I can't tell you how much reading
I have a new, deeper peace in living each day to its fullest giving Our Lord the reigns. When someone would ask me how my days would run, I was quick to say, "Enjoy learning with your kids. Help them LOVE to learn. etc." However, when I stepped back and thought this through I realized I was truly only doing this with my two younger children. As I read through Suzie's book, my eyes were opened to the fact I had lost sight of this process with my older two. With quotes such as "Education is not filling a bucket but, lighting a fire," I began to realize that I was sending the older two up the stairs each morning with a bucket. I had noticed I was spending less and less time with them. When they'd come down for fuel, their expressions were not that of excitement but, more times than not - drudgery. I was also becoming less in less involved in what they were learning each day. I have been known to say this is our goal - to make our children independent learners. Well, yes, it is to a certain extent. I do want them to be able to learn on their own but, I do believe they need more parental involvement than a stack of text books.
Mike Aquilina's forward in A Little Way of Homeschooling spoke volumes to me.
"Unschooling does not mean "no learning" or "no education" and certainly "no parenting." It requires parents to be actively engaged in conversation and in relationship with each child, knowing each child's interests and cultivating those interests and sharing those interests - even when we don't find the stuff interesting ourselves! As parents you're working to model and insatiable hunger for learning."You actually end up spending more time on schooling this way. I've been asked how much time I spend "schooling" each day. My answer is ALL THE TIME. Early on in my homeschooling journey I read Educating the Whole-Hearted Child and learned to create a "learning environment" for our children. Charlotte Mason said, "Education is a Life." Children have a natural tendency to want to learn. We need to give them time and room to explore and love to learn.
This is where uncertainty and anxiety creep in. How will I know the children are learning all they are supposed to be?
What does our Holy Church teach us about this?
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (2222): We as parents should educate our children to fulfill God's law.
- Our Lord tells us to not let our hearts be troubled. (John 14)
- Jesus also told us, "Do not be anxious for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be anxious for itself." (Matthew 6:34)
St. Therese said, "It is so easy to be distracted from our true purpose, our most important work, which is to love Jesus, to believe Jesus, to trust Jesus. Jesus does not demand great actions from us but simply surrender and gratitude."
So, we are experimenting with "unschooling." I definitely believe I am one of those combination teachers towards the end of the book, who unschool with a nudge or two in certain directions.... For now the text books are on the shelf. It's the perfect time of the year to do so as we prepare to celebrate Our Savior's birth. One of the mothers in the book said, "Living the liturgical year should be like breathing." So we are living and breathing and learning all the time.