There are some days that our choice to unschool seems far off base. Then there are ones like today when I need to remember to hold my tongue and things will come together.

This morning Alder picked up one of the science experiment books that we got at the library yesterday. It was the sort with lots of pictures and he replicated one of the experiments himself, only asking for help finding a piece of cardboard. After doing the original experiment he add his own variations (it was a friction and ramp one) even using some modeling clay.

Then we went to the pool. The big excitement there was the water slide. But there was only so many times I was willing to climb the stairs so he let me stand at the bottom and catch him. On one trip down he told me to move a way and he swam the ten feet to the wall himself, underwater and with his head out. Just when I was worried that I need to sign him up for swimming lessons he goes and teaches himself.

Now he’s on the floor playing some fire rescue game with lots of trains who need saving. Each one has its own voice.

Not bad for a day of “doing nothing”

In the title of the post I say that it isn’t a how, but there is a big how. It is how I am dealing with being a learning partner not a teacher. It is the countless times a day I have to look at what he is doing and remind myself let it be not ask the school-y question I am so used to. Instead I keep my questions to actual curiosity. When I was becoming a teacher we learned about ‘Teachable Moments’ where you are supposed to look out for moments that can be useful to teach thing. It seems like a good idea at first, as a teacher you are always looking for ways to teach. But after a while your relationship changes with the students, you are always on as teacher and building relationships as people. Now as a homeschooling parent I really want to avoid the teachable moments. I don ‘t mean that I am always blank waiting for my son to talk to me, I tell him things I notice explain things when we experience or observe them, but I do it out of sincere interest. Sure I’ll ask him to guess why something happens but I don’t push him to work through until he gets the right answer, I just let him enjoy the back and forth of question asking.

My mind is so used to finding extensions to everything, every game we play with the Cuisenard rods “could” lead to a math lesson. But instead I let them flow, the rods themselves introduce him to the ideas without me pushing. The science project that he finds in a book to make could turn into a long explanation kinetic energy, and I do mention the name briefly. But instead he takes the concept and searches for it himself around the house (a fan) and outside (figuring out which direction the wind is coming from).  Paired with the word his own explorations stay with him much longer. Besides, this is the child who has never let up from the ‘why’ stage so there are plenty of times that I am showing him how things work or why they are happening (or looking for answers with him).

Letting him lead us through this journey is still new for me, I am still learning the best ways to be part of it, and it is teaching me so much about being calm and looking for balance even in situations there seems to be none.