January 11, 2008

Ban On Traditional Homeschooling Blogs

Warning: These rantings are those of my highly neurotic alter ego and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the slowly evolving, practically sane, aspiring wise woman that usually pens this blog.

This is for my own good. No more reading blogs written by traditional homeschoolers! At least not until I'm securely settled in our unschooling life. They make me worry. They make me wish I had a more pliable child. They make me think there's something wrong with me. I can't read about children that actually sit down at the kitchen table and willingly do math. Or kids that diagram sentences because they were told to. Or the ones that write essays on the destruction of Pompeii just because their mom thought it would be a good idea. It's killing me!!!

My life would be so much simpler if I were following the clearly marked, well-trodden path of traditional "school at home" homeschoolers. None of this life altering, paradigm shifting, living outside the box stuff. Of course, I could only take that path if my son was willing to follow along--not much sense in going down the traditional path without the student. And I'd really only want to take that path if we could walk along together enjoying the scenery, laughing along the way. It wouldn't be a pleasant trip if I had to throw Jerry over my shoulder and lug him along the trail.

Okay. Deep breath. That's better. It's me again. Sorry. I just had to get that off my chest. It's just that I've been reading this terrific homeschooling blog and it was giving me serious blog/children/life envy. I think I'm having a moment (or couple days, actually) of weakness because of yesterdays dinner table conversation.

Perhaps a little reminder is in order. Why did I chose unschooling in the first place?
1. It suits my son better than any method of education I know.
2. It makes a lot of sense to learn about things that interest you and I think those things are more likely to be remembered.
3. I want my son to love learning. I don't want him to be so sick of it by the time he's 18 that he doesn't want to open another book.
4. Our relationship could never survive traditional homeschooling because my son is just like me--he doesn't like to be told what to do.
5. Unschooling allows us to focus on joyful living. Learning comes naturally out of joyful living. Why force something when it can happen naturally?
6. I believe unschooling is the best preparation for life-long learning.

Okay. I feel better now. Phew. I was breaking my very own first rule of Unschooling: "Don't assume that what works for one family will work for my own." Actually, I guess I was WISHING that what works for one family would work for my own, which is different different from assuming. Still, it's not a good thing.

If my son were the type of kid that would let me teach him the traditional way I would probably still be happily planning lessons, creating curricula and correcting math sheets. (I say still as if that lasted for more than three days! Ha!) But, one of the things I appreciate about this unschooling journey is that it has made me question my motives and philosophies. And that questioning has energized me. It's not so easy to change paths. Thankfully I'm being guided by those of you who have trod the unschooling trail before me. If I didn't have your footprints to follow I'd be lost.


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