Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Beginnings

Here we are again...

Our adventure has led us further from the beaten path. For those of you who have been following our journey, thanks for tagging along. For those of you who are new to our story, you could best describe our learning mindset with this quote, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

You can catch up by starting here: Adventures in Cyberschooling.

I have been reading a few books this week about homeschooling. "The Lifetime Learning Companion", by Jean and Donn Reed is my current favorite. There is a story in this book that is helping me format my plan for this new endeavor. The Reed's son becomes intensely interested in sharks. He reads every book they own on the subject and asks for more. They point out that when he first showed this interest they might have decided to direct his study so it would include things like history, sociology, geography, etc. They could assign readings and test for comprehension and retention. But the thought never occurred to them. They allowed him to plumb the depths of this topic on his own. Because of that, he kept this interest for two years and learned many things about sharks, including all those topics they could have tried to tie in if they had been directing his learning. He more than likely would have lost interest when asked to confine that exploration to someone else's plan of study. They would have put out the fire!

I want to be VERY careful to avoid that pitfall as we move into a format where I have more control over curriculum. I do not want to kill the boys' desire to learn by over-directing their exploration of the world. There are certain things I know they must learn to give them a good foundation. However, does every child in 5th grade have to know the exact same facts about the United States government? Does every 2nd grader need to be capable of writing in cursive? In short, do we want cookie cutter children growing up to populate the world?

Leaving the comfort of detailed planning is going to be a tough one for me. But I think it will be worth it for my boys down the road. Anyway...what's life without a little uncertainty?


Jessica said...

I have only been homeschooling since January and already I have had a shift in my thinking. Being an ex-teacher I thought for sure I was of the classical mindset, until I tried teaching that way. It did not work for me or for my daughter. I realized I am more Charlotte Mason with a bit of unschooling thrown in! I think as a homeschooling family you have to adapt to changing needs/interests/desires for each child. This will be the beginning of homeschooling 2 children as my older daughter was withdrawn from ps in June.

I enjoy reading your blog(s) and thank you for validating that it is okay to change philosophies and to change course to meet the needs of your family.

Good luck!

Cyber Momma said...

Thanks for your comment, Jessica. I used to think I was sure of where I was going all the I'm a little better at going with the flow. I guess homeschooling has taught me that!

Good luck with your own journey. :-)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like what you really want to be doing is unschooling or a combination of unschooling/structured learning. Ping me if you want some resources.