A-Z Reflections on Organic Learning

reflectionsI started blogging, what seems like, centuries ago. I’ve been on and off in keeping up with my blog. Life has thrown me some hard punches which have knocked me down, the largest of those that influenced the demise of my blog was Ian dying. He was my technological wizard, he helped with me everything in regards to my blog and website. After he passed I went through a great period of struggle trying to understand how to keep my blog and business going. It has taken me three years to get my blog back up and running. Of course, during the process I’ve lost so many readers and feel like I’m starting from scratch all over again. My good friend helped me get my blog switched to WordPress and encouraged me to get back on track with my blogging by diving into the A-Z blogging challenge. I’m grateful she did, I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

 

I picked the topic of organic learning or unschooling as my topic for the month. I started with A and ended with Z. I think it was a fantastic adventure for me. I hope it sets me back on track for building my readership and posting regularly.

 

So I’ll share with you what I wrote about this month. I’ll give you a brief recap for each post, but don’t be shy click through and read what tickles your fancy.  Maybe you have never heard of organic learning or unschooling. If so, then let me introduce you:

Answers-Here I explain the definition of unschooling and where living a life where you direct the learning is quite exciting.

Beginnings-I discuss how my journey into organic learning began, how my life situation landed me where I was looking for some different answers, and how my background in public education helped me make some decisions.

Cooking-I focus on learning in the kitchen and it’s vast benefits to children.

Deschool– We all have beliefs and thoughts that we have to undo. We have ingrained ideas,  that are hurting us, get rid of them.

Education by Exploration– The best way to learn is to dive in and explore. Learn how.

Find Your Flow– When a child finds a project of their own picking, and becomes completely immersed their potential for growth and learning is amazing.

Grief (and learning)- Grief affects learning and memory. Patience and emotional safety are a necessity during these stressful times.

History-Learning history without a text book, can it be true? It is, and it’s wonderful!

Individuality-Education for the masses sometimes produces cookie cutter children. Your child is an individual and their education should be as different as they are.

Joy-Learning can be fun, seriously.

Kalahari-I wrote a review of our experience with the Unschoolers Waterpark Gathering at Kalahari resort. Good times!

Life Skills– Children learn what they live. Having our children by our side as we go about our daily lives teaches them so much.

Mentors-Finding a trusted adviser can lead your child down some great learning paths, perhaps even a career path.

Nature– Up close and personal interactions with nature teach us about science, compassion, mercy and so much more. Read our experiences.

Outdoors– I write about the benefits of being outdoors. As Charlotte Mason says,  “Never be indoors when you can rightly be without.”

Play-Play and learning cannot be separated. Give your children unstructured play everyday and watch them flourish.

Quelf-I write about learning from a wild and crazy game that helps with family bonding and relationships.

Resources– This is a valuable list of my favorites in the organic learning /unschooling community. Complete with links to videos, websites and stories of success.

Strewing-Have you heard of strewing? Learn about the art of strewing for any homeschool family.

TV-There is much debate about the TV in the homes. Have you ever learned anything from the television? My guess is you have. I discuss the TV as a learning tool.

Unique-Value an education where uniqueness and diversity is appreciated. It’s important to know your child’s differences and celebrate them.

Volunteer– Volunteering has countless benefits to children and families in general. Look how it’s helped our family.

Worldschooling– Explore the idea of having the world as your classroom. Meet some worldschoolers and learn from their experiences.

XOXO– Everyone needs hugs and kisses, even teens. Learn how to provide that right amount of physical affection for every kid.

YES!– In this post I encourage you to consider the option of YES. See how it helps.

Zany– Homeschoolers are often accused of being odd, or zany. I discuss the homeschool stereotype.

 

The A-Z challenge was great for me. I feel proud of the posts I wrote, I only wish more people were reading them. I am grateful for the new readers, and the love that has been shown by pressing that little like button at the bottom. It’s the simple things in life. I have read some great blogs from the challenge, that I will continue to read. I’ve enjoyed the process, and I hope this had given me a step in the right direction. So to my fellow A-Z bloggers, I hope to see you next year, and don’t be a stranger.

