Lately Kya has been interested in some extremely traditional schooling methods. She has three new sixth grade* workbooks (science, math and one ‘complete’ curriculum that includes math, science, language arts and social studies) and has been having a great time working through them. I seriously hate them.
These workbooks go against pretty much everything that I value about homeschooling. They concentrate on getting the right answer instead of the learning process. They are more focused on memorizing facts than understanding concepts. They put more emphasis on immediate results than long term retention. They put learning in a box instead of recognizing that true learning happens organically, through real life situations. They don’t individualize education, they standardize it. In short they follow the school model instead of the models of learning that scientific brain research indicates works best. But I still bought them because unschooling isn’t about dogma- it’s about following your child’s lead and trusting them when they express their needs.
Kya shared with me that while she loves homeschooling she was also starting to miss a few things about school. She enjoyed the workbooks, having a task and accomplishing it, getting stars and “Good job!” type comments at the top of her papers. She LIKED some of those “schooly” things that I had easily dismissed. I had to recognize that my learning style is not hers and what I value about education might differ from what she values.
For us this is the heart of unschooling. Knowing ourselves well enough to recognize our own needs. Trusting that we can share those needs with each other and be taken seriously. Respecting each other enough to help make sure those needs are met. So, even though I may not like the workbooks themselves I still love what they represent in our unschooling journey.
*Just a quick aside for the naysayers- despite having done little to no formal school work for three years she picked up school-grade level appropriate books with no problem. Life learning WORKS.