Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Homeschooling for the Newbie-Our Decision
I do believe that children are capable of learning certain things, if it catches their interest. This is the main idea behind unschooling. However, I also believe that children need to be guided towards some subjects that should be learned, whether or not they are actually interested in them.
We have decided on sort of a combination of homeschooling themes here. We will unschool in the sense that the children can explore what interests them, and we will gently guide them towards learning more about whatever subject they want to know. We will school them in subjects they need to know (basic reading, writing, arithmetic), unless it just comes naturally. Math did not and will never come naturally to me. Reading did.
My son is a very hands-on little boy. He has never been into having me read to him. He does, however, love building things. Knocking things down. Re-building. You know, the boy stuff. He learned how to count, learned his colors, and shapes, all from a set of wooden blocks. I let him do what interested him in order for him to learn. He is 4, and he can build real stuff (like a birdhouse) using a hammer and nails. And a drill (under supervision of course). He can follow plans and diagrams in order to accomplish whatever it is he is building, as long as he has something physical at the end to show for it. He put together my Ikea laundry hampers all by himself, with the help of the funny looking diagrams they include with their products!
My daughter (who is only 2 1/2) loves books. I imagine I will do a lot more reading with her, and there will be many, many trips to the library. She can memorize a book after reading it to her once. She can go through a Dr. Seuss book and "read" it to me by making a story out of the pictures.
Some true unschoolers would not agree that the approach I am taking could be considered unschooling at all, while some homeschoolers do not agree that unschooling is any type of schooling to begin with. You just can't please everyone :)
That being said, we may decide to homeschool via a local charter school. Mostly for the financial benefits, a little bit for the accountability. I will choose my own Christian-based curriculum, give lessons based on how my kids learn, and allow my kids to roam and learn on their own as well. We will do field trips, we will have quiet days, and there will be some days where the math lesson will probably be done at the grocery store, making sure we don't go over budget. They will have fun, and they will learn. And I'm sure I will, too.
And if a "true" homeschooling family disagrees, that is okay. That is the benefit of any type of homeschooling. You decide what type of learning works best for your children.
What works for you?