When you look at us right now, though we’ve just moved into a new home with a homeschool room, you’ll see unschooling. We’ve flipped the May switch. Fewer languages to study and more projects. Less sitting in one place or formal structure, but still lots of learning.
At the end of April, I have them write down what they’re interested in, perhaps what projects or craft ideas. If you’re thinking, it’ll be screens. Well, they’ll want to catch up on the latest Netflix series or zap a few moving candy canes, true. But I’m not one of those moms that ever encourages that skill. We all come by that skills easily enough. Each morning after breakfast and wifi time I ask, “After math, piano and dance practice, what project do you want to work on today?”
So they put things on their list like…
- Forensic science kit. Or physics science kit.
- Gather tree limbs for burn piles (okay, this one is mine).
- Discover the many ways to cook chicken.
- Do the Mindbenders book.
- Make pizza dough for tonight’s dinner.
- Play the survivor game and see who can go under the water at the river (It’s the beginning of May. It’s cold. This is mountain run off river water. Carpe dunkem. But here’s an activity I don’t want an invitation to).
- Write my stories. (There’s nothing like listening to a seven year old share his mall shooting story that ends in tragedy: mom was shot).
- Read their books: Horrible Histories First World War is a favourite of the youngest right now, The Mother Daughter Book Club, Life of Pi, and War & Peace (yes, you read that right, and no, it wasn’t my suggestion).
- Learn why ooblek acts like quicksand, and find many other reasons to mix non-edible stuff in the kitchen.
- Learn new opening moves for chess so my son can win a bet with his dad.
- By far, our favourite project is learning to take care for our new kitty!
Since we are new to our home, we’re also working on our new backyard together, as it is presently a forest with a handful of blasted rocks thrown in, plus a gorgeous view of the lake/river (depends on the time of day and when the neighbouring dam is in action). We are cleaning up raw land. There are many sticks to burn and spaces to clear and fresh air to consume.
Moving to a new neighbourhood, there are new families to meet, teas to drink and new babysitting jobs to pursue. With all that extra time, the girls can consider what other part time jobs they’d like to pursue. Learning to craft an email soliciting job interest is an education. Should she pursue the full time library position for the three summer months? Or take her part on stage in the chorus for the Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat local offering? Should she take me up on an offer to paint the greenhouse and earn a couple things for her bedroom? Or try to finish the on-line English course on time? So many things to consider.
There’s more freedom in the project season, but in some ways there’s a little more work. Because I need to pay attention a bit more, think about how they can pursue their interests and find the resources. So I’m listening more to them than they’re listening to me.
Still, lots of learning in the project season!