Two years ago, I read it takes 3 years before you find your homeschooling groove.
I was all, “Girrrrl, please. I know what I’m doing!”
Since then, I have floundered around quite a bit. We started with School-at-Home.
Then I saw Charlotte Mason out of the corner of my eye and we headed in that direction.
Then I corrected course toward Interest-Led with an Unschooling bias.
Then I started thinking those weird Latin Moms had a few good ideas (you know who you are).
Then I suffered a panic attack, because I finally had it narrowed down to Relaxed, Interest Led, Slightly Unschool-y with a side of Strict, Organized, Classical.
And those two philosophies seem pretty opposite.
Probably even the road to Crazy Town.
After much thinking, reading, talking, researching, Twittering, and whining, I think I have a plan. At least for now.
Obviously, Big is at the age where we are mostly focused on the basic skills. I’ve reduced our formal, scheduled subjects to Math, Literature, and Spelling. Math is the only workbook. I finally realized the other workbooks were just busy work. Astonishingly, Big retains more when we do less. Now that he’s a reader, I can hardly keep him in books. We are working our way through a stack of Real Literature, as well as a bunch of read-for-pleasure books.
The part of Classical Education that appeals to me the most is the rigorous thinking. I’ve said before that one of my main objectives is to teach my kids how to think, not what to think. From the ideas outlined in The Well Trained Mind, we will steal Latin, Math, and Logic & Rhetoric. We will being Latin next January.
Everything else: Interest-Led.
It is unfortunate that we have been conditioned to think kids aren’t interested in anything but video games, and that they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to learning. It is sad that we assume if they had their own way, they would do nothing. A discussion for the damage the school environment does to the desire to learn is for another time; however with my own children, I can barely keep up with their interests. They have the attention span of a gnat, but also manage to be insatiable. A passing conversation with my son reveals interests in Words, Geology, Outer Space, Geography, History, Gardening, Machines, Sharks, and of course, Volcanoes. Little wants to know more about Kittens, Ladybugs, Fish, Horses, Swimming, and Pink Stickers.
And so, we will Notebook everything we are interested in. Presently we are Notebooking Vocabulary, Book Summaries, Science (we are ladybug farmers!), and a 50 States in 50 Weeks sort of a thing.
That’s the plan. Some hard stuff, some easy stuff, and lots of fun stuff; stuff that they have to learn, stuff they want to learn, and stuff they will learn because someone else has an interest in it.
Kind of like real life, right?