Thursday, April 17, 2008

We all need some semblance of planning to get us through

We all need some semblance of planning to get us through.

Even I as a kinda unschooler.

As Theresa notes, unschooling is not defined by what we don't do but by what we do. She quotes this article ~

2. Forget about what we are NOT doing. Far too often the focus of unschooling becomes what we are not doing. When we find ourselves starting to describe our philosophy in negative terms (we do not follow a curriculum, we do not do worksheets, we do not limit our learning to school hours, we do not force the memorization of facts and figures), we need to stop and consider the message we are communicating. Unschooling isn’t about creating a vast landscape of things not done. It’s about doing. We interact with our children and respect them as individuals. We follow their interests, and we follow our own. We explore and learn alongside them. We are open to new ideas and experiences in a multitude of shapes and forms. We act as facilitators when their interests lead them to subjects we cannot personally help them with. As unschoolers we do, rather than do not.

Someone said to me at dinner the other night, that he thought my kids were clever and intelligent but couldn't figure out how since we did so little schoolwork ( he knows our family well!). I think he was thinking of all we are not doing and not of all we DO.

I fall into the same trap. I get into survival mode. I wonder how we will fit eveything into our lives.

When I am feeling overwhelmed ( too much to do) I have found I need to sit down, perhaps when kids are asleep or watching a DVD, and put thoughts on paper. Getting it all on paper, in a notebook or journal - or blog , clears my head.

I pray.

I also write up rough schedules - yes I am an unschooler but I need to see that it *is* possible to fit everything into my week! Or where I can simplify. OCD or something.

Of course, we never follow these schedules but having them helps me feel better. I know it is possible to fit everything in.... I also make up meal lists and ideas lists for spending time with the kids and any formal work.

Can you see I am a list maker?

And I remind myself, when I feel that we are in survival mode, that I am getting the most important things done, that I am after progression not perfection, that there is time to do everything God wants me to do, don't rush it, take time to enjoy it. These little mantras keep me going when I have a tendency to feel like I am just treading water or always playing catch up.

I plan by the seat of my pants - typically I use my personal planner/diary and jot down activites/bookwork as I think they will fit into our weeks or as I hear about a good idea and think - well, Friday is free so we might try it then.

As for a log, I vary from year to year. Last year, I designed a form with curriculum areas and sample activities listed - I could circle what we did and add a note every few days.

This year I have returned to my old standard - in an attractive notebook, I write down what we do in brief note form and the curriculum area. Technically I do this daily but in real life, it is every few days.

So, Monday the formal work I had suggested was working on writing, maths sheets, French homework.

What we actually did looked like this in our log ~

ENGLISH Silent reading; more writing on novels
MATHS Numbers TV show - pursuit theory; Kumon
LANGUAGE French homework
ARTS Music practice
SOCIETY AND ENVIRONMENT Reading Horrible Histories magazines; reading Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
TECHNOLOGY Computer; Design - model making; Food and tech - make pasta and home made bread for dinner ( one son's turn to cook)
PE/PD/HEALTH Trampoline; weight training; Work ed - work at Mum's Kumon centre.

So why am I writing all this down?

These are ideas we have been discussing, at the 4 Real Learning Forum and at the Unschooling Catholics email list.

These are also ideas that I am sorting through mentally ( mentally as in silently and on my blog! ).

Sorting through as I look at my family's lifestyle, my work commitments, the whole issue of time with the kids and with dh.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I agree about the lists and journals! It is how I keep my life in order and i know I don't have to keep everything in my head b/c it is written down somewhere.

I plan out my week every Sunday night. Put in my workouts, appts, to do's for home, boys, etc.

And the most important stuff gets done. :)