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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why You Should Thow Away Your Textbooks

If the kids learned absolutely nothing by unschooling I have to admit I'd still maybe choose to unschool simply because of the change it has made to our family life. I know that makes me sound like a terrible parent, like I don't care about my children's education, which of course I do. I do want my kids to have a great education but what is the point of education? Isn't the whole purpose of school to prepare kids for life? And isn't the best way to prepare for life is to simply start living? At least that's what all the unschooling sites, books and blogs seem to say. So instead of sitting down to fill out pages of arithmetic problems we go grocery shopping, we bake cookies or play monopoly or life. We count and multiply and measure and weigh things. Instead of reading science textbooks we have been studying our turtle (which we released last week after an explanation how wild animals are meant to be wild and don't really do well with long periods of captivity) and taking long nature walks, and examining different bird nests.

And in between the cooking and the games I realized kinda all of a suddenly how much better everyone seems to be getting along. I guess it's not surprising when I think about it. Without realizing it I created the same environment in my home that I was trying to get away from by homeschooling in the first place. One of the main reasons I started homeschooling was because I wanted to be with my kids. But spending all day doing math and reading lessons, trying to corral the little ones long enough to teach the older ones doesn't really count as quality family time. And by the time the school work is done the kids just want to be free to do what they want, free to go outside or watch television. And I just want some quiet time. But now they ask each other to play games, they watch t.v. together. Kyle and Ashley reads to Lacey and Lily. Donna watches shows with the little ones. And it seems like we have time to do all the things we wanted to do but never had the time. One example of this is playing cards with the girls and my dad. He comes over at least 3 or 4 times a week to play spades with me and the girls. It's so nice to see a real bond between him and the girls forming and I have learned so much about my dad and my own childhood during these card games.

I think the reason I like sonlight so much was because it did help make school time seem like family time. In fact I still enjoy reading my sonlight books to the kids. I think I've taken the relaxed time we felt while doing history and extended it to all our subjects. I struggle with whether or not the kids are learning enough but everytime I start thinking about going back to our old school ways something happens to encourage me to keep unschooling, at least one more week.

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