Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unschooling Conference

I have to say that attending this conference changed my whole perspective on homeschooling. I've been on the fence about unschooling, having come from a traditional learning background. After hearing presenters, especially Cindy Gaddis, speak about how unschooling can work for kids with special needs, I started to think about it differently. And as the summer went on, I could see my boy flourishing in the more relaxed atmosphere of self-directed learning. He has been able to focus on what makes him happy, and that's made all the difference. I'm blessed that he loves to read anyway, but giving him that extra freedom to make his own choices about his learning has made our home more balanced, more centered. Having worked in traditional schools most of my adult life and having gone to school to become a teacher, it was hard for me to let go of the mindset that conventional learning is the only way to go. I now see that Lil' Guy will learn what he needs to learn to be who he is meant to be. I just need to get out of his way! He is an avid reader, absorbs anything visual (books, videos) like a sponge, and has a memory that won't quit. So many gifts in one little package. How could I ever doubt that he will fulfill his purpose in this life? It took the conference to convince me that he is on the right path.

The other workshop that really helped me get clarity on learning was Cindy Gaddis' presentation on right-brained thinkers. Being left-brained myself, it's always been a struggle for me to connect in certain ways with Lil' Guy and some of the kids I tutor. Now I realize it's the lack of understanding I had about how they learn. I figured out a long time ago that we learn differently, but I couldn't put my finger on just how best to reach them. Now I'm researching techniques that add so much more meaning to my lessons. Not only is it helping my kids, it's quietly nudging me toward being more creative.

In May, when we finished our 3rd grade year, I was not looking forward to fourth grade. Now, I can't wait to see how far he goes with his own ideas and limitless possibilities! We're both going to have a fantastic, stress-free learning experience. Bring it on!

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