Friday, January 6, 2012

here is something i wrote about our educational/learning journey.

Josh (hubs) and I had not intended to homeschool when we had our first son. We moved out of grand rapids up to greenville because the school district was “better”, a blue ribbon winner! Woo hooo, right? Well josh started reading and researching politics, the principles of liberty, freedom, reading founding fathers etc. one day he had asked me if I had ever thought of homeschooling the boys. I replied “are you flippin' crazy!?!?!" he said," you should look into it". Well I had to then, I was very curiuos. I started researching anf reading, searching the web and asking questions. I read about John Taylor gatto ( ) and picked up his book “dumbing us down”. This began my education on the educational system itself. After this I knew I would not send the boys to school.
I read and looked into a bunch of different homeschool cirriculums, styles etc. (there are SO many out there). We never did buy a full, complete cirriculum, but I did pull pieces together, math mammoth for math, teach your child to read in 100 lessons for reading, story of the world for history, etc. I really like the ideals behind A well Trained Mind, I loved how Waldorf education incorrporated nature and peacefulness. When Ike reached school age (preschool-ish), I started to schedule our day, morning on monday wednesday and friday was for math and science, the afternoons were for reading, art and anything we needed to finish. We had a hard time with the schedule. I would have to fight with Ike, and eventually Ian, to sit and do math for an hour. There would be time outs, punishments & rewards and taking away of “priviledges”. It made us all very unhappy. During this time I had noticed that when we did activities because we had an interest or it was fun or it was just part of our routine, ike would “learn”. Days, heck weeks, later he would start talking of things he had seen or learned on these”fieldtrips” through our daily life. Not only would he tell me about them, he would also tell me where his thoughts lead him to. He was thinking, making his own connections and forming his own opinions and thoughts about stuff we had seen and talked about. Along the way he has learned to read and do math (addition and subtraction). He was learning without pencils, without books, without a schedule, without cirriculum, without teachers and without force! He was learning because HE wanted to!! It was an epiphany! I started looking into child led learning. How great! But we were still trying to do "school" at home. I would have to fight with, threaten, yell to get the boys to do their “school” work, even if I knew it was something they were interested in. I was still using force and coercision to get them to do “school”. This never sat well with me. I also had issues with spanking, time outs, punishment/rewards, and taking things away. I had issues with the general view of children by most adults. I started doing a lot of thinking. The way that we were homeschooling and living with our children didn't fit together or with our philisophical thoughts and beliefs. Most peoples thoughts/views on children didn't mesh with our beliefs either, so I didn't/don't have examples of different parenting styles. I had heard of unschooling/natural-learning and always thought they were crazy people letting their children run amuck. But I did some research (because I get asked lots of questions on homeschooling and unschooling does come up every once in a while) and started reading John Holt's book, “How children learn”. Another epiphany! WOW! I dove into unschool research then. WOW!! what a match, it was great to finally read somethings that I agreed with, something that didn;t make me feel like I was going against own thoughts and philosophy. This made our life and our education one thing! There wasn't school time and the rest of the time. There is just life, and we learn by living. (I am having a hard time here expessing what I want you to know about this because it is more than just about the education. This is about our lives together as a family and as free thinking individuals.) Our whole outlook on children and child-rearing (if I must use that word) has changed, and changed dramatically. But dramatically for the good. We are still at the beginning of our unschooling journey (the last epiphany happened just before Thanksgiving!). there are things i need to work on that's for sure. i am a novice. We are still de-schooling. Hubs and i are de-schooling from everything we were ever taught about school, parent/child relationships, education.....the list is long. the boys are de-schooling from having authoritarian parents. it is a process, a life long one! i have noticed positive changes in our family already. 
this is the journey we have traveled so far, it gives you an idea where we are at. hopefully you find this info useful. if you have any more questions, please ask. this is just a brief introduction of sorts.