Monday, January 24, 2011

Questioning schooling...

The Boy has been having difficulties with school lately. He is getting morning stomach aches. He just feels bad in the morning. He is miraculously 'cured' by noon when we have either called off school because he is 'ill' or because we have finished any lessons we had for the day. This has happened nearly every day since we started back in at the beginning of the month. I know this feeling, I've had this feeling. As a 43 year old adult I can name it as anxiety. Watching my 8 year old son live with it just makes me want to cry, and fix it.

Some history, in case you don't know it. When I pulled him from the brick and mortar school in Kindy we took maybe a week break from 'schooling' while we waited for our school books to arrive than we dived right in. The next year we started the virtual charter, which is lovely in many ways but not what worked for my kiddo. Very much schooling in the traditional sense with the exception you do it at home. This year, we went back to the math program he loved so much during Kindy and I have struggled to find a reading program he will like and learn from.

So now I'm questioning my adherence to schooling in such a traditional way (don't laugh it is kind of traditional, we do reading, math, history, and science) I think he is feeling like there is just no way he can do well. He is starting to think he is bad at school work and that it is too hard. Lately he has said he is better at history, and that is what he enjoys. Which is fine, and we can study that but I'm thinking we need a dramatic break...

So with that in mind, what I'm thinking of doing is something I've heard called 'deschooling' We don't do school work at all. We visit places, we read things but just for pleasure. There is no sitting down and working on decoding words, or working on the next math problem. There is just time to hang out. Now this is where I put the rules on it. It can't involve sitting in front of the TV or video screen spending the time being sucked into the boob tube.

Everything I've heard about deschooling involves taking months off, I'm not sure either DH or I can commit to taking that much time off of formal education. My thought is to combine it with February's Thing-a-Day project. We will not be working on any of our regular lessons, but we will not be watching TV. We will be reading, making things, playing games, and other fun things. If it works well and he seems to be thriving with the less structure maybe we will continue it into March, if it feels like we are floundering in a sea of 'nothing to do, can't I watch TV' then back to lessons it will be.

This is gonna be hard for me. This is going to mean I can't turn the computer on until 4 in the afternoon, since that in my mind is when he can watch TV again each day. That means no Facebook, no computer games, no tv shows. It will give us time to find creativity, and the fun in doing things, rather than watching things.

DH & I are thinking about it. Who knows, it may not be the right track. I may be grasping at straws but what I will say is what we are doing right now is not working, it is not making him a enthusiastic learner, it is making him an apathetic learner. Isn't this one of the advantages to homeschooling, changing things mid course to find something that will work?

1 comment:

Principally Speaking said...

it is indeed the best part of home schooling - no set curriculum or time lines. You can adjust as you see the need and continue the tweaking throughout - GOOD LUCK!