Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Remedies for February

I've been poring through Melissa Wiley's Tidal Homeschooling series again, recently. If you are like me and notice that you tend to have "seasons" in your homeschool -- you might want to look it over, too.

I call us "Tidal Learners" because the ways in which we approach education here change with the tide. Now, this doesn't mean that we're flighty or inconsistent, changing direction haphazardly. We aren't Fiddler Crab Homeschoolers. What I mean is that there is a rhythm to the way learning happens here; there are upbeats and downbeats; there is an ebb and flow.
As she says, changing the focus during different times of life does not necessarily mean that you are being flighty or inconsistent. It can mean you have an overall goal that is bigger than any one approach or method.

In the same line, here are two posts that are actually even older than my blog -- I wrote them for the Catholic Charlotte Mason list back in 2002. I was pregnant at the time with Paddy who is now six!

(5) Thinking in terms of "seasons": we find that fall is a more structured academics season; winter is the time for reading aloud, music, conversation over cocoa, projects, etc; spring is our nature study season, and summer is when we maintain academic skills, go on field trips and rabbit trails into hobbies and learning projects of interest, and experiment with the way we do things in preparation for next year. It's not a radical disconnect, but a transition from one focus to another, and provides variety with consistency.

Jennifer at Wildflowers and Marbles wrote a post called Focus and Rejuvenate: A Plan for Short-Circuiting the February Blues. It has lots of practical and inspiring ideas for getting past the doldrums that seem to creep over so many homeschoolers during this time of year.

And Leonie at Living without School has a discussion of an unschooler's week. It links to her list of what went on in her "St Anthony Academy" -- I like the format.

I've probably linked to it before, but this review by Australian mother of many Ruth Marshall, of the Robinson Curriculum, is one I come back to almost every year when I feel a need to simplify and restore my balance of priorities. I don't actually use the Robinson Curriculum but the general plan is probably fairly close to how we do things, at higher or lower speed at different times. It reminds me that home education, though definitely a challenging thing, doesn't have to be extremely draining or complex --- in fact, my experience is that it is better to keep it simple. The things you add because you LOVE them don't count as complications -- it's the complications added because we feel we "should" that end up draining the good energy, and they don't seem to be of the essence of what education is about, anyway.

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