Leave it to me to take something that is pure simplicity at its core and turn it around into something complicated. It happens unintentionally; it always does. As a former ”gifted” student, I’ve always excelled in areas of academics but failed miserably when it came to common sense.
Unfortunately, simplicity is all about common sense, and therein lies the problem.
In this post last week, I discussed the panic I was beginning to feel with allowing my children to follow their own interests and the fact that I felt they weren’t following any interests. They just seemed to be existing but not learning. Every time I would tell them to pursue something…anything…they wanted to, I would get a deer-in-the-headlights look from them. They honestly didn’t have a clue as to what I expected of them.
So over the weekend, I started thinking that maybe we should go back to our old eclectic method of homeschooling. They seemed they were doing so much more self-directed learning after I would finish their lessons for the day. I even went so far as to tell them that, come Monday, we were going back to our old routine. Believe me, they weren’t happy about this, but I guess they’re used to my indecisiveness because they took the news better than I thought they would.
And then the unthinkable happened. After I talked to them about this, I noticed that they did more self-directed learning in two days than they had done in the four weeks since we began unschooling!
Arianna made her own lipstick, learned how to paint her nails in a swirl pattern, and helped her dad change the brakes on the car!
She also made her own makeup tutorial and uploaded it onto YouTube.
Dillon went snowboarding, researched all kinds of mods for Minecraft, and made several batches of playdough for himself and the younger kids.
The younger kids were making paper dolls, crafting with playdough, and playing games all.day.long.
These are the same kids that weren’t doing much of anything last week, other than arguing with each other or staring off into space while petting the cats!!
That’s when it hit me…I was to blame! I wasn’t giving them the space they needed to pursue their own interests. Sure, I was telling them to do it, but that’s the point…I was constantly telling them go find something to do, why aren’t you doing anything, find a project to do, etc. I also kept reminding them about making sure they were doing something educational, and I think the problem was that they didn’t think their interests were educational.
I took something as simple as natural learning and complicated it as only I can! I made unschooling into something separate in our life, instead of a way of life!
So I decided to give this whole unschooling thing another shot- with a twist. I took away the media blackout that I had instated because it made that period of time seem too schoolish. I also tried really hard not to interfere with their pursuits today. (I think I did really well, if I do say so myself!) I also made a point not to keep using the word ”educational.” As a matter of fact, London asked me if something was educational, and I replied, ”It doesn’t matter! Just have fun!” (FYI it was educational.)
So what did happen today?
Dillon worked on some crafts.
Puppets and paper dolls were made.
The kids played ”restaurant” for hours, complete with making menus and taking orders.
We watched A Little Princess. Arianna read it last year, so we watched the movie, and it’s a family favorite now. I cry every time I watch it!
I asked Arianna what she was supposed to be, and she said, ”I’m a fish-monster, duh!” Preteens…
Caollin journaled on her tablet.
We played a makeshift game of Twister using our living room rug.
Although I don’t have a photo, Dillon also made a YouTube video about how to download and install Minecraft mods, and Arianna emailed me her journal entry for today.
Would I count today as a success? Absolutely. When my children were actually given the space they needed without pushing or prodding, the learning continued beyond what I ever expected.
My lesson today? Keep it simple; don’t complicate things. I wish I would’ve realized this all along.
How has simplicity, or lack of it, affected you? Be sure to let me know in the comments!