deb kauffman – unschooling mom
Find/contact Deb in these spaces:
kauffmangang1@gmail [dot] com
Much like Amy, Deb has been a wealth of riches, teaching how to not teach, how to unschool/deschool, just be.
She’s writing about it herself on her blog, linked above. High recommend.
Peter Sims, Little Bets
I’ve homeschooled for 15 years. If I could do it all over again my curriculum would be:
- Learn something new in a visible way often – I let my kids see me struggle and stick with it or not.
- Read in front of my kids
- Make things and invite them to join me (build stuff, cook, write, invent, paint – you don’t have to be good at it – fail gloriously – just try)
- Watch documentaries and exclaim how interesting the world is repeatedly
- Take them lots of different places – museums, farms, libraries, hiking, ride the bus in the city, different kinds of restaurants, art galleries, music events etc
- Introduce them to lots of different people
- Write letters and thank you notes – invite them to add a picture, their name or a little note if they want to.
- Create a family budget and let them participate – keep a running tally of what we spend on groceries on the blackboard
I guess if you are doing what you love, you don’t need to “know how to work”. You just do it because you love it. Even the parts of my job I don’t like, I just do because it allows me to do what I love. I am a big believer in a strong work ethic but am reluctant to use busy work and forced education to “teach” it. Seems like a good way to taint the love of learning. Education is so precious and crucial to life, I don’t want it to be ruined by puritanical ideals. Many will go through the current educational system and be fine. Many will continue to be curious and motivated to keep learning. But others will be totally disenfranchised. Their potential lost along with a promising future. It’s not OK with me to “lose a few”. All kids matter. All kinds of learners matter and any educational philosophy that doesn’t treat students as individuals is unacceptable. If “rigor” means forcing a kid who isn’t naturally good at writing to write 10 essays in a semester which ends in him hating to write. Then it’s not OK. Because perhaps this student has an amazing imagination and gift of storytelling but now hates writing because of this crappy experience and can’t imagine wanting to write ever again, then rigor is wasteful not helpful. I think “rigor” is OK if it means reminding a student that you believe in them and know they are incredibly capable….if it means providing challenges that they are hungry for…if it means showing them what is possible and letting them chose to go there or not, all the while expressing that you believe they can. We’ve all been indoctrinated into this system that we can’t even see it – like the fish who doesn’t know what water is – it’s all around and part of everything, it’s hard to see the truth. Learning doesn’t have to be painful to be successful and we all don’t need to be good at (educated in) the same things – humans are so wonderfully diverse, in my humble opinion, it is time to start honoring that because what we are losing is too high of a price to pay.