Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Did I Ever Mention, This is My Unschooling Blog?

So, all over the country, little people are getting ready to be packed off to schools for another four months or so.

My little people will stay at home, and we'll keep plodding away like we usually do.

I've toyed with the idea of joining the Unschooling blogring, but it seems like I never specifically talk about unschooling here. On the other hand, of course I do. I talk about things that are vital to me, and it is all a part of our unschooling life.

My children are littlies, and if my older were in public school, he'd be starting Kindergarten next Tuesday. Oh, except we thought he was starting Kindergarten last year since we didn't know our public school district changed the age cut off. All that really means for us is that I have an extra year than I thought I would before I need to start notifying our school district that we won't be partaking, thank you very much, and then another 9 months before we have to start showing some proof that he's educated to an acceptable standard.

I guess it is the beginning of the rest of the world's school year that gets me thinking about unschooling. Even last year I was more nervous about it. I felt bold and different. Now, frankly, I just feel like us doing our thing. It's good that I can be rather clueless about what "other" people think, to a degree. I mean, I can do that to a degree, not that it's good to a degree. It's good to a great degree, and I'm sure I'll have more opportunity to employ the skill as time passes.

So, what do we do all the time? This and that. I think I spend most of my mental energy studying my children. That, combined with concerted attention to growth in virtue is how I have been spending my unschooling years thus far (which I reckon to be about two.) I realize that relationship is foundational, primary, non-negotiable for unschooling, since it essentially is an intense way of living together, with no school time, no curriculum to be a buffer between me and my children. So, I consider all of my pondering on this blog about my need for virtue and my search for it to be primary to our life of unschooling. Same about my passions for genealogy, music, understanding people and all the rest.

It is fun for me to realize that my son is learning to read without me having really taught him to read. Oh, I read to him quite a bit, and I read words for him, and I spell words and sound things out and encourage him to read, but I haven't sat down (in years) with a textbook and said "now we will have a reading lesson."

My daughter, well, she is scary smart anyway and will probably be reading as well as my son can now in about a year. I predict, anyway.

I see my every unschooling day as a challenge to be the best Mom I can (and boy, is that ever a loaded statement). I mean primarily to encourage my children to be fully who God made THEM and to accept simultaneously that I did not create their souls, nor can I form them into the image I desire. I am but a co-creator at best (didn't even get the biological gig on that account for my son), and I do need to answer to the Higher Authority for how I am managing His creatures. To practice wonder and awe in caring for them, and respectfully but with full endowed authority share with them wisdom in how life works best. I fail miserably every day, but I would fail more if I didn't even have a vision for what I desire to do.

Oh yeah, if they figure out some three Rs, that's good too, but that's the easy stuff!


Anna said...

Love reading your blog!
Enjoy your year, and be what God created your family to be!
Good for the kids and them reading!


Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

I have to come back and read this...the kids are beckoning!

Mathochist said...

I used to think unschooling was scary and weird - how do you know any learning is actually happening?... until my son learned all the rainbow colors, and 12 shapes (including things like trapezoid and hexagon) all before he was 18 months old. Now at 2.5 he is spelling out every written word he sees. IKWYM all too well about "scary smart", and it all makes me wonder, could we STOP them from learning what they want to/are ready to learn? (I mean aside from plopping them in public school? ;)

Anonymous said...

All that really means for us is that I have an extra year than I thought I would before I need to start notifying our school district that we won't be partaking, thank you very much...

This is exactly what peeves me the most about homeschooling parents: the arrogance. Don't you think the "thank you very much" is just a tad snooty?

It's kind of like saying, "Um, we won't be joining you in your worthless, inferior rat-hole of a 'school', THANK YOU VERY MUCH!" Of course, the "thank you very much" is sarcastic as all get-out...

Marie said...

Well, anonymous, no I don't feel I'm being snooty in the sense that I keep my children out of school because they or I am better than anyone else. We are not better than anyone else. I just feel that as the parent of my children, I have the right and duty to provide for their education. I don't believe I should have to answer to a government entity to "ok" our choices with them, because home education is not criminal.

I don't find that arrogant, though to some it may feel rebellious against the societal status quo. Rather, I find acceptance of governmental control over families frightening. We need to exercize our freedoms lest we lose them.

Anonymous said...

You didn't quite answer the question... the mere fact that you had to say "thank you very much" was in itself pretty bad. I mean, why did you feel the need to throw that in at all?

I have no problem with parents providing their children's education. I do have a problem when they look down on others, trying to portray that they love their children more because they don't put their kids in those "horrible public schools".

Marie said...

Ok,Anonymous (next time, you'll need to leave your name), I'll try again.

I said "thank you very much" because it IS an option for us not to partake. I don't have to go with the social status quo. I am free to do what we do, not only because God gives me the right to make free choices, but also (and it is made incredibly easier) because it is our legal option.

But see, I'm "receiving" this right from the government, even though I don't believe it is theirs to give. It is mine to have because I'm the parent. That's how I believe God sets up human society. So there is a bit of usurption on the part of the goverment (in my state) requiring more than a one-time notification that our children will be educated outside of the public school system.

Maybe "thank you very much" is an expression of exasperation, admittedly minor. Like when a child grabs away something that belongs to you (say, car keys). After a bit of "negotiating" he will return the keys, and you understand the negotiation because you know you are dealing with a child, but if you were dealing as equals, there would be a justice issue.

Maybe the "thank you very much" expresses my exasperation that I perceive the government to be acting the child's role in this part. And that in the sense that the whole struggle should not be necessary if we were seeing eye to eye.

Does that help explain my post better?

Anonymous said...

Does that help explain my post better?

Actually, yes it does. Your thoughts and why you said what you said are more clear to me now. Thank you.

Marie said...

And thanks for stopping by. I appeciate a little discussion and it's good for me to think through what I say here as well.