Thursday, February 16, 2012

We’ve Become Unschoolers

And I’m not going back! At the beginning of the school year I intended to crack down, and really start doing pre-k with Blu, but I confess I was lazy, and our school year started in about October. Then it quickly became a fight, to get him to do even the smallest bit of work. Even a simple work sheet he’d rebel and scribble all over, taking more time to scribble then it would to do the work!

Then I decided to hold back a bit, take it easy for the holidays, and amazing things began to happen. While I was planning to start him in Kindergarten level work, and take school seriously in January, I saw that he was blossoming while not being forced to do anything. WP_000094

Then we had an IEP meeting, and it was decided that instead of registering Blu for kindergarten next school year we’re going to choose to waive it and keep him back a year. In doing this he can continue to get speech help through the county and it will be better than if we homeschool and he does speech (in which case they do anything they can to not work with him, and he’ll get minimal help) also it will prevent us from being accountable to the county for another year, and gives us more time to catch him him without having to explain why he doesn’t know his ABCs yet, and can’t count higher than 10. So knowing this it seemed even dumber to start him in kindergarten at home. Originally I had figured he’d just be ahead by the states view when he started K and was doing 1-2 grade work. No biggie.

But again with the blossoming. My boy does well with no expectations. Before I tried to get him to learn the alphabet song, and he would do anything he could to not do it. Then about a week ago, he suddenly wanted to do it constantly! We say the ABCs at bedtime, dinnertime, upon waking up. He’s doing it! And he WANTS to!

Our days are full of fun educational stuff, but the day is low key, no fighting, no nagging. He wakes up and looks at 3-D books of the human body or the jungle. He watches Curious George then does some experiments. We’re reading the Little House series at bed and he LOVES it. Before I tried to read it and he was just so annoyed with learning that he didn’t want to read at bedtime. He’s constantly making up his own experiments, or doing things he saw done on George or in a book. He makes things, out of clay, paper, cardboard, tape. I still put his best work in his school notebook, and he’s done more for his book in our unschool days then he did while I was pushing him.

He narrates stories to go with his pictures!

He ASKS to color!

The hardest part is learning to let go. To let him have a roll of tape for a craft and know he may waste the entire thing. To give him a craft kit I spent money on and just let him go do it. To let go of the idea of teaching and buy only child-led stuff, instead of lesson plans.

Does this mean he rules the roost? Or that he has no rules? No! He has a bedtime, a dinner time, and he has chores. He has expectations. All it means is he experiments for fun, instead of being told to. He draws pictures and narrates stories just as much at 7 pm as he does during “school hours.”

And the more I read about how children REALLY learn, and how our school, and school in general, are the opposite of that, I feel so confident in what we’re going. But as always, if something changed, well we’d change with it, going with the flow is what homeschool is about. If we had a math curriculum that wasn’t working we’d change it, and if unschooling stops working we’ll change that too.

(Photo is a craft kit Lion Puppet Blu did all by himself.)

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