Curriculum, unschool, charter online…..?!?!?!

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We are getting closer to the end of our first year of homeschool. I have learned more than thought I would. Such as, teaching on only 3-4 hours average sleep per night is not a good idea, makes me a little less patient and a little more grumpy. Anyways, I’m learning a lot of really good things, too. I’ve learned to pay attention to what the girls are actually interested in. I’ve learned to let go a little more. Starting the day with what we are thankful for puts our focus in the right place. And that diffusing the right blend of essential oils in the room keeps us all calmer.

I never thought I would homeschool. It was a terrifying idea to me. Yet, here I am. And I am willing to continue. Not only continue, but the idea of unschooling is more appealing by the day. I still don’t quite get it, but I’m learning and reading. What matters most to me is that they learn because they want to, that they have the chance to pursue the things that are interesting to them. Because it no longer makes sense to teach a subject for the sake of teaching it. And because they don’t really retain it anyways. We are doing some early state history and my 4th grader is bored out of her mind with it-she hates it, she doesn’t want to learn about Oklahoma. She wants to learn about Africa, Asia and Europe. She wants to be a world traveller. She also has no desire to read the assigned books-they’re not particularly entertaining to her. She likes books that are funny. So, rather than keep forcing her to learn what bores her-I’m letting her set the pace and pick what she prefers. Does is really matter as long as she is reading? I don’t think it does. And honestly the state history of OK is pretty depressing. We had a discussion about Native Americans being forced from their homes and moved to OK. She gets it, that it was political and wrong. She has the makings of an activist. She also wants to learn code, film-making, creating mine craft mods, etc. And she wants to play an instrument.  Looks like we’re already on our way to unschool.

This entire year we’ve been connected to an online public charter school. I won’t be using this post to discuss in-depth how arbitrary and unnecessary I think state testing is, but let’s just say I hate it and I’m not doing it again after this year. It’s inefficient and tells me nothing really. Good-bye public education.

Then there’s my 2nd grader. She loves to move. She loves to be read to and her reading skills have really expanded this year. She is interested in aerial dance, horseback riding and wants to play cello. She cannot sit still without her attention totally captured. And as much as I like Oak Meadow’s curriculum that we’ve been using through this charter school-it isn’t quite cutting it. There’s a lot of second-guessing myself, am I making this interesting enough? Are we doing this “right”? I am the student that mastered the school system, but I left it still not knowing what really motivated me, what was interesting to me, what I wanted to do. It took until I was 29/30 to realize that I love science-specifically how the body works and what it needs to really flourish. It fascinates me. I feel like a sponge. I want my girls to have that opportunity now, not when they’re 30. Being well-rounded isn’t necessarily good. Learning to suffer through learning something you don’t care about isn’t really learning. (looks like I’ve talked myself into an unschooled after all)

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3 responses »

  1. The first year is always a learning year, mostly for the parent! Once you see what doesn’t work, it’s much easier to find what works for your kids. You will probably be surprised how easy your second year is in comparison. 🙂

  2. It is such a struggle. We started with a district curriculum online, and quickly decided it was just school – in our house. And the whole focus was the problem. My son is an artist. After reading several other family’s experiences, I am working toward a student-led, interest-driven school day. I have some basics of what a 4th grader ought to know that help me map out lessons, but at the center of everything is ART, and lots of it. He creates, while I’m reading the history lesson, or the literature. He hears, he understands, but he retains it better because his hands are engaged in something he loves. He builds and creates constantly. I am just tucking some lessons around the edges. Good luck, and I look forward to reading more of how you manage this.

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