Monday, October 5, 2009

A quandry

As I progress in this whole homeschooling adventure, I am still trying to find my place in the whole philosophy of it. Unschooling is beautiful as a concept, but am I somehow failing my child by not providing some "structure"? Is it just that I still can't see out of the box of what school "should" look like? This year is a gimme anyway, since he is only 5, but I really want to find my comfort level on this spectrum.

I know I don't want to do some school at home concept, since that removes pretty much all that is positive about homeschooling and adds in tons of power struggles to get in the way of a loving relationship. (It may work beautifully in some families, but not mine!) But what does "structure" mean, exactly? I think of it as learning to be part of a whole, to consider more than just oneself in the larger context, to temporarily disregard our own needs in favor of the group. Is it just about learning to stand in line and do what you are told, regardless of what you want and need? Does self-imposed structure count toward building the skills needed to tolerate becoming part of a larger whole? Is this even something to "teach"? Or is it something that comes with being in a family and having siblings and dealing with the inevitably competing needs that evolve? Does it really matter whether he can sit at a desk at age 5? For that matter should 5 year olds be expected to sit at desks for hours a day?!

Well, you can see that I am completely confused by the whole thing. I want to be a free wheeling unschooler... but I don't really trust the process. I know, that is pretty ironic coming from a parent who has a 5 year old doing 3rd grade stuff without even trying to "teach" him anything.... Maybe I just don't know my place in unschooling. Having structure gives me something to DO.

I guess this is like breastfeeding... the baby is on a nurse-a-thon this week, and I was bemoaning my inability to do anything productive. A friend pointed out that I was being productive: producing milk, nourishing my child with food, love and presence. I told her it didn't FEEL productive. She rolled her eyes.

I guess it comes down to whether I want Pablo's schooling to be his experience, or my own. The structure is for me. It would give me something to do, to hold up when people are asking me how homeschooling is going, etc. It is becoming clear as I write this that none of that is for Pablo. He will learn, at his pace, no matter what I do. It us up to me how much I impose on him, how much I shape it to be what I think it should be.

Crap, am I back to ANOTHER place in my life where I just have to have faith?! Just when I thought I had this faith thing down (in very small amounts), here it comes again to slap me in the face. sigh.

1 comment:

  1. I started writing down in a notebook all the things we did in a day ... and I was amazed at how much there was! You might try it. Plus you'll have something to tell/show people when they ask. :)