Thursday, August 30, 2007

The snag in structured schooling...

We're not unschoolers, but I cling very tightly to our unschooling tendencies. For example, Chad finished his structured work yesterday in just over an hour and said, "YAY!" when he was finished. Then he went off to read a book about edible plants (and take notes), for fun. Just because he wanted to. We have a set of encyclopedias, a couple sets of children's reference books about everything you could think of, gobs of picture books and games, all of which the kids have access to whenever they like. Just about every day, at least one of them is parked on the couch looking through a book and announcing their discoveries. "Hey Mama! These people make boats out of reeds!" So yeah, we're pretty unschooly. Even our structured lessons aren't that structured. But it's not really unschooling either.

The problem with any kind of structured schooling is time. The kids have chores they do every morning and I freak out if we don't finish expect breakfast and chores to be done somewhere around 10. The idea is that lessons will be finished by lunchtime, and sometimes this works. If we have to spend an hour in the afternoon finishing, that's fine too. See? Not too structured. Except Every Little Fucking Thing disrupts this relaxed-but-structured schedule. Riley decides to play the harmonica right in the middle of math. My mother calls to ask a question and thinks of about 5 million other things to ask about while she's at it. They're working on the road outside and I decide - like a good unschooling parent, you understand - to call lessons off and go watch, then I get all upset later about what wasn't done and what needs to be "caught up" on.

Today we were going to go to the library. I want to make Thursday our library day this year (last year it was Tuesdays. I'm telling you, I'm a complete freak sometimes!). Everything was going along fine, lessons were getting done quickly and by 11:00 I knew we'd be finished before lunch and off to the library after. Then my aunt called. My uncle is having some tests done at the hospital, and due to some trauma patients coming in to the E.R., they're backed up. My aunt was supposed to be babysitting her granddaughter this afternoon, and would I mind taking her just for a few hours so they could wait at the hospital. "Not at all!" I say, "Bring her on over." Now my kids are off playing and schoolwork will never get done. We won't be able to go to the library until someone comes to pick up my little cousin, and by then it will be time to start dinner. Holy crap, this is SOOOO not a big deal. And I am so freaking out about what isn't getting done today.

5 comments:

Christine said...

That sounds so much like me...not sure if that's a good thing or not ;)

kitten said...

I hear ya and understand. I'm glad I can be there but I wonder sometimes if people don't think I have stuff to do also. I know this couldn't be helped.

Robinella said...

We've done school, official school, 1 time this week. I'VE done my school, reading a shitload of books about certain disorders in children, but the kids have learned plenty this week. Just today, we learned how they cut down those big pine trees and mulch it. Boys and heavy equipment or sharp things...no need to say more.

Heather K. said...

I understand. I was called by my mother who live 20 miles away and asked "What are you doing? Can you come rescue my cat that is stuck under the waterbed and has been for 2 days?" Of course I can stop our school work for pet rescue. Kitty is fine by the way. He was out by the time we got to the house. It killed our whole day, but whatever.

By the way, I read up on edible flowers this spring. Hubby is a chef and wanted to know what flowers he could put on his display trays without the risk of somebody eating the garnishes and getting sick. Very interesting subject.

dawn said...

I hate that when life gets in the way of a good day of school. It wouldn't be bad if it was once a month, but somehow it is more like once or twice a week. It is very frustrating, and I try not to stress, but sometimes, if it happens too many times in a short period, I freak too. Sounds like you are doing a good job anyway since they are looking up things on their own. It is hard to keep it in perspective though, and I can totally relate.