I can't believe it's already October. I've been out of town and fighting with a little carpal tunnel, plus soccer season started, so blogging has been on the back burner.
There's a lot of homeschool jargon floating around out there that I don't have much use for, but we've grasped onto one of them because we found ourselves experiencing it before we knew what to call it: "De-Schooling"
Homeschool critics jump on that term and imagine it implies that education is being neglected, or that the parents are anti-education. It simply describes a period of time after taking a child out of public school in which the child de-compresses, de-programs, and recharges. It's obvious to us that despite a great public school with competent teachers, Rich has all but lost his love for learning. His innate curiosity is still strong, but not strong enough to motivate self-directed learning yet. Nor is he ready to sit down at a desk to read, write, or work math problems. He's in the process of making up for the time he lost to just be a kid - to play, explore, and to be bored.
We're trying very hard to help him let go of the idea that learning=work, and fun=play. It will take some time, but eventually, those terms will all get mixed together in a big bowl called "life." Fact is, he's constantly learning, whether he wants to or not. It isn't happening in the way the critics, or even myself would prefer. It can't be checked off in little boxes, or assessed by tests or exams. Maybe that will come. Right now, he's resistant to anything that resembles school. He's suspicious that we're going to try to take his freedom from him. I'm not saying kids don't need direction and limits - they do. But if we're ever to recapture the free-spirited, self-motivated learner that lurks somewhere inside him, we have to back off for a little bit and let him live - let him realize that he can learn what is important to him, in a way that makes sense to him.
This is terrifying for me, a book/curriculum oriented person who wants to make sure he "keeps up" with his age group. Part of our adjustment to homeschool is our letting go of every one else's expectations and figuring out what works for him, for our family, and still accomplishes (or even exceeds) what he would get in a public school setting. It's about trusting him, trusting that children are driven to learn, and in fact, can't be stopped from pursuing their interests. He's got years and years to learn all he needs to, and my bet is that giving him the time he needs right now to "de-school" is going to pay off in gold later down the road. The great thing about doing it ourselves is that if we're wrong, we can fix it without getting chewed up by the school system.