Deschooling was always part of the original plan…trying to get our little lady to reset herself, away from being part of a system. To give her time to adjust and get used to this new way of living and learning. Also, as a family and parents, we need time to adjust and shed the conventional learning methods. Going with the flow more, following her lead and her direction, was also part of the plan. Unfortunately, for the deschooling plans, she had other ideas, and was keen to do something formal at home. So I have had to strike a balance, following her, but allowing an adjustment time too. I have compromised by doing minimal learning at home before heading outdoors for whole days, regardless of weather, reconnecting her to nature and the great outdoors. This will hopefully balance out, providing an environment that supports her development intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. There has been more opportunity for free play with natural tools and resources, encouraging her creativity and problem solving. Especially when she is then sharing the environment with her younger twin brothers. They have been able to get along better generally, perhaps cutting down the impact of leaving school. The great outdoors is also known to reduce stress and induce calmness, so that can only help going through such a large process of change. It also means that a large proportion of our trios days are unscheduled, which adds to the fact that some deschooling is going on anyway. The main rule of the days has been to keep things simple, outdoors, and full of free play.
With that in mind, today’s Mamma Day was largely spent on the beach. I lugged a pile of lunches, water (we had our furry friend with us who needed refreshments too), the dog, and various aids to catching crabs and digging up the coast, down the beach while the little lady scooted and day dreamed along. We actually caught the first crab of the year too!! I always feel some pressure to catch at least one for the children to oooooohhhhhh over in case they aren’t so successful, when really I shouldn’t and they should learn some days you are lucky some days you aren’t. I guess that may well come in time.
A large proportion of time though was spent “just being”, which was the perfect match to the Maths and English she had sat and done this morning at home. Despite deschooling not really turning out how I had hoped, I think we do seem to have struck a happy balance here. Whilst doing her more formal work, she loves having one arm hanging down fussing over our dog, and thinks it is great she can use any colour of the rainbow to work in. So, even though there are more formal learning methods applied to Maths and English, she is still firmly putting her own stamp and expression on it. I am now trying to encourage her to think a lot more for herself and become a more independent thinker. A lot comes from wanting to get things right all the time, but also from being directed a large amount in her little life. She needs confidence to express her opinions and follow through with the actions she wants too.
I am crossing all my fingers and toes that our lack of complete learning blackout will not backfire on us, and end up creating a home education nightmare. Maybe, she will indeed hit a time when we will and need to do it. For now though she is happy and we are happy. Gone are the “spinny heads” that resulted in a few optician trips in quick succession. Gone are the moans and groans in the mornings. Gone are the persistent tummy aches. She was beginning to struggle to fall asleep from too many things whizzing around her little head, but now is healthily tired out, and falling asleep a lot quicker. She can relax and take things a little slower and easier. I’m not being lulled into a false sense of security though, and am keeping my eyes and ears open for any signs of struggling to transition. Tomorrow will see her first Forest School experience, and in typical English weather fashion, it is going to bucket it down. Back on with all the waterproofs it is, that we have cast aside with such glee for the past few days.