I’ve already told you about what unschooling is to my family and why I feel the need to set up a plan for our year. This post will break out a few more nitty gritty details of how I’m hoping to accomplish a planned unschool year.
Step 1: Figure out the boys’ interests and write them down. I gave them each a tab in a binder (binders have become an organization obsession of mine lately). C was very easy in this regard as I already know many of the things he wants to learn about. Things like birds, weather, corn, mustangs (the GT Supersnake in particular). I asked him what he wanted to learn and was rather shocked by his some of suggestions:
* Play tricky games
* World of Warcraft – logging on (Out of sheer adoration for his Daddy)
* How to teach the new baby to play (when he/she gets here)
* How to treat toys
* How to treat shoes
* How to treat ourselves
* All about our bodies
* Write numbers and letters
* How to be gentle
Biscuit wanted his own list. It was much simpler:
* How to write “Opa”
Step 2: To C’s tab, I added a sheet with the heading “Methods C Enjoys.” Here I’ve listed things like movies, video games, reading and painting. I’ll ask him for input on this page as well. I’ll also be able to add and pages with notes on how to help him expand on certain ideas/interests. For example: Magic School bus has some videos and books about bodies and I have a couple of lapbooks from Currclick on some of his chosen topics.
Step 3: Plan into my daily routine time to sit with my sons and allow them to choose a topic and learning medium. It sounds very technical but this step naturally comes with more flow. A typical day may start with C talking about the very cool robin he saw on the lawn. We can watch some videos on YouTube, print out a coloring page, make robins with playdough, and, of course, head outside to watch the robins in the trees. Depending on his level of interest in the topic, we can add in lapbooks (what little boy doesn’t like cutting and gluing?) or photography and scrapbooking (i.e. notebooking).
The most important part of this process will be for me to be diligent in spending time in the boys’ world on a daily basis. It is so easy to just let them play independently, since they play so well together. I frequently pull them into my world with asking/allowing them to help with housework, gardening, and meal preparation. They even join me for my morning Bible reading. I, however, need some prodding and reminding to get down on the floor with them just to play cars, or sit at the table and play playdough with them instead of just putting it out and letting them have at it. We even painted together the other day and it was so much fun! And sometimes we walk to the barn just so we can play with the kitties, and this (rather large and pregnant!) mama sits in the straw with a kitty in my lap as the boys make up stories about what the kitties have been doing. The only thing that I haven’t joined in with is playing in the dirt. That’s totally Papa Bear’s department.