When I started this web page, we were using a curriculum called Five in a Row. At first it seemed like just what we needed, but we were soon disappointed. The lessons seemed contrived, only tenously connected to the books. There was no continuity in subject matter from one book to another� one week we could be studying germs; the next week, steam power. Worse, the lessons bore no relevance to Llani�s interests� or when they did, it was out of pure luck. Doing lessons was becoming frustrating. I found myself battling her, trying to keep her on task when she wasn�t interested in what we were doing.
Meanwhile, I noticed that she was learning more just by playing with her brother or friends, observing her environment as we went about our days, playing on the computer, writing to friends, reading books� in short, just by living life� than she was from our FIAR lessons.
For a few days, I looked for a curriculum that would better suit our needs. In describing my disillusionment with FIAR, I would talk about how much learning Llani was doing outside our lessons. I kept hearning myself say, �I know this sounds like the perfect argument for unschooling, but I really don�t think unschooling is right for our family.� This echoed what I�d been saying for the past 6-12 months or so: �I like unschooling in theory, but I don�t think it would work for us.� My reason had always been that we needed more routine, more structure, than unschooling provided.
Finally it hit me� I was going about this whole thing backward. I was looking for a curriculum to provide structure for us, rather than reforming my slackerly ways and adding more routine and structure to our lives, which I needed to do anyway, regardless of curriculum. After I made that realization, things fell into place. Knowing that I could (and would) tackle the problem that caused my strongest reservations, I felt much more confident about unschooling. Making the decision to unschool lifted a burden off me, one I did not know I was carrying. I was amazed at how much freer I felt, and saw that as a sign that I had made the right choice.
Now I�m working on adding more routine to our days and weeks. Meanwhile, we are unschooling. We spend our days reading, talking, writing, and playing. We take walks around the neighborhood. We look at birds, bugs, and plants. We cook and bake. We sing and dance. We go to the library and the playground, museums and movies. We have picnics and playdates. Llani and Zeke do artwork and listen to music. They play house, store, dress-up, cars, puzzles, and dollhouse. Through all these activities, they are learning. And so am I.