Friday, September 14, 2012
It's a Journey...Not a Race
My main job as facilitator ( not teacher ) is to provide my children with a well prepared, enriched and diverse environment. Before I knew that "strew" was an actual term other people used, books were trickling into our home and I was strewing them around. If I have an agenda and tell my child to read something there is no way it will happen; however, if I just strew the books around in places my son likes to hang out, they will get noticed and read. He is a carnivore of information. He needs to feel like it is his choice determining what he reads and learns. This sheds light on the bigger picture of his learning...he learns that which he is interested in at any particular time and he wants complete ownership over his studies. He is incredibly self directed.
This keeps me scrambling daily for new books, computer programs, curriculum, games and hands on activities to try and keep him satiated. Some days I wonder what he does with his time, which doesn't seem like much, or, rather enough for it to be a successful "school day." But, then again, we are unschooling, right? Regardless of our choice to be anti brick and mortar schools, there are the days where I question my decision to homeschool and whether my hands off, unschooling approach is going to pass muster. Then there are the days, like last Friday, where I am astounded by how much this kid has learned. He accomplished more by 8:15am then he would have in an entire, regular school day.
Then there are the days that really throw me for a loop like yesterday. It was a productive day, check. So, it should have been a good unschooling day (from my perspective at least) and yet it was a frustrating day for sure. Last week it was either productive or frustrating but never both. Just when I think I have this home schooling thing licked my intense and sensitive kids throw me a nice curve ball and of course I wasn't ready for it.
So, maybe all this is a bigger learning lesson for me than for my kids. Maybe they are doing just fine...exactly what they should be doing and I am the one who has to let go of expectations of what our day should look like. Of course they are learning everyday. We all do. Some days we get a lot of life lessons which is one way we learn and other days we get a lot of book learning, social learning, collaborative learning, self-directed learning, computer learning, etc. There are moments where my kid just looks out the window and thinks. I have to stop analyzing the quantity of learning and just trust that these kids are experiencing their world and learning all day long in everything they pursue. Quality over quantity. Depth and breadth.
If I remind myself that it is an overall learning journey and not a daily race, then we all are less stressed. Less stress, less anxiety, less screaming, less angst, more peace, more happiness and more joy. Isn't that part of the point to homeschooling...individualized learning at one's own pace in an environment well suited to one's learning style and need?
I still second guess my efficacy in this new alternative and unexpected lifestyle choice but with no other reasonable option, this is our life and I TRY to not to overreact when we have one of our less than productive days or one of our super frustrating days or one of those everything days.