Educational Activities, and learning what’s right for us.

I’m not sure yet what form Owen’s early education will take. As a family, we haven’t decided. We’ll see how options pan out in the next year or so. Our kid is 3 1/2, we’ll need to make the kindergarten decision within the next year. But I’m not leaning toward public school kindergarten or elementary in its current state, and our private school options aren’t better.

That’s basically not related to what follows below, just an intro because I haven’t discussed our school plans here much at all.

But I’m leaning this way –>

Recently on one of facebook’s more conservative homeschooling pages, someone who’s homeschooling a kindergartener posted that he’d had surgery and missed a week of school. She wondered how she could make sure he doesn’t get behind.

I honestly felt a bit ill reading that. Poor kid can’t slack off a week for surgery? From homeschool? Even if she’s in a state that requires record-keeping of educational activities and a minimum hours per year of “learning,” she can call a trip to the kids’ science museum three hours of science, and baking cookies together an hour of math and science, and reading books before bed half an hour of literacy. Because it is.

We’re not radical unschooly here, but I lean unschooly with very flexible-eclectic-as-desired mixed in. I like the idea of paying attention to where he could stand some foundational learning and first strewing (making materials and opportunities available for him to choose from) and then perhaps suggesting or requiring activities and classes to fill things in. I don’t think it’s best for every kid, but I think it’s probably best for most, when it comes to willful, creative kids whose bouncing off the walls is best managed by breaking down walls to begin with.

I don’t want to train him, I want to raise and educate him. I want him to see learning as fascinating and indispensable, not a chore. For some kids, a “brick and mortar” (wood and steel frame with stucco, here) school with teachers and desks and stoplight behavior lists are probably the best way to make that happen. For my willful, very bouncy, spirited kid, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. He and the teachers will drive each other bugnuts.

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Viewing sunspots. (L-R: Casey, Owen, Scott Hildreth)

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