Julie said that we can do what we're comfortable with, when deliberating how much unschooling we want to venture into. So here's my comfort level right now:
What I Can Get on Board With:
- "Real" books and materials, especially books. No problem there. I would not have a problem spending our whole lives on books.
- Spending time and energy nurturing childrens' interests (but I'm not that great at it -- it's something I want to develop). Still, I can completely see the worthwhile-ness of it.
- Flexible format. We are great at that around here!
- Kindliness. I don't have too much problem with "controlling", but I do need to try harder to be a human being with my kids, expending time and energy.
- The idea that learning happens in fits and starts, not in an even sequence. Definitely.
- The idea that developing interests can lead to developing lifetime intellectual habits and resources.
What is Beyond my Comfort Level Right Now:
- Giving up formal math.
- Winging it. I CAN do it but it doesn't work.... my default mode is to go off into my own little "unschool" world and let my kids drift. So it seems I need some daily plan and goals.
- Spontaneity. Sort of like the above but different. A lot of unschoolers I know love the new, the unexpected, variety. I HATE those things.
- Hands-On. Related to the above. I do think we need more of that but I'm going to have to do it in baby steps. Bringing out the paints here, signing up for a class there..... it does NOT come naturally.
- Devoting time to the kids' interests that don't seem to be productive to me. Like Mario Party 7 and Legend of Zelda. Sorry. It's just a dead-end to me, right now. The best I can do is "Oh, really? That's neat!" and so on.
- Unlimited game and movie time. Basically that's how this day is going, for instance. But it gives me lots of qualms and I have to trust my instincts on that. So we're going to have to start reining in. I think the problem here is ME, because when I spend too much time on the computer, so do they.
- Giving the kids a complete veto and/or only doing what they are interested in. This is a tricky one. I know that most unschoolers think they, the parents, definitely have a large influence on what the kids are doing. They DO have goals. But here, I haven't made the paradigm shift and I tend to be TOO passive.
So my plan is to start planning more actively. Start looking through those books and developing habits related to spending time with the kids. But be flexible and all those other good things that I am on board with. Be aware of the leaps and bounds and pauses aspect of learning. And work on improving my tolerance for hands-on and winging it.
There are so many ways to engage, as Cindy says. Look for ways to engage and BE THERE.