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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Frustrations of a Busy Schedule

We've been busy, Peter and I... and it shows in Tom's homeschooling experience.

When we first got started with homeschooling, I had a steady gig... we had health insurance on the COBRA plan... and there's was plenty of time to create unique study units based on Tom's personal interests.

We explored Cape Cod; took field trips from Bourne to Provincetown.

We went to Boston museums on a regular basis, and checked out many of the homeschooling programs and events offered throughout the whole area.

We used the woods, the lakes and the beach as our classroom... we took on complex art projects and even went on a whale watch.

All that wonderful creative activity has gone up in a puff of smoke, though, as we struggle to keep our financial ducks in a row.

The steady gig disappeared in a budgetary implosion. COBRA dried up. "Guaranteed" markets I'd relied on for years no longer exist... and many "sure thing" gigs suddenly decided the money wasn't available to outsource. It takes most of our time, energy and hard work just to keep the work coming in and going out in a timely manner.

That doesn't mean Tom isn't learning: he certainly is! He's now with a group of homeschoolers twice a week, giving him the opportunity to learn social and collaborative skills (and us the chance to get some work done!). At home, he's working on critical academics: reading comprehension, long-form writing, mathematics, computer skills. And of course there's still music.

But it's not the wonderful, fun, free exploration we started with... and I miss it.

The funny thing is, Tom rarely seems to feel he's missing out. Sure, he'd love to get to the art museum - but it's by no means an obsession. In fact, he seems perfectly happy with our much-more-predictable but much duller day-to-day schedule.

Can't help but wonder whether all the creative, open-ended activity we were doing was more for me than for Tom??


Adelaide Dupont said...

Those are great classrooms.

I have been investigating a similar idea known as the "forest school".

Another former unschooler is going on to a structured curriculum, and she is learning a lot about Perspective Taking.

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