Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My New Idea

Our approach to homeschooling is mostly child-led, with a few exceptions (we use a math curriculum, and I do make sure that the kids are making some progress with reading). And most of the time, I really love it. I love the ideas that they come up with about things that they want to explore, I love the interesting places we end up going, I love how much I learn along side of them. I know that many families really enjoy them, but I can't imagine having to follow the imposed structure of a full boxed curriculum. Still, every once in a while, the Type A personality that I try desperately to repress comes out. On those days, I am sorely tempted to plan out learning objectives for the kids for the whole of their primary education, complete with time lines and check lists.

Today, watching the kids play, I came up with an idea to quiet that nasty voice inside my head. It came about as the boys were playing. Charlie wanted to put together the Alphabet Train Puzzle, and then, totally undirected by me ( I swear! ) they spent a half hour playing various kinds of 'letter tag' - asking Mama to call out different letters and then racing up and down the alphabet train, pointing to that letter with their toes.

So, I have started a 'log book' for want of a better name. This is only to be my book - the kids don't even know it exists. My idea is this - whenever I 'catch' the kids doing something that strikes me as easily catagorizable (like my new word?), I will jot it down on the corresponding page in my log book (science, geography, language arts, world issues, math....) You can see my inner control freak rearing her ugly little head, can't you?? What I will end up with, I hope, is a way to reassure myself that the kids are in fact getting a very well-rounded education, without my having to tie them to the kitchen table for 4 hours each day.

I started by writing down just the few things that I can remember from over the past week or so, and it is amazing how much they really do in a day. Conversations in the car about why some kids are adopted, the story William is writing using a letter stencil that a friend left here by mistake, the research on Moles after the boys saw a little black furry thing scamper across the road...I may just become the relaxed, easy-going Mama that I want to be, yet!

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play, without seeing the vital connection between them.

-Leo F. Boscaglia

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