A few months ago I attended a conference about unschooling. I thought I wrote about it on here, but I've poured over my posts and can't seem to find anything about it! Hmm...wonder why that is. It might be because I was a little scared by the concept after I heard from the radical unschoolers on the panel.
I went to the conference because I was intrigued by the idea of letting learning take place when and where it takes place. Come to find out, there's a spectrum of ideas under the umbrella of unschooling, and my thoughts about it barely dipped my toes in the water. The men and women on the panel allow their kids to choose what they eat and when they eat it, when they go to bed, or not. In radical unschooling, "no" isn't heard very often. I knew that that sort of thing wasn't my style and wouldn't work in our homeschool. But I still liked the idea of letting the children's interests lead us.
I've said from the beginning that our style was interest led unit studies, so I guess the conference didn't change me too much, but it did make me aware of different styles out there and possibly more aware of all the things my kids pick up even without my trying.
This past week the kids have shown how well they learn when they're interested. Jace loves all things military these days...and the last several months, possibly years. Anyway, he gets at least one book from the library every time we go on tanks, submarines, special forces, etc. At a pancake breakfast a week ago he got all the kids together to form the KF, Kid Forces. That way they could take us adults down if we got out of hand. He's totally into it!
So, this past week we've been learning about submarines. Dada is out to sea and Gracie wanted to know more about his boat and I didn't figure Jace would mind. We read about many different kinds of subs, some that carry SEALs, who then get out and swim to their destinations. There was a little blurb about the SEALs. I started to read it and then I asked Jace before I read it when the SEALs were started. "1962," he said, without having to think very hard. Then he went on to tell me that SEALs stands for SEa, Air, and Land. Did you know that?
And Gracie, may not have known that yet, although she probably does now, but she is picking things up too. Her reading is improving by leaps and bounds. In fact that seems to be how she makes her progress. She seems really interested in reading sometimes and then looses interest for a while. I haven't pushed it when she's been less interested. This morning, out of the blue, she asked if she could read me a book, instead of her normal request for me to read to her. I said, "Sure."
She grabbed a library book. It was one that I'd seen her with, but I hadn't read to her yet. She sat on my lap and read me the book! I was so proud.
I think it just goes to show...schooling, homeschooling, unschooling...following a curriculum, preparing unit studies, or setting them free...teaching or not teaching...they'll learn. I love it! They're learning!
I get so excited every time I realize it over again! They're really learning. Probably not everything their counterparts are in Kindergarten and second grade. Maybe not more, maybe not less. I don't really know. But they're definitely learning. I'm giving their teacher a gold star.