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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Experiment With Unschool

Well Monday we officially started unschooling. It's scary and exciting. Right now I'm calling it an experiment mostly to ease everyone into the idea of it. We have been on vacation the last 2 weeks and were supposed to start back to school Monday. I spent the 2 weeks reading everything I could find online about unschooling, I also read The Unschooling Handbook and The Teenage Liberation Handbook. I ran across the Unschooling Handbook at a used book store and since I've been interested in unschooling for a couple of years now I figured I'd buy it and try to work some of it's ideas into our curriculum. But this book just spoke to me in such a powerful way that well, one thing led to another and before I knew it I was suggesting this experiment. That led me to ordering The Teenage Liberation book online and after I'd read just a few chapters of the Teenage Liberation Handbook I felt hopeful that this could work.

I also spent the 2 weeks watching my kids, praying, thinking, and planning. This is some of the things I've come up with. First there are 2 things that -I don't know let's just call them principles that I try to live my life by. First, if I'm not happy about something in my life figure out what is bothering me and why and change it. Second, Almost nothing is written in stone. I can always change my mind. So I knew I wasn't happy so I started thinking of ways to change that. And one of the things I wasn't happy about was that I always feel/ felt so hurried and pressured. I realized how much more relaxed and happy I felt on summer breaks and my 2 week breaks. I watched the kids and realized the seemed happier on our break, more relaxed, not as whiny. Also I noticed how much more time I had. Time to read to the little ones, cook, or play games with the older ones. How I felt just free to really enjoy my kids, my husband and my life. At the same used book store I also bought some books about Shakespeare. I've been wanting to start introducing Shakespeare to the girls. One book is No Fear Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet and the other is a collection of condensed versions of his plays. Well I left the No Fear book lying on the table and Donna picked it up and began reading it. She really liked it! If I had assigned this for her to read she would of hated it! I'd planned on reading it aloud to her and Ash. Anyway this book sparked an interest in her that I really noticed. Since then we've watched a modern adaption of his play The Taming of The Shrew ( 10 things I hate about you) and watched a DVD called the Reduced Shakespeare Company. This was SOOOO funny! We laughed so much! Neither one of us understood it all because we aren't very familiar with his plays but it gave us both a desire to read more of his plays! I noticed that Kyle spent alot of time building things with Lego's and playing outside. And Lacey and Lily both spent time coloring, helping me cook and looking at books. Lacey is always asking how to make letters and how to write this word or that. I noticed Ashley and Donna both liked to take long walks. Ashley likes to cook. Of course they both like watching T.V. and playing on the computer and texting their friends.

So I came up with 2 rules for our Uncshooling Experiment.
Rule # 1- No TV or computer until after 3:00 Monday- Saturday
Rule # 2- Everyone has to read at least 1 chapter in addition to their Bible reading everyday. They can choose any book they want.
So what have I learned so far? That learning is FUN! That kids do want to learn. That I have been destroying some awesome books by forcing my kids to read them. I've learned alot about my own school experiences and how little I actually learned in school. And I've remembered how great my kids are. How smart, funny and insightful each of them are. I look forward to this way of learning and if I change my mind? Well, nothing is written in stone.

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