My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

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Monday, December 31, 2007

What's Unschooled?

Nikki from Blogs for a Cause asked me what "unschooled" means in my "About Me" bio. My boys are unschooled.

To me unschooled is a form of homeschooling where we don't follow a curriculum. We tend to take advantage of learning opportunities we encounter within our daily adventures. I do not believe that government ordained curriculum are in the best interest of all kids and particularly not mine. For the most part I haven't found homeschool curriculums that meet our needs, either. Nor have I found a private school. (Plaid uniforms, yuck!) (Sometimes the silliest things can be a turn off. But seriously I don't share the religious philospophies of private area schools. )

Having said that, my oldest son has gravitated towards a online Florida Junior/High School this year. He completed keyboarding as his first class with a 100% final grade (brag alert!). This semester he is taking Language Arts and Science, both 6th grade classes and he would be in 5th grade if enrolled in public school. He is also taking the advanced track (the other option is the standard track) for both his current classes.

Nikki's question is timely also because I was going to write about what we learned during our vacation days these past two weeks. We have gone from a very informal and non-demanding routine to a very filled schedule for William. Besides his online classes, his real life extracurricular activities are Hebrew School (meets twice weekly), karate and drums. I was glad to get a break from the pace these past two weeks.

Taking a break from school does not mean you are not learning. These two weeks have been unexpected good "unschooling" weeks for William as well as the other boys.

We planned to go to the ICE show in Orlando, a holiday ice sculpture. They keep it 9 degrees in there. We learned about proper dressing for the temperature and got to see ice art sculptures and experience something different. My boys all tried ice skating that day. Scott did very well for the first time. We saw a Rock and Roll Holiday show with laser and smoke. I have drum bangers. This was very important for stimulating for their creativity.

The buffet on our day trip offered opportunities to try new food. The favorite was dipping the strawberries in chocolate. Not an experience we will be doing anytime soon at home in my sugar-free zone.

Both grandmas have dogs that the boys help with when we visit. One grandma has a little orchard. Grapefruit, oranges, and lemon are in season. We picked and now they are helping me juice. Again new experiences. It's important to know where food comes from before it goes to the grocery store. Agave nectar replaced the sugar and makes great lemon aid. The sweetener is also great on grapefruit. Anyway, you get the idea. Meaningful learning can take place in a variety of settings. It doesn't have to be at the desk in a classroom.

The boys have had annual evaluations each year. The level of work William is doing this year shows that what I have done from him in earlier years has been the right thing for him even if he seemed behind at different points. He has transitioned well from unschooled, to one elective class, to two advanced-track classes.

This homeschool post is about my first year of unschooling. This post is also a chapter in my upcoming book. A version was also published in the Florida Parent Education Almanac, the state homeschool quarterly a few years ago. By them publishing it, gave me proof that the school year was a credible year to someone official. :)

I am sure I'll have more to say about homeschool/unschool in upcoming posts.


Scarlett_333 said...

Cool! I have heard of it before, but never knew what it meant. Thanks!


catalina said...

Thanks! Congratulations for being so accomplished in this arena!

It's like in the old days, you learned everything you needed from your parents .. and now they want to take that away from the parents. Or .. better yet, the parents give up that privelidge. I like the idea of "unschooled" and plan to continue it myself. I can't wait for more posts!

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