Friday, 18 May 2012

Experimental Unschooling Day 5

Well, what an interesting week this has been - considering we haven't done any 'work', I at least have learned a lot!
We were out most of the day today so have very little to 'report': first was a trip to town where we failed to get what I was after, then a trip to see family, then home for a quick lunch and out again to play with old school friends, including DS2's friend - it was sooooo lovely to see my middle boy relaxed and happy :)
When I consider what I have learned this week (apart from the realisation that unschooling isn't actually something you can experiment with - it's a lifestyle that you either embrace or don't), it's mostly just helped me to consolidate my views on where I am at. 
Firstly - I haven't the confidence or complete belief that unschooling is for us right now.  As mentioned yesterday, I do love the ideals, and can see that we may well end up travelling that route - but for the time being, I am still going through the process of getting 'school-thinking' out of my brain - as of course are the boys, or at least the older two.
Secondly, I definitely want the boys learning to be as autonomous as possible, within a loose structure that will enable me to reassure myself that they are learning the "important" stuff (ie English & Maths) - and I want them to have the freedom to discover and explore their own interests.  I'm not sure what that structure will look like, but I like the idea of having them discuss in the morning/ each week what they would like to do (not including games consoles until they have done something more 'constructive').  Maybe we'll experiment with that next week...
Thirdly, we're still deschooling (that's not a choice or decision, just as an acceptance of where were at), so whatever structure we do play with, it will remain just that for a good while (i.e. play).  Everything will be held loosely, and if the boys need a day or two or even several off, that's fine.  I want them to learn to love learning.  That is not something you can force on anyone via a schedule - in fact if you try to, you will achieve the very opposite.  So, flexibility is the name of the game.
I am really glad we had this week of 'experimenting', even though it feels like I've ended the week with pretty much the same immediate aims for Home Ed as I started with.  I just think I have more confidence now to pursue the next step, without feeling like I'm committing to anything for life.  That confidence in not having to have all the answers but just enjoying finding out... that is what I want to pass on to the boys :)


  1. "However, autonomous learning (child-led rather than parent/teacher-directed) can happily work alongside some kind of structure, which is probably where I am."

    That's where we ended up too. I've enjoyed reading your unschooling experiment and you've got years left to work it all out though. Our style of home ed changed a lot over the years, but it was really at my daughter's request that we ended up with some kind of academic structure once she hit secondary school age. She chooses the subjects she studies and when, but within those choices we do "do work" - she's that sort of girl, and the structure suits us too, as work from home parents. You're doing a fabulous job of investigating what suits all of you, and I think you're absolutely right that the love of finding out is an invaluable thing to pass on to a child. Perhaps you'll end up going down an unschooling route, or perhaps you'll end up favouring autonomous choices within a certain amount of structure, but whatever choices you make will be right for you and yours, which is what counts :-)

  2. Thanks! that's really encouraging :) x