03 September 2009

Unschooling Thursdays

Homeschooling is a beautiful thing because it is very efficient. It doesn't take nearly as long as traditional schools do to cover the same material, so we are blessed with some extra unscheduled time. And rather than squander that time, this year we are going to spend our Thursdays doing a plethora of sometimes rather "unschool-y" activities. I think this will be the perfect time for some valuable student-led learning. Therefore, we are introducing "Unschooling Thursdays" to our schedule this year.

One of the appeals of unschooling is that there are so many valuable skills that children need to learn that don't fit into the nice neat boxes of math, language arts, science, and social studies. Yet often these are the very things that get saved for last or pushed aside completely.

While I love the idea of letting students pursue activities and subjects that interest them, I know my daughter would probably never choose to practice her writing or learn addition facts on her own. But I can offer her one day a week of more free exploration.

At this point I will be providing some structure in unschooling Thursdays, since she might very well choose to play with Barbies amd watch Angelina Ballerina all day, which might have some educational value, but is definitely not what I'm trying to achieve.
So what am I trying to achieve? I want to instill a love of knowledge. I want her to see that education is more than textbooks. I want her to develop practical life skills. I want her to have experiences that will add depth to things she has read about. I want her to have an active part in her education.
Here's what we might on any given Thursday:

Field trips

Nature studies


Artist studies

Composer studies

Educational and strategy games


Independent projects

Entrepreneurial skills

Many of these activities are in line with the Charlotte Mason philosophy, which we are adopting this year. It will be interesting to see what else happens on Thursdays this year!

Read more at FiveJs.

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