About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything as well as a poetry collection titled Tending. Join the Free Range Learning community on Facebook and connect with Laura at her blog.

Learning through flow

lauragracepicmo

Written by Laura Grace Weldon

Flow is “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”  ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

My daughter spent much of this week with a deer skeleton she found in the woods.

As she searched the site she was thrilled to find most bones intact. Supportively, I provided toothbrushes, bleach, and other supplies to clean them.

Today she’s reassembling the skeleton in the driveway. She shows me how the back legs fit into the hip sockets, giving the deer power to leap and run while the front legs are mostly held on by bone and connective tissue.

She points out that the spine is somewhat similar to a human spine in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar regions, but very different where the large cervical vertebrae come in.

I know so little about this topic that I forget what she’s telling me while she speaks.

Handling the bones carefully, she faithfully reconstructs the skeleton. She’s so deeply engrossed in the project that she hasn’t come in for lunch or bothered to put on a jacket to ward off the chill.

Her interests are far different than mine, but I know what it’s like to be this captivated.

You know the feeling too. You become so absorbed in something that time scurries by without your notice. Your whole being is engrossed by the project. You feel invigorated.

Skiers call it becoming “one with the mountain.” Athletes call it being in the “zone.” Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has termed it the “state of flow.”

[Read more…]

What do you do every day?

laura3picmo

Written by Laura Grace Weldon.

How do you answer this homeschooling question?

What do you do every day?

That’s what people wonder about homeschoolers. Sometimes they ask us point blank, “Okay you homeschool, but what do you DO every day?”

It seems like a huge mystery to non-homeschoolers that we self-compose our days, somehow proceeding without the structure school imposes. Yet that question isn’t irrelevant. We’ve chosen to learn in ways that are entirely out of the mainstream. That confuses some, upsets others, and simply provokes curiosity in many. They’re waiting to hear what we have to say. No pressure there!

[Read more…]

6 homeschooling misconceptions erased

6 homeschooling misconceptions erased
The following is a guest post by Laura Grace Weldon, author of Free Range Learning.

A note from Jamie: This post wins the award for longest article ever published on this blog, but I found all of Laura’s words so insightful and worth including. I hope you’ll take the time to read it and be encouraged!

I never planned to homeschool. I am the daughter, niece, and granddaughter of excellent public school teachers. I cheerfully volunteered in my children’s classrooms and worked on parent committees. I believed in doing my best to change a flawed system from within.

Yet I kept seeing school wasn’t a good fit for my children. Our four-year-old already knew how to read, but had to practice sight words in preschool anyway. Our sweet but inattentive second-grader was deemed a good candidate for Ritalin by his teacher.

Our fifth-grader could do college level work, but due to cuts in the gifted program had to follow grade-level curriculum along with the rest of her class. Our freshman was an honors student but detested school, not only the hours of homework but the trial of dealing with a few teens who were harassing him.

We became homeschoolers overnight when those teens pulled a gun on my oldest in the school hallway, telling him he wouldn’t live to see the end of the day. School officials, who had done nothing to ease the harassment, didn’t even call the police.

The next morning every reason I had to avoid homeschooling stared me in the face. So did my kids. They were eager to learn on their own terms.

Here are a few of the misconceptions homeschooling erased for me.
[Read more…]