Tuesday, February 28, 2012

babes and learning

My kids are little.  Almost 4 and 18 months little.  I am planning to formally homeschool them when they reach an age where I need to report to the state (which is an entirely different story - why can't I be responsible for my own kids without the state having a say in the matter?).  As of now though, we are already homeschooling.  I have talked before about the curriculum that I use with the kids, but I haven't talked much about the "unschooling" aspect.

It seems strange, right?  Unschooling and curriculum in the same sentence?  I think that it is so important to follow a child's interest.  It just so happens that my babes are really interested in listening to me read to them, and are not really concerned about the topic that is being read to them.  As long as they are cuddling with me, they seem to be happy whether I am reading C.S. Lewis, or Goodnight Moon.

But reading is not the only thing they enjoy.  My kids love art.  More my daughter, Emma, since she is older and has some idea of what she is doing, but my son loves to do art as well.  And when I say art, I mean painting, coloring, using chalk, markers, stickers, glue, glitter, anything that might possibly make a mess, well my babes love it.  And to see how dedicated they are is amazing.

Both of them will sit for literally a couple of hours and do anything art related.  As long as I keep a steady stream of supplies available, and change it up every 20 minutes or so, they will sit quietly (albeit making the largest mess humanly possible) and work on their art.  It is actually nice for me, because I am able to do some other things.  The cleanup isn't always so fun, but to see them having so much fun, it is worth it.

Whenever Emma shows interest in anything, I go with it.  Today she wanted to practice her letters, and she sounded out cat and wrote cat in her school notebook.  Not by my prompting, but because she wanted to.  And then she and Jack body slammed each other on the couch for the next half an hour.  It worked :-)  Obviously, Emma being only 3 1/2 and Jack 18 months, what they are doing "school" wise is not entirely important, there is still so much time for them to work on academics.  What I am trying to work on now is a passion for learning.

If they have a passion, I want them to follow it.  If they like trains, I want to have train books, watch Thomas and Friends, and play with the trains that we have.  If she like fairies, that is what I want to concentrate on.  I am just starting on this whole homeschooling journey.  But, I am feeling so fortunate to be able to follow my kids on this journey, to see what they are interested in, watch them find their passions, and to see them enjoy learning so much.

Do you use a curriculum, but also find yourself drawn towards unschooling?  Can I qualify myself as an unschooler if I also have a curriculum?

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