View Full Version : Evolving methods?

11-09-2011, 12:14 PM
Someone somewhere else mentioned that lots of homeschooling families start off 'schooly' and evolve to more relaxed with (Mom's) confidence level.

We are pretty schooly, but that didn't happen from lack of confidence. When I've attempted to make the kids more responsible (as in: give assignment, give due date, and leave it up to them to schedule as they see fit), tears ensue. Work doesn't get done, and dates drag on... and on... and on. Stress levels climb for everyone. I actually was MUCH more relaxed with ds when we first pulled him from ps but that was a disaster. Schooly works here. I cut out fluff and busywork completely, but worksheets happen. Currently they are doing *gasp* creative writing. (a nod to my dd here, who is choosing animal encyclopedias to 'read' in her free time precisely BECAUSE that is what we are covering for science. If her reading skills were better, she would be a self-starter).

I can see us evolving as the KIDS get more mature and can handle it, but that really is based on them (I try periodically). It has zero to do with my confidence level.

So what about you? Have your methods evolved and changed with your experience? Or with your child's maturity? Or stayed the same?

11-09-2011, 12:38 PM
We've only been hs for (almost) two years. DD is in third grade this year. I think our homeschool is in the process of morphing into......what I couldn't tell you.....but I'm so much more relaxed now than 20 months ago. DD has to have quite a bit of structure or nothing would get done. She's a total night owl, just got up at 10:45, (which is early for her) and we will probably start somewhere around 12 noon. The norm here. DD actually likes worksheets and I'm like whatever works--LOL

11-09-2011, 12:44 PM
I think it may just be easier as the children get older. My oldest works independently and knows what needs to get done that day and does it-but the other three have to be guided constantly. I am hoping that within a year or 2 my 10 y/o will be better at doing things on her own but who knows...

Like you said-the maturity may be the factor.

11-09-2011, 01:42 PM
I can see us evolving into something slightly more relaxed at some point. Only being 2 1/2 months into our first year, I don't look for it to happen for a while. It's not a confidence issue on my end. Naturally, I have my moments of doubt where I need some reassurance but overall, I'm good in the confidence area. My children, on the other hand, are not. They both have a host of behavioral and academic issues that need to be addressed. Time will tell, but I suspect in the next year or so, things will be much different around here. At least, I hope they will be.

11-09-2011, 01:53 PM
My daughter reads animal encyclopedias, too! :) She pours over them and makes lists of her favorite animals.

We're still relatively new at homeschooling (this is our second year), and my kids are young. I feel like our first year helped us find a good method (relatively school-y) which I'm hoping will last a few years. We'll certainly reexamine it if it feels like it's not working or if the kids are ready for something different.

11-09-2011, 02:09 PM
This is our second year and I am becoming more relaxed. I don't think I felt a lack of confidence at all going into our first year, if anything I was probably over confident ;) I try to frequently evaluate my philosophy and goals so my overall view of what I want for the kids education is evolving as we go along. From a practical POV our first year allowed me to see how much we can accomplish and I realized that we could slow down a bit. Also, we are doing more outside activities this year so that changes our "schooly" schedule at home. My kids aren't ready to do much independently so most of our work is together but it's not me lecturing or anything, it's mostly reading and working together.

11-09-2011, 02:11 PM
One of the first hs books I read discussed some study that showed *on average* hs families reported moved over time towards more relaxed on the school-at-home <--------> unschooling scale. I think the "why" is just unsubstantiated opinion (I don't recall seeing a "why" on the study, but I could be wrong).

Of course, there will be folks moving towards more structure -- the thing about statistics is none of us IS one. We're all realizations from a population with certain statistical properties. :lol: I think the important thing is just to adapt/evolve towards whatever is best for your family. Over time that may swing and sway.

Personally, my teaching style is constantly evolving. :D

11-09-2011, 02:13 PM
This is our 4th year. I am definitely more relaxed then when we started. In my case, it is directly related to my confidence in what we are doing/using. If a subject is not getting done (this past month History kept falling to the wayside) I no longer stress about it. We get to it when we get to it. As long as my year end goals are met I am happy.

11-09-2011, 03:20 PM
I find that what i do just continually shifts, responding to each child and where they are / what they need atm. My style matters only in my limits - i know what I CANT do - but what I DO do depends on the kids and also opportunities that come up, such as coops

11-09-2011, 06:04 PM
I actually moved from unschool to more structured. We've always homeschooled and in the beginning with ODS we pretty much unschooled...unschooling isn't for ODS though, not a self motivated learner that one. So by 2nd grade we started more school work and his reading skills improved. I am starting the school work earlier now with my MDS and then hopefully when they get older it'll be more relaxed and they will be more independent learners :) Lesson learned!

Stella M
11-09-2011, 07:45 PM
We're always swinging on that pendulum :)

School, unschool, CM, school, unschool...

I think my CM influences underpin much of what we do though, even though sometimes we change the way we do it.

11-09-2011, 07:58 PM
I've not been doing this long and already have changed a great deal. I bought quite a bit of curriculum because "I" like curriculum and structure as a learner and thought it would help my DD6 who is not very structured in her personality. However, it only kind of works. I have to present the curriculum in a "we're" learning this together. I can't be the teacher. "THE BOOK" says we do this next and talk about this next. So, here we go. She is getting better with me being a bit of a bearer of knowledge but if I hold too much "authority" she just rails against it. I'm also making sure we're having creative learning experiences such as field trips more regularly. It helps all of us to be out of the house and learning, again, from someone or something that is not me. So, I'm not sure what you'd call us. I love it though. I'm sure we'll keep changing more as time goes on...

