26 February 2016

A new rhythm: Finding the beat x 3

Over the years, I've talked about rhythm so much, I know. Even in unschooling days, I think there's rhythm. We wake with the sun, eat when we feel hungry, sleep when we're tired… mostly. There are also rhythms to the seasons and by looking back at posts I've made over the years, I can see very clearly how rhythms affect our family and our days.

This year saw us implement a totally different approach to our home education. We're trying something a bit new. A side-step from our unschooling life to something a little bit different. Although, depending on your definition of the term, and are if labels are important to you, unschooling would possibly still define our days in some way. If we're going by school years, we have owlets in Grade 7, Grade 4 and Prep. All school age! One high school age! And, despite knocks and blows of the recent six months,  adamantly and passionately still choosing to be at home. So now to find a way to meet everyone's needs…

At Big Owlet's request, we've experimented and researched a curriculum for her. She adores a steady rhythm and to feel like she's accomplishing things, which is pretty important to her and where she's at. She's ready to knuckle down and work, and also find out where she measures up against her peers, which I hear is a 12yo thing. It's like a little light switched on one day and the desire was there. She wants to be kept busy and loves some external input for prompts to explore. So we're going with that and a curriculum we have. Back to our Waldorf/Steiner-inspired days, which has always been a fallback for her, we're using the Oak Meadow curriculum as a guide, which is written in such a way that she can take responsibility for her work. It's equal parts scary and wonderful. It's challenging and weird and super fun and should give her the mix of structure and freedom she works with best.

Little Owlet? Well… she just wants to work with her hands. But she wants a little bit of the structure that her older sister has. So we started out experimenting with various curriculums for her too, but none seemed a perfect fit for right now. So we're carving a seasonal year for her, using Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series as a starting point. She adores the first book of the series and she's keen to read more and take practical cues as we read on. She loves preserving and baking and all things old-fashioned, so it's a perfect fit. At her request, we'll be sure to compare and contrast to Australian history as we read, and fit a little form drawing and research about animals and the Dreamtime too.

As for Tiny? I'd say she's our radical unschooler. Totally moving to the beat of her own drum in every way, her own body clock determines what she does and when and she's super decisive in everything she does. She's learning in her own time and she's totally got this. She climbs up to the table to join in, or she wanders off on her own to play. Connection is all she needs right now. And patience. And to feel useful. So we keep her busy, get outside, cook, move, read and play and she's happy in her days. She writes letters, draws pictures, loves "Mafsh" (maths), and will only do anything if it was her idea first. Classic Tiny.

Things are settling a little now and I'm excited to see where we end up. Where this new rhythm and these new choices lead us. Perhaps just continuing on and finding the best fit for each of our owlets as we go. There's drama, cello, choir, girl guides and gymnastics in each week's mix too, so busy they are. And so grateful we are for our little shop, which miraculously (although not without effort) provides opportunity for owlets and helps meet their needs, with just the right amount of freedom. Now to add an extra 24hrs per day and all the rest will fit in too! But that's another post entirely….

How's your year going so far?
Is it as you expected?
How do you go about meeting everyone's needs?
Are there enough hours in your day? 

~ Lauren. xx