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.

 

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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.

Unique

 

 

unique

I have been blogging through the alphabet all month on the theme of unschooling, or organic learning. Hooray for making it to the letter U. Today we will focus on having an education that is unique.

 

Each child is different, each person is different. I value an education where diversity and uniqueness is appreciated. That is the kind of education I want for my children. I don’t want a cookie cutter education for them. I want their differences to be celebrated, their passions to be pursued.

One issue often faced by teens is the struggle to fit in. Public schools seem to recently become the breeding ground for bullies. If someone doesn’t fit their image of cool, they are often ostracized and made fun of, and in some extreme situations physically assaulted. They often struggle with finding their own identity, yet also conforming to their peers standards.
Taking time to realize what makes our child special and unique is a gift. We can find out what intrigues them, what stirs their emotions. Then as parents, we can encourage their learning to work along with their passions. This way they grow to have a love for learning and can follow their own path. This helps set them up for success in finding a career that they will enjoy and feel passionate about pursuing.
Each child’s educations should be as unique and special as they are. Often I am struck by the uniqueness of children in the homeschooling, and more specifically, the unschooling community. Often they don’t exactly fit the mold of a typical teenager. This sometimes may be by their appearance, and other times it may be of their interests and personality. I am often surprised of the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of these young people. They are often focusing their energy on helping others and creating a fulfilled life for themselves.
 I find it odd that children in public school are classified into groups with peers their exact same age. What if my child has no interest in American history when he or she is 12, but finds it enthralling when he or she is 15. It makes sense to me that they will remember and apply what they learn when they are enjoying the learning process. Another joy to homeschooling is your children have friends of various ages, some older, some younger. Isn’t that what real life is like? I know for a fact it would be odd if all of my friends were exactly 42 years old. So why is that so often the reality of our children?
How do you celebrate your uniqueness? How do you honor the uniqueness of your children?