Friday, October 29, 2010

Unschool-y Accounting

I have started working on the quarterly reports. It's my first year really trying to unschool completely, instead of the last couple of quarters, so this is really a whole new experience for this twelve year homeschooling veteran. I have to say, I think I'm completely blowing the myth about unschoolers being lazy. I've never worked so hard as I have this school year to put everything together.

In the past, we loosely followed a classical curriculum. Chase still does many of the subjects out of habit. Writing up the quarterlies for the classical curriculum was easy. The subjects were all laid out nice and neatly for me in Susan Bauer's "Well Trained Mind." I simply checked to see how far along they were in their various subjects and wrote up all the quarterlies in a day. Badabing, badabang, done.

This school year, I started keeping notes. I haven't done this much note-taking since Marina was a first grader. (Yes, that was before I started following the classical model.) Frankly, I need to take notes. Otherwise, there is no way I would remember that Sierra pulled out the Science in a Nutshell kits back in September and did several experiments with closed and series circuits. I might have forgotten that she was composing poetry to read at storytelling, since she later decided not to read it for the group. I might have left out the many insect books she took out when she was learning about the stick bugs she adopted as pets. Or her several attempts at baking, the talks on street safety as we walked, the different activities she did at the nature preserve....the list goes on and on. I've had to remember to write all of these things down, categorize it, and set it up in education-speak.

The fact that our state requires these reports is the reason I put off fully unschooling. When you know you need to give an accounting of their education, it is much easier to have a ready made system. That way, all you have to do is check things off and move on. Unschooling is like having a shoebox full of receipts. You have to sort and label and make sense of it all. But all those receipts do add up. What I have learned is that she has done just as much or more subject-wise on her own, without a curriculum. I'm the only one who has had more work to do.

5 comments:

Joie said...

Wow! Congratulations! I often wish I would journal more of what my kiddos do everyday, but then I feel like I might never stop journaling because the learn and do so much! I might become a slave to the journal rather than an active participant. LOL...
I guess it is all about balance, thank goodness for blogs!

cahanbury said...

I really wish I could be disciplined enough to be journaling about our days. I seem to be getting unschooly myself. For now, I have to pull it out of thin air. I only have a year-end report. It seems that I'm setting myself up for danger, doesn't it? Hmmmm.

Stephanie said...

Journaling is so important in eclectic homeschooling or unschooling -- I wish I did it more consistently! Not only does it help with documentation, but it helps you see what's going on through a different lens.

Kez said...

I forget so much of what he does if I don't jot it down at the time.

Amanda, the Head Nut said...

I'm unschooling too this year. I am curious about using your method of "taking notes." Is there a particular way that you do it to keep track easier?

Indiana doesn't require quarterly or yearly reporting, but I'm still experimenting with a good way of keeping track for our own purposes and for when we get to the high school level.

Thanks,
Amanda
aknewlin@att.net

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