I have a post to write about our day with family yesterday, complete with pictures, but I've also got this one banging about in my head, so I'm going to go with this one first.
We've been unschoolers on our whole school career. That is, at least, up until now. Davan and I are now experimenting with a bit more structure to our days.
Unschooling has worked well for Davan. She is extremely literate, has a basic working knowledge of the general idea of history with details in some places, a basic working knowledge of science with particular emphasis on natural biology and the workings of a human body, and she has managed to stay about even with public school grade level in math.
The math thing, though, has bothered her. She doesn't have a love for math, so she doesn't do it, so she doesn't gain mastery, so it's hard, so she doesn't want to do it, so she doesn't love it and so on. I thought we'd broken this cycle this fall when she seemed to find a love of math. However, due to a variety of factors, some of which I can pin point and others that are a mystery, her infatuation with math shifted back into dislike. Sigh.
Of note also is learning French. A foreign language is a good thing to learn for a wide variety of reasons not the least of which, for Davan, is being able to speak the language of big circus. She has been motivated off and on to learn French, but it was all cobbled together with materials from the library and the like. When she got her little hands (okay, not so little - her fingers are longer than mine now - sigh) on Rosetta Stone for French, it seemed like all of her dreams came true. After a couple of lessons, though, she realized it was work and, again, for a variety of reasons, her infatuation faded.
Still, though, Davan wants to be proficient in math and wants to learn French. She just doesn't want to do the work they require right now and she's used to only learning things she wants to learn at that moment, which has worked well in the past. So, after much discussion and waiting to see the results and then doing that again a few times, we've come to the conclusion that what we need right now is a little structure to our school day. And we are talking a little structure.
Here's our plan: on Mondays through Thursdays, we do school. We can't do school on Fridays because that our ski day, of course. (Okay, that said, Davan actually does a fair amount of what some might consider school on Fridays. Last Friday she read a couple of her bucket of books about DNA and genetics on the way up and back from skiing - obviously she's doesn't need structure to help her find time for all of her subjects.)
And here's what we do on school days:
Around 9am (give or take), we have breakfast with 15-30 minutes of educational video. This is mostly just to warm up, as Davan enjoys doing something together over breakfast. This morning we watched the first video on this channel. (Thanks to the HomeSchool Girls for this resource!) We actually started watching "A Traveler's Guide to The Plants" that we'd gotten from the library, but it was annoying to us with how little actual information was doled out amongst the entertainment fluff, so we stopped watching it.
After the video is 20-30 minutes of math. This morning, though, Davan actually did her math before breakfast, as she was up and showered when I got home from running with Ranger and I needed to shower before breakfast.
Next up is 20-30 minutes of Rosetta Stone. Davan was getting frustrated with it today at the end. She expects it to come to her so easily that when she has to go over things more than once, she's frustrated. Hopefully she's able to overcome that.
We close our school day with 20-30 minutes of me reading aloud (Davan loves it when I read to her, but we don't often find time for it anymore) out of a book that I think has information it would be good for her to know that she might not pick up on her own. Today we started The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension. I guess, by starting this one, we're reading out of order, but it's the one I found at the library, so there it is.
When I was at the library looking for books for this part of our day, I found more books that I just put in her room for her to read on her own than I found ones that I thought that she wouldn't bother with herself. In fact, she's now reading Words, Words, Words as her current pleasure reading book. It's not a book I'd read for pleasure at all. Perhaps I should let her create a curriculum for me?
Okay, let me share with you what all has happened while I wrote this post. I started writing after Davan went off to have fun with Lena and her host family. She was invited to go to Sky High with them today, as it's a school holiday. At first, she declined because she teaches at Do Jump on Monday mornings, but then I said she should go and we'd try to find her a sub. If worst came to worst, I'd fill in for her. However, I also thought that the school director might just say not to worry about it, as it's a small class and the other two teachers can probably cover it. Anyway, we didn't find a sub and I hadn't made contact with the school director, so it was on me to sub. I was on it.
Part way through writing, it was time to head off. I left, got out the door and part way down the block when I realized I was supposed to have been there at 10, but was actually going to get there at 11. I have no idea how I made that mistake. I called the school director and the office and kept walking there. Turns out, it wasn't a big deal as the class was even smaller than usual today, but I felt bad. Here I'd told Davan I'd cover for her and then I messed up. I made sure everyone knew it was my fault, not Davan's. Then I went by the grocery store on the way home to pick up a couple items.
I got back home and made some progress on my post when my Mother in Law called. She's been hit by the "Internet Security" virus. We weren't able to solve the problem over the phone, but, by using my Sister in Law (who goes there every weekday for reasons I may post about another time) to mule over a fix for it, I think she'll be up and running again tomorrow. We were on the phone for a half hour with me trying to help her. What with her having limited computer skills, that was a bit of a challenge.
Then I got back to the post once more. Little did you know all the obstacles I had to overcome in order to share our little school story with you. I hope you appreciate it. :)