Thursday, 7 June 2012

Deschooling: the pressure's off!

As I mentioned the other day, this week being half-term has eased the pressure on my subconscious mind that still thinks I need to be 'educating' the children Monday - Friday during term-time.  Other than that, there has been very little evident difference to our usual weekdays (not that we really have a 'usual' at the moment).  There has been a lot of socialising - but sometimes we also have very social weeks during 'term-time', just that socialising is often with other Home Edders, whereas during school holidays it's a great opportunity to catch up with the boys' other friends who go to school.  Even when Daddy was home (he is the single biggest factor in making a day feel like a holiday), the boys still liked to get on the computer, and/ or watch certain TV programmes (Deadly 60, Kid Detectives, Our Planet, Numtums, Alphablocks, Rhyme Rocket etc etc... as well as the inevitable Spongebob... who knows, maybe they're learning something useful from Mr Squarepants too...?!) I am seeing that lack of difference more clearly this week - and since the attack of the 'should's last week, I feel like I've come through a decision point without realising it.   I had been aware of the probable need to deschool, but hadn't fully committed to it.  I now realise that since last week I actually have made a clear decision.  We are deschooling.
Acknowledging that decision has taken such a lot of pressure off.  Like I said yesterday - I'll still be looking out for ways to encourage the boys' learning, but from now until probably September, it's going to look a lot like unschooling around here.  We have MathsWhizz, Reading Eggs and Grid Club when the boys want to go on them; we have endless opportunities to do science experiments, bake cakes, make arty things; we have lot of fantastic quality programmes on TV - educational as well as pure entertainment.  If the boys ask to do something learning-wise (or not), it is my hope and intention to say 'yes' to as much as possible.  BUT (and it is a big 'but') I AM NOT GOING TO STRESS ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE OR ARE NOT LEARNING.  I will be watching, (otherwise I may not have much to write in this blog), but just not stressing about it.  I will doubtless be thinking and evaluating - but the decision to deschool is really just recognising what we have effectively already been doing.  This is why their weekends & holidays look so similar to their weekdays.  And that is OK.  I don't have to make a decision yet about how we are hoing to do Home Ed.  I had been feeling like if we did nothing that it would mean I had chosen to unschool - and I haven't (although I haven't actively chosen against it either).  In deciding to deschool I have actually chosen not to make a decision yet.  And that is SUCH A RELIEF!  I don't feel experienced enough to make that decision yet - and now I accept that I don't have to - I have nothing to prove.
Actually if I want proof or reassurance that we're doing OK, I don't usually have to wait long... for example, DS1 has a friend sleeping over at the moment (well, sleeping for a small amount of the night anyway - by day they spend a fair amount of time wandering around in dressing gowns and wielding lightsabers).  While watching a cartoon based underwater, this friend asked me, "what's so great about a coral reef?"  Well I didn't need to even try to answer - DS1 launched into a nicely detailed explanation of why most of the life in the ocean depends on the coral reef.  Encouraging HE Mummy moment right there :)
Oh, and by the way, I must say that this relief-inducing decision of mine is in no small way thanks to the support and encouragement of some lovely people who I have met online. If there are any other new Home Edders reading this, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you get online and join a Home Ed group or two (Facebook and Yahoo are great places to start looking) - the support is absolutely invaluable.

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