so i spent the vast majority of yesterday plotting out what i feel i need to get done to feel better about maeven's education.
i'd been going in an unschooling direction (though not radical) for awhile, but not really in a very high quality way...just going where the wind blows...just trusting that i'd loop back around and that in the meantime she's still learning. all the time. really, she is! just the other day she told me in a flash what 2 numbers added up to (don't remember what it was about or what the numbers were)...so her brain is still moving and grooving, even though formal math has been on hold for awhile. but i want to kick it up a notch. i've been wanting to for awhile but life has gotten in the way.
i say i want to kick it up a notch, not because of what anyone else's opinion is of my girl's education. no, that's a sensitive subject for me that i won't go into right now (its a real sore spot for me, and i don't want to start today off pissed). no, i think i am just more of a tidal homeschooler...i tend to ebb and flow in how i do things. and yesterday i felt a surge of passion about plotting out this coming "school year." so, we'll see how it goes, but for now i'm enjoying figuring out what i want to get done in the year and figuring out how much we'll have to do weekly to accomplish that and putting it on my planner.
i really cannot say that i am TRULY an unschooler, for many reasons, not the least of which is that i really don't have a problem with structured education. i don't really believe that she's going to get anything and everything she needs simply by stumbling upon it of her own volition. no, i've never really felt that way. she doesn't know what she doesn't know and its my job to put things in her path. which many unschoolers would agree with...but i don't have a problem with sitting down and working with her on things, when it feels right. and right now i'm feeling like i need to gear up do just that for a period of time (we'll see how long it takes), and get to where i feel i'd like her to be.
i say it very carefully that way. "where i want her to be." because i don't agree that there is a place every child needs to be at each age. i don't agree with the public school model of education in the least. assembly-line, or institutional education is something i abhor, honestly. i don't like the idea that all children are supposed to learn certain things at certain times. i don't believe that in the LEAST. in fact, i told someone rather emphatically recently (and realized later, perhaps too emphatically), when she asked about testing maeven to see if she's where she should be in comparison to the schools that "i don't care where she's at compared to others. i only care where she's at for HER."
now that doesn't mean that i don't succumb to the same comparison-making that all us moms find ourselves sucked into since our children were born...noticing how other's kids are doing compared to mine. sure, i noticed last year that while maeven was barely interested in reading picture books that all her friends (around same age) were reading chapter books...and wished she was more interested in reading. but she came around, and has already read 50 chapter books this year alone! so she caught up, and now i'm feeling silly for ever doubting her. so i try to apply the same trust to other subjects.
right now, though, my biggest concern for her is math. not because she's not doing any or understanding much...because frankly i suspect that she could beat the pants off a lot of public schooled kids since so many do so poorly. but i want her to be more comfortable with the basics because i do truly believe its important. so i've created a schedule for us. a loose one.
i bought this fabulous math curriculum a couple years ago and haven't used it much, so i really want to get back to it. and i've come back around to the mindset that she just needs to get some things done. i still believe that education should be fun and enjoyable to the student. but there are some subjects that i'm ok with pushing harder to muddle through because i do feel they are important. math is one of them. i will continue to try to make it fun, but we're going to get through this so that she can be adept at all that i feel she should be adept at.
another aside, though, i don't feel like these learning experiences need to be back-to-back throughout childhood. i don't like to see childhood as a means to an end. childhood is important in and of itself. i don't see it as the time to be pouring all sorts of things into her brain. i want her childhood to be full of quality experiences, educational and not, social and individual, that give her a foundation of strength and valuable experiences to judge the rest of her life by. she's not a cup to be filled for pete's sake, she's a child meant to experience life!
so i'm ok with not touching upon subjects sometimes for months at a time only to spend several months working hard at concepts so that she can truly "get" them to the point that i feel ok with just letting her be to do her own thing again for months at a time. i feel much better about this form of education...grouping the education into clumps. and then letting her be the rest of the time, to learn what she will learn.
perhaps i will coin my own homeschooling term, "clumpschooling", LOL! yeah, that sounds catchy, LOL! (not)
anyway my point is that i'm ok with not trying to make every experience for maeven (and tyren eventually), educational. i don't believe for a minute that this is the only way she will get all that she needs to know.
and i resent people who haven't spent even a fraction of the time (if any time at all!!) reading up on all the educational methods and ideas that i have (for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS...i mean really, i've spent YEARS reading up on this stuff, since before i ever had kids! and i'm STILL learning about it and trying to figure things out!!), trying to tell me what i should and should not be doing. grrr!! sorry, i wasn't supposed to go there. ok well there, i said it. i'm not naming names because that's just not helpful nor kind...but this is a sort of discontent with me right now, so i just wanted to get it out. :)
anyway, i just want to be trusted that i have my child's best interests at heart and there's no way in hell that i am taking any of this lightly. trust is huge here. i really do care more than anyone about my children's education. so just trust me that i'm doing what's best for all of us.