Monday, May 5, 2014

mental adjustment

I've gotten used to not being in the rhythms of other families who have school.  Homeschooling is a completely different lifestyle, something you don't realize until you do it.  I homeschooled my oldest with a few other children for many years, and it wasn't until 6th grade, until it was just me and my children, that I realized just how homeschooling is so much more than educating at home; it's a way of life.  A way of life where things slow down and you have hours with your children and wandering around and stopping to look at flowers or bugs or construction becomes a way of life.  Pausing to wrestle around and giggle becomes a way of life.  Cooking lots of meals and impromptu baking (or french toast) becomes a way of life.

I realized today that unschooling is even different than the rhythms of homeschooling.  A lot of homeschoolers do more intensive skills work during the winter (hibernation) months.  That's when math, history, reading, writing, etc. get done.  And fall and spring are for playing and doing trips--museums, nature centers, science classes.

It was a gorgeous spring day today, and I was sitting in the playground with a homeschooling friend.  She said, "I guess schoolwork is pretty much done for the year!"  Homeschoolers tend to take advantage of great weather to give the kids a lot of outdoor playtime.

I realized at that moment that I have stopped thinking in terms of yearly work.  I have stopped thinking in terms of grades.

The idea of finishing a particular block of work in a specific amount of time felt odd to me.  Things are much more fluid now.  I guess Elazar will learn to read when he learns.  I guess he'll learn to write when he learns.  I guess he'll learn math when it comes up.  I guess Chana will continue doing Chumash whenever she does and finish algebra when she finishes.  I envision the coming years of education happening as they happen, topics and skills coming up as they come up.

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