Friday, September 7, 2007

Confessions of a Homeschool Unschool Teacher

Okay! Here goes. I am officially providing more ammo for those of you who already think I am off my rocker. Hi Mom!! I quit schooling! I'm done! Finished! I am tired of trying to hold 'school' at home. School is for school and home is for home. At my house, they are not compatible. This is not a natural thing for me. It is not a choice created out of laziness. I am naturally a structured person. But God keeps telling me that it is not the course He has chosen for our family. He did not bring me home to create scholars, but young ladies of character. Like Lindsey posted at Enjoy the Journey, He wants me to build cathedrals.

I keep becoming frustrated trying to teach my children from books and worksheets. Alea will miss more than half the problems on her work (daily!). This isn't just a back to school thing. It is an all school thing. I get to where I feel like I am beating my head against the wall, and think I am teaching her nothing. Then I catch her in her 'free time' designing a game about the classification of animals. And she sits and explains to me how normally eels in their natural habitat are aggressive, but ponders why the ones in tanks are docile (her vocab, btw). She is learning. Just not from school work.

I am increasingly discovering that my girls aren't really retaining much of their 'book learning'. But they are learning! They are learning when we sit around and talk about things. When I read to them. When they read on their own. They are learning when we explore things first-hand. They learn when I make the time for them to help me cook, and with things around the house. When we stand around the kitchen and experiment to try to create something new and tasty. They learn by following the example we set. I'm embarrassed to say that the example I was setting was one of a frazzled, defeated mother who was trying to cram a ton of stuff into a tiny window of time - and failing miserably.

In trying to school my children, I have been missing the most important moments with them. I have not been allowing us to work together. I have needed them to stay out of my way so I could get it all done-all by myself. I have not been working on 'love building'. I have not been taking the time to smell the roses. Most of all, I have not been allowing God to work through me. I have been trying to control - not submit.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 It really makes me stop and think. What do I want to train my children for? I want to train them to be passionate about Christ. I want to train them about relationships. I want to train them to work hard, and enjoy life. I want to train them how to take care of their household, and the people they love. I want to train them how to bring honor and glory to God. I may have to skip some of the finer points of Medieval History and Mythology along the way. But, hey, if I can instill a passion for reading and learning, they will learn it anyways.

Today I am giving Alea free reign in the kitchen to create her "secret recipe". I know it is going to be ultra sweet with one cup of honey, and one cup of sugar. But hey, that is how you learn. As for my human knowledge sponge, Kasi, she is going to help me create the supper menu (covering all food groups) and write my recipes for home made bath soaps and cleaners. And we will discuss vitamins and minerals that we find in our foods. Who knows, it might lead us to discussing the layers of earth and the mineral composition of them. Or maybe I'll save that for another day.

Sooooooooo, out of those of you still reading - any radical unschoolers out there? Any ideas? Know of any blogs by other such creatures? Where can I go? Who can I talk to?

Thanks guys! I feel so free!

"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
~George Bernard Shaw~

"Play is the highest form of research" ~Albert Einstein~

God, you have blessed my family immensely. I thank you for the opportunity to be home with my family. I thank you for blessing me with these people to spend my time with here on earth. Please help me to submit to your will for my family. Help me to stop trying to be who I am, but allow you to form me into what you would have me become. Work through me to teach these girls what you would have them learn. And help us to show more love for each other every day. Lord, make our home a place of peace. And make your presence known at the center of it all. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Hello fellow 'unschooler'!! Last year was my first year of homeschooling and so I figured in order for me to be doing it right I had to sit my son down at the table and do all sorts of worksheets, etc. What I found, however, after about 5 mos. of battling with him most mornings was that he was starting to not want to do anything that I suggested when it involved 'learning'. It was producing the opposite fruit from what I wanted so I started praying and reading various articles and books about it and have come to the same conclusion as you! Praise God! So this year I'm planning on reading a lot more books and doing a lot more 'hands on' stuff that my kids will be interested in. (Things like taking apart a motor, building a bench, etc.) And yes....the most IMPORTANT thing and the thing that I want FAR and ABOVE any schooling, understanding and knowledge is that my kids will love the Lord God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength and will follow Him all the days of their lives. What higher purpose is there than to walk in the destiny that the creator of the universe has for you? :) (I could get preaching
Anyways, thanks for the post!

koinoniacommunity said...

Thanks Rachael! This is my third year, and I have FINALLY given up control and submitted to God on this one. Glad to have a compadre! Happy unschooling!

Ann said...

Unschooling is the most freeing kind of homeschooling. I wish you all the best in this new adventure. Let us know how it goes in the next few weeks. I'm guessing it will be the best year ever!

Tracy said...

Unschooling will be the most marvelous journey your family has ever been on. Enjoy the Journey!