Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Textbooks & Unschooling

(Pictures taken and stylishly overexposed by the teen.)

It's been a busy couple of weeks. School is going swimmingly. Well... we're treading water. The children are doing well, moving along in their work, textbooks and projects. I'm the only one balking apparently.

I hate textbooks. Okay, personally I love textbooks. All the work lined up in rows, indexes, step by steps. That's how my linear learning brain works. But my kids' eyes glaze over when we pull them out and my little one says I don't make school 'fun' anymore. I don't know how to get past the 'need' for textbooks and go more into an unschooling learning environment. At least for the little one. The teen might revolt if I took her out of her safe little textbook world. She, like me, craves order and the textbooks make her feel like she's learning something (even though they bore her) as opposed to 'willy-nilly' learning as she calls unschooling, which would make her feel scattered.

I'm not sure if an unschooled school style is for us though. I think we need more of a semi-unschooling going on. Somehow I'd sneak in math and such. Otherwise, my little one would spend her days playing with legos & playmobil, sewing, digging in the dirt and catching bees.

** banging head against the table. **

I am really feeling that feeling of ruining my kids lives 'forever'. I want homeschool to equal fun or at least a good learning environment to them. I don't want them to someday say with rolled eyes and clinched teeth, 'my mom homeschooled us.' I would feel like I had wasted their precious formative years in an endless stream of boredom. Don't know what to do though.

I need to find a good balance. I need to make time for the balancing. Suggestions welcomed.


jensedhome said...

I feel your pain - every couple of weeks, I listen to "The Relaxed Homeschooler" podcast & think "I want to unschool" and then the chaos of it creeps in and I wonder how "relaxed" I'd be without the comforts of curriculum. This semester, I'm trying a 1/2-school style with Reading Comp & Art Appreciation Co-op, Scott Foresman Math, Weekly Reader, & Steck-Vaughn Science (really just a collection of independent sources linked to experiments). Since we travel to so many historical places & watch tons of history channel, I have determined that he really doesn't need more history. I have also given up on "teaching" English & handwriting - we read so much and he has developed a desire to write on his own; I just have to believe that he will learn the parts of speech as we go. Good luck in your process.

Anonymous said...

It looks, from your sidebar, like you're only using textbooks for math and English. Is that not so?

A lot of folks who buck against the complete freedom --> chaos --> boredom aspect of unschooling (like me) but who really like checking off items in a line (like me) but who have kids who really like integrated, life-like, projecty school challenges, enjoy WinterPromise. It has lots of choices, so we can go with our kids' flow, and yet it is all literally laid out in rows and columns, so we can check things off and know what to do each day and have well thought out projects for our kids that correspond to our literature and our history.

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

I can sure empathize with what you're feeling. I had some textbooks, but for History I abandoned one very early on and went to assigning books by Genevieve Foster, who weaves all events going on in the world at a particular time. While I try to pre-read the books I assign my kids (grade 8, 10, and 11), I can't always do so. This is such a series, but, say my 16-yr.-old, his History book is more interesting than the literature (The Jungle) that I've assigned him.

Homeschooling is a supreme challenge for me and I struggle with "wrecking" my kids by this experience. Only time will tell, I suppose, but they are far less stressed than they were in school. And I do know that they're learning. Here, we're really struggling with Chemistry these days, but we'll make it through -- somehow!

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