The official first day of school for our district was on Monday, August 29th. My oldest would have started in kindergarten. Instead he spent the morning sleeping in. Just how it should be. We read books, played video games, basically a typical day in our home. His first day of school picture is him curled up and asleep in bed. Getting all the rest he needs so that he can grow and function through the day. I was so worried about my choice until Monday came around. Then I realized that this is the right choice for us at this moment in time. The future may dictate something else but for now this works. He can learn at his own pace, play when he wants, sleep when he wants, most importantly he can learn what he wants (which I assist with). Not to mention the freedom to go with Daddy’s schedule and not miss out on that valuable time.
So this is purely my opinion of the matter, since everyone feels differently.
I think the hardest decision I am facing with homeschooling, is what method to teach my children. I have been homeschooling since the birth of my oldest. It has been a decision I was set on before he was born. Fortunately my amazing husband has agreed and supported the decisions I have made in regards to our children’s education. I have looked at a lot of different methods for homeschooling too from standard curricula (like in a classroom or school) to unschooling (the far opposite end where it is child-led learning). When I first read about unschooling, I was against it. I thought “How can a child learn that way for everything they need to know to get through life?” . So I moved on and kept looking. Well I came across it again when my son was a little older. This time I joined groups, talked to people, and found success stories. Children learn things on their own from birth: how to hold up their head, how to grab something, how to eat solid foods, and I could go on. A child is naturally inclined to pursue things that are beneficial to them. Yes there are exceptions for those that need extra assistance due to disabilities or other issues, and unschooling is probably not the best fit. In general terms though, a child is eager to learn new things and as long as the parent/guardian is there to help the child in pursuing their interests then they will learn.
For me, I really do like what we have experienced the last 5 years with unschooling. My oldest has learned all of the basics (numbers, colors, letters) with my assistance when he was ready to learn them. Then he started getting interested in letter sounds, how to add and subtract numbers, how to read. Well I have helped him when he needs help. We research online things he wants to know, recently was how a dog can see when it is getting dark out. He uses a calculator to add numbers together and he loves it! He is learning how to read with a little of my assistance but mostly just from me reading every day to him and his brother’s. I do have concerns though from when I was going to school to be a teacher and from having family members that are teachers, including one who was home-schooled and has some social issues. I don’t think radical unschooling is for my family. We set limits on things and have a bedtime in place. I want to be sure my kids are not behind on grade level things that they should know. I also do not want to sit down with a curriculum every day and force my kids to learn something they are not interested in at that moment.
Ultimately this is the hardest choice I am facing right now. I want my kid’s to be free to pursue their interests but I also don’t want them to get so focused on one thing and neglect to learn anything else that they will need to be successful when they are adults. Not to mention, with unschooling I will have to face my family who already does not like the fact I homeschool let alone a child-led method. Fortunately it is only time to start kindergarten which is an easy year. I can postpone making a decision for another year, I hope.