Monday, March 14, 2011

We're Still Here ...

I haven't been writing because honestly, we've just been living and learning.  We haven't picked up a textbook or worksheet, logged into a spelling lesson, or done a block lesson since last December.  We've been seeing amazing results during this last unstructured period as the boys explore topics they are interested in and integrate that learning with all that has come before.

I love life learning.  I love watching my boys fill their days with what interests them and listening to them play wild games of imagination.  I trust life learning as an educational model because I believe that it is the environment we learn in naturally.  For those of us who go to school, life learning is what happens before that first day we are handed over to a teacher, what happens when we aren't at school or doing homework, and the main method we return to when we have finished with institutionalized schooling.  (Don't get your panties in a wad because I used the word institutionalized with schooling.  Schools are institutions.  Get over it).

However, just when I think that we have completely embraced life learning my boys start clamoring for more focused work.  This is the boomerang that is part of learning at the Living Oak Academy.  We start the year focused.  It trails off a little and the boys grab the freedom and start to run away from lesson work.  They speed farther away, flying.  And then, they turn back, and the start wanting a little more direction, and soon enough they are back at my side, asking for a Waldorf block and planned math lessons.

I have learned to just go with it.  I don't get to live with a definitive label hanging over us, such as Waldorf homeschoolers or unschoolers, or even the often used eclectic, which doesn't mean much of anything anyway, but I can handle the lack of definition.  We find that we don't fit in with specific groups of home learners either.  Waldorf homeschoolers will always be aghast at our periods of unstructured life learning (environment, rhythm, health!), and unschoolers will be more than aghast at our periods of structured learning (meaning that I may be ruining my children for life by choosing what they will learn for a given time period).

It doesn't matter to me.  If my boys want lessons, I will provide lessons.  Previous trips on this path have taught me that after two blocks they will start wandering again, so I will give them Ancient Mesopotamia in April (with Gilgamesh as the literature focus) and Ancient Geometry in May.  By then they will be ready for the expansiveness of summer.  Come September it will be time to draw back in and begin our boomerang cycle once again.

2 comments:

connectedroots said...

I know you only through the Enki HF group. I didn't know you had a blog until a friend pointed you in my direction as I processed our experiences using the Enki curriculum, what we love and what we yearn for: a little more freedom, a lot more child-led learning, a lot more being led by our passions all with a continued emphasis on feeling connected to each other and this beautiful, complex universe. Anyhow, not sure whether you read these comments. If you do, I want to say a very deep thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your journey. Your struggles and your celebrations, your ideals and your realities, they all feel so familiar. There is great comfort in a shared journey, even if it is in cyberspace.

Brynn

Sunshine Alternative Mama said...

Thank you for your kind words, Brynn. I remember you! I do read and respond to comments. Are you still using Enki and volunteering with the HF groups? Beth was always supportive of my choosing to use Enki philosophy without adhering to dogma.