Thursday, July 31, 2014

Unschooling

I have a huge flaw as a mother: I will probably not register my children in formal schooling until mandatory schooling laws kick in for... first grade. Yup.

On paper, there aren't really names of schools or addresses to write down a school history. Thankfully my pediatrician never batted an eye this spring or last spring when I declined the preschool forms at Abigail's and Evan's annual physicals. Thankfully my husband and the kids' grandparents are supportive.

This slow acceptance of unschooling or homeschooling is a hard move for me. I'm trained as a public school teacher. My husband has been in ministry on public university campuses, and is training to become a pastor. I fully realize that if my kids don't attend public school, then meeting non-Christians can become hard.

The preschool that Abigail attended last year provided everything I am looking for in this season for the kids: learning to respond to and obey another adult leader, socialization, a mix of free play and hands on activities. At the same time, it isn't the same environment as a private preschool I toured down the street. That school had art lessons that explore masterpieces, a French immersion classroom, weekly music and movement lessons from a professional dancer, and in-depth weekly themes... and it cost three times the price.

It made the teacher in me wonder, can I do this? I've mapped curriculum. I know how to access and incorporate state standards into a unit plan. Language teaching spans broad themes like art, music, literature, science, and history... surely I know how to take a theme that the kids love and expand it to reinforce their knowledge and add new learning.

That's when it seemed more convenient to me: in this season of frequent moving, keep the kids engaged in the home preschool. They adore Miss Rachel. They know many of their peers for next year. It's affordable, and I can extend and enrich their weekly classroom learning on the days they are with me at home. We will likely move in the middle of Abigail's kindergarten year next year. If I homeschool her, then she doesn't have to go through as many transitions. If I homeschool Evan with 3/4 year old preschool activities, then I lesson plan once for both kids, and just have differentiated activities. Our family can remain a one car family a little longer, and we can fully take advantage of the free zoo, free science center, and free art museum that are minutes away.

Bring on any state required documentation!

Our themes so far this summer and pics of kids engaged:


  • Memorial Day
  • Medieval Period, Castles, Knights, Daily Life
  • Camping
  • Beach and Ocean, animals, environments
  • Storms, how it rains, how tornados form, what different clouds mean
  • Dinosaurs, names and types, carnivore, omnivore, herbivore
  • Garden, vegetables, butterflies, bugs and underground creatures, eating fresh foods
  • Fourth of July
  • Lemurs and Madagascar
  • Moon, space travel, constellations, gravity, orbiting, phases of the moon
Kayaking on camping trip #2

Fourth of July StL parade

Set up their own "tent" for camping under the table

Pill Bug soil exploring

Apes and Primates at the zoo

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