11-09-2011, 08:22 PM
I've grown in the opposite direction....I get more and more schooly and structured as DS1 can handle it. LD issues are part of this. My goal is to get him doing the 3Rs at grade level. He is catching up from being significantly behind. Getting more relaxed isn't going to get him there...so I'm doing the opposite.

11-09-2011, 08:32 PM
We're always swinging on that pendulum :)

School, unschool, CM, school, unschool...


This is my brain.

Today we unschooled because I was busy.

Yesterday we were going to relax school today. Hopefully tomorrow we'll relax school. But in other conversations about parenting, I keep finding that I have broken all education into two distinct skills: social and executive. If my kids have good interpersonal skills (and youngest has been working on that today as he's been waiting and waiting for a new game to arrive in the mail, only to wait for sis to have time to play her game), they'll be able to get along with so many people. If they have good executive functioning skills (which interestingly gets developed when ADDmom can't be counted on to do anything helpful), they'll be able to solve their problems.

So yeah, that's what I've told myself today. Today was an unschooling day.

But for the OP, I started off with a classical curriculum and slowly took assignments out as they created more stress for my kids and me than they were worth. Eventually I looked into unschooling in order to find ways to provide learning opportunities unconventionally and that's helped out enormously.

11-09-2011, 08:34 PM
When we started dd was in 3rd grade and ds was in 2nd. We started schooly, then became more relaxed. However, starting last year and especially this year, we've become more schooly again. The kids work more independently of me, but now they're working for things like high school credits, lab classes, etc. in preparation to enroll in college. My dd especially wants things schooly, like her publicly schooled friends have. However, she in NO way wants to go to public school.

11-11-2011, 12:00 PM
We're in our third year. I've gotten a tad more structured for DS, but he ASKED for it to be that way, so it isn't me influencing him. It's the other way around. I've no idea what DD will do/want/be.

11-15-2011, 02:39 PM
We radically unschooled from 4th grade up until this summer {would be her 10th grade year if she were in public school} when we started using the Ambleside Online free curriculum. I type out a schedule a week at a time and she decides when and how to get it done. She is preparing to enter a 4-yr university and where we live and our income level does not allow us to unschool through high school. I'd consider ourselves radical AOers now because we don't do school-at-home and we're very relaxed and self-driven within a framework that will get us where we need to be by the end of the high-school years.

Stella M
11-15-2011, 07:29 PM
lesajm, sounds like you and your dd have an interesting home ed story to tell! I'd love to hear more sometime about your experiences from school through radical unschooling to AO, maybe on a thread, a blog post or even an article ?! :)

11-15-2011, 08:13 PM
We're in our 2nd year and I feel like I'm finally getting a good flow with things. What really helps is to prepare everything the evening before and write a list of everything I want to cover and stack all the books and worksheets with the list. My older son wakes early so he can get an early start if he wants (although he usually doesn't). I find that if I don't prepare ahead of time I'm scrambling to get it together in the morning and feel very disorganized.

I'm feeling more confident and if we approach something that I would prefer to skip, I'm comfortable with that. We just decided to skip Concept 2 of MBTP for my 6 year old because it's all about math and measurements and I feel like we already have a good grasp on math so we're moving to Concept 3.

Tomorrow we're going to have a light school day because there are some errands we need to run in the morning and I want to get them both haircuts and I'm not going to feel guilty about doing less school:).

Another thing I've learned is to assign them something fun once in a while. My 6 yo loves to draw and his face lights up when I give him a drawing assignment. My older one likes to look things up online and he enjoys doing small reports on various subjects, mostly animals. So I try to stay flexible and keep it interesting for them.

11-16-2011, 12:38 AM
I think I've started out as I meant to go on, and not much has changed in terms of general academic direction (classical/eclectic). I was never really schooly. The changes have been more in how I've approached things. I still feel too new at this (only this year) to speak with any real experience, but the more I have relaxed into it, things have just happened differently and without the underlying level of stress. We're finding our rhythm, finding things that suit, and working ourselves out. I'm probably a bit less wired about it all, and a bit more confident.

However, that said, despite my classical aspirations, for the past two days DD has done nothing except read, draw and play, and I'm fine with that.

(My daughter is an avid animal encyclopaedia reader too!)

11-16-2011, 01:07 AM
We evolve... then devolve... then evolve again. Wash, rinse, repeat. It's kind of seasonal. If I can't reasonably tell the kids to go play outside, they tend to get more structured schoolwork and neat handicrafts and so on.

I do feel that my expectations naturally increase as they get older and more capable.

11-16-2011, 01:51 AM
We started with more classical type schooling the first couple of years and then moved towards a more relaxed unschooling method for a few years. Now we are moving back into a more traditional school approach. We have over the years bounced back and forth a bit as well. Most of this was due to clash of personalities (we lived with my parents at the time) and us trying to figure out what works best for us.

We just determined that for my DD school works out better if she is just given assignments and materials. She then becomes fairly self motivated and just gets her work done. My son on the other hand had a speech issue early in life and I went through hoops just getting him to talk. He is also a very sensitive boy, so we are trying to find out how to best get him caught up to grade level...without being washed away by a flood of tears. Its getting better lately though. I think the important thing to do is to go with whatever method is best for you and each child. I've wasted a few years now trying to find a method that works best for both of mine. Now I'm finding that schooling the two of them has to be a separate event. They just do not learn or work the same and I have to make sure I do what is best for each of them.