"Children do not need to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world than anyone else could make for them." John Holt
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The Unschooling Life
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Unschooling and Schedules
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Homeschool Blogging Carnival hosted by Lisa at Unschooling Momma. This month our participants are talking about schedules.
As radical unschoolers we not only live without a formal schedule for academics but we also live life without a schedule for other areas of our life as well.
While I hear about the many benefits of parenting and schooling with a schedule we tend to be a little (a lot) more uncontemporary than most. We do not operate on any schedule at all and that has worked really well for our family. For many years as the children were growing up and we homeschooled in a more conventional manner there were times when we tried scheduling. I would call a family meeting and with Sharpie and poster board in hand we would come up with a schedule where everyone knew what time they were suppossed to read, play, work on math, eat, and go to bed. I would look upon the little boxed in time slots with pride like I had accomplished something monumental only to be stressed out 3 days later trying to stick to it. I watched the clock longing for 3 oclock to hit so I could stop regulating the children and we could finish "school" and just have fun!
Despite all my best efforts to put my children into cute little boxes they simply would not have it. My oldest son has been a night owl from birth, when the sun goes down he is usually wide open both in mind and body. Trying to get him up at what I consider a decent hour did nothing but cause us both to become cranky at one another. My youngest daughter spent her early at home educational years determined to be the self proclaimed super hero "Math Girl". She despised anything that had to do with me teaching her to read or write but instead was determined to solve all the worlds math problems in a single bound wearing her homemade numbered cape. Looking back now it is hard for me to believe that I actually made her stop doing math to practice reading because that is what the time slot said we should be doing.
As time went on I began to trust them just as I had when they were infants. When the children were hungry they ate, when they were tired they rested, and when they wanted to read or do arts and crafts or become the infamous "Math Girl" they were free to do those things as well. Yes, I said free. Freedom from schedules and being told what to do every minute of every day had freed us all in both mind and spirit. In their freedom the children have grown more than I ever thought imaginable. In my learning to trust them I began to see that the children began to self-regulate. They began to know when they were tired and would go to bed and they would sleep until their bodies were well rested. The children knew when they were hungry and how much they needed to eat to be full. They thrived with this freedom and learned to trust themselves and began to find things they were interested in doing instead of looking at a poster to figure out what they were suppossed to do next.
There are of course times through out the week where we do have classes or events to attend and at these times the children know to go to bed earlier and to set their clocks so they are up on time. For instance, Dora has gymnastics class every Friday at 9:30 so she knows to set her alarm for one hour earlier so she has plenty of time to get up shower and have breakfast before heading out the door.
So while schedules are a big part of alot of people's lives I am happy to say that we do not live by a schedule we live by what makes us happy and what our bodies and minds need.
Visit The Squishable Baby to see how you can participate in the next Homeschool Blogging Carnival where we will be talking about multiculturalism.
Please take the time to read the submissions by other Carnival participants:
Lisa at The Squishable Baby Will talk about How I find time to blog while homeschooling 3 Kids.
Elizabeth from Lazy Hippie Mama talks about the biggest question people have about homeschooling How Much Time Do you Spend on School?.