I am the father of four amazing boys who may eat us out of house and home and pull us in 100 different directions each day. I LOVE IT! Three of my boys currently go to a public school where they learn in both Spanish and English (though I wish they wanted to homeschool, they want to stay there). Prior to homeschooling my oldest son, I taught in the California public school system. Now I get to stay home with him and be his homeschool “teacher.” I know my teaching experience does not make me an expert. In fact, I know I still have a lot to learn.
Our homeschool adventure began in my son’s 7th grade year. Public middle school was definitely not a good fit for his learning style. What I have come to learn since then is that every family could homeschool if they choose. Although it’s not always an easy path and even on the days when I’m at my wits end, the value in what and how my son is learning makes it all worthwhile.
After many sleepless nights and totally blown attempts to “teach” my son, I have come to believe that unschooling is an excellent approach to homeschooling. Some of you out there will disagree and that’s OK. But when my son is doing the things he loves, he learns so much more. He researches to learn more because he’s genuinely interested in learning all he can about that particular topic or activity. I have to tried to steer him this way or another, but have finally and happily resigned myself to the fact that he learns best when he’s doing the stuff he is passionate about. So, enter unschooling.
When I had a full class of
totally awkward and distracted middle school students, I would have loved for them to be have been able to focus on the things they loved. Unfortunately, that did not fit into the curriculum. I was fortunate that my school promoted “20% time” where the students have an hour a week to pursue learning and doing the things they were passionate about. While this is a great start… ONE hour is not enough. Think of all they could have learned had they had the opportunity to do that every day of the week.
On the one hand, as a trained teacher, I understand the value of Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards and on the other I see the importance of creativity and student directed learning. How do I reconcile the two while unschooling my son? How do we do that with the “Learn by Living” philosophy? By being intentional. I guide my son to share what he is doing by asking questions that encourage him to think critically.
Here at CasitaKeepers, our purpose is to help you be intentional and at the same time make homeschooling easier. We’ll do that by getting you tools and creative ideas to homeschool your child. For those not ready for unschooling, be encouraged, it is possible to weave the standards into their passions. When you subscribe to the monthly program, you will get four Any Day Activity Guide pages emailed to you each month that have ideas, project suggestions, and (for those who want it) notes on how the activities can tie into the Common Core Standards or Next Generation Science Standards.