School daze

Here is Dorothy looking over her father’s shoulder. Picture is unrelated to post.

Keeping the Bigs on task is difficult.

I used to be an unschooler. Unschooling has many definitions, but we hewed to the most basic: only self-directed study, no other-led directives. The kids did what they wanted, and if that meant they were uninterested in a subject then they didn’t do it. For us, that meant I had two daughters who were accomplished sketch artists, avid binge readers of fiction, and consumers of internet meme culture. They also had more academic interests: Faith was into birds in a big way and Abby was interested in wildcraft and biographies of famous Americans.

But they were woefully behind in math and had no real notion of history or formal science. This sis common, in unschooling, to have huge gaps in knowledge when compared to a conventionally educated child. Many homeschoolers are perfectly fine with that, but I was not. So, a few years ago we started schooling. For us that has meant, basically, math, with a few forays into history and biology. But always math, where they are either at grade level or above now. However, this year we are trying something new: Oak Meadow. It’s a bit rocky. There is more writing than the girls have ever been required to do and they are struggling a bit. When they do write, it is excellent, but getting it out of them is frequently unpleasant because they daaaawwwddddlle so. I’m committed to at least twelve weeks and we are on week 4. We shall see. I think it will come easier with time, and I think these are valuable skills to have.

Next year Faith wants to attend the co-op at our church. Abby may go as well. It’s once a week, but all day. They’ll need some school muscles for it, which is what I’m building now. Further on down the line they both want to go to college and they certainly need school muscles then.

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