So I haven’t written about homeschooling for sometime now. For the majority of this year I participated in the weekly TOBY Homeschool Highlights which is a wonderful way to wrap up a week of learning activities for those who are Torah focused. Although my children are learning all the time, I just I haven’t found it in me to write an update since Sukkot. I guess with my studies, the farm, personal and family growth through Torah…I’ve been feeling a little burned out about homeschooling. You’ve seen the odd post over the last year or so about natural learning or unschooling. I will admit that I have been trying to find a way to satisfy my natural inclination to just let the children learn from life in an unstructured but meaningful way (which just happens regardless of whether I notice it or not) while alleviating my fears of not providing enough evidence of learning for the Education Department and all the while feeling like I just don’t have the passion for ‘school work’ like I used to.
I know that my children are learning simply by the fact that they are living! I see their natural progress as each one of them asks us to teach them and provide the tools needed to obtain information that they want in order to better understand the world around them.
I read this article from Beverley Paine this morning and I can so relate I wanted to share it here…
I remember the day I recognised that my motivation for asking my children to do ‘book work’ wasn’t so that they would learn something (academic) but because I needed reassurance that they had, despite ‘doing nothing’ for a few weeks, had actually learned quite a bit. Instead of asking them to do bookwork to learn I started asking them to do bookwork to keep my paranoia about the effectiveness of homeschooling at bay. By doing a few pages of book work for a few days they could quickly and efficiently dispel my lack of confidence (until the next bout of doubt would hit).
My children didn’t like doing bookwork for reasons that didn’t make sense to them. Helping mum feel okay and reassured was, to them, a legitimate reason for doing something they really didn’t want to do.
What did my children teach me? Life isn’t about achieving goals that will one day lead to a better paid job: it is about building relationships and friendships and giving our time selflessly to others to help them feel okay too.
© Beverley Paine
So I think for now, that is what I will do when it comes to bookwork; just ask them to do a little bit for me and apart from that, we will continue to play, read, farm, talk… live and learn…and I will keep reading to figure out how to turn that into something that the department will be satisfied with.
Maybe I might have something for a TOBY highlight this week, too. We’ll see!