Saturday, June 3, 2017

Spreading My Wings

I haven't blogged in a year.  And so much has changed this year, but mostly since March.  You see, I have entirely transformed my homeschool.  

Several weeks ago my husband and I went on a cruise.  And with every vacation, I re-evaluate my homeschool approach.  I read.  And read.  And read some more.  I discovered unschooling, and what it meant to so many people.  And then, I really dove into the topic.

My oldest son can't focus for more than a few minutes at a time.  More specifically, he can't focus on worksheets for more than a few minutes at a time.  Some homeschool days were pure torture because he couldn't get his work done.  

But after researching unschooling, it dawned on me that Joshua wasn't a problem child.  He just wasn't interested in worksheets because they bored him.  


He was bored!?

There was no medical diagnosis for him- although I'm positive the ADHD label would be slapped on him so fast.  He just needed a different approach to school.  

Unschooling sounded like a dream, staying outside and learning, studying our interests.  No pressure to succeed at a standard curriculum because my sons and I decide what we want to learn. 

And just like that, I came home from vacation and shredded his remaining language, phonics, and penmanship worksheets.  I kept his math and spelling.  When your son can read the Bible, an 8th grade level Book, he does not need phonics instructions!  When he knows how to write in cursive, he doesn't need copy work that doesn't mean a wit to him.  When he could care less about copying random sentences just to learn that each sentence must start with a capital letter and end with a period, he doesn't need language worksheets.  He also doesn't need someone to tell him what stories to write.  How uninspiring!  

We kept math and finished out our curriculum.  We began doing our own writing assignments.  Learning suddenly become so much more fun.

I am not a radical unschooler.  Not yet anyway.  But I'm still learning.

A few weeks after the cruise my husband remodeled our kitchen COMPLETELY.  He sent me and the kids to the Shenandoah Valley for a week.

It. Was. Life. Changing.

Our school year's curriculum was complete, so I was free to start seeing how unschooling really worked for us.  Every morning we lounged around until the sun came out and the pool opened 😄. We swam, came home and got in the jacuzzi.  Then, we'd eat, play some more, and nap. And then we'd play some more, and bathe again.  It was a glorious week.

We ventured to the "playground" on that first Saturday.  But do you know what we found???

A creek.  A CREEK!!  Who wants to play on the playground when you can splash in a waterfall???  It was 90 degrees, and we were in Heaven.

Through the course of the week the kids climbed trees, threw rocks in the water, made friends, and found tadpoles.  We also learned about the water cycle because the creek had dried up, trapping a fishy downstream away from his mate.  Joshua worked alongside the kindest man I'd ever met, working to get that waterfall flowing again to rescue that fish.  There was just so so much learning going on.  I won't write out a list of everything because I fear people do that out of guilt, as if they have to prove to people their children are smart even though they're unschooled.  We have nothing to prove to anybody.  But I have never looked at nature this way, at PLAY this way.  Playing is learning.  And when I backed up and let the children roam free through the woods and creek and playground, they learned far more than I ever could have taught them, far more than I even know.  You see, children are just as smart- or smarter- than adults.  We might have wisdom, but they are incredibly intelligent beings that deserve our trust.

I'm ashamed it has taken me 7 years to learn this.

But learned it, I have.  And when you learn something, you act upon it.  And so here I am, totally in awe of my child. I have found I'm totally smitten with this independent, creative, sweet, intelligent child.  I will not force him to sit at the table for hours every day to do worksheets.  He doesn't have a disease or a problem because he can't or won't focus on that activity.  That lifestyle is not for him, for us.  We crave freedom.  And we will get an education based on that freedom.

Here are some shots of the children roaming free and learning through play.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Looking forward to sharing our unschooling journey with you.  

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