Friday, December 28, 2012

Backseat driving my child's education...

These last few months have been pretty crazy in our home. Most days are spent helping mom get things done, or doing them for me, and homeschooling has really not been on the agenda. But much to my surprise, learning has continued and possibly relished even without my scheduled instruction. I have always heard of unschooling, but the views and opinions on the subject are so widespread and diverse that it has been hard to wrap my mind around it. Having life basically throw us into unschooling has forced me to embrace it and acquire my own opinions about it. That being said, I am still understanding, building and shaping how it works for my family and some days are better than others. 
Even at my most relaxed, Braydon has researched, inquired and grown in so many areas. He has learned how to do laundry from start to finish. He has learned how to cook several items on his own, using a gas stove no less. He has researched the muscles, tendons and such in the shoulder to better understand my condition. He has even spent time scouring the internet on several different topics in order to help me in writing new lapbooks. Despite having complete freedom to choose what he watches on TV, more often than not, he chooses to watch educational shows or documentaries. He has spent countless hours teaching himself about hunting, survival techniques and weapons both new and historical.
Granted, after my arm is feeling better we will begin doing experiments and projects again, but I am so impressed with his ability to take his education into his own hands that I am comfortable allowing him to continue choosing what to and what not to learn.

I encourage you, if you feel like something is lacking in your homeschool, to give unschooling a chance. Just take a few months off of form learning, let you kids be kids and sit back and see what happens. Children are always wanting to understand the ins and outs of things, so let them! Let them play and get interested in what they like, then be ready to help them find their answers. After all, can YOU recite all of the presidents in order of their presidency? Is there a time in your life where you needed that information at your fingertips? I believe most of you would say no and in today's world the answers to these questions are just a few clicks away.
The time we are living in offers unlimited resources to our children, wouldn't you rather they learn how to access this information and research what they need to know, instead of pushing them to memorize these facts while stifling those things they are truly interested in?
There may be days were all they want to do is watch TV or play games, but I assure you most days this will not be the case. I would also tell you to USE these days to your advantage. There is something to be learned in everything they do, be it academic or social, there IS something there! This is will also give you a chance to really get to know your child. Invite them to aid you in what YOU do each day, this could spark a love of something they may never have thought about before. I have realized that this broken arm may have put a kink in MY life but it has lit a fire in my child they may very well lead him to a PhD. Give your child the benefit of the doubt and they just may surprise you.

Gabby Moms 2013

I am so excited to have been chosen to be a 
2013 Gabby Mom for 
In depth reviews on some terrific 
products coming very soon! 
Check back often! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Empty Schedule, Full Heart

As I pull into the driveway last night around 8pm, I was reminded of how long it's been since I was out after dark for something other than dinner or a movie.
There was once a time when our nights were filled with sports practices, PTA meetings, grocery runs and things of this nature. Our days were so full of doing life that our evenings had become just overflow of that. We were always running around trying to catch up and never slowing down to enjoy the life we were racing to catch.

The last three years have taught me so much about myself, my son, our family and what really works for us. More on this in my nest post, but for now I'll just say that I have learned alot! The most important thing that I think I have learned is that this is the only family I will ever have and I will only have them for as long as the Lord lets me. Why would I want to spend my time rushing through each day just to get ahead on the next when I could slow down and learn everything there was to know about these gifts that God has given me?

How did we get so caught up in things that bear such little fruit? Well, we just went with the flow, like many of you, we just did what everyone else was doing. Breaking away from that was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Removing myself from circles that didn't agree with the changes I was making, stepping down from positions I held in groups and clubs, putting God back into the center of our family and changing our view of education for our son. Collectively, all of the changes brought so much joy into our life.

Nowadays we spend our evenings chewing our dinner together as a family as apposed to inhaling it on the way out the door. We enjoy weekends working together around the house or running errands instead of rushing to and from sports games. Most importantly, Braydon and I spend our days together, we have lunch with my husband every single day, and he is learning how to live life at a speed where it can be enjoyed.

I'm so grateful that I made these changes when I did, before it was too late. Before Braydon had already learned the patterns of a crazy, worldly lifestyle that he would carry into adulthood.

When Randy and I got married I didn't understand "family". I thought our job was to grow up, leave our homes, have a career and get married. Children would come or they wouldn't, parent would be visited or they wouldn't. Even after Braydon was born it was several years before I realized what a precious gift family truly is.

I regret the time I missed with my mother-in -law, I regret not having more kids for Braydon to have a large loving family, I regret alot of things... but what I DO NOT regret is changing my life so drastically for the sake of family!

Love your family and don't rush through life. The only thing better than today is eternity with our Father, so slow down and be blessed by today.