Monday, August 25, 2014


Today I sent the following IMs to my good friend Laura who also homeschools:

Sigh....I'm getting that anxious feeling that I get when I feel like I'm not going to be able to DO IT. I want so much to do this awesome mashup of Brave Writer and Project Based Homeschooling but I'm afraid that it won't feel enough like "learning" to me and I'll sabotage it. I am afraid to trust it, even though it really seems philosophically sound.

  I don't want my kids to be "schooled" I want them to learn how to learn, but I only have an example of being least until graduate school. And in my regular, non-school based life.

 After a nice chat with Laura more time reading today and corresponding some with Pam (Noodle's super fantastic writing tutor/mentor), I'm feeling better.  I'm actually feeling pretty excited, but I'm trying to keep my excitement real since by now, going into my 8th year of homeschooling, I know that reality has a way of kicking even the most delightful plans in the shins. But I am excited, and I hope that I can remember to have a more Zen approach to the hiccups and interruptions that are inevitable in any life, but especially in a life with twin toddlers.

One thing Laura mentioned was that she has an easier time feeling productive if she blogs about what gets done. I relate to that as well. Even though in retrospect I find it amusing how I blogged about our little accomplishments and projects when Noodle & Spud were in early elementary, I felt happy and productive. As they've gotten older, I've felt more pressure to do things that seem more like regular school, and in the process a lot of the joy has left. One of my primary goals this year is to make room for that joy. To cut out what really doesn't need to get done and spend time learning as a family. Less school-at-home and more cultivating learners. In public schools we spend 12 (usually 13, more if you include preschool) telling kids what they have to know and what is important to learn. But throughout those years we are constantly asking them what they want to do or be when they grow up. Do we really expect them to know when we don't give them a chance to develop their individual skills and talents now?

I have a talent for school. I was always an excellent student, and most of the time that corresponded at least somewhat with being a pretty decent learner. But I haven't been in school for almost 10 years now (I defended my masters' thesis two weeks before Spud was born), so that talent of being a student doesn't serve me that well now. The talent of knowing how to learn does, though. A major mistake of traditional schooling, as I see it, is that the talent of being a student is the only one that is really measured, and therefore valued. There is a parallel track of being a good athlete or a good performer, but there are so many other talents that get ignored and go undervalued. We give every student the same box of tools while ignoring their natural gifts, and then expect them to do great things and have new ideas. I just don't think that's the best approach.

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