Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home
Let’s face it. Very few of us are completely untouched by public opinion, whether it’s barely beneath the surface or just an occasional niggling feeling. Even the most die-hard unschooler must wonder at some point: Are we on the right track? Am I doing enough?
If your students are under 11 or 12, keep relaxing. Please, oh please, enjoy these days. Snuggle together reading, spend hours doing crafts, take long walks and bend down to examine every insect. Bake a cake and call it science. Go to a museum and call it history. Go grocery shopping and call it math.
I have now graduated one student, who is in his first year of college, and I can say with assurance: I do not regret one single day that we spent decorating cookies instead of doing a math worksheet.
But the time does come to transition.
Generally around seventh grade, you and your student will be ready to ease into what I think of as the academic years—the move toward independence. This road to independence should be a purposeful one. We have deliberately cultivated a relaxed approach to our lives, and in homeschooling and parenting, this translates at one level to relinquishing control little by little. Your child cannot become independent if you do everything for him because it’s the way you want things done.
So how do you make the transition from playdough to research papers? Slowly, but deliberately.