Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Saints

The saints are often an inspiration for unschooling.

Recently, we had the feast day of St Philip Neri. Teacher of St John Bosco.

Both saints worked with boys and young men. Both saints had a lot to say about the care and education of the young.

And so both saints have been good mentors for me when it comes to unschooling.

Two quotes.

St. Philip Neri’s words: “Do as you wish, I do not care so long as you do not sin.”

"Run, jump, make noise, But do not sin…”-St. John Bosco

So...sometimes..let kids be kids.

And..sometimes..don't sweat the small stuff. Pick your battles. And keep the eternal in mind.

Very helpful for my Catholic unschooling.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Memories and Unschooling

Remind yourself that each moment we're creating memories. Think of those moments as photos in a photo album.

I put this quote on my blog yesterday - and several friends, in real life (? weird term but you know what I mean..) and in email, have commented on it. On how much it spoke to them. On how it reflects the why of homeschooling.

The why of homeschooling? Isn't homeschooling about education?

Not really.

Gasp! Did I say that homeshooling as not about education?

Well, yes. Simply because it is so much more than that .

Homeschooling, unschooling , is about life.

And creating memories. Memories that are stored away, that make up the child and then the adult. Formation, in other words.

I think that strong positive family memories, exposure to activities and ideas and to other people, are what make a strong case for homeschooling. For the advantages of homeschooling.

You never know what will strike a chord with a child. Ignite an interest. Be tucked away in the scrapbook of memories.

For this reason, we unschool. We live and thus, by living together, we learn. We laugh together, read together, play together , watch movies together, eat together, do chores together, do some schoolwork together, talk together, get cross together, go to Mass and pray together ~ and hopefully build on this storehouse of interactions.

Last night, we prayed the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yes, I was a bit silly during prayers - moving my feet in rhythm and prompting dh, the leader, simply because I have memorised this litany. Sigh. I am bad in prayers...

However, we did pray together, we did smile together, we spent time together and with our prayer intentions. Creating a scrapbook of prayer and family memories.

Today, we had French class at another homeschooler's home. The kids laughed as they listened to the CD and followed along in the French storybook. They tried to learn the Lord's Prayer in
French. They did French copywork, a la Charlotte Mason. And shared morning tea and active outside games.

Followed by going to the movies, meeting up with Jonathon and a family friend.

Lunch at Coffee Club....

A day of memories, fun, conversation and perhaps some sparks of learning.

A happy unschooling photo for that mental photo album.

"Education," said Sister Miriam Joseph, in writing on classical education "is the highest of arts in the sense that it imposes forms not on matter, as do the other arts, but on minds."

The Church clearly notes in the Catechism that parents are responsible for their children’s“moral education and spiritual formation.” This responsibility is so intertwined with the family“that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute” to the parents' involvement (CCC 2221).

To be honest, I am not necessarily the best person to talk about spiritual formation, being still in formation myself ( as my two or three regular blog readers know! ).

I hold, however, that creating memories, positive memories, educational and spiritual and relational memories, is important to the intellectual and spiritual formation of the child. Of the person. And of the family.

This is why I homeschool, why I am glad that we have homeschooled.


The Little Way of Homeschooling

Our new book about Cahholic unschooling.

Thirteen of us describe how we live unschooling in our homes.

Drawing from St. Therese, St. John Bosco, John Holt (How Children Learn and How Children Fail and Teach Your Own), we try to give you a picture of education and life without the constraints of typical modern education.

Suzie Andres addresses the question of whether a Catholic can happily unschool by explaining it as a sensible approach to the mystery of learning, certainly not as an ideology in competition with our faith.

The heart of the book is our honest description of our homes and education ... descriptions by mothers who have embraced unschooling in varying degrees.