Embracing Unschooling

I’ve felt strongly since the beginning of our children’s educational journey that homeschool was the right path for our family. The part I’ve struggled with is figuring out the best way for us to homeschool. We’ve tried using awesome physical curriculum, and we’ve tried awesome online tools and apps… They’ve all been so helpful, and they all have their place, but none of it feels right at this stage in life. Mason is young and adorable and he needs his mom and brothers to interact with him. He doesn’t nap anymore, so schooling while he sleeps is out of the question.

The only way Mason naps lately… And we pay the price when he won’t go to sleep at bedtime.

Lately when I try to have any kind of one-on-one formal lesson with the big boys, Mason breaks down because we are ignoring him. Then I get frustrated because of all the constant interruptions, and my mood rubs off on everyone. It’s not fun for anyone, and I end up feeling super annoyed with Mason all day. These adorable young years with him are fleeting, and I don’t want to spend all my time feeling like all he does is irritate me. I want to enjoy him, and I know his brothers do too.

Natural Learning

Flash back to the past few weeks: I’ve let the kids learn freely, and gave them a break from any traditional curriculum. Kender really wanted to learn how to play the piano, so we invested in a little Yamaha starter keyboard and the Piano Academy app and he’s been learning how to play. He’s doing SO well! He also got super interested in coding, so we’ve been trying out different apps and programs to teach him JavaScript, and we invested in a Raspberry Pi so he can tinker and code on his own little computer.

The boys have also shown interest in sports, so Ryan got them signed up for a bunch. They just started gymnastics, and after one class, Kender learned how to master his front flip on the trampoline:

He’s my hero 💕

Rhett is obsessed with Lego’s, and spends most of his time using his imagination to build these amazing little masterpieces. He uses the Lego instructions app to find builds he likes, and then he recreates them using pieces we already have. I feel like it’s been really good for his motor skills, problem solving, creativity, and engineering. Maybe more!

Both boys decided they wanted to each have their own garden this year, so a few months ago we bought some seeds and we planted them this week. They’ve been so good about checking on their gardens and watering daily!

Experimenting with protecting our seedlings with Mason jars… It worked well for some, but others got too hot and died. Lesson learned.

We didn’t use any formal curriculum, but they were free to learn based on what they were interested in, and we provided them with what they needed to pursue those interests. I think that’s the key to unschooling.

Insecurities

Sometimes I feel awesome letting the kids learn and explore naturally, but sometimes I get really insecure and feel like I need to be doing more, and I need to be doing it more like public school… But whenever I try, I always end up stressing out myself and everyone around me. So I’ve begun reading up on unschooling, and learning how to let go of all my expectations. The state of Washington requires me to keep homeschool records, but they don’t specify how those records are to be kept – so I’m going to use my blog to document our learning adventures. I feel like that will help me to see what the kids are learning as well, and it will be my fun little scrapbook. It’s basically what I’m already doing, I’ll just do it more often. I’d like to write about what the kids are doing daily, but I’m not sure if that’s a realistic expectation… So I’ll try for at least twice a week. Wish me luck!

Til’ next time,

April

Author: April

• family • gardening • chickens • meat rabbits • homeschool