Monday, August 15, 2011
The chicken coop is built. The goats are fenced in. Two gardens are planted and irrigation is in place. I built a porch and a deck and had a walkway put in. It has been a summer of work: getting the physical plant ready. We've also had visitors (yay!) and trips to the river and swimming hole. The kids went to camps and we took a great camping trip to Sugar Pine Lake and have been back to San Rafael a couple of times (Juliana more with her work).
For the past week, we have begun to focus more on our primary adventure for this year: being together in learning. We officially begin our homeschooling in less than two days. Last weekend we went to the California Homeschooling Association's annual conference. I found it thought-provoking and informational. I heard about unschooling, deschooling, classical education, Zen schooling, and more. As is always the case with education, there are too many options! We will seek to find a balance that will hopefully keep Eli, Sophia, Grace (and me!) well-prepared for the return to traditional schooling next year, but that will also provide us with the freedom to pursue our interests with some spontaneity. What a privilege to have this opportunity with my children.
Tonight and tomorrow I am sitting down to do planning. It is mostly different than the sort of planning I have done for the past 18 years in the classroom. For one, there is less of it. The dynamic will be so different with three students instead of well over one hundred! My preparation as a homeschool "teacher" is to be ready to be present and flexible each day to follow the stream of our interests. In the classroom, I more often provide and present in an attempt to illicit interest from a large (and potentially passive) group. At home, I imagine myself needing to be ready to act more frequently on my students' (children's) inspirations. And I hope they will be passions! As a teacher, one's ultimate goal is to have the opportunity to mentor and guide (that and grade lots of papers, of course). I certainly hope that opportunity presents itself frequently (no, not the grading papers one). While I will need to create routines and structure, I want a lot of what we do to happen "organically".
There is much more to write, of course, but I do not turn a phrase with much pizazz, so I will save the few brave readers of these posts any further drudgery by signing off. Hopefully Juliana's more eloquent prose will grace the screen and there will be added interest from the weekly posts by the kids.
Posted by Stewart at 11:15 PM