Thursday, 25 July 2013

Unschool Holidays

So this is it: apart from the really unfortunate, children all over the country are now on school holidays.  And home educators - who spend their normal lives bristling every time somebody suggests that Home Ed'ors are unsocialised - are retreating from the favoured haunts of playparks and cheap days out as there are 'too many people there'.  Actually, it's not necessarily the volume of people that's the issue (although who wouldn't prefer to visit somewhere when it's not packed with crowds?) - it's the fact that the behaviour of some schoolchildren is distinctly anti-social.  So we head to quieter places and playdates for the summer hols.

I have to say, even though we do still observe school holidays mostly as the boys have friends who are at school, so there are opportunities to play that they would otherwise miss out on - technically, our "term" has not quite finished.  You see, at the moment, Eldest and Middle are still in the middle of their lapbooks (Youngest has finished his), so they are still doing a bit each day until those are finished (more because I want them to learn the character strength of finishing what they start than for an academic reason).  Personally I can't wait for the boys' lapbooks to be done.  If it were me I would just sit down and take as long as it took to get the whole things finished, all in one go.  Not Eldest and Middle though - they are still plodding on a bit at a time while Mummy grits her teeth and learns more patience!   But when they are finished?  Well, then, we will all be on our "unschool holidays".

Unschoolers, I believe, see very little difference between term-time and holidays as dictated by the local schools: all play is learning, and all learning is play - their children are free to explore, play, create, any time of the day, day of the week or month of the year.  However we, although we may not have much structure, we do have a very little as outlined in This is Our Home Ed Style.  And that little bit of structure is what we drop during the holidays.  

We will have six weeks (or maybe five if these jolly lapbooks take much longer) of no MathsWhizz, no Reading Eggs, no lapbooks, no 'educational' activities suggested by Mummy.  The boys will be free to play and I will be free to not think about what learning opportunities they are experiencing.  It will be our version of unschooling - a season of playing, exploring, creating etc, just as they like.  It may not look very different to our usual days - their required "work" really does not usually take them that long before they're off doing their own thing - but it will be different enough. 

And the thing that will make the most difference to me?  I will hopefully get the chance to get back on top of the housework.  There are a couple of mess-magnet areas that really need clearing, but I only usually have time free to just stay on top of the everyday housework - laundry, dishwashing, preparing meals etc (on a good day), not tackle piles of mess as well - because although the boys' required work doesn't take them very long, I need to be available to help all three of them every morning - and that is rarely conducive to getting any of my own work done.

So here's hoping that next time I blog the lapbooks will be done and we'll be on our Unschool Holidays! 

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