It's been about 8 months now since our homeschool journey began. And with the holiday break came a lot of time for reflections. I sat back and questioned myself numerous times as to whether or not my methods were actually benefiting the kids. More often than not our Quran and math sessions would begin or end in tears. I wondered, "What am I doing different than a teacher would be doing at school?" Wasn't homeschooling supposed to be about the kids loving to learn instead of being forced to learn? I decided to take a step back and give myself and the kids a break. I had some family visiting during the holiday and one member told me that I should sit down and think about what I had accomplished last year and list them, and then think about what I would like to accomplish next year and list them. I did just that. And wow! It did seem like I accomplished a lot the previous year, but the upcoming year looked worrisome. How would I accomplish all these goals? The next step, my brother-in-law told me, was to create a document with the families goals listed next to each other (including my children's goals) and try to find commonalities and themes, and then create synergies, or win, win, wins. You can check out an example of this here:
This goal planning tactic was very useful in helping me to see not only what my own goals were, but what was important to my husband and daughter. By looking at Ameera's goal I clearly understood that my ideas and plans for her were not at all what she planned for herself. This led me to the conclusion that our homeschooling would become more Unschooly in nature as we shift to Project Based Learning. I went from structured learning to a much more laid back style approach over the course of 8 months. I find myself thinking a lot about deschooling myself, which basically means that because I went to school, I still very much have a predisposed way of thinking about education and learning. I want to free myself of this thinking and recondition myself to let my children lead me, but it is an incredibly hard and scary thing to do. Keeping goals and setting a plan has helped clear my mind and made me feel more confident in what I want and need to do. I am going to start with cutting way back on any structured type of setting and spending more time observing my kids and listening to them. I believe taking notes will be key in this unschooling process as will creating a special space for my kids to conduct their projects in. This is one of my main goals for this year.