for his adoption hoping a family would come forward. and praise God one has. thanks for your message wish you all the best with yours. here in Australia we cant adopt children with extra needs from other country's just how it is.