We've been unschoolers since the start.
That means we follow the leads of our children with our learning. We don't work off of a curriculum. We don't "do school" at all. Instead we learn as we go, day by day. Their interests lead the direction in which we travel.
Some days around here look pretty schoolie, with text books and experiments scattered around the kitchen, but most days do not.
Instead we learn while we cook, while we garden, while we travel, and while we play.
Frankly, we love it. Unschooling has been a perfect fit for our family.
And now Sage is ten. He's ten!
Ten feels big. Not because I'm remembering who I was or what I knew by ten, but simply because of the accelerating I'm feeling with his growing up. As he put it, "In that much time again I'll be 20!" Right? I'm not even sure how that is possible, but I checked his math and he's spot on.
And during the past few weeks I decided that he is old enough to be pushed our of his comfort zone and into some of the learning he has been less enthusiastic about. A loving nudge that will lead to leaps in understanding, while still (mostly) unschooling.
And we've never done this before.
We have never ever done school.
Sage was not taught to read. He learned organically, not unlike a child learns how to walk or talk when given a nurturing environment in which to grow. We were all trust and allowing and he learned when he was ready.
But now… now I want to balance all of that trust and allowing and ease with a little nudge towards long division. I think he's ready, and after ten years with this boy I think I understand how he works.
That the initial discomfort is holding him back. That he'll need to get it wrong before he gets it right.
And maybe unschooling means following their interests first and then noticing how their temperaments are holding them back and work with both.
So we've done it.
We've scheduled a block of time each day to, well, to "do school". Starting today. I am focusing on the areas where I think we have gaps (spelling, math, and handwriting specifically) and then we'll fill the remainder of the morning with the lessons they are so excited about they could hardly sleep. (That would be chemistry for Sage and portrait drawing for Lupine.)
And for me this is a new path. I'm as nervous/excited as the kids. I woke at 5 to have time to check email and post the blog. Because I don't want to be distracted during the day by all that I didn't get done.
We'll hit the ground running in a couple of hours and see how far we go.
Starting something new is simultaneously exciting and uncomfortable. Change is like that. Sage was resistant to the idea of something too structured. But once we went over the rhythm together and he saw the built-in free time and reading time and outside time he embraced it. With gusto even.
I expect that he'll be up by 6, ready to get started.
Yes, today is a nudge into the discomfort for me as much as for my kids. We're all in this together. Stretching, growing, changing.
And I think that's right where we belong.