Teaching style. Such a HOT topic among homeschoolers. It seems that if you join a group of homeschoolers that subscribe to a certain style (i.e. Charlotte Mason or Classical) you may frequently find that if you don’t go “whole hog” and do it exactly as described, you sort of get shunned. Well, as I’ve said before, I am a firm believer that you don’t HAVE to choose a style. Sure, it may be helpful for many reasons, but it doesn’t mean it’s a requirement. And if you do decide to stick to one path, you still have the freedom to add your flair. If you’re a follower of my blog, then you probably already know that we fall into the eclectic category. We do have a stronger emphasis on Charlotte Mason, but we don’t follow all of the “rules.”
For the past week we have fallen right into the unschooling mold. On Saturday I bought a giant (probably 5ft tall) cardboard rocket ship for the kids to color. I expected it to provide maybe an afternoon of entertainment. It quickly became Bug’s top priority. The first day he colored non-stop. He eventually decided to put his tool kit inside the rocket so that he could do repairs. He donned his space helmet and went back and forth between simply pretending to be an astronaut, and coloring/decorating the ship. Even Baby Lady got in on the action. At one point they were both covered in marker, and Bug strongly resembled a green panda. This led to many talks about space (though that is a VERY common occurrence in our house), especially asteroids. Some time later he developed an elaborate story about a robot mouse who helps him on the ship. The mouse even helps fight bad guys! This prompted Bug to put notebook and colored pencils in the ship. A space log. He needed to be able to write things about his mouse. He is only 5 though, so he tires very quickly when writing. Yet he still has SO much he wants written down. What to do!? Good news! We have Brave Writer to help us. We LOVE Brave Writer. The Jot-It-Down phase of the Brave Writer program places me as his scribe. He gets to use and develop his writing voice, and I am there to capture it all for him. I can’t say enough good things about Brave Writer, my enthusiasm is through the roof. Ask anyone who knows me, I won’t stop talking about Julie and her program. All of this space business led to us playing a lot of Sums In Space. I stumbled upon this game while looking for fun ways to help with math facts, and it’s awesome.
So here we are at the end of our school week, and we spent most of it “playing” and disregarding our regular curriculum and routine. But so much was learned! There was reading, writing, math, and science! I know the term unschooling, and it’s description, may sound silly; but playing is learning. At this young age there is nothing wrong with child-led learning. It is so important to make learning fun for them. It’s most important for us parents to be their guide. Follow their lead and secretly make everything a learning opportunity. After all, that’s all life is, a giant learning opportunity. I want my kids to NEVER stop wanting to learn. I want them to see every day as a chance to learn something new and exciting. So, if that means that sometimes we’re unschoolers and sometimes we’re classical, and sometimes we’re Charlotte Mason-ers, that’s OK. I heard someone talk about tidal homeschooling once. The concept of following the natural ebb and flow of our life seemed to fit in perfectly with what I want us to take away from our homeschool experience. So the fun of the rocket ship seem to be waning a bit, making room for the warm weather we’re having and a lot of outside activities. We’ll follow the tide and always learn something along the way.