Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beginnings in Unschooling

We thought we'd give a quick update on how things went this last month.  We had decided to go the unschooling route prior to Thanksgiving, but we found that we needed some time to relax into it, to deschool if you will.  Of course the kids did a lot of playing (and still do) and we tried to mostly observe and think about what it would mean for our family to implement some of these new found ideas.

We try to follow the wisdom of Sandra Dodd, "read a little, try a little, wait a little, watch."  Or as we Mormons are fond of saying, "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little" (2 Nephi 28:30 and Isaiah 28:10).

So we decided to get a little more serious about education in our home after New Year's (but don't tell our kids...).  Looking back, we have noticed that Anne has started to explore ideas on her own and loves her independence.  These past few weeks she has taken to saying how grown up she is.

Anne is into sewing.  She began sewing at the beginning of the school year, but after seeing a Christmas bag at church that she wanted to make, she has been hooked.  She already knew the basics of knot tying and stitching and she made several small projects, all on her own with no help or push from us.  She repaired anything she could find (patched her jeans, restitched my travel pillow that had a small hole, Lucy's ripped blanket, ...).  Then she started trying to make things that she saw in picture books she was reading, like a wallet.  We had ordered an introductory hand sewing book at Christmas that was on backorder.  It came a few weeks ago and has fueled her enthusiasm.  We now have several small pillows and some stuffed toys.  (Randy was even encouraged to get in on the sewing and made a sweet stuffed monster.)

Now, it was tempting to jump in and want to help her improve on her designs.  I mean, nothing was hemmed.  But we praised her up and down and we are waiting for her to see how she can improve.  And don't get us wrong, her projects have been good enough for her younger siblings to enjoy playing and sleeping with.

Since our primary goals for education are that they learn how to learn and love learning, we are encouraged by her behavior with sewing.  She is self motivated and largely figuring things out on her own, and she loves it! Right now we are not concerned with the subject of study as much as the enthusiasm for study, whatever it may be.

Of course there is a lot more than sewing going on with our family, but we'll leave those for another post.

Best meme suggestion gets a pretend prize!

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