Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sharing The Joys And The Grief

I received many supportive and empathetic comments from readers on the post Way Overdue Realizations. I think one of the most wonderful results of homeschooling is not only that I am able to give my son, to at least some extent, the sort of education he craves, but also that I have had the chance to "meet" a number of truly great homeschooling families from all over the world. It's very comforting to know that despite being complete strangers, we're all facing similar frustrations, challenges and at the same time, unmeasurable joys of learning together and also with our kids.

One of the responses I received was "off-blog" (for want of a better word) and from none other than my pal Kerrie who lives in Australia and like me, homeschools an only child. Kerrie and I "met" through our respective blogs and have often marveled at how similar our boys are (they are the same age too!) and how alike in how they learn.

Here's Kerrie's very inspiring, very comforting email. She kindly allowed me to post it here and I hope it serves not only as inspiration to me but also to my readers who share the same anxieties I often do.
Hi Suji,

How are you? Has your mind settled down at all? It sounds like you've had a lot on your mind the last little while. I can really relate - you sound exactly like I was several months ago when I was mourning the loss of what I thought our homeschool would look like - bright, eager student looking adoringly up at me while I teach :) Not quite how it works here!! I've pretty much accepted that natural learning is the right way for us at this point in time. I'm even close to calling us "unschoolers" - but that's still a step I'm not quite ready to take :)

We even went to a natural learner's picnic yesterday - the first time something like that has happened in our area. There was only one totally committed unschooler there, plus us, another family leaning that way and a few families with preschool age kids that like the concept. It was good to chat to the experienced mum though - her eldest is 16, then 13, 9 and 6. She's been unschooling the eldest since age 9 I think. Its good to see proof that it works.

I must admit though I still have this "ideal" that once B hits 12 or 13 that he'll want to throw himself into more formal learning. I guess I have a few years before I need to worry about whether or not that will happen :) Having said that, Pete gave him his first programming lesson today and he's running around totally excited about it all. So he can learn formally when he wants to (as long as I'm not teaching it I think lol). I had to laugh about your description of yourself as going step by step through things and A as going in every direction at once - that is exactly how it is here. B will always want to jump into the most complex thing he can come up with and gets frustrated when I try to insist that he learn to walk before he can run :)

So yes, for now, I've accepted that for the next few years at least, natural learning will be the way to go. The amount that he has learnt in the last few months since I've committed to it and given up on the idea of worksheets & lessons has been amazing. I had a list of about 10 things in the maths area that I was hoping he'd cover over the next 12 months - and just naturally he has touched on all of them in a few months. Watching Cyberchase certainly helps too!! The hardest thing is wrapping my mind around the fact that just because he's not learning what *I* want him to learn, does not mean that he isn't learning. It's funny too, if I sow a few seeds here and there, quite often it sparks an interest later on down the track and he suddenly becomes excited about it.

So if it makes you feel any better, I'm on the journey with you! I think I'm a few steps ahead of you atm, so come on in - the waters fine :)

Thank you Kerrie! :)

1 comment:

  1. Aw! What a great email. We may be embarking on that same journey. My son isn't showing his eagerness like expected either. Thanks for sharing that!


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