Thursday, April 19, 2007

This is how we learn

Sometimes when I think too much about actually homeschooling my children, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. "What do I teach? And how? And when?" And on, and on...

I think that part of my problem is I place too much expectation on structure and planning, but that, for now, is just not how this family functions best. I would let myself get so frustrated if I expected our teaching times to follow a set structure or time frame when, in reality, my children are eager to learn all the time. I've resisted the notion of "unschooling" because it sounds so frighteningly vague, although in reality, I really love the idea of child led learning.

So I've been experimenting a little bit. Dylan, lately, has shown a particular interest in maps. We won't officially begin Kindergarten until this fall, but I thought it would be fun to start introducing him to basic U.S. geography. So, we've been reading silly books like The Scrambled States of America. (I love this book. We spend so much time poring over each page, laughing at all the silly little details!) I'm serving his lunches on a cheap plastic place mat that features, in bold colors, a map of the United States. We're playing state identification games like this one, which serves as not only a good map teaching tool but also an excellent way for Dylan to practice his penmanship as he writes out the state names. At lunch today, he tore off a piece of his peanut butter sandwich and said, "Look, Mom, this looks like Florida!" Sure enough, he held in his hand the perfect likeness of the correctly identified state. Tonight, catching a glimpse of the Weather Channel, he accurately said, "Oh, look, there's California." And I'm constantly finding freehand drawings such as this one lying about the house:

I know that "school" won't always be this easy for us. That there will come a time when schedules and structure will necessarily play an integral part of our learning. But, for right now? I--along with my children--am loving every bit of these fun and games.


mom-in-training said...

Oh, Melissa! I can already tell that you would be a great homeschooler! And what good students you already have! I can't get over that drawing of the United States. Oh my goodness. I couldn't even draw it that well! Amazing!!! And look at what Dylan has already learned! And he's already writing?!? I think he is a great example of what a good job you've already been doing at home!

I'm still new to the homeschooling idea, but I know many people who follow plans that are not necessarily structured. They do basically what you are doing now. And their children learn so much by it.

Like you, I feel overwhelmed by just the idea of homeschooling. But I know that God is leading me to do it, and if it is His will, then I know He will help me make it happen.

Steve said...

As well you should, Melissa. I know you're going to be great! I can't wait to keep reading updates on how it's going. I have already planned to homeschool after the 6th grade--so getting support from other homeschooling moms is going to be so crucial.

Continue to have fun watching and nurturing your children as the world opens up and just comes alive for them!

God bless you and have a wonderful Sunday.