this spring :: learning for free




Until recently we've been a part of a private Waldorf-inspired school that supports families in their home learning.  We joined when there was all this hubbub about homeschooling being illegal in California, & we wanted to be "compliant."  Now there's really nothing to be compliant about, & so we're trying something new.  We didn't really use the curriculum anyways, although it's been inspiring & I think we'll continue to purchase their stuff for reference.  


So maybe we're just being ourselves, & just doing it for free.  We aren't worried about record keeping at all at this point, given the demand for homeschoolers in Ivy League colleges & corporations.  If we were to design our kid's lives from beginning to end, they wouldn't be a part of either, but they'd be social entrepreneurs & citizens of the world.  Their lives aren't ours, though.  


So we're doing what we can to keep all their options open.  It's quite a lot to think about, actually.  And an ongoing process of looking at them, looking at the world, looking at ourselves, then looking again.  Next year, we'll probably join a State Charter school that is willing to offer us $1800 per child for whatever we want.  We've been spending much more than that, but I'm seeing how much good learning is free.  I'm curious about having our oldest really use that budget to create his own curriculum.
The STAR testing, which I'm opposed to, isn't required, & there will be an educational support person who comes to us every 20 days with "the goods" that we've ordered.  Sounds good to me.  


They really have their own ideas about learning, & I never know if my ideas will hit or miss with them.  The best stuff happens when I sit down to do their "assignments" myself, which leads to them asking to "play, too."  I think having another person involved will inspire them to carry out their ideas further than having me be "the one."  We do learn as part of a huge community, but I'm talking about the day-to-day.  We'll see.


A day in the life of Spring learning...




Field guides: gluing in our panoramic shots & adding explanations.




Reading educational magazines + vocabulary lists.




Making bread + assembling Tofu Pups for lunch with the neighbor's lettuce.




Mom's attempt at having them illustrate a "cute vocabulary list" become half-hearted drawings before they run off.




Can't compete with Sean & his tools.




Asking him a million questions within 5 inches of his work.




Or helping.




Or wearing a diaper on one's head.  All more interesting than a forced assignment.




So then... Helping Dad lay mulch.




And sod.




And wearing gardening gloves.  This is learning.  Free will + authentic interest + adults doing real work = Life Learning.  I'll take it.