 

XOXO

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We are almost at the end of the A to Z blogging challenge. I have been writing on the topic of unschooling or organic learning all month. I’ve really enjoyed it. Today is the letter X, we could all use some XOXO’s.

I remember growing up and my mom dropping me off to school. I was always willing to offer a hug and a kiss. On the other hand, my brother was not so eager.He was embarrassed at the idea.  I remember my mom feeling crushed as he got older and he wanted his space from her while walking in the mall. It’s a normal part of growth for children to grow up and associate more with their peers and less with their parents. As they grow into young adults, they are preparing themselves for adulthood. This is a normal part of development that usually happens between 12 and 14 years old. They are building their own identity.

So we have three teenagers, one that loves to hug and hold hands, and the other two.. not so much. Her top love language is physical touch, for sure. So she has always enjoyed snuggles, sitting in my lap, and always wanted to be carried as a child. Now as she is growing up I see her still cuddled up close to her siblings to watch a movie and she always gives us hugs goodnight. It’s important to know what kind of physical touch makes your child feel comfortable.
Knowing how to show affection through physical touch is an important part of parenting. It’s essential to know the right way to show physical affection as kids grow older and are resistant to the old fashioned hug. Step parents also need to learn a new way to show physical affection to their step children. Children that may resist and outright hug and kiss, are often open to a pat on the back or a high five. Playful parenting increases the opportunities for physical touch. Perhaps an arm wrestling challenge or a playful wrestling match in the living room will help everyone feel loved. Timing is important for sharing physical affection with your teens, they may not want a hug in front of their peers, but in the privacy of their home they may welcome it.
When spend most of your day with your children, day in and day out, you have lots of opportunities to see what makes them tick. You can pick up on their idiosyncrasies, and preferences. You can find out their love language and do what it takes to make them feel loved on a daily basis.  I think this is another major benefit of home education, or organic learning. As parents it provides us a daily opportunity to learn about our children.

Resources

resources
All month I have been blogging through the alphabet about unschooling, or child led, organic learning. I thought the letter  “R ” would be a perfect chance to share some resources for those who are unfamiliar with with this way of learning. Perhaps you are curious or wonder what it all means. I have some great resources to share on the topic.
Sandra Dodd  is an excellent resource for understanding unschooling and it’s role in parenting and everyday life. Once you visit her page you can see a nice selection of unschooling topics down the left side to explore. It’s a great resource for building confidence in the fact that learning happens everywhere. She is considered a radical unschooler and has written The Unschooling Handbook, that you may find at your local library.
John Holt, though he has passed away, is an amazing resource for unschooling and homeschooling families. He had a magazine at one time called Growing Without Schooling that was pretty inspiring. I have been able to find a few old copies here and there from some other parents that were passing them along. Pat Farenga had worked closely with John Holt and is continuing to share the same ideas of unschooling. He has a few of his own websites and maintains John Holt’s site. He has some webinars and recordings on his site that are free to watch. The first one is designed for those considering homeschooling. You can find that info, HERE.
In attending the Unschooling Waterpark Gathering at Kalahari resort, I’ve met some inspiring speakers on the topic:
 Cindy Gattis  has written a great book called The Right Side of Normal. She isn’t radical in her unschooling, but very effective in trusting her children to lead the way in their education. I really enjoyed her current article on How to Shift From School Mindset to Engaged Learning. I have always enjoyed hearing her speak.
A few years ago  I had the privilege to meet David H. Albert . He is another inspiring parent with the proof in the pudding. He has adult children that have lived a curriculum of abundance, as he calls it. I enjoyed hearing him speak and reading his book Dismantling the Inner School. If you’ve read my post Deschool, and are curious more about that topic. I would start with his book.
One of the questions I received on a post earlier this month was how do unschoolers get admitted into college? Psychology today had a great article discussing this issue HERE, discussing a few experiences of grown unschoolers and their route to college. It’s great to see the experience being, if a student wants to go to college, there are many options out there to consider.
There are some amazing TedX talks and videos done by unschoolers that share some great unschooling wisdom . I”m clearly unable to list all of the resources on this post. Please check out my Pinterest board . I keep an updated list of inspiring homeschooling and child led resources.
Please let me know what inspires you in your home education journeys. Share in the comments.