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Learning to Let Go of the Unschooling Portfolio

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Posted on : 9:59 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

Since the start of the school year I have been helping Annie learn to be more self-directed with the whole unschooling thing.  It's so rare for her to have any initiative - usually when she can't find something to do she tries to find ways to really bug her sister or jumps around the room as many times as she can.  But it has gotten better, and partly because I've offered her projects and educational things to do.  I've provided the opportunities and more often than not she's taken them.  Now she's starting to find a few projects on her own, and is starting to read on her own too.


But the lack of self-direction made me worried, and I have a notebook that I would list out our projects, our books and educational activities of the day.  I couldn't record everything, because pretty much everything in life is educational - especially things that look like playing.  But it made me feel better about what they were learning, and it also made me feel like I was challenging Annie enough since she seems to need a constant challenge.  As time passed I gained more confidence and I worried less... and so for the month of December I am writing down nothing.

This is tough for me.  I write down everything - I'm a writer.  I have to write every day or I get stressed out because I process things this way.  Not keeping a journal about unschooling was the opposite of what I naturally do.  

But I've realized that this is part of the trust I have to have in my children that is integral to unschooling.  I also realized that I was being unfair - I trusted Autumn because at 3 she is creating her own projects, pretending to read books, building things, and playing independently, whereas Annie isn't.  But she still needs trust.  I may have to be way more involved with helping Annie become self-reliant, but I can still trust her to learn the things she needs.

Right at this moment, Autumn is washing doll clothes in a tiny child-size working Miele washing machine that we bought on eBay from Germany, and Annie is sounding out the words 'I Love You' and writing them on a Christmas card she is making for her aunt.  I had to give Annie the idea for the project, but it's something she's interested in and wants to do.  When she's done with that I fully expect her to start repeating hateful phrases about her sister over and over and smacking people, but I just have to help think of something else to do.  And that's learning.

I think today we might actually get a camera.  We have at least a foot of snow which is amazing for this area, and I won't be getting my SPUD order because they can't get over the Malahat (the road over the mountain) from Victoria, but we might be able to get around the corner and get the Canon Elph that we wanted.  That means my blog will have way more photos of us, the island, and all the projects I am doing all the time. :)

Comments (2)

You're so right about all children needing trust. I think providing direction isn't lack of trust, but rather appreciating that no child fits into the same mould. Even if that mould is unschooling. Some kids thrive on schedules, routine and tons of guidance.

Yes, the challenge for us is finding trust even in that.
you write to process thoughts. Now I know at least partly why you post so much! I can't keep up! lol

ha ha... yes I have to write. It's just how my brain works I guess, lol.