As unschoolers we don’t really participate in the whole “Back to School” frenzy. But fall definitely brings a change to our life. First, we are in a learning program that runs during the school year and we’re getting excited about starting a new year.
The kids’ Learning Consultant (a certified teacher who has been specially trained to mentor self-directed learners) came to visit last week. She visits at the start of every learning year to re-connect with the kids and talk about their Learning Plans for the year. She lives in the same metropolitan area as we used to, but in a wonderful coincidence her husband grew up here in our new town and they come to visit regularly. So it was she was able to come by and see us. This will be our fourth year together, the second for my son, and we feel very blessed to have her.
During the summer we don’t have much in the way of scheduled activities. There may be the odd “camp” style course over a week, but otherwise we are pretty free to let things flow as they will. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the warm weather and take plenty of time to be outside. With fall approaching we’re getting signed up for various classes and activities and setting a weekly schedule for ourselves. Both kids are doing twice-weekly swimming lessons, and Daughter will be doing a painting/drawing class (not a “crafting” class but real artistic techniques). Both these classes will be special weekday sessions for homelearners, which is especially nice. Son also wants to do some martial arts and maybe some other sport as well. Then we have our weekly “Park Days” where we get together with other homelearning families and have a play date and picnic somewhere in the area. Skating will start up soon and there is a weekly homelearners session at one of the local rinks. Finally, my friend and I are starting up a new La Leche League group together, which will meet once a month. The kids will come to our meetings and we’re hoping to find a homeschooling teen who wants to be a Mother’s Helper and play with our kids during the meetings.
We’ll still have 2 or 3 “free days” most weeks where we can decide on a whim what we’ll be doing those days. Depending on the weather we may go out, meet up with another family for a playdate in the park, run errands, stay home and bake or craft or play. It’s easy to get overscheduled with all the great opportunities around but I know the importance of having our “free days” when everybody can be spontaneous and take whatever time they need (creative time, down time, private space time…).
I wasn’t really ready for summer to be over – it was a short one here what with the cool wet Spring that went on forever and now the early cool breezes with Autumn in the air. But I do love fall, and I can’t wait to see what our land looks like when the leaves turn colour on all the maple trees.
We’ve recently gotten to know a few homelearning families here and a group of us have been getting together regularly for about a month now. It’s wonderful to feel a community developing (many of us are new to the area, and are revitalizing the social engagement calendar for the longer residents) and I’m excited that we’ll be in so many homelearners classes. It’s important for me that the children have friends who are living similar lifestyles, to provide a balance of experiences and to retain a feeling of normalcy for them in terms of our lifestyle. It’s also a nice way for me to make new friends and feel even more settled in our new community.