View Full Version : MBtP and diving into unschooling....

Journey of Life mama
11-02-2011, 10:04 AM
So, I am going to post this on the secular homeschool website too, to see what people may have to say about it......but, here goes...... We are still using MBtP and on the Civil War unit right now. Checked out Ken Burns PBS series on the Civil War. I recommend it to go along with the unit. Daughter is in sixth grade by the way. ALSO checked out The Unschoolers Handbook. Very much leaning toward jumping off that diving board into the pool of unschool. Lakshmi, I get what you are saying about NOT calling one week away from a set curriculum unschooling, but in a way it is a dabble into the realm, kind of like a trial period that for us, obviously WASN'T long enough! I'll call it faux-unschooling if you'd like! :) You caught me at "one of THOSE moments" and my "omg, if one more person jumps on me for anything right now, I'm going to snap. So, sorry if my post was rude to you Lakshmi--it wasn't meant that way. Anyhow, right now, I'm listening to daughter try and play some Civil War song on the piano (actually the Giovanni roll-out keyboard) and it is allowing her to explore other things and she actually figured out how to play a totally different song by just "playing around", which is what I love. She "gets" music and LOVES to play--fiddle, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, guitar, pots, anything really! I'm thinking of going for it and embracing the unschool. We have the whole curriculum for 10-12, which we will keep and if she wants to keep on, she can, but I want to give her room to explore and embrace. She already came up with a list of things she wants to do such as learning aviation history, coloring a Montessori timeline of life I have, keeping a journal of birds that come or stay for winter, crocheting, Meet the Masters Art projects, researching Early Egypt, and for some reason, she has ALWAYS been drawn to Anne Frank and really wants to try and understand what happened and why, (she has watched the movies several times and is reading the diary.) She can't wait to do the Albert Einstein unit next or delve into the chemistry c3000 kit. My only worry--the proverbial "What if she falls behind or isn't with her peers," "What if I am totally screwing it all up?" In my gut and instincts, I know it is fine to go with it and she will benefit beyond belief but letting go of my own preconceived ideas ideas are hard and really, they aren't MY OWN ideas, just those I grew up with and was told to think. AHHH,,, will someone please just push me off the diving board and into the pool already........:punch:

So, does anyone have any thoughts, comments or ideas? Personal stories of morphing into unschooling on your homeschool journey, why you would or wouldn't unschool, success of unschool, is it too late to unschool a sixth grader who has been homeschooled since 4th grade? Any thoughts to help me jump into the unschooling world, words of advice or sites and forums to be aware of????

11-02-2011, 01:07 PM
Oooh, I love to talk unschooling! squee!

Anyway, your daughter already has tons of ideas and interests. I would make it my mission to throw in front of her as many opportunities as I could. She likes music and is capable of doing something about it (unlike my dd who likes it but can't play despite a couple years of lessons). I would suggest she record her music. Play a background piece for a documentary she creates on Anne Frank's life if she wants. With power point and youtube, she can make her own documentary easily. Expose her to as much information as you can about WWII, European history, Judaism, civil disobedience, rise of the Nazi party, etc. You can explore music from WWII (try the Andrew Sisters - awesome), watch movies from that time, dance, go to history museums, etc.

I would refrain from creating assignments or trying to convince her to do any of this. I would simply explore these different things and make a suggestion here and there and see if it appeals to her. All these different media will weave together to create a good learning experience in the years to come. She'll likely have a strong knowledge base of certain things (music, history, art?), a good familiarity with other things (nature, science) and will learn others as necessary (math). Let her play now and in her unrestricted play, she'll be learning. If you do your job well and expose her to as much quality experiences as possible, her learning will be quite educational.

Keep in mind, the "play" of a teenager isn't the same as the "play" of a preteen. My dd is now 14. She'd be in 9th grade and she's interested in geometry. She likes it because she's never been exposed to it, lol! She thinks it's a cool concept and so she sees it everywhere (kind of like when you need to buy a new car and you see the one you'd like everywhere). She recognizes she will need to learn math formally in order to go to college so we're poking around Life of Fred.

We didn't really jump into unschooling, we meandered into it. I required fewer and fewer assignments of my kids and we followed our curriculum less and less until one day one of my kids asked if something "counted" as school. I asked him if he was learning something and he looked at me like it was a trick question. If you're feeling apprehensive about delving into unschooling (I was, I didn't want to screw my kids up because it sounded nice on the surface, kinda like "new math"), you could just watch and support the kinds of things your kids do in their free time, giving them more and more free time, and see how it all works out for you.