Easter morning, we were reminded that Keegan can get really excited about legos, and Quinn can be very organized and all business when it comes to candy.
It's been awhile since I've written about our life. I suppose I have been waiting to land in a groove that I liked, and seemed to agree with us all, before writing about where we have been.
In reflection, I could have gone into unschooling a little differently. Making the big announcement that we would now be unschooling, and encouraging the kiddos to do what they wanted with their time, didn't really work out for us. It resulted in alot of TV, computer, video games, and ordering mom around-doing all their bidding, so as not to disrupt their bliss. It also seemed lonely and separated. I kind of felt like an unconsidered servant, and I think I was even called a servant a few times. I would say those were not happy times for any one in our family. I got to the point where I could not stand to be at home(with them), so we travelled. I mean we travelled, which was great. But we came back to the same happenings when we were home. Their interpretation of unschooling seemed to be screen time, and everyone accomodates their pursuit. My defn, somehow got scrambled to....rationalize how they were learning from this, and don't feel bad, angry, sad, unhappy, depressed, okay,.... enough. We will not be unschooling anymore. This, of course, is the very brief version, of 7 monthes of our life.
Unschooling is over, Mom's back in charge, pick a curriculum and we will use it. Quinn had missed our sit down time together, and wanted to start Oak Meadow again. Keegan wanted to do K12, like his friend, Jack. We started with a vengeance. School, activities, chores, responsibilities, then free time(which they still think of as unschooling time-screen time).
So we exhausted ourselves with that plan for a few monthes, remembered why we chose homeschooling to begin with...and I started to relax. This time I did not post that a big change was about to occur. I noticed that during our sit down time, they had so many requests for things for us to do together..... reading, looking up information, playing games, playing instruments, art, sewing, legos, cooking, writing letters, making cards, making jewelry, gardening, finding answers to questions, going to Red Rock, Springs Preserve, the park, painting....all things that do not interest them when screen time is available. While we were sticking to our schedule and curriculum, I was saying "we'll do that later, or after" a lot. Q eventually called me on it, and pointed out that I say later, and we don't do it later. So we started doing it. We sat down, and some days used the curriculum, but when they presented ideas, we started going with them.
We soon realized that our very busy schedule was keeping us from going with things, so we backed off. We quit cheerleading, finished swim lessons, and cleared our schedule a little. I think we have found a balance that suits us all. Our sit down school does not hold us back from experiences. But we use sit down time together, whether school or something else to keep us grounded. When we are home everyone pitches in to get the housework done, then we have sit down time, where we either do something I planned or we do something they want to do. We put off screen time till the afternoon most days. The kiddos create wonderful cooperative adventures with each other when the screens are off that sometimes takes the place of our sit down time, because I am so amazed at what they have created, I couldn't think of interupting. They still have time with the screens to pursue those interests. It's just that now they also get to have other experiences that inspire other interests to pursue!
We now have fallen into a groove like what I hoped would be created the first time we attempted unschooling. I learned alot from experiencing it the way we did, including that abrupt changes are confusing to everyone, and that they like feeling their mother's strength and a little structure. This time feels better. We are having fun, laughing together and learning things from each other. We have mostly pleasant days. It now feels like everyone is important and considered. Dad is happy too!
I would say we are doing our version of unschooling-but don't tell my kids!