Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking the summer off!

Remember a while back when I read, and mostly didn’t care for, John Holt’s trilogy of books?

I just finished a book of one family’s journey who homeschooled two kids based on his philosophy of unschooling. Unschooling is a fancy way of saying “child directed education”. Giving the child ample resource and time to determine what and when to study, then looking for those “teachable moments” to capitalize on learning. Written by Alison McKee (the homeschooling mama), "Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves", is a biography of Alison’s family’s experience with their children’s education. It is a well written and quick read, and I highly recommend it to anyone developing their homeschooling philosophy of education.

It’s funny to me how books come into your life at just the right moment. This winter, I’ve noticed I have a hard time “departing from the text” to explore learning tangents or answer questions out of left field. I have too much traditional teacher in me, sometimes, to be an effective homeschooler. Though I don’t think child directed education would be the way I’d want to full out school the kids, there was certainly much I could glean from reading one family’s way of growing kids.

McKee has given me the added push to say “We’re taking the summer off!” In theory, I like the idea of schooling year round (whether home or public) and taking two weeks off each season or so for a break. Initially, I felt it might be easier this year to keep on with a well working schedule, but now I see the kids and I would benefit from a more loosey goosey schedule for summer. I think with “no agenda” on more of the days, I’d be more apt to read to the kids for fun and pleasure (and not just for school) or play games and toys with them because it’s fun and not because I’m trying to teach xyz.

So, now the countdown begins!

We have 7 items in language arts, 4 items in math, 7 items in social studies, and 3 items in science left to cover. Can anyone say June 1? That just might be our deadline. If nothing else, I know we’ve got 43 days until we turn our brains off and start smiling from one mouse ear to the other!

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