Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homeschool Re-boot

I have been a unit study kind of gal for the last five years. For you public-schoolers, unit studies are in depth studies of things, events, or issues that your child is interested in, or that you think they might be. For five years, this method worked for my kids individually and as a group. We have studied a huge variety of scientific, historic and artistic ideas seamlessly as part of our life. If they wanted to know about chocolate, we studied chocolate, but we also studied the chemistry of how it is produced, the South and Central American cultures that first used it, the math ideas behind cost of production and profit margins, the European places that are now famous for their chocolate and then cooked up some chocolatey goodness.

This year, we all (kids included) flipped out and bought curriculum. Blame it on having a teenager for the first time, blame it on this being my seven year homeschooling itch, blame it on aliens reprogramming us, but for some reason we all panicked. I think for me it was two words that loom just nine months away - HIGH SCHOOL - and for the kids, well, they said they would like for school to have an end. HA! Now some of our new books have been great for us (New World Explorers), some of it has been okay for us (Marvel's Math for Second Grade) and some of it has been dreadful (5th Grade McMillan Math Text). Unfortunately much of it has been dead boring. School for the first time has taken on the look of deepest punishment; sad faces, groans, crying and anger.

One of the hardest, but best, things about homeschooling is recognizing when something is NOT working and being able to say, "I don't have to keep doing the same thing for no reason. If this is NOT working for MY family. We don't have to keep digging ourselves into this hole!"

We have been life learning this week (thank you week of flu germs) and they have LOVED learning again; chemistry, writing, art, design, cooking, math, history... They have come to me with a million questions and I have looked up about 999,995 answers. I didn't know the melting point of dark chocolate (high quality is 93*F), the heat at which a body denigrates (1600-1800*F), or the reason that certain smells are bad and others good depending on the person (thank you Medical News Today!). I am happy to report that I did know that outdoor planting season here begins March 22nd. Yeah me!

Their lack of love of this kind of school has pushed me to remember that I am in charge of this show! If these materials are causing my kids to hate learning and life, then there is something wrong with the materials, not them!

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. " ~Alvin Toffler

So this week, I am unlearning and relearning what school looks like at our house.

1 comment:

  1. That is one thing I love too. You can find what works! I love that quote in have used it before. Can't wait for tomorrow!