I’ve been thinking a lot about project work and unschooling and relaxed homeschooling…about my children learning…about killing that with too much of my “to do”…about retention and memory and what’s really important. Some of this is natural for the time of year…coming up on a new school year. How to proceed? More planning or less? How much did they retain from last year? What worked and what didn’t? Some of this is coming out of our frustration with a four-year old boy and potty training issues. Some of this is coming out of reading new posts at Camp Creek Blog (especially this one on hands-on learning) and rereading back posts that I had printed off and saved in my collective education journal. My husband would say I’m just thinking about it because I’m nerdy that way and it’s what I like to do in my free time. (Who doesn’t like to sit down and read a stack of articles, magazines, printed posts, and books on the pedagogy of education? Doesn’t everyone do that to relax in the evening?) But, whatever the case, it is on my brain and I am revisiting thoughts I had last year and wondering if I can even begin to implement them this year.
When thinking about how to implement project work, I get caught up in the details and seem to have a really hard time letting go of control (an issue I have in numerous life areas). Or I try it and it seems to fail (have a theory that is more about me and not them). But then there are days like this one where it just pops up unexpectedly (which, if reading Camp Creek right, is the whole point of project work). I see a deep interest developing. Because it wasn’t part of “school” I allow them freedom in exploring and brainstorming ideas and things flow. This week, as I was more cognizant of it, I allowed for some of my “to do” to be let go of and their “want to do” added in. It made for less stress, math and reading was still accomplished and everyone seemed to enjoy school more. This is what I want more of. Less of me…more of them.
This week it is firefighters, which happened on a whim of dress up play and an innocent question from me before heading to the library. We found just a couple of books and one sparked a for-serious interest. It has been a week of deep-interest playing, constant question asking, and the desire to make this world real. I’ve had to stretch my imagination and pull out the recycle bin several times in order to conjure up the wishlist. But I see thirsts being quenched and I see project work being played out. I am trying very hard to stay out of the way, facilitate when needed and just observe and document (hence this post). These moments keep me from giving up on this particular learning style.
Of course, when these moments do pop up they seem more like play. My own doubts sway me to disbelieve that these moments can really become deep vessels of learning experiences because they seem to happen more with my littles (4-6 age group) then with my older. I need to contemplate on this…I need white space to think and wonder if it is me and my approach that is inhibiting the older child or if I am just not giving it enough time.
I will try and continue this discussion over the next few weeks as I am contemplating.