Friday, September 19, 2008

A "Relaxed" Approach

So lately I've been using these phases a lot-- "we're just going to be relaxed right now" "we're not going to push him" "we're really not in a hurry" etc. These phrases result in a flicker of panic in my dear mother-in-laws eyes, which she valiantly covers. Why? Because I'm talking about teaching our 7-yr-old to read.

Hubby and I are in total agreement on an "unschooling" type approach to our homeschool. The reason we are not fully explaining this to my honeys parents at this time is because they are already completely panicked about us homeschooling in the first place. In fact grandfather has to try really hard to even be nice about, which I must admit he is doing a great job at. I know what he really thinks about it though. He is convinced that his grandsons will grow up ignorant, unable to attend college or get a decent job. He completely exploded the first time his son mentioned homeschool (I know this was out of worry for his grandkids). Grandma is not quite as panicked, but still unsure. She wants to know lesson plans and how much progress we are going to make this school year etc.

So for now we aren't revealing our real master plan for our children's education. I envision near-future pointed questions about our plans for the year. I also imagine using an approach I recently read on someone else's unschooling blog. Pointing wildly over the questioners shoulder and shouting "Is that a UFO!!!!". When they look I can run in the opposite direction...

I personally think "unschooling" is such a negative name. We should rename it something positive like "Life Education" or "Living Learning" or I'm drawing a blank. I know these are cheesy and sound more like organizations than a way of life and learning. I'm pretty sure I came up with some better ones yesterday and now I've forgotten them.

I'm praying for wisdom about how to talk about this subject when it becomes unavoidable. If we lived farther away we could just say "We love you, we're raising our kids how we want". But, living on the same piece of land we are definitely in each others space daily which gives plenty of opportunity for meddling. I don't think my father-in-law will ever agree with our choice to homeschool (although you never know, miracles happen) but I want there to be peace in our family. I hope all our parents can trust us to raise their grandkids well, even if we make decisions that are vastly different than their own were.


fshmatt said...

Very interesting. I appreciate the fact that you and red are doing what you feel is right. I am also glad I get to watch and learn. I think that I would have done better if mom had waited for me. I had a really hard time learning and there was a lot of "stress" involved. Even after I learned I only read books such as peter rabbit and the like for about three years, maybe four. It wasn't until mom challenged me to read some thing harder and I borrowed redwall from sarah p. that I started reading novels. I love reading and writing and math and science, all that stuff, but looking back on things, I jumped into a lot of it way to early. I know that you are going to get a lot of critisizm but the ends will justify the means. Critter #1 is a smart kid, real smart, and when he is ready I'm sure he'll pick reading up in no time.

JM said...

Hi, I'm so glad to have found your blog! We're a homeschool family and our son is also seven. We go through an umbrella school right now but are very interested in unschooling. I think it takes guts to do what you are doing, in the situation you are in. My inlaws live four hours away and I still find them very intimidating.