The Doubts and Successes
Like all parents I experience doubt.
As a home educator there are moments when I think – what the hell am I doing?
And there are those very odd moments when I want to cry, throw in the towel and hand it all off to the state education system, admittedly those moments are few and far between.
We unschool. In our house that probably means the children do too much art and spend too much time on the computer, playing Five Nights At Freddies or Minecraft or RoadBlocks. However, over the years I've learned to trust them. They do learn and progress. The first time I realised it was when I sat down to "teach" evolution only to have them teach me more than I knew courtesy of Pokemon, Phineas and Ferb, and YouTube. Then there was that moment when my daughter was watching a documentary about James Clerk Maxwell as she'd discovered him through learning about the colour spectrum.
My daughter's time watching TV and playing on the computer is now translating into a talent for art and a desire to make films and animations. She's actually rather good and incredibly knowledgeable.
But… then there are those moments when I want to just have a party, pronounced partae…
Gasbag is nine and he has a variety of issues. If he was at school I would be fighting for a diagnosis. Our only attempts to find out what his issues are have set him back. Instead of trying to help children why do local authorities blame the parents first? Gasbag is constantly moving forward and more importantly he doesn’t know he has an issue.
I was despairing that he would ever learn to read but over the last few weeks I’ve watched him grow physically and mentally.
Do other unschooling parents notice that their children learn much more when they are going through a growth spurt?
Of all my children Gasbag has the most beautiful handwriting. It’s elegant and legible. However, reading has been a fight and a struggle. It has been tiaras, tantrums and destruction at the dining table. As he approaches ten I was beginning to worry would this ever happen? Would I have to give in? We’d tried many methods.
Over the past two weeks he’s gone from not being able to read to sounding out and spelling out words and with help he’s writing well constructed sentences. The first day he wrote a story outline: The Legendary GodCats. With a little help from me he wrote out 964 words (I get into trouble from Gasbag if I say 1000 words) and this week he wrote a prologue.
His extended speech delay has given him an incredible vocabulary because he has had to think like a mini thesaurus to find the word he could say that would fit each situation. And he's become a talented young poet. I now know my gut to stop speech and language therapy was the right decision.
He wrote this about his reading frustration:
The Read Guy by G. Kimlin
Tales from the River Bank
Hide under the blanket
I don't want to
Up the pitch
You know what?
Give me that.
Now I want to.
Teach me the words I want to know
like Fazbear's Family Diner
Purple Guy and Golden Freddie.
Tiaras, tantrums and destruction have become smiles, satisfaction and high-fives.
Party at the Kimlin House right now. Gasbag is doing just grand! And I'm supermum - at least until I finish writing this and one of them brings me crashing down to Earth and takes away my current ability to fly.
The Kimlin Family