13 February 2017

Beyond Unschooling

If you've been a reader of this blog for some time, you'll know that our main approach to owlet learning and living has been through unschooling. We've always followed their lead, since they were very small. Aside from that little moment of Steiner kindergarten for Big Owlet, we've just lived life and helped the owlets learn what they needed, when the needed. It's been beautiful and amazing, and a huge learning curve for us in observing and letting go and trusting that they will learn when and what they need. We wouldn't have it any other way.

As we stepped into last year, however, the owlets asked for more. They felt they wanted a plan mapped out for them. They wanted to learn more, explore more. And they wanted to work. Big Owlet was particularly keen to see where she was at and if she was on par with the peers that she knew at that Steiner kindy so many moons ago. But she was also adamant that she didn't want to go to school. She loves the freedom we have at home. Loves the ease and convenience of being where everything she loves and needs is, all day. All the owlets do - who doesn't?

So we set about finding structure and work, but balancing it with freedom. And we arrived at Oak Meadow. We've been using the Oak Meadow curriculum for Big Owlet for almost a year now. Little Owlet has also darted around the grades, then taken some time to focus on gardening, and she's now back on board and into her third week of a new year. Tiny began puddling around with her own "special books" (Oakmeadow Kindergarten) half-way through last year and is now into week three of Grade One.  I spent the first three weeks of this year planning and finding extra resources and mapping out our year. We're all in and we have a daily rhythm and we're working hard on all the things every day. Who even are we? Essentially we're still following the owlets' lead... Unschooling with book guides? Haha! It feels like the same life, but with different hashtags.

So how did the owlets measure up? Well, there were a few new concepts that curriculum based learning introduced. We found that the writing component of the program was challenging - there's so much writing! So we've been working through slowly, picking and choosing. We began at a level that covered much of the history learning Big Owlet was after and she's now at exactly the same place as those Steiner kindy peers. Little Owlet needed a little extra time with hands on work before she felt like settling down to bookwork. Her spelling needed some help, so using a formal program has done wonders for her confidence. Both bigger owlets can read very well, despite very little input from us. It really has just happened with time, patience, lots of reading aloud on our part, and effort on their part. Maths… well there are quite a few concepts which the owlets hadn't encountered yet. But they learn new maths concepts extremely quickly, so with Khan academy and extra time chatting it through with Huz, we've got them covered. Science - well, the Owlets find all those unschooling years and the way we live, observing and exploring, mean they have a great grasp on nature and science.

The beauty of the Oak Meadow program is that from Grade 4 onward, it is written to the student, so the owlets can work somewhat autonomously. The program is rather extensive, so they pick and choose the projects that really appeal to them and we supplement with extra outings, books, films and performances. And some days we put it all aside because it's a perfect beach day and there's so much learning and living to be done there.

I'm so glad for our unschooling years. They mean we learn creatively and resourcefully. They mean that I don't stress over skipped days or push things that the Owlets don't find interesting or essential. They mean that I know we'll get to where we need to be eventually, trusting the process of living and learning, together in partnership. Whichever approach you take, and whatever you decide to call it, that's really what it should all be about, after all. That's where the real learning is.

How's your year going?
I'll be sharing a little more of our learning adventures, past and present, in weeks to come. 
Have a gorgeous week.

Much love, 

~ Lauren. xx

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts...