Thirteen is my lucky number (and I was born on a Friday the 13th, so that day doesn't phase me in the slightest!), so I'm doubly glad to be hosting this month's Unschooling Voices blog carnival. I also loved the Count, but math was not my favorite subject in school. Hmmm. Anyway . . .
I asked an optional question, which many chose to answer--thank you! The question is: What do you do, as an unschooling parent, when your child expresses an interest in a particular topic, and you don't know how to help them in a way that doesn't involve lesson plans and curriculum?
I used some green for any posts that answer the optional question. Let's get reading!
Update: Apologies to Stephanie, who sent in a post that I somehow missed! I'm adding it now to the top of the carnival! So, from Learning through Living, we have Instead of Curriculum, answering my question of the month, also.
Christa at Sandy Feet sent two posts, her first submission answers the optional question with words and photos, and the second one further explains how her family came to unschooling.
Sally at Happy @ Home said, "I've really just tried to answer the intriguing question that was set for March."
Robin at Robin's Blue Skies also answers the question, adding, "We approach any learning experience with an open mind, pulling from many different resources available to us."
Over at the Seabird Chronicles, Laura answers the question we've all have at one point or another, "What to do with all your naked, broken bits of crayons? ..... A fun activity to do with kids one afternoon!"
Mary Nix at Home Ed Magazine [love this magazine, btw!] answers the month's optional question with a podcast--it is wonderful to hear your voice, Mary! She writes,
"Instead of seeing myself as a “teacher” needing to find lesson plans and curriculum, I came to see myself more like a librarian who was helping my children to find the resources they needed. This empowered our family to move outside of my “schoolish” mindset and encouraged my children to pursue their passions. During this process, I began to learn to trust my instincts concerning how children learn. It also taught me the importance of following my heart and I spoke about this recently at the Unschooling Winter Waterpark gathering."I hope we get more audio and video for future carnivals!
Michelle at Learning Around the World said she "wrote this in response to your request. Hope it helps."
Tiffany Washko presents Natural Learning - What Is It? posted at Natural Family Living Blog.
Emma at My Unschooling Journey sent in
"a sort of diary post where I wrote down pretty much everything we did for a few days. It has helped me to see that my kids are learning. I have found it helpful to write about our days as even on days where I don't think anything much is happening they are still learning through playing together and it is lovely to see that they have developed a much closer bond since they came out of school."The article is great--go read it!
In The Natural Products of Our Training, by Laureen at the Life Without School group blog, we are told that "... public school in America is absolutely successful at what it sets out to do.... the vast majority of us are the natural products of our training." Go and see what she means by that.
Tara writes "a rebuttal to the constant phrase "But children learn best when they are young" and a short explanation as to why in our society that seems to be truth." She blogs over at Heartschooling.
Mandy at 2nd to the Right says, "Here's my entry [Exploring Interests] for issue #13!"
Justyna at Schoolless presents two articles for our reading pleasure. She sent in this note with her submission:
For several months, my 11-year-old son has been obsessed with stop-motion animation. At first, I ignored it, because I thought it was a cute fad that would pass. It didn't. It seemed that whenever I wanted to get Peter to do something, he had his back turned, staring at little Lego scenes, completely absorbed in taking zillions of photos of tiny figurines. I wanted to put a stop to this, but something held me back. It was envy. How could he concentrate so intensely on the task at hand? I couldn't! Surely, it was a valuable skill to be encouraged.The two posts are:
(1) Innocent when you dream, which documents my growing acceptance of his obsession, and letting go, allowing him to learn and pursue this interest on his own, since even if I wanted to, I didn't know the first thing about how to help him.
(2) Confessions of a budding filmmaker is Peter's own account of his learning experience, process and progress, along with some examples of finished work. [Which I think are really cool!]
Karen at Leaping from the Box answers the question of the month with "Unexpected Opportunities," saying that it "relates ways in which our family approached finding mentors and out-of-the-home activities to fulfill the needs of our children."
Heather blogs at Living is Learning Learning is Living, and her entry "talks about rallying my unschooling troops, remembering what I know to be true, and asking questions knowing I'll receive answers."
My own submissions are a post about the World of Warcraft's article on unschoolers, plus this commentary on a lesson learned in not placing your values on your kids' interests (or anyone else's!).
I hope you enjoy the articles--I loved reading all of them, and was glad so many of you answered my optional question. I think (hope) it will help people understand unschooling, whether they be homeschoolers, unschoolers, or parents with kids who attend school.
Unschooling Voices #14 will be hosted by Summer at Wired For Noise. Find the details on sending posts here.
Update #2: In the comments, Laura at Puddles and Butterflies mentioned she had sent in a submission for this carnival, and so I'd like to add it as well--it addresses the question of the month, too. She said, "One thing about us, and unschoolers in general, is everything we pick is hands-on and fun. They have a voice in what we do within that subject, always."