Why we won't be using a boxed curriculum
or any "curriculum" for that matter...
- I don't like the idea of teaching my children that any one book (or set of books) read should be taken as the absolute truth. I prefer they take a more active role in their education- asking questions, gathering information, constructing their own truths, and proving or disproving those truths. That said, I know there are subjects that actually do hold absolute truths, like Mathematics. And that there are some great and helpful programs out there for presenting subjects such as a foreign language. So I am not against using textbooks and programs as needed.
- My thoughts on unit studies? Love the concept! We'll be approaching them with an unschooling mind set though- taking what is interesting to Shaye(and Mackenna) and finding creative and active ways to explore the topic. It will be my job to cover all areas of learning (IE: math, science, English) during our explorations. Although this will probably take a lot of research on my part- I think it is the most economical solution for us right now, based on how quickly Shaye absorbs ideas and then moves on. Take for example our weekly library trips- Shaye checks out books with a theme. For two to three weeks, in the beginning of the Fall, it was dinosaurs and she read everything she could get her hands on about them. Even a book called Dino Dung- What we can learn from fossilized excrement . I kid you not. She also shows an interest every few weeks about everything and anything under the sea. During October and November, it was the election process, former presidents, and finally, women's rights. She actually selected and read a biography entitled Susan B. Anthony and The Women's Suffrage Movement - did I mention she's six? Other weekly themes have been Amelia Bedilia and Dr. Seuss. The librarian commented that she loves Shaye because not only does she check out so many books at a time, but when she returns them, they all get returned to the same place. So, "unit studies" seem like the natural route, starting now- please feel free to share any interesting ideas, projects, or "lesson plans" you have used or come across!
- Most of our learning will be absorbing knowledge through books, conversations, online research, hands on projects, and field trips. Work books and other busy work? Shaye eats them up like candy. We would go broke trying to keep up with her using just, or mostly, text and workbooks. First of all, she's been "doing" workbooks since before she could read or write. Once she could read the directions herself? Forget about it! She sees the entire workbook as one activity. She does it for fun, and she does it 'til it's done. Remember last January? And that was in the morning before setting off to full day Kindergarten. The girl is a machine. Which is kind of why the school was more than happy to send her packing. And why unschooling is our best option. She controls the themes, the speed, the depth- it's win-win-win. Although, I don't think I'll be sticking to giving up Diet Coke, I think I'm going to need all the help I can get to keep up with her.
What are your thoughts? Ideas? Prayers for me?