Wednesday, February 23, 2011

where the boundaries ‘lie’

We follow the model for Classical Education as described in The Well Trained Mind, by Wise & Bauer (minus religious education).  Well for one month we did anyway.  That month when Beach was willing to let me lead her learning.  The one that started on a warm Saturday morning at the pool with her lap swimming free-style perfectly & ended on a snowy Saturday with her kicking ass in the back stroke.  I sat on the bench with the other parents on the edge of the pool watching & balancing my coffee carefully writing curriculum, planning every move for the week to follow.  

The next day, Sunday in Jamestown, not the one in New England, the one created in our front room with blocks to give her something interactive to do while I read Early American History we found ourselves drifting from the path to follow Beach’s interest not in settlements & ships, or of kings & queens, but in quirky little details of settlement life.  Leaving curriculum behind us moving cautiously from the Mother Country of Classical Education to the new savage land of Unschooling, heading our own adventure in pursuit of happiness & those ‘little candles with the plate built in’.

Afternoons reading in my bed, board & card games, hours in the mountains along rivers, piles of Eyewitness DVD’s from the library, & the seemingly random fluttering of topics replaced a set curriculum.  She was happy.  ~The End~  But wait there are two of us here & my need for some structure (aka control) didn’t go away.  At heart I am a manic Dictator with a secret selfish agenda of sameness, ritual, & order.  Together we are like Pride & Prejudice…& Zombies.  No, not that bad, but we are a little bit The Giver meets Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

So, we settled on the island of ‘in-between’ where we don’t quite technically ‘home school’ or ‘unschool’ but work nicely between the two ideals.  I offer materials & plans until Beach either pushes them away or runs wildly & happily off with one.  My job then is to let her go, offer support when & where she requires it.     

We still keep a History & Science note books in the style suggested by Classical Education standards & loosely follow the time line for history.  The rest of her learning is up to her.  She likes to write so we learn to spell.  She loves working in quality workbooks as much as she loves puzzles, mazes, & hangman.  She loves science & math so we pursue them daily.  She likes to read & we read a ton!  Another remnant of Classical education whenever possible we read whole original sources, sort of a soap box issue for me :) 

Our time is now defined by days at the Gymnastics Training Center where Beach puts in 2.5 hrs twice a week as a competitive gymnast.  Her coach describes her as a hyper-focused perfectionist who is popular with her team mates & the very best at standing at attention (lol).  Well then, I suppose a little unschooling can’t hurt, ‘at ease soldier’.      

 Favorites we have read:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Winnie-The-Pooh, Charlotte’s Web, Pippi Long Stockings of the South Seas, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Forgotten Door, Harry Potter books 1-4, and the whole Ramona series.        

Favorite educational games:

  1. Sight Words Bingo, by TREND
  2. LIFE
  3. UNO
  4. Busy Bug Collector, by Lauri

Home school agenda this week:

  1. Finish the Giver & The Five Little Peppers.
  2. Start Harry Potter book 5.
  3. Pick a topic science or history & begin collecting information & data for a report.
  4. Spelling the days of the week & months of year.
  5. Create our own Mad Libs.
  6. Do a dozen or so workbook pages in BrainQuest Grade 1 & Grade 2.   
  7. Study Ancient Egypt (again).
  8. Start The Wind in the Willows.

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