4 April 2013

Recent Unschooling

I'm a little annoyed with myself that I only seem to keep records like this of weeks that look stereotypically bookish and "Educational".  It makes sense in a way, I mean, those weeks when we muddle along drawing and playing and generally doing our own things don't produce evidence, and don't (always) make good pictures...  The part of me that sees those weeks as weeks "off", as non-learning activity, is a smaller part than it used to be.


Still the feeling lingers, that a week that produces bits of paper is a week where we learned a lot, and I feel like I'm doing a good job of providing a rich environment and supportive parenting.  When a long stretch of "looks like nothing" happens, I wonder what I'm doing wrong, whether I need to buy different resources or provide different assistance.  I wonder when, if ever, I will really truly trust.

This week, though, three little girls were constantly asking questions and looking for interesting paper things to fill out and reading and bringing books to be read to.  And watching Blackadder and Doctor Who, and playing Harry Potter.  It can't *all* look like school.  ;)

And making paper sculptures, and cutting things out, and doing maze puzzles and colouring mandalas, and...

A big stack of books that have been in constant use this week: lots of history, art, geography, and nature study for the most part.  It's funny how that balance happens over huge long cycles that I barely notice at the time.  

Earlier this month we had solid weeks of mathematical questions and games, and half a maths text book worked through in one week by a determined and interested Jenna (who usually professes not to like maths).  I try (very) hard not to grind my teeth when she sits for half an hour crying and saying she doesn't understand a very simple question (it isn't as if anyone is *making* her do it, or telling her she has to stay "stuck" on that question, either!) and then suddenly blast through the next twenty.  Watching her work is almost like the torture that was my own experience of mathematics in school.  Only she actually wants to work at this, using this book, in this way.  Argh!

A whole load of dried up old paints got pulled out so that she could put down a couple of layers of her first attempt at an impressionist style of painting.  She is nagging me to get more paint (usually the children seem to do a lot of watercolour painting and I don't regularly buy any other paints).

We're also, in spite of so many illnesses one after another, getting outside every day.  It feels scarily efficient and with few of the usual attendant frustrations (like Rowan losing her shoes, or Morgan refusing to wear a coat, or all of them falling out and refusing to walk together).  I am half enjoying things seeming so easy and pleasant and wholesome, and half waiting for another week (or month) that scares the pants off me and makes me doubt my ability to Do This Thing.  That's how it seems to go, when trying to provide great experiences and a healthy environment, whilst at the same time trying to keep myself from getting in the way and imposing constant adult-ness on everything.  ;)  Half amazing, half terrifying!


  1. Watch out. ;) I always planned (from when we decided to home educate when K was 18 months) that we would be autonomous. When she was 7 she asked for a timetable and a plan of work. Darned children and their sense of being able to choose for themselves. :D

  2. Wow! I LOVE Jenna's painting! I am taking a rare opportunity to use the computer whilst in the house alone (when did that last happen) and really enjoyed this post. :)


Penny for your thoughts? :)