Tag Archives: child-led learning

When all of that resolution crap creates a breakthrough

I am one of those people that really enjoys a good introspective workbook.  Like a “transformative change” junkie.  One of the things I find is doing these things over time–over and over again–starts to help train your brain to look at yourself a bit more objectively.  That was really helpful this week… Continue reading When all of that resolution crap creates a breakthrough

How do you honor your children?

“Honoring your children” is a phrase you will hear a LOT in the homeschool community–but especially the unschooling community.  I’ve come to see how this phrase is very subjective–with an incredibly broad spectrum of meanings.

Let me tell you what it does (and does not) mean for my family… Continue reading How do you honor your children?

Focus on forgotten fundamentals: exposure and experiences

So often I find myself wondering what to do and how to facilitate learning at the direction of my children and in the last year, I have struggled most with Girly.

And it’s kind of stupid because for one, she TOLD me what she wants. All I needed to do was follow. I didn’t. So that was the first mistake to correct. Continue reading Focus on forgotten fundamentals: exposure and experiences

What happens when you are helpless to having expectations

I don’t know what happened… One minute, we were really happy and free and loving.  Then we kind of got thrown into learning–driven by BigGuy’s goals and desires as I floundered to figure out to support him.  Then I thought I had it, but I was neglecting Girly’s needs.  Now, as I plot ahead for the next school year, I am already overwhelmed.  And that’s stupid because as unschoolers, there really shouldn’t be a lot for me to do.  Seriously.  But I’m noticing that our recent realization that BigGuy is high school-eligible has given me temporary brain shift and with it came a wave of crazy expectations…. Continue reading What happens when you are helpless to having expectations

How to make unstructured learning successful

Here is the thing: when you remove curriculum and school-y stuff, a lot of parents have no idea what to DO.  It seems absolutely unfathomable that we should be doing NOTHING in relation to our child’s education.

To be fair, you’re not doing NOTHING.  Here is how “nothing” happens in my house (and some things I need to get way better at)… Continue reading How to make unstructured learning successful

Turn the tables on what you know

Nearly two years ago, I started this blog because my BigGuy requested things that put him on a more “schooly” path than I was willing to take and I needed a space to process.  Y’all have watched me NOT get my sh*t together to help my kids for two years.   You’ve watched me drag my feet and struggle to reconcile NOT schooling them with their requests.

Serious (and especially radical) unschoolers would argue that the use of coursework and curriculum is not unschooling.  I feel like when a kid is doing what they want, when they want and the way they want to–that’s unschooling.  That’s leaving behind the confines and the dictates of “school” and finding your own way.  Some would say that my involvement in helping my guy find the resources means that what we do isn’t “legit” unschooling but there are other camps that disagree.

I seriously don’t care what anyone thinks.  And I don’t care what anyone calls it.  Call it what you want.  Call it child-led learning (although I feel like that carries too much parental dictate of how and when and why).

But a huge part of my struggle to help my kids (for me) has clearly become the terminology and the ideology.  I’ve wanted so badly not to be involved in their education and let them find their own way that I’m actually discouraging my youngest from learning.  She can’t find her way for the things she wants to do.

With my oldest, he needs help organizing himself for the things he wants to remain involved in and he’s simply not “just figuring it out”.  Do I let him struggle in the name of unschooling or do I help him learn how to do it?

So, I’m throwing it all out and just doing what feels right and I don’t really care who thinks it should be called what.  :/

To that end, I’m realizing that a lot of what my kids need are just supplies.  And I am seriously, SERIOUSLY not great about getting supplies together in a timely manner.  Like, at all.  I’m going to spend the next month or two preparing for the summer and the next “school year” of stuff that they want to do or at least what they currently claim they want to do for the next several months… which could change.  I think that really got to me, too: why prep for something they might fall off the wagon with?

I have to just stop worrying about wasted time and whether or not I’m “too involved” in their learning.  Seriously.  This is homeschooling.  It is what you make of it.  We’re so used to following rules that even when I thought I’d broken free of those constructs, I found myself beholden to trying to follow the rules of an educational concept.  WHAT?!?!?  Geesh…  I’ve been so worried about “doing it wrong” that I’m not doing anything right and nobody’s happy.  So screw all of that stupid crap.

BigGuy wants to do math and science and he’s actually loving his history and literature co-op.  He really enjoys writing with the group and the instructor said he could legit take on the essay class directed at the older kids as he’s writing better than some of the older kids (she’s not really his biggest fan AND has a class that would be at his age level and right up his alley–so I believe she’s fully genuine).  But this means I really just need to get it together and gather the supplies, but then sit with him each week to help him organize his stuff.

Girly… oh, Girly.  Thank GOD she is still on the birds thing because I’m all over it.  She also wants to learn “math” but I’m not sure she really means it.  We’ll go back to Life of Fred and see how it goes.  She wants to learn all about baking and she wants to write stories.

Personally, I’m kind of torn about not imposing some stuff on my kids.  Mainly world cultures and religions.  I’d be torn about government, too, but my kids actually inquire about government more than they inquire about cultures and religions.  This one’s a big sticking point for me because I feel like we live in a beige, undiverse abyss.  I have to really mull that one over.

In the meantime, I’m gathering and preparing and thinking about how to be more of a facilitator than an actual preparer of their stuff…

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Navigating a new child within my child

Last week, I spoke with a client who sought guidance on managing her son’s education.  Her son was a 9-year-old and I could hear this mama’s concern about how to support her child and minimize some of the issues she clearly recognized as being control issues.  And she was spot on.  She had read about “The Nine Year Old Change”:  “The special needs of the nine year old are the result of an important change in consciousness that marks the end of early childhood and the transition to a new developmental phase” (from WaldorfInTheHome.org)

As BigGuy started entering puberty last year, I sympathized with her; but I also realized that reading about a developmental stage wasn’t the same as reading about how to handle it from the parent’s side…  Continue reading Navigating a new child within my child