So, here we are. What seems like Week 100 of Homeschool, but it’s actually Week 6. I’m becoming frazzled and I feel like no matter how much I try or how many damn printer cartridges I go through, it’s not enough to be engaging. To the kids or me. To be honest, I’m bored. I haven’t found my niche, yet. And that’s why I’m writing this today.
Charlotte Mason, Delight Directed, Unschooling, Deschooling, Delightfully Mason, Undirected…..Ahhhhh! It’s all running together. I knew from the beginning that my kids or I didn’t fit into a certain type of curriculum or method, but the more I get into it, the more I wonder where the hell we fit. I’m lucky in the sense that they both learn in essentially the same ways, but buying “manipulatives” just isn’t in the budget. So, I’m relying on good ole Mama to act a fool some days just to get their attention. I sing, I dance, I run around the living room and after about 30 minutes, I’m tired and they lose focus.
So, back to the drawing board for this Mama.
I’ll start with Charlotte Mason. She is apparently the goddess of all things homeschool. The pioneer! I, on the other hand, think that although some of her methods sound promising, taking my kids outside for 3 hours a day so they can learn in nature, just sounds asinine. It’s 29 degrees outside! She must’ve lived in the most temperate climate in the world. I realize she lived in a time where children played outside more. Hell, I did, too. But, Ms. Mason, I’m not teaching nature studies while my children and I freeze. Our next step will be studying anatomy when our fingers start to fall off from frost bite. I do like her “living book’ philosophy. It seems like a grand idea and we do have a great library in our tiny little town, But, teaching math from literature? Um, no. Teaching literature, grammar and composition from literature. Um, ok. Sounds good to me. Actually sounds pretty cool. Now, how to plan the lessons. Do I read every book first and try to pull lessons from them or do I read with the children and let them find the lesson? I can tell you one thing, my Doodles won’t follow that very well. The concept sounds great, but especially Doodle 1, won’t give 2 craps about where a comma goes in a “living book’. However, a “living worksheet” will grab her attention just fine. Ms. Mason’s love for children is something I can get on board with. She believed children were people and treated them as such. This I love. This is what I can take from this method. What the Doodles say actually matters and their input is important. I also, think that her dictation and narration method could help Doodle 1’s written expression difficulty. I’m digging that.
With that, we turn to Delight Directed. A method that seems to use your children’s natural interests to facilitate the learning experience. This also sounds pretty great in philosophy. Letting the Doodles follow what Delights them would be so great. But, there are no lesson books on Minecraft, Terreria and now in Doodle 1’s case, boys. I can see how they would be more interested in things that delight them, but even with the small bit of structure and direction I would give them, we’d spend all day on a tangent of thoughts and we’d never learn about any one thing. It would be a jumble of information that their little minds wouldn’t process in one day. Much less, a year.
So, on to unschooling. To me this sounds great! I could let them tell me what lessons they’d like to do and I’d write them with them and we’d then go frolic in a wheat field in our homemade hemp clothes. No. I in no way mean to deny that this is a very functional method for other people and I don’t mean to put it down. It just wouldn’t work for us. We’d spend 3 weeks on a study of Lego’s followed by a 6 week study of the in’s and out of an IPad. I wish this would work for us. I wish I knew someone that this worked for. I read something about one family that was studying astronomy when their child was eight and then when the child “wanted to”, they started learning to read at ten. What?! Maybe that sounds extreme, but I swear I read it right. Unschooling seems like Noschooling to me. But, I admit, it sounds like a hell of a lot less work for me!
With all that said, where in the hell do we fit in? A combo of these methods is the obvious answer, but I haven’t found the happy medium, yet. I do get a lot of books from the library to support our lessons. So, there’s a bit of Charlotte Mason. I do try to make lessons that the Doodles will be interested in. So, there’s a bit of Delight Directed. And I do get off on tangents and tell them about the fun that is a nerve synapse. Like the impulse is jumping from lily pad to lily pad. So, there’s a bit of unschooling.
My books are coming in next week from the most amazing secular used book distributor, The Back Pack. Here in ole North Carolina (I’m in no way affiliated with them, but they have been so helpful that I couldn’t help, but add them into this piece) I will have books, but no curriculum, so that is where my confusion comes in. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment. I feel like I’m in one of those bad dreams where you want to run, but your feet are stuck to the ground. And you’re being chased by the State, I mean monster, and you’re screaming and nothing’s coming out! Oh, I’m screaming to the Homeschool Gods, alright. But I’m pretty sure not a one can hear me.