Sunday, February 21, 2010

Confused

Do you ever get confused about where you are going with your homeschooling? Because I do, at least momentarily.

I'm not unhappy with what I am bringing to my children, or how. Using a Waldorf curriculum with an underpinning of Enki philosophy is working really well for us. We are enjoying what we are learning. We don't spend hours and hours everyday in focused pursuit of education; we have free time to play and explore and live ~ time where significant education occurs.

No, sometimes I am confused about goals and how to set them and when they might be achieved. For example, I've planned for us to work on researching and writing a 3 - 5 paragraph essay, and honestly, I can't help but ask myself why? Why would a 9, 10 , or 11 year old need to write an essay? Is there a benefit to be gained by teaching now vs. in several years when such an essay might be expected from them?

I know why I put the lesson down on my plan: it is time for it to be taught, according to someone.

I am your typical homeschooling mother. I want the best for my children, not just in terms of an academic education, but in life. I do my best to trust that they will learn what they need to learn when it is time and I worry that I am not doing enough in terms of teaching skills.

I look at the plan and think about my children and know that taught now, the lesson will fall flat. It will be work instead of pleasure, a struggle, a place of discord within our day. That is enough for me to know that now isn't the time to teach it. I believe in challenging children but only so far as it is within their interest and ability.

Despite my strong belief in rhythm and my decision to use a curriculum with my boys, I still lean heavily toward unschooling. Not as a method, but as a philosophy. A belief that my children will learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. I don't take so far as to not bring anything to them, and I still require math practice and penmanship practice. But I do try very hard not to sweat it when something I have brought to the boys fails to make complete sense right away.

I am learning to trust my instincts. We won't pursue the 3 - 5 paragraph essay this block because I know that it would lead to a month of frustration and discord. They aren't ready, not because of any intellectual deficiency, but only because they are children and they don't communicate via written essays. No, I think we'll pursue writing heroic epics instead, as that is something the boys have actually attempted on their own many times.

1 comment:

Tan Family said...

Trust your instincts! Most 9 year-olds are not ready to do such complex writing, and to force it might make the child shut down. I think that you can definitely do Waldorf/Enki inspired homeschooling, but with an unschooling approach. I find that when I trust my instincts, the best homelearning happens! :)