If you take a tour of the homeschooling internet community, you can't fail to be impressed and inspired. In fact, a brief look at what others were achieving at home, was enough to confirm me in my decision to abandon our elaborately structured curriculum in favour of unschooling. Creativeness seems to be a by-word for homeschooling and unschooling, in particular. Science, art, craft, history, geography - all these subjects are being taught and learnt with imagination and flair.
Though inspired and encouraged by these beautiful blogs, I no longer have the time nor the inclination to devote my energy to such projects as these, which require a lot of adult supervision. With greater demands on my time, these days, I find that I am less involved in craft and science activities than I was when our older children were young.
But, that's okay. I have also discovered that there are different benefits to be gained by stepping back and allowing the little ones to direct their own activities. My experience has taught me that great creativity, initiative and self-confidence is possible when allowing the children freedom to explore, uninhibited by adult expectations or interference. One reason for this is that adults create using adult skills and I have found that my children are prone to discouragement if their own creations are inferior to mine, or if they are prevented from exploring their own ideas.
Yesterday, I bought the girls a $2 paper flower-making kit from the discount store. Left to their own devices, they quickly discarded the templates and the instructions, prefering to create their designs from their own imaginations. The thinking skills to do this were, I think, superior to the skills required to follow my preconceived ideas of what was 'right' or to merely copy from a set of instructions. Although I can see the benefits of learning by imitation and, also, the benefits of learning to follow instructions, I believe there is an important place in homeschooling for 'masterly inactivity' (as Charlotte Mason would have put it).
Equally rewarding was our reading session, yesterday - a further example of 'lazy' homeschooling. Having just bought a new 'Creation' magazine, I wasn't really in the right mindset for a read-aloud session. So, we brought our own books to the table, at morning teatime, and we, once again, did our own thing. As it turned out, the articles on reversing the ageing process and evolution were so fascinating that we all ended up sharing my reading and an interesting learning experience ensued.
So, I guess what I'm reflecting on, at the moment, is that homeschooling doesn't need to be hard work. The 'lazy' method has its own benefits, which, though not immediately obvious, may actually contribute significantly to their education and their character formation.