Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Life Long Learning: A Helpful Resource In Educating During This Crisis

Everyone is talking about homeschooling right now.  With the entire education system shut down, many families are left scrambling to find out how to continue educating their children.

I'm not going to give you the long version of our schooling journey, but I WILL tell you where we are now.  This current year we have been homeschooling our High Schooler (I can't even believe I have one of those, ha!) and our Middle Schooler.  The other 3 kids have been going to our year-round elementary school.  We LOVE it there and I am proud to call their teachers my friends.  They have been so kind and love the kids right where they are.  They have flexible and creative atmospheres that have been so good for my kids.  I can't say enough about their special resources department who helped us tremendously through some very difficult years with one of our kiddos dealing with severe anxiety.  We are even the proud parents of the first official "runner". No, not around the track on the playground, but away from school, lol. The teachers were bringing tennis shoes to school every day in case my boy's anxiety got the best of him and took off. I'm telling you, gold stars are needed for ALL of them!

Then the virus happened and the schools shut down.  We were already on track out (which means a 3 week break between quarters).  We were supposed to begin our last quarter on April 1. And then, after this last quarter these 3 kids would be joining us here at home.

Our family educational philosophy is to take it year-by-year and child-by-child.  We believe each child learns differently.  I think we can all attest to that!

My HS daughter loves to make lists check them off and correct her work along the way because she wants to get it right.  She's very self-motivated, even in fields that are not her favorite.

Our MS is the one I will speak most about because he is the one that has sent me on a mission to figure out how to help him captivate a love for learning and maybe even how to open up doors he didn't even knew existed.  Retaining factual information is very difficult and his processing is extremely inconsistent and hard (for me) to follow.  It takes everything I have to sit quietly while he problem solves because it makes NO SENSE to me! But it doesn't have to make sense to ME. I don't have to dictate HOW he got to the answers, just that he can figure out how to get there.

Anyway, I have been delving more and more into the idea that life can be such an excellent teacher and for our MS kid this is going to be the secret to his schooling/education/learning.  But I wanted to know just how that worked and how in the world to even get started.

So naturally I asked my brother-in law and sister-in-law what their most helpful unschooling resources were because they have been on this journey a long time with their family and are thriving!  She mentioned a handful of books so I dove into a couple of them.  Statistically speaking, the first one was very informative but I didn't really line up with the whole thing and it wasn't giving me what I was looking for.  The second one was written absolutely beautifully and it resonated in the part of my soul that loves the simple life on a farm and the freedom that life can bring, but it still wasn't what I was looking for.

But let me tell you what has been the most beneficial resource in this search...It is a course that my BIL and SIL put together specifically for this!  It explains what unschooling really is (and most helpfully what it is NOT. BTW  it’s not NOT learning, but rather child directed learning and then dives into practical every day scenarios.  It opened up my eyes to just how much my kids are learning, even when we are in vacation mode and not having designated "school time". The course also gives their personal experiences and even some things they have had to learn and unlearn along the way.

Maybe you are going to land somewhere in the middle like us and find a hodgepodge of ways to reach each of our kids.  That's the point though, meet each child where they are!

I know this was kind of lengthy, but I know many of you are desperate to figure out what is going to work for your family during this crazy season, and this really might be exactly what you are looking for.  So, click THIS LINK to sign up for their course (if you do it before March 31 you can snag the early bird rate), grab a cup of tea a journal and maybe even your kids!  Breathe a deep breathe and rest assured that learning is literally around every corner. We don't have to be fearful that our kids are going to fall behind right now.  The entire world is literally on hold so you can just release that expectation and remind yourself that this is going to be a graceful falling forward season.

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