Saturday, January 26, 2008

Unschooling and some other thoughts...

I've been thinking about different styles of schooling. My style seems to be more electic, not like traditional school because I try to really allow Nala to decide the plan for the day however not like unschooling because we have a weekly spelling list with daily "tests", sentence writing and repeat writing of words. I read something recently on someone else's blog which is what made me re think styles again.

I love the whole idea of unschooling and child led learning. I have a general idea of what I would like to do with Nala but if we do other things instead I'm ok with (at one time I was not ok but I find myself getting more comfortable with it). I like taking our time on things such as the Charlottes Web lapbook and the human body lapbook we're working on.

What my problem has been some days is when Nala decides she doesnt want to do anything but watch tv all day long. I offer some reading time on some of her favorite books, perhaps playing a game she likes but the response to all are no. She wants to watch tv. How do I handle that? How would an unschooler handle that? Do they not have days like these?

I don't like to fight about doing work. I don't like to force my daughter to do work. If she doesnt want to do something I try to find out something she does want to do and go with that. I don't see any point in making her do something just because I want her to do it because she won't get anything from it if I force her. Learning is something I want to be done with enthusiasm and with love not with force and threats. However on these days that I mentioned where everything I suggest is brought down with a I don't want to do that, I want to watch tv, I feel like my only reaction would be "well you need to do something so lets see what that will be" allow her to watch tv all day long would not be a good decision in my opinion.

I spoke with a friend who is pretty much like me, electic, and she suggested that I should have Nala write about what she watches; what happened in the show, what problems came up and how problems were solved. It seemed like a good idea because instead of just zoning out in front of the tv (and helps me to feel like she's actually doing something on days she doesn't want to do anything) she's learning writing skills and practices handwriting. I mentioned it to an unschooler who thought it was a bad idea and could lead to resentment on my daughter's part. Nala actually enjoyed it the first few times. There have been a few times when she said she didn't want to do it but for the most part there didn't seem to be any problems. She does have times she can just watch tv for enjoyment so maybe that's why there haven't been more problems then there could have been.

My goal when I started homeschooling was to make this a really amazing experiencing for Nala. To allow her the decision to play an active role in her learning and present her with choices and activities that would interest her. I would try my best to go with her learning style and do the things that best fit what she liked. For instance, she told me she doesn't like doing math sheets. That was good to hear because I didn't like forcing her to do them. So I found that she liked to play Scrabble, dice games and "store" instead, so that's how we do math and it works for her, therefore it works for me and she's learning, I know she is.

I think for the most part she is learning what she needs to learn. I'm comfortable with allowing her to choose what she wants to do for the day, the week etc. however still trying to decide how much influence I should have when giving her the freedom of her education, afterall she's only 6.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Just came over your blog from Grace. She is one of my best friends. Just after a quick glance at your blog and reading about your strategy for home schooling, it struck me that it sounds a lot like Waldorf. You might find a lot of support looking it up.
I recently moved from GA to Sweden and waas terrified how my kids were forced into the world of letters and numbers before they did not have the motor skills to even hold a pencil. The school my kids are attending here is a public school but they take a little Montesori here and a little Waldorf here etc. and mixes it up really well. My son is soon six and they are mostly incouraging free play, the kids have no fences around the school and are allowed to play in the woods.

I am on my way to work bi=ut I might write more later.
Have a great day,