So first the thorough report on How Unschoolers Turned Out. I found this article quite interesting and I think you will too.
I mentioned in recent post (http://www.bubblews.com/news/6909420-i-am-back-and-in-a-far-better-mood) that there were some bumps in the road in our homeschool/unschool journey.
I’ll get to those bumps in a moment. First, I’d like to just talk for a moment about the highlights of our unschool week before I get all bummed out again.
This past week, we:
- Discussed B.C. versus A.D. – I was trying to explain the concept that with B.C., the higher the number the longer ago it was, and with A.D. the lower the number, the longer ago it was. We were driving at the time and Emily got by looking at the exit numbers. “Mama, on I-70 were going the direction of B.C. time, and now on I-435, we are going in the direction of A.D. time.” Yep, I think she got it!
- Meal Planning – I have been including Emily in the decision making of meals – not only when I’m coming up with the week’s list, but also showing her the ads and what is one sale, involving her in finding possible recipes, and asking her for her opinion on what particular meal we should fix on a particular day. She also helps make the meals with me sometimes.
- Navigation and east/west/north/south – I’ve been very impressed, she knows which direction we are heading about 75% of the time. Miles better than I was at her age!
- Antebellum History – We visited Missouri Town 1855 as part of our KC-CIRCLE co-op and it was fascinating! It provides a view of life pre-Civil War when much of our country consisted of rural farms and small towns. We also learned that oxen are not a special breed, they are simply educated/trained cattle. My husband refuses to believe this, which means I have work to do to convince him otherwise.
- Picasso Art – This was another KC-CIRCLE co-op activity. The kids were introduced to the works of Picasso and given artist’s trading cards to create Picasso-inspired art on. The theme was “happy.” Emily made three and we placed them in protective plastic sleeves.
- Computer Games – Emily has recently started gravitating towards computer games – mainly the free games on PBSkids.org. I have decided not to involve myself – if I show excitement or approval over the games, she stops, because she realizes they are learning games and that I approve. And recently she has been on a mission to subvert my every learning-centric move. More on that in Part 3.
- Story of the World – This past week we read about the rise of the Persian Empire and examined the workings of two city-states in Greece – Athens and Sparta – which were very, very different!
- Lego competition – Emily receives LEGO Club magazine (free to kids, just sign up for a subscription) and saw that there was a competition she wants to enter. We will put the finishing touches on the wording this week (it isn’t an actual model, but suggestions for a LEGO Friends Dream Resort.
Those were the positive aspects of our learning last week.
There were also drawbacks.
I mentioned about a week ago that I was putting together a history timeline. I wrote about it here: http://www.bubblews.com/news/6701854-our-homeschool-history-timeline
When Emily saw me putting it together she seemed interested and even excited. And that got me excited. It can be touch and go with this kiddo of mine. Anything that smacks of “learning” and she practically runs in the other direction!
In any case, after several instances of me reading Story of the World and asking her, “So, would you like to mark that date in the timeline?” – and her just shaking her head – I finally got a little frustrated.
“So, what is going on? Why don’t you want to use the timeline?” I asked.
She gave me an absolute crap answer. I can’t even remember it other than it was a blatant, “I’m pulling this out of my rear to placate you, Mom, because I have absolutely no intention of EVER touching the timeline.”
And I will tell you that it really depressed me.
I’m a pretty up front kind of gal. I don’t like subterfuge or trickery.
I can remember as a kid that my mom fixed a salad made of spinach leaves and asked me if I liked it. When I said yes, she smiled with a “I fooled you” look and told me what it was. I didn’t particularly care if it was spinach or not – but I didn’t like the feeling of being tricked. As a result, I’ve always tried to deal with others as I want them to deal with me.
Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t give me flimsy excuses. Say what you mean.
I basically told my kiddo she was full of fecal matter. Only I used that four-letter word. A lot.
I told her she could have at least told me I was wasting my time.
At this point, though, I am beginning to realize I may need to take a different tack with her than one that would work for me.
I ended up being down in the dumps all weekend. I just feel so defeated, and then I end up worrying that I’m doing her a disservice by homeschooling her.
I end up wondering, “Maybe I should put her in public school. Maybe learning how regulated her day would be will shake some sense into her.”
I can see it in her eyes, she has hit that age where she has transitioned from believing every word we say, to questioning us in just about everything. It is frustrating.
However, to involve the public schools means FOREVER involving the public schools. Even if she goes for a week or a month to school, and then decides she would prefer to be homeschooled, the public schools will continue to be a presence in our lives.
Once on their radar, we will, at the very least, have to file a yearly notice that we are homeschooling. My Libertarian leanings make this a less than optimal choice.
I don’t want this – for many more reasons than I care to list. So I thought about my approach and realized, “I might need to change my approach to better fit my daughter not my own preferences.”
And this may include sneaky learning. For example, if I really want her to involve herself with this history timeline I made, I may need to do it myself for a while, or set it up like I’m working on a super-secret project, a “Mama only” project that does not include her. By deliberately excluding her, to her face, I may very well encourage enough curiosity to hook her into the project. Once there, her excitement and interest would outweigh her preconceived notions and resistance.
So, I’m having to get sneaky, which goes against my very basic programming. When I weigh the alternatives, her in public school or her simply not learning, it seems like the only viable option.
I guess I’ll do what I need to do to make sure the learning happens.