Sunday, February 16, 2014
Freedom in Definition
Years ago I looked forward to this stage of my life with great anticipation. It was going to be a time to reclaim my childhood. I would explore what it truly meant to be me. Maybe I would volunteer full-time for a local organization I wholeheartedly believed in. Maybe I would continue my education. I've always wanted to learn photography "for real". Surely I would have plenty of time to really invest in my relationship with each of my grandchildren.
The first hairpin turn was our decision to adopt. Okay. So we're raising one kid all on his own. So what? We raised seven already. What's one? It was like a vacation those first couple years; a breath of fresh air. Then, the best fur buddy I ever had died, we moved, and we started becoming aware that things were going to dramatically change again.
I have never been a traditional homeschooler. For a while I considered myself very much an unschooler. This time around it seemed smartest to implement a full curriculum. We started our fully anticipating using this curriculum through graduation. It's perfect, covers everything important to us, and takes a huge load off of my shoulders in the planning department. As the completion of this first year started to come into view on the horizon I prepared to purchase the next level. Well, I hesitated. I read what was next, and I just wasn't so sure we really needed to do it that way anymore. You see, my favorite aspect of homeschooling is FREEDOM. I LOVE IT!!!
Spring is coming. There is so much for us to learn together. We will be starting seeds, planning a garden, preparing to raise animals, building structures, manicuring our woods more, landscaping, camping, and I have a TON of educational supplies already (like any good homeschooling veteran would). So, why not use what I have?
Enter me learning exactly who I am educationally speaking. I had to take a brief demographic survey that required me to choose specifically what type of homeschooling family we are. I had no clue. Like I said, I don't concern myself with labels and categories when it comes to this type of thing. Because, in all honesty, does it really matter? I don't think so. However, as soon as I looked up "eclectic" and read this:
"An Eclectic Homeschooler is one who looks at the different approaches and methods of homeschooling and takes from each forming his own unique philosophy."
...I knew it defined my style exactly. Slowly, I have determined that it is now okay to ease back into our more relaxed approach to education. Our resident elementary student is still warming to the idea that grade level is irrelevant, and grades are arbitrary, but she's getting there. Taking what I consider a more "whole-life" approach to education will help her to lose some more of her guard and open up to becoming a more relaxed learner. It is exciting to me!
Does this mean we will never use curriculum again? I certainly have my doubts. However, it does mean we have found our niche. We are grabbing life by the reigns and fully embracing the family we have become. We know who we are, and we are running with it.