Thursday, January 6, 2011

What is unschooling to you?

What is unschooling?
This is a term throw around in the homeschool world and it is one of those words that there really is no right answer as to what it is. Ask 20 homeschool parents and get 20 different answers! Some people think it is just taking time off from ALL schooling so that they and their child can decompress from public school, clear their minds from what has been drilled into us by the public school system and be fresh and clear to start the homeschooling adventure. For some people, this can be a few days, a few weeks or as one woman told me....1 month off for each year in the public school system. For other people, unschooling is a way of life. They abandon traditional teaching methods and either fly by the seat of their pants, teach their children what they deem fundamental or even teach something daily that pops into their head.
None of these is considered wrong! The joy and benefit of homeschooling is the adaptability to make your homeschool day what it can and will be to work for you and your family!
I love that part of homeschooling!!!
We used unschooling to be take a short break for 1 of my sons from public school, approx. 2 weeks and this was more so Mom had time to get a plan together!LOL He was an accidental homeschooler and basically, I felt he had been beaten down in public school and lost his way. I felt that taking a short break would let him get his head together and let Mom decide what the heck we were doing! With my other son, we did not do unschooling at all! He LOVES school and had already played around with the homeschool program we use, Time 4 Learning and jumped right in on a Monday after we had pulled him from public school.
Even during our breaks and holidays we still do not really unschool. We still do spelling printables, free reading, science experiments that need to be tended and PE using those new bikes Santa brought them!
Even before we homeschooled, I was a firm believe in an idle mind is a wasted mind. We used Summer Vacation to read, practice math drill and spelling practice because I felt that 3 months off from ALL learning just let kids mind go to waste and most teacher's worked too hard to get my child working to let it go away.
So, in our house unschooling is a short break that we debrief from either public school or homeschool but we still manage to squeak in some sort of learning.
What does unschooling mean to you?

Phonics made easy at HOME!

Remember going to school and having to do phonics? Well to be honest I never learned phonics but it was something my boys experienced in the short time they went to "regular" school. Ok well in some of the states we lived in anyways! Since it wasn't anything that I was taught, I was taught by site, I dreaded those read aloud days where you had to read a paragraph in front of the class! I would be reading mine in my head then read it really fast so that if I messed up a word maybe they wouldn't notice! (but of course someone who was a better reader than me always did)

Since I decided that my boys could get a great education at home, phonics was one of the areas that I dreaded the most. We have been working very hard on making sure that my boys don't have the same handicap that I had with regards to reading and sounding out words. And double bonus, mama is getting smarter too! We accomplish this by our wonderful online program that teaches the boys and myself with animated lessons. The other extra practice is with use of wonderful phonics games, and printable games that make learning the phonics sounds easier for us all. I think that my boys will come out ahead of the game with all the extra help that we are doing in this subject which almost helps with our spelling! (my other down fall!)

SO don't be afraid to learn something with your kids, especially if it is something that you always had problems with. They might just teach you something along the way!