Thursday, July 01, 2004

Thinking it through...

Sometimes I really feel like giving up on this home-schooling thing! I wonder if my children would be better off at school, away from this tired ratty, impatient Mummy - but then I think that I would only be substituted with a tired, ratty, impatient, over-worked, stressed teacher in a classroom with 25+ non-working children - and it brings me back around! But for MY sake I do think it would often be easier!!

We've just had a tough couple of days, but then today was great and we are FREE for the weekend now. But the tough days did afford Paul & I the opportunity to sit down and chat 'school' - What are our aims and objectives? What is important to include and what could be excluded? What learning is essential & what is surpus and/or just adding stress?

To the end we decided we need to see the term out as peacefully as possible and then re-think our methods for next year. Essentially the daily 'schedule' does work, but we need to build in some more flexibility. So from September onwards I am going to plan a THREE day week and allow the children to take four days over the work. That way we don't spill into Friday and the kids don't feel they have failed if it's not all finished by Thursday pm - because it more often WILL be. We have also decided to build three 'project days' into each half term - but these will be a suprise to the children each time - they won't know it's happening until school starts that morning! Sometimes they will be on a topic that they have expressed a desire to learn about, sometimes an idea that either Paul or I have been inspired with. They will work along the lines of a short-sharp unit study idea and hopefully inject some fun and creativity into our school. I really like the idea behind unit-study schooling, but I believe it would loose momentum and it's 'exciting' element if we overused it (i.e. all the time). I hope this way to have the best of both worlds and keep the feeling fresh. It will also help that I should have to 'readers' by next term who can work on simialr topics albeit at different levels - and the younger girls can join in the fun too!

And so...our school is EVER evolving! Hopefully for the better. It sure is a learning process! We have come such a long way in just a year - I wonder where we will be in another three years from now. Will our methods and philosophies on school simply have turned head over - who knows...?

N.B. - My new business site is uploaded now (just working on the payment button) - so check it out! All feedback welcome! - see the link on the left.


Nic said...

thanks Caroline, I've been thinking along similar lines - would my kids be better off with a mummy who is not dedicated to their everything and one who can leave education to a teacher and concentrate on the rest of the stuff - but drew the same conclusion - i would simply be picking up the pieces of the results of sending them to school!!! I think we need to constantly question it all to make sense of it and draw the conclusion once again that we are doing the right thing - but its nice to see someone else go through the same thought processes!

merry said...

Must be the time of year for thinking these things through. I do think, for us, the most important thing is to keep everyone wanting to take part, but i also agree that the unit study idea has its place but can wear them/me out a bit.

Its been quite nice to be a little more "structured" but it is a tiny segment of the day - when Fran knows its short and sweet and there is flexibility to stop if its going wrong, she seems to be very receptive and the time used achieves a lot - so far anyway.

Have courage :~)

Alison said...

You mentioned coming a long way in a year - did you mean that Jacob had been to school, or was it just a reflection on the last year? Just curious how you came to be HEing :)

Sometimes when I'm with MuddlePuddle people, I feel like I came to HEing quite late (dd1 was over 4!) - there are so many people on the list now planning to HE from birth or soon after.