Thursday, January 12, 2006

Unschooling? Classical? Charlotte Mason?

I found this Carnival of Unschooling while checking my favorite blog. It answers a lot of questions about unschooling from people who actually practice it. I always believed it to be the sort of thing that people only talked about, but didn't actually do. I only ever met one person who really used an uschooling approach, but I thought, "she doesn't count--she's weird, she's a braggart, and I don't like her." Okay, I admit, it's a terrible thought, but it was a strong first impression that I was getting, and I never saw the woman again, so it's just that--a first impression. I'm sure she's a fine person.

I hope to avoid any kind of classification in our home-centered education journey. I think I'm a classical educator, but also I subscribe to the Charlotte Mason philosphy, and strangely, I find myself to be a bit of an unschooler at the same time. My son is only four, and my daughter is a dear, tiny, innocent eight months (today in fact!) with not a hint of knowledge about what Mommy and Daddy have in store for her (just you wait little girl...it's going to be amazing!).

I had no idea that "preschool" with my four-year-old would turn out to be part kindergarten, part Narnia, part Star Wars (we battle with light sabers on a regular basis--I'm learning some pretty amazing moves--and sound effects!), and part--but mostly--hugging and kissing and cooking and eating and bathing and visiting and playing.

How then can I say that from one year to the next I'm going to follow this-or-that curriculum or system? How can I determine from one year to the next what we'll want, need, or even be interested in? I can't deny that Disney is partly responsible for my reinvigorated interest and delight in Narnia. Who knows what the Olympics will bring about? Or the next election? I'm going to keep my options open and take it year by year.

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