End of the School Year

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It is almost the end of May and this means summer break is here. We do not homeschool year round, although learning never stops. Children are naturally curious and they will learn even if I don’t record it as a school day.

Boy and girl holding homeschool certificates of completion

First grade and third grade certificates

We have some summer camps coming up: art, orchestra, app making, manners, soccer, swimming, archery – all these activities involve learning. I have not yet decided if I should count these days toward their next school year. This past school year, I did. But it almost feels like cheating. Continue reading »

School should not be a dreadful thing, but life is not always pleasant and school is supposed to be a preparation for life. Life’s duties must be done however tiresome they might be. And, sometimes, school work (or learning) can be tiresome and frustrating. That’s part of “real life.”

You know how public school parents chide homeschool parents for not giving their children the “real world?” They are wrong. The real world contains lots of opportunities for being lazy when not under supervision – that happens at home as well as at school; for doing hard things – that happens at home as well as at school; for covering up your mistakes instead of admitting them and learning to make better choices – that happens at home as well as at school. I could go on and on.

Back to my topic: another school year is behind us. I printed out a certificate of completion for each child, filled out their grade and name, the date, my signature, and I snapped the picture above. Each child has a cumulative file at our umbrella school and also one at home. Every year, the certificates end up there, alongside their curriculum list and attendance record.

The kids have grown in every sense of the word. I have grown a few more gray hairs. I don’t want to say that I have grown and developed more patience, for instance, because as soon as I say that something happens and wham! I lose my temper – proof positive that it is time to eat humble pie.

I have relaxed a bit though, I am thankful for that. I am my own worst critic and can be very hard on myself. Going through a few natural disasters has loosened me, I suppose. Here’s to a great summer break! I will keep blogging through the summer about our various activities.


Unschooling Through August

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As I wrote in a previous post, I don’t particularly jive with unschooling. But when I decided that August was going to be our official summer break, I unleashed unschooling. The results almost persuaded me that unschooling is the Holy Grail of homeschooling. The key word being almost

Some days, the kids played with their LEGOs and DUPLOs, with their toys and bikes, or in the sand box or the tree house. I’ll have to tell you about our tree house in a future post. In the meantime, here’s a picture of DS in the tree house just before we put a roof on it, in June 2012…

Our tree house, no roof yet

 

On other days, they asked for crafts and workbooks and painting time. I complied. It worked so well, it gave me an appreciation for the unschooling method. They were so eager to learn and so happy to receive instructions on how to finish their projects.

Do-a-Dot Letters

And yet. And yet. And yet. How would I know what they learned? And was it Math or Science? Do I count it as Language Arts or Fine Arts? Did they just do P.E.? Or was it recess?

Learning obviously happens all the time and everywhere we go. I just don’t know how to record it. I need a box to check.

If my kids grow up to be freer in their thinking than I am, more power to them. If they take this education revolution to the next level, it would not bother me one bit. But I can only come so far.

For now. One never knows the future. I have watched some homeschooling friends evolve over time in their methods. I suspect it can happen to me, too.

Until then, I remain eclectic with a strong classical-Charlotte Mason-Moore Formula bias. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the energy the kids show during delight-based, child-led educational pursuits, i. e. unschooling. I’m just not ready for this approach, as I feel like I am lost without a map or a GPS in the educational jungle.

Please leave me a comment below about your experience with unschooling. How comfortable are you with this method?