I knew it wasn't working. The resistance and tears I got from my daughter told me so. At first I blamed it on her attitude. After all, we had never used any kind of curriculum before. Sure we had used some textbooks, but we used them in a very loose manner. We would read from them when we felt like like. Do the assignments if they seemed interesting. But last spring when I began thinking about this school year I became worried about "gaps" in her skills and knowledge so, I started searching for a curriculum.
Why did I worry? Looking back I think it was just my daughter's age. We were heading into 6th grade age. Although we have never paid much attention to grade levels. I was thinking; she needs to learn to write, work on spelling, do more math ... High School years will be here before you know it!
One word describes my motivation - FEAR. Fear of the "gaps", fear of not having skills needed for college, fear of the judgement of others. Let me just say, this is a bad motivation for anything!!
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:17
So I found a curriculum I really loved, and still do in concept. It is based in literature, and the lessons are short and gentle. I really fits my teaching style. Just enough structure, I thought. We started out OK with it, even liking many parts. I did a lot of tweaking to it! But we lost our joy. School work became something to get over with so we could do what we really wanted to do. The structure of the lessons became too repetitious. Some children will love this aspect! We found it got boring. It became a struggle. So we stopped. Abruptly. Now what?
Well, I'm working on defining our plan. I've gone back and reread some books on Leadership Education and Relaxed Homeschooling. Some books about Unschooling too. I had to ask myself, what is the one reason we are doing this? I know homeschoolers have many reasons for choosing this path, but we all have one that is the most important! So I came to our main reason.
To raise my child in a manner which allows her to discover her God given purpose in life and allows her the freedom to pursue that purpose.
That's it, and it's big!
How do you accomplish this? Well, first she needs time to discover herself ... her interests, talents and passions. These are the areas God has gifted her in. Then she needs time to pursue these. Finally, she needs exposure to lots of different experiences. How can you know what you are talented or interested in if you have never experienced it?
So we have come to a place of no lessons, no requirements, passion pursuing education. But still I fear. Will she ever learn Algebra? Does she even need it? Can she learn it when it comes up in her pursuit of daily life? if it doesn't come up in "real-life" then why does she need to learn it? These are the questions I am asking. I don't have the answers right now.
The one thing I do know is to not make a decision out of fear. To trust that the Holy Spirit will lead us in these decisions. Right now I am not sure what our homeschooling will look like next year, but I know it won't look like school!