In a recent conversation about homeschooling special needs (dysgraphia, dyslexia, etc.), a new homeschooler/education adventurer said the following to me. It’s a common reaction, especially if you have limited experience with homeschooling overall.
Autumn is slowly coming into itself here while most of the country is welcoming the chill and stillness of Winter. Days are only reaching high 60′s and early mornings are met with blue orange glow of fire in white stone fireplace. We spend these days deep in exploration and learning. It seems fitting to me that as we really find freedom and settle into who we have been becoming, we are in the season of freedom, of shedding away of the old and preparing for the renewal of life.
I finally can say we are unschoolers. I say it with no hesitation, no doubts, no mumbling of terms. A long time coming, I have only been able to truly claim it in the past couple of months. As last of oak leaves hang on to ancient branches outside my picture windows, I hung on to expectations and fears that my head could not let go of. I wanted freedom, but… I wanted peace, but… I wanted my children to know that life was learning and learning was life and to love and embrace it, but…
Coming from a Charlotte Mason and Waldorf homeschooling background, I placed importance on certain things that I just couldn’t seem to let go of. I told myself and my children that we could unschool as long as the kids read from great literature daily and as long as we only had natural wooden toys, Waldorf dolls and stayed media free. Oh, and of course we needed to spend time outside, observing the natural world, daily. Needed to at least do a bit of copywork or drawing in main lesson books. And then of course, what were the Waldorf developmental stages again? Were the kids learning too much too soon? Maybe they should only study what the Waldorf curriculum decreed for their ages. Circling round and round again, from freedom to fear, from unschooling to curriculum, and dragging my children along in the chaos.
Knowing my children were capable, I deeply questioned what my hang ups were. Seeking advice from seasoned unschoolers and friends, spending time deep in prayer, study and journaling, I found my answer. I was afraid of the unknown, of the mystery, of not having a part in everything. I could see so clearly how my entire life I had been desperate to know the answer, to have a label, to be able to fit everything into a neat little box. Even in matters of faith, I accepted answers, didn’t question, just needed everything to make sense. Charlotte Mason and Waldorf were easy because I knew what to expect, I knew what would be read, studied, mastered and the results that would come. They promoted the things that I loved and that I wanted my children to love as well.
So many people don’t understand unschooling and want to know what it actually looks like – the Snippets from Unschooling blog hop is a great way to answer the question “but what do you DO?”
Here are the rules (very simple):
- Write a post with a series of brief highlights of what your kids are doing in their unschooling day, week, or month and post on your own blog. Photos are great but not required – just give us a glimpse into how learning naturally occurs in your family!
- Copy the image below and put it into your post.
- Come back here and link up in the form at the bottom of the post.
- Check back often to see what others are reading!
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.christianunschooling.com/category/cu-blog-hops/snippets-from-unschooling/" title="Unschooling Snippets Blog Hop | Show us snippets from your unschooling day!"><img src="http://www.christianunschooling.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/unschool-snippets-paint.jpg" alt="Unschooling Snippets Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
The first half of this discussion appears here.
JEN: Oh, that brings back memories! I don’t remember how my son got graded on coloring, but he HATED coloring. If he decided to go along with the assignment, he would color the picture somewhat with colors that “made sense” and then he finished it by scribbling black all over the top of it not caring where the lines were. I was certain they were going to think he was depressed and refer us to a psychologist. LOL
This discussion appeared recently on the Christian Unschooling Facebook Group:
MARI: One of my public school teacher friends repinned this on Pinterest and it made me so sad I had to share. “Colors make sense”??? Green cows with purple teeth make perfect sense to ME – who are you to judge my artistic sensibilities? It makes me wonder about Salvador Dali’s first grade teacher or Pablo Picasso’s kindergarten teacher. Sorry, Seurat, no smiley face for you – too much white space in pointillism. Too bad, Andy Warhol, your colors don’t make sense.
VICKY: Killing off that creativity…. so sad.
CARMA: My younger brother was a kindergarten dropout. The teacher made him cry because he colored some leaves black, or something like that, so my mom pulled him out. Of course he went on into 1st grade the next year. My mother regretted not knowing about homeschooling, said she totally would have done it! I wish …
I find it truly amazing how many resources are available to our children thanks to the world wide web.
As an unschooling parent, I see my job as getting to know my children and their interests, helping them to find the resources that will most benefit them and help them gain in knowledge of the world around them.