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I’m Making The Rules NOW

A follow up on my Until further notice… NO MORE SCHOOL blog post that I did in another blog….
In the world of homeschool we are still doing nothing. Haden seems much happier, which for now is what I need. I have managed to try and “sneak” things in as I see the opportunity but I feel like I really suck at this not having a plan thing. I am trying to put what he needs above what I need on this though. It is tough. It sucks. My hope is that with more time I will adjust and all will be good.”

I wanted to add more to that, so I will start from there. In an attempt to try and embrace unschooling I decided to read another unschooling book to hopefully help pump me up about it and renew some enthusiasm. I have read a couple in the past. The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School and   The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom. Both very good books but at the time I just could never see myself being an unschooler even though I liked much of the philosophy. I don’t think I ever really let myself take it all in. 


Actually, let me back track. Lets go back to the very beginning. Haden must have been about a month old when I first thought about homeschooling. I more mentioned it to Michael in a joking way because I was so enamored with motherhood that I didn’t like the thought of Haden ever being away from me for extended amounts of time. Just mentioning it though was all it took to spark my interest. So began my researching and the realization that there were MANY good reasons to homeschool. So it was decided. From that point on I was a hardcore supporter of homeschooling and very much against the idea of ever sending Haden or any future children into “the system”.


So here is where I will mention my first mistake. I think the very first one I made was getting too excited about my future as a homeschooling mother. Thinking about what curriculum I would use when he was old enough to school, having pretty much “decided” how I wanted to homeschool long before it was relevant. I had it all planned out before Haden was one. Of course as soon as I could justify doing so, I started doing preschool with Haden. Trying to inspire learning through play and other activities. None of this is particularly bad. I think it was more my motivation behind my actions that started my problems.


When you start researching homeschooling, you read all these accounts of how smart homeschooling children seem to be. And who doesn’t want their child to be smart? I had grand ideas of starting early with Haden but making it fun so that he could be an early reader like so many I have heard about. For every story I have heard where kids started reading at 4, I have heard just as many about kids not reading until 7 or older. All of that seems to fall with the range of normal, when it comes to homeschoolers. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted Haden to be on the earlier end of that curve. Because didn’t that mean that whatever I was doing was working? That homeschooling really is the best option?


Who defines my definition of smart? Not just mainstream society but some of homeschooling society as well. I am seriously getting tired of other people’s opinions defining my life. Obviously I am the only one that can control that and so that is the decision I have come to.


So searching around on Amazon I decided to try out this book, Unschooling Rules: 55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education. It actually isn’t about unschooling as we think of it in the homeschool world. Just more about getting away from what we “think” education is supposed to be like when defined by our education system. I didn’t learn anything inherently new but it did serve to remind me of some things that I would do well not to forget.


Learn something because you need it or because you love it. This seems like a no brainer but it made me start to think about who defines what children “need” to know. I know many homeschoolers that base their curriculum choices and what they do each year around a set list of things that children that grade level “should” know at the end of the year. I know. I did it while preschooling Haden. What each child NEEDS to know is completely up to them. They will define the course of their lives and what information will be the most relevant for their future. 


Throughout life, everyone unschools most of the time. Most of the things we use in our adult lives, we learned through trial and error. Real life experiences or self-motivated self-study on something that interests us.


And a BIG one. There is no answer to how to educate a child. There may not be any answers. All I know is what is working right now. Who knows what will work next year or the year after that. What Addsion will be like as she grows and what I will need to change to be able to meet her needs.


All of this rambling to say that I am making my own rules now. I have lived my life in a very black and white type of manner for the past 4 years. Life isn’t black and white. There are not always definite rights and wrongs. Things in life are situational. I can plan every second of every day, if I want to try but I will spend every minute of those days feeling inadequate and never quite meeting my expectations. I’m just done with it.


I am giving myself the ok to hold one opinion about something RIGHT NOW and to be free to change my mind about it tomorrow. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite. It makes me an always growing person that is willing to admit that I am not always right. Mainly because I don’t think there really is a “right”. This blog mainly started out being about my feelings on my educational approaches with my children but I think it may have ended somewhere else…

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One Response to “I’m Making The Rules NOW”

  1. Clark Aldrich says:

    Thank you for your comments on Unschooling Rules. I love your description of the book.

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