View Full Version : de-railment, self discovery much more appealing

02-18-2011, 04:09 PM
Hi those well seasoned and those in the same boat. We've been HS'ing for 5 months, I have 2 boys ages 7 and 8 at home. They are both very bright, my older son has some anxiety issues and sensory issues. My younger son is a math and engineer whiz.

Most days I feel well on track with our goals and daily plans, other days I crawl under the covers and have a good cry just before lunch.

This week I made an actual schedule, wrote them up with colors and posted them daily. Monday the afternoon was scrapped due to my migraine, On Tuesday I ended up scrapping most of the day to go to a funeral, on Wednesday I scrapped the day in favor of kite flying and bike riding (whish is SO good for my younger son's visual issues). Today was butting heads with my 8 year old to do his math (he did it in his bed and by lunch was spouting off the figures- grrrr) and now they are re-wiring remotes for mini-helicopters. Scrapping the rest of the day now too.

I have things I think they really need to be doing so we can do some other fun things that require some technical knowledge. It does not help that hubby, who works form home, interrupted lunch to get them setup with batteries, wires and chargers between his conference calls. They are lost now to the 8 remote controlled items now taking up my living room floor! . . .take that back the back door was just opened.

I feel that unschooling for the end of December and January was a good break for all of us, but I still feel that they can benefit from some daily scheduled work. BUT I also see how focused they get when they are allowed to do some self discovery - SDT- self discovery time.

How to I get off the fence?????? :confused:

Stella M
02-18-2011, 07:10 PM
It's hard when you're torn between different approaches. Others may disagree but I don't think unschooling is something you can easily combine with other approaches because it's a philosophy, not a method. I see your boys are quite young - maybe you could commit to a period of time either unschooling or being more scheduled and see how it goes. If one approach doesn't work well for you, try the other for the next 6 months and perhaps the other will.

Otherwise sitting down with the boys and negotiating the non-negotiables - "I need you to do x amount of math every week, how do you think we could acheive this ?" - for whatever are your non-negotiables. Then call the rest of your day and your educational program 'delight driven' or 'self-initiated learning' and keep a journal of what those activities are. It's good to be able to look back through a month's worth of journal and see all the learning that took place. Having it journalled makes it easier to turn into legalese if you need to.

02-18-2011, 08:18 PM
I agree with MelissainOz and. I share your frustrated need to have scheduled learning time and free learning time. Our current system is that all scheduled work is done before lunch. For my 8 year old that means no free reading, non-lesson-related coloring, etc... in the morning. She has to do what's on the schedule. It takes about two to three hours depending on the day. For a few hours after lunch they are allowed to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't involve electronic media (audiobooks are the one exception to that rule). If they want to spend the afternoon outside inventing games, that's a good thing. They can do puzzles, read whatever they want, color, make up role playing games, etc... I found that if they know the electronic and digital brain draining devices are not an option they come up with a whole host of other things. Sometimes this leads to great things and sometimes all they do is coat each other in dirt. The evil TV is my kids' best motivator, though, so I dangle it in front of them throughout the morning drudgery and I usually turn it on while I'm making supper if they did their work.

I say "current situation" because I find myself constantly worrying, changing, evolving. Believe me, I have plenty of days when I end up crying in my bed before lunch, too. I still have days when I throw my hands up and declare myself finished with this whole homeschooling thing. I also find myself vacillating between extremes. I love the idea of unschooling but I am too much of a worrying box checker to ever really do it. Sometimes I worry that I'm not having them do enough. Two weeks later I'll be absolutely convinced that I'm having them do too much.

I don't know if this helps you at all, but know that you are not alone. I think we are so hard on ourselves because we care so much about our children's education and doing the best we can for them.

02-18-2011, 10:00 PM
don't worry, I think there are lots of us sharing the fence :)

I do much like Ashley does. We do our "bookwork" in the morning. Right now it's generally only 1hr or so. And each kiddo gets 30min educational-game computer time in the morning, while I'm working with the others. After lunch, until about 3 or 4pm, it's free-time. I generally encourage 1-2hrs of outside time in there. And by 3 or 4, if all schoolwork and chores are done, they have earned their hour of tv.

I think free time is really really necessary, so I couldn't handle having an entire day scheduled. I'm on the fence too because so much of me really believes in the freedom of unschooling. BUT I cannot subscribe to the whole philosophy of it. And I *need* to actually see them progressing, so I require things like math/LA to be done daily before free-exploration time.

02-19-2011, 09:29 AM
Yet another fence-sitter here, too. I guess we've leaned quite far over to the unschooling side lately for various reasons but we still try to fit in book work occasionally (usually math or language arts) as the mood permits. We'd like to do more but the 3 Ms are not enthusiastic learners that way and with my wife and I working irregular schedules it seems easier for now to encourage the impromptu learning moments. Last night Michael had some fun writing out product labels and asking us what they spelled. "ground cinnamon" For now, it works for us!

02-19-2011, 12:17 PM
good to hear, We do any book work in the mornings and I reserve the afternoons for self discovery time. As the weather gets better we will have a lot more out door play time as well. I'll sit more happily on the fence now, one foot in book work and one foot in Self discovery time.

02-19-2011, 05:26 PM
I think I must have been sitting on the fence all these years actually.... I cant see any category to fall into. We usually do what we want.. when she wants... but still with a curriculum there... oh my its all so convoluted! We've been doing it this way for years now though... I do TRY to think what kind of home schoolers are we.. but.. nope.. no answer. Its all subject to our whim while at the same time there is some kind of super structure too.. *self face palms*

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
02-24-2011, 12:40 PM
ok now I know I am not alone here. This last year has been a total learning process for our whole family. We started out with the books and a total structured 'Abeka' program. Well after the first few months that went out the window. It started with not wanting to be in the classroom that we made. You know the desks, board, posters, shelves of other things, she would rather read on the couch, play games, and do any writing at the kitchen table. Than it was a total refusal and not grasping the material that made me reconsider this whole approach of schooling. We have since found that the room is not needed but the arts and crafts is a much needed area. Reading was better done during daily nap time that my youngest needed. And she picked the book. Math and Language was better to learn playing on-line games. So we chose 2 that give me progress reports so I can reinforce them with other games I make at home. we have done more game playing and art projects than anything else these last few months. But in all reality she has learned much more than she did with the book work. When she wants to learn about something else or I want to teach her about something else I put a unit together with material we get from the library, ebay, or our local teaching store.

02-24-2011, 12:43 PM
Good to hear, I've went from last week making schedules, which they liked but could not stick to, to making a sheet that lists all the items that need to be done for the day, that seems much more reasonable. They are flying through the materials this way and have the afternoons to do SDT - self discovery time.

Maybe next year I won't feel so stressed about giving them an education and letting them get an education . . . I know there is a difference.