Now that we’re practicing unschooling, I’ve been consciously making an effort to say yes more often. We’ve done no formal sit-at-the-table school work this week. Basically it feels as though we’re on vacation, enjoying the New England autumn–and working through our screen-obsession.
As we adjust to the unschooling lifestyle, I’m keeping in mind that saying “yes” opens the door to learning. So, when Summer asked to play the Splat game, I said yes, and was rewarded when the ever-reluctant Winter joined the game as well. When Winter held up a book questioningly, I stopped what I was doing to join him on the couch for some story-time. The boys came downstairs the other night at nine o’clock for the third time and they caught me trying out a mummification game I had stumbled-upon; so when Winter asked to try it I was happy to say “Yes.” Even 3yo Summer took a turn mummifying “Seneb”.
I did manage to write down a few educational activities in my homeschool log, even though we didn’t do any formal lessons this week. After plenty of research and reading of other unschooler’s blogs, I decided to let go of the restrictions on video games and television. The one-hour blocks I previously allowed the boys really isn’t enough time to get involved in some games, and so in the hopes that the formidable glowing screen will eventually become–simply something else to do, not something they feel the need to covet, I’ve relinquished control over screen-time.
Surprisingly, the boys are not playing video games all day, and have a couple times turned them off even before an hour was up. There have been some longer stretches, too–sometimes 2 or 2-1/2 hours–but I’ve kept an open mind about it, tried to show interest and enthusiasm in their games. Here too I was rewarded with happier children, less anxiety and stress for all of us, and Winter has opened up more, sharing information about his games, the characters, their attacks and affiliations willingly with me. I’ve found that by simply offering the boys the choice to finish up and find something else to do, maybe have a snack, that they will eventually come away from their computer or game station of their own accord. It’s actually quite relieving to not have to fight with them over it.
Giving up the curricula and formal at-the-table lessons has given me time to pursue some of my other interests–I’ve been making curtains! And with cold weather upon us, I’ve been working to get my outside chores done before snow flies (more about my fall garden activities coming soon!). Basically this week has been a relatively good one, but then it would be when you’re essentially on vacation. For now I am able to stave off my fears about their education. I am easing into this unschooling life as one tentatively letting go of that last bit of rope anchoring us to the mainstream. So far it feels good to be free.