October 20, 2009

Am I Doing Enough?

That's what I was asking myself yesterday. As an unschooling parent I spend a lot of time looking for things that will interest Jerry. I scan the internet. I use Google Alerts to notify me when something he's interested in shows up online. I'm always sending him links to things I think he'll enjoy reading about. But I can't always find what I'm looking for and even when I do find something (like the internship at the museum) Jerry isn't always interested. I was hoping to find someone who reads Make magazine and is into hacking and DIY electronics and that kind of thing to provide some mentoring for Jerry, but so far that hasn't panned out. I wanted to get an electronics class together, but couldn't get the 8 kids required. I found an awesome electronics space that offers classes all the time, but it's in Brooklyn. The list goes on...

One thing that has been helpful as I ponder my strategy for getting out of this slump of mine is something I discovered online called "Recordkeeping for Unschoolers." I got it a while back so I don't recall the website that posted it. But the idea is that pretty much everything is worthwhile. I've added to the list and I plan to keep adding to it. I'm going to print it and post it in my kitchen. I figure it will give me ideas when I need them and it will also remind me that we really are doing something--even when it feels like nothing.

Record-keeping for Unschoolers

Reading

Books, magazines, newspapers, websites, fiction, biography, nonfiction, poetry, drama, manga, video game guides, travel guides, essays, articles …

Doing

Cooking, swimming, dog walking, babysitting, volunteering, working, singing, acting, playing music, calculating, gardening, helping, sports ...

Creating

Arts & crafts, building, sewing, weaving, beadwork, legos, computer graphics, game design, electronics, movie making, photography …

Writing

Journaling, stories, poetry, letters, website, e-mail, articles …

Watching

TV, movies, documentaries, cartoons, YouTube, live theater, demonstrations, wildlife …

Listening

Audiobooks, podcasts, radio, music, stories, lectures ...

Talking

Speech, discussion, explaining, instructing, debating …

Visiting

Museums, zoos, field trips, people, park day…

Thinking

Planning, analyzing, imagining, plotting, wondering …


So that should help. My other plan is to become more active. I need to stop doing so much planning and searching and just take the few ideas that are more within my control and build on those. I've been thinking of doing some electronics stuff with a group of kids at our house and I guess I just need to stop thinking and do it.

And maybe I'll post on Unschooling Basics to find out what other people do when they aren't sure they're doing enough. Do more would be the obvious answer, but at a certain point I think you just have to let things be, right? I mean, I can only do so much. Jerry is going to do what he likes to do and as long as I'm watching for clues as to what those things are and offering suggestions I'm doing the right thing....right? Is that all I'm supposed to do?

I just feel like there are untapped resources out there and I'm not finding them and it's driving me crazy. But Jerry has to want to tap into those resources, too. And his reaction to the ideas I share is definitely not within my control. Sorry, I'm rambling.

So, what do you guys think? As an unschooling parent how do you know if you're doing enough?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'm doing enough or not. Can we ever really know the answer to that? But I know definitively that the public school system isn't.

So, I try not to wrap myself around the hopes that a future engineer or doctor will vindicate our decision to unschool, but I know that the four people I get to spend my days and nights with are simply the most interesting, imaginative and "together" people I have ever had the pleasure to know...and as their mom, that gives me an immense sense of pride.