I'm a highly eclectic homeschooler, with some very clear Charlotte Mason and Classical tendencies... but I'm also so eclectic that I don't even tend to homeschool the same "way" each year, all year long. I ran across this notion of "tidal homeschool" a while ago via Pam Barnhill's podcast and her interview with Melissa Wiley. Once I heard Melissa describe their "ebb and flow" of learning throughout their year, I knew that what had been a natural tendency for us was not a mere lack of "diligence" on my part.
I'm an INFJ (sometimes ENFJ), and as such, I am highly intuitive. Certain seasons of life, seasons of the year, and life events change how and why (and where) we homeschool. I have always made those adjustments to fit the circumstances naturally- but also fought guilt over not always (well, ever) finishing the "whole curriculum."
I'm OK with that now. It used to bug me because I wanted to homeschool the "right" way. But one day I grew into the realization that there is no such thing. There just is NOT. So, if tidal homeschooling works for us and a complete and full education is being rendered, then I need not be legalistically married to do things one way, forever.
Ah. Deep breath. Freedom.
So that brings me to our "unschooling" tendencies. I use that term loosely because like "CM Purists", there are some "unschooling purists" who would never consider what I'm about to show you unschooling. Because of that, I'm calling it our Menu of Adventurous Activities. Essentially, it's an easy printable that you can present to your children and allow them to choose from this "buffet" of creative, hands-on, project-based, FUN activities that are absolutely educational.
As I mentioned recently in a series about quitting homeschool, my girls went to public school for a whole month a couple of years ago. Once they decided (quickly) to come back home, I wanted us all to have some decompression from what had been a very stressful month. I developed this menu and allowed my girls to have free reign. They had a few favorites they wanted to stick to each day, so I evolved into asking them to check each activity off once they had done it so that they could end up doing ALL the activities over time (instead of the same thing every single day!).
Overall, it was a FANTASTIC experience. They loved it, they learned and grew so much, and it's one of our most memorable homeschool experiences yet. Aside from treating it as an "alternative" to a regular school day, you can use this during the long, hot days of summer as a suggestion for things to do when the echos of "I'm bored!" coming ringing through your halls.
Just like with homeschool in general, there's really no wrong way to do it. I hope you enjoy using it as a springboard for your own ideas as well. Follow me on Facebook and share any additional ideas you have- maybe I'll collect enough to make a Adventurous Activities Menu 2.0!
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