If you regularly read my blog you will already know that we are carrying out an experiment this year by alternating schooling weeks with unschooling weeks.
All this week I have been jotting down my thoughts on everyone’s learning during this our first unschooling week. I haven’t attached any judgement to these observations. I will, but just not yet. For now I simply want to record what I have observed.
- The first thing I noticed, and am glad I noticed on the first day, was that I place a different value on certain activities compared to others. I was mentally patting certain people on the back for their choice of activity whilst berating another for theirs. I didn’t vocalise this thank goodness, but I did wonder why it was so.
- The children did incredibly well with their devotions, their chores and their maths. Every day they completed these tasks to a high standard and without me even asking them, too. This is fairly normal but somehow I thought they would slack off during unschooling time and that wasn’t the case.
- They chose to spend a lot of time on their screens. This is an observation not a judgement (or at least I am trying to make it so). They did not waste their time whilst on their computers but it still jarred with me concerning the ‘rightness’ of having so much screen time.
- The children found a huge variety of activities to fill their time and it was definitely an eye-opener and a window into my child’s life/heart. Somehow, by allowing the children almost complete freedom I have seen parts of them I have not seen before.
- The children, when they are not conforming to expectations, become more authentically themselves, which is really rather lovely.
- It was interesting to see them problem solve alone. I have attempted to completely back off this week and wait until asked to help before I interfered. On lots of occasions the children have chosen to figure out their own solutions rather than ask me. And I have learnt to not step in and offer what I would consider a better solution. If they are happy with their solution, why should I not be?
- The younger two have played endlessly together, filling their time with imaginative play, reading to one another and just being together. It has been good to see a real blossoming of relationship between them.
- I thought I would see more arguing, problems with sleeping and general grouchiness. This hasn’t been the case at all.
- I wonder if one becomes a better unschooling mum the more one does it. I’m not very good at it. I worry that they are not doing enough writing. I worry that they are having too much screen time. I worry that they are not having enough time outside. I worry. I do so because I have effectively handed over control of their lives to them and that concerns me. Am I right to be concerned, especially given I work them like the Trojans during our school week?
So these are my meager thoughts so far. I wonder if they will change as time goes on. I, for one, am looking forward to finding out.
If you unschool, I would be very interested in your point of view concerning any or all of my observations.