Thursday, January 29, 2009


I was looking over my blog and began to feel sheepish...most of what I blog about are my projects...not the kids' projects. I was looking at Camp Creek Blog, which is all about self-directed learning and began to worry that I am doing too much of the directing.

Greta seemed to notice I needed some bucking up.

She had shown no interest in drawing or writing. Recently she suddenly decided to do both. She started off the day after her 4th birthday drawing faces on her helium balloons that had lost their loft.
And then she asked Evelyn for help and learned to write her name.

And she moved right along covering stages that Ev and Clem covered slowly between the ages 2-4 in two weeks.

A couple days ago she saw my mom's pen and inks hanging in the kitchen....
And decided to do her own birds:

Ev and Clem took up knitting. Ev is finger knitting here and you can see her blue and turquoise knitting on needles in the background.
And Clem is excited to sew together her finger knitting into a hat.
Which is all great, but I have a problem. The entire project this blog purports to describe has been called into question.


gina said...

And yet it reflects the actual goings on of a homeschooling family. I think it's a nice way to point out how things happen... no matter how you plan them or what sounds good in theory. Keeping it real is the best thing you can do- it helps other's who might be wondering about the same thing in their own lives.

I for one- love the theory behind unschooling- call ourselves unschoolers and yet struggle to actually TRUST unschooling. I hope my blog reflects that.

Today, based on a commment about dolphins that was made to Shaye on a previous post (you know the one), I found her googling away, saving pictures, gathering info and creating a post on her blog. I swiftly copied it and posted it to our homeschool blog also- because it reflects a shining moment of unschooling in our lives. But trusting the moments that aren't so AHA is the tough part.

Luckily , we are all in it for the long haul- and I think, at the end of the day, we will be left with authentic archives of our homeschooling adventures.

Ashish said...

I think your blog is about a process, not some well-defined end goal. And I enjoy reading it. So there!

gina said...

How did she sum up all that I was trying to say in TWO SENTENCES?!??

Susan said...

Thank you both for all the support! And it makes me so happy that my comment inspired Shaye. It is true that I value this blog as an archive--it is an excellent back up for my ever more poorly functioning internal archives.

Sometimes the kids don't have their own projects...they fall into a fallow period and I start designing curricula...but I am thinking I have not been doing enough to facilitate the interests that do arise...although I have to be careful not to squash interests with too much enthusiasm, too.

Today I took them to Michael's to buy yarn and knitting needles (with their own money). So I give myself a check for facilitation without excess enthusiasm. :)

gina said...

I think we are making a trip to Michael's tomorrow- the girls have asked for "real" water color paints... and we are going bowling tonight.

Barbara said...

I think it's just part of the homeschooling/unschooling journey to be working on that balance between providing structure and energy and inspiration ourselves and sitting back and letting them make their own magic.

I find good things happen at lots of points along the continuum. And honestly we'll have a week with a lot of stuff initiated by me and I'll think, "Wow, that was great, I need to do more stuff like that!" And then we'll have another week in which (either intentionally or now) I initiate much less, and the kids come up with remarkable things. So at least in our family, there isn't a magical balance point, there's just a lot of fluidity.

I'm still figuring this out. I figure that will be true forever!

Stefaneener said...

You know your children are doing wonderful things all the time. If you need reminders, I'll tell you about my days any time.

patricia said...

Hope you can pardon me for being so behind on my blog reading!

I think all your readers have figured it out--unless you're radical unschoolers, the balance between parent direction and kid direction is what homeschooling is all about.

I try my hardest to provide structure in the sense that I make sure we gather for some time each day. And I make suggestions, and offer resources. I help them keep in mind different areas of study to spend time with. I offer myself as a reader and a secretary. But I try to let the kids decide, for the most part, *what* they're going to do. As soon as I start guiding things too much, everyone gets surly real fast. And I make that mistake far more often than I'd like to admit--a few times a day, surely!
But every year I think I relax a little more.

I think your subtitle gives your blog project free reign--it does say, "and everything else, including the kitchen sink."

JeaneP said...

The nice thing about direction is that it can always change either by your influence or someone else's or even without you realizing it is changing - so it's not so much how it gets going but how you react when it takes on it's own path - reigning in or giving free reign. It makes my heart sing with the directions you've all chosen and chose and that they ensnare Dad and I too!