And we have a total unschooling moment today! Sander asked to do Time 4 Learning, which was great. He sat down at the computer with Luca looking over his shoulder. One of the lessons was reading stories. Sander was reading along, using the voice to read him the words he didn’t know, and Luca was behind him, calling out the words Luca knew. It was awesome. They were reading together for nothing more than the joy of reading together. That was a proud mama moment!
Not only that, but one of the lessons Sander did today was a game. You have to find all the words from the story, but there are several of the same word for each level. One of them was “help”, for example, which showed up three times on the screen. Sander had Luca direct him to all of the words, which was great because Luca was learning to read those words. Sander said he was teaching Luca how to read. It was awesome.
This is what I miss about unschooling. I miss the kids saying “Can we do this now?” and then going with it. I miss the moments of sharing information together. It’s such a natural form of learning.
We’ve decided we’re going to do our science lessons based on interest and what’s cool at the time. Sander is really into frogs, so we’re going to learn about frogs. A.J. is digging turtles, so we’re learning about turtles. I’ve got to find some good resources on bears for Luca (aka Luca the Pooka Bear). We’re also going to do some reading about life sciences and recycling, since it’s something we do around the house anyway. The kids like it when I read to them, so I figure if we keep to topics the kids find interesting, that will be a good way to keep them engaged, and to teach them that reading is actually pretty cool.
This is where the library comes in. The library happens to be on our way to jujitsu class, and since we’re walking, it only seems logical to pop on in. Since the weather is warm today, I’d already planned on bringing back the books we were done with and getting out a few new ones anyway. I have a whole bunch on hold from the library, and while not all of them are in yet, some of them are, which should give us a good start.
Can I just take a minute to tell you I love my library network? You can reserve books from all of the local branches and they’ll set them for pick up at the local library. That makes my life so much easier. I pick out the books to read with my kids, then order them on my phone. I get a text when the books are ready for pickup. It’s that simple! No more need to search the stacks to find what I’m looking for, and hoping it’s available at the library. Now I’ve got it all right there at my finger tips. Nothing could be easier!
Okay, that detour aside, we’ve got some awesome books coming in. I’m fully expecting to have a lot of library days to get them all. We’re going to have a lot to read about, frogs, turtles, life sciences, states of matter, and ancient cultures. We’ve got a lot of history and science coming our way. Sure, it may not be as productive of a science schedule as a real curriculum, but they’re going to be learning stuff based on following their own interests.
I’m pretty happy that we’re getting back to the unschooling track for most things. I mean, sure, we’re still sticking to curriculum for math. We’re doing copy work to get a writing sample in the portfolio every week. A.J. could probably write it himself, but we’ve decided copy work is better for him so he can get the spelling right. We’re not going all crazy with the graphic organizers and all that. He tells me what to write, I commit it to paper so he can “write” as fast as the words come out of his mouth. Then he copies his own words into his own hand and we’re done. The kids understand that they need SOMETHING in their portfolios for the end of the year, so they get that it’s only so we can keep up appearances. Even with the math, they’re flying through the subjects, so I may have to cut our math lessons down to two or three times a week. They’d like that. My whole point in that is to have a full workbook and test book at the end of the year so I can show their progress in math. I need to do something to keep the state satisfied.
But the best (and random) moments of homeschooling are the discoveries of things like the carrot shaped like a bunny head. They get to share things with me that I would have missed if they were in school, or moments they would have missed if they weren’t home. They all got to see the bunny head carrot. They wouldn’t share the moments of reading together or doing computer work together. There would be no group lessons where we read a book about turtles or frogs together. We wouldn’t have Luca and Sander reading together. We wouldn’t have competitions for the highest level of Space Invader. These are all things we’d miss if the kids were in traditional school instead of at home, all things that happened without any kind of formal lesson plan, just things that they do and learn and share because they’re interested.
Yeah, I’m starting to remember why we were unschoolers. It’s really awesome to be able to steer our learning ever so slowly back to that. If we keep this up we’ll be on to unschooling paradise in no time!