Working on manual dexterity and creativity.
Clipping the rabbits. (Also a delightful education in treating an abscess and woolblock. Don't worry - no pictures of that.)
Playing the violin and using the potty.
Writing about bugs. There was quite a bit of writing coming from Miah about all kinds of things.
Explorations in the proper use of a magnifying glass.
An experiment involving water, ice, and roly-polies. To which I protested.
(me)"I don't think they like being so cold. They'll freeze."
(Larkin)"It's an experiment."
(me)"They can't breathe underwater. They'll drown."
(Larkin)"It's an experiment."
(me)"You're killing them. You know you're killing them, right?"
(Larkin, calmly, studying the air bubbles on the submerged roly-polies)"It's an experiment."
Revealing Australian animals.
Seeing the moon up close for the first time.
Pondering the pictures.
And tonight's practical life exercise - peeling onions. Zahana found one and peeled it, then asked for another. Then everyone wanted one. And they peeled all the onions. Then Miah and Larkin peeled all the garlic. Then they wanted potatoes, but potatoes really do need their skins. And we learned why onions make us cry - sulfur. Who knew peeling onions could be so engaging?
So why don't we do it this way all the time? Why does Mama impose structure and math lessons? For the same reason I make them brush their teeth. It's my job. I could, at one extreme, impose too much rigidity, keeping the kids in their chairs with piles of worksheets and lots of boring mind-numbing busywork (or work that was too difficult) in front of them, keeping a strict schedule that did not allow for life and the simple joy of discovering an onion.
Ephesians 6:4 comes to mind: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
A rigid school structure set up in the home would be exasperating. Larkin, a few weeks ago, wanted to learn about the rainforest. I know if I was really interested in learning how to bake a cake, but someone told me, "I'm sorry, cake-baking isn't in the schedule for another 14 weeks. Right now you need learn crocheting.", I would be exasperated. So we learned about rainforests. Sometimes I forget that cake-baking can come before crocheting or that crocheting really doesn't have to come at all. Then we get a month like December, and I remember. And I have to think about it a lot.
I could, on the other hand, impose nothing. Allow all education to be child-led. What would be wrong with that? I think, ultimately, this course could be just as exasperating for the child as too much rigidity. If I never actively taught anything which a child showed no interest in, it is likely that he would come to a point in life where he realizes a certain skill would be very valuable but would at that point be so discouraged at his inability that learning would be much more difficult and frustrating.
I do not, in the least, profess to have it all figured out. You cannot imagine (or perhaps you can) how this question of methods goes on and on in my mind. But I have come to the conclusion, as I usually do, that the key is balance. That if a beloved philosophy is just not working for a specific child or the home in general, it's time to try something else. Because I can. To be enslaved to a method or schedule (or lack of one) is no better than being trapped in a system. Which reminds me of another verse.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1