Why do we name things? Why do we label people? We need to use concepts to understand the world around, to identify, to state we belong or not, to explain how we
There has been an interesting discussion lately about being a "living math drop out" that Love2learn2day resumes in this post, and that has also boiled in my head along with the thoughts on who I am, who we are in this homeschooling ocean.
Take the label WEIRD, in our family weird is a compliment, but specially if I beat you to it, I like it less if you tell me I'm weird meaning more than peculiar, unique, distinctive. Some call homeschoolers weird because we swim against the current, because our standards are not mainstream.
In the homeschooling spectrum I could venture that there are the unschoolers who try to say yes to everything the child wants as much as they can (as a friend who has read about unschooling was telling me) and do not use any curriculum or anything that resembles school but who live very close to their children to take advantage of their interests and to respect their paces and their own development, to the families that follow the more traditional idea of school as close as they can from the curriculum to the schedules and understanding of what education is. And here is where one has to be careful, I have my own biases and opinions about those ends, but it will be preposterous to think that all the families live on one or the other edge of that line. Most find ourselves some place in the middle with more affinity to one or the other philosophies in the extremes. We usually move in that line at different times in our life.
Being totally honest, my husband and I agree in our dislike of the term unschooling. We ARE NOT and WILL NEVER BE unschoolers, we proclaim. Yet I have a friend who declares herself such and I see they are engaged in different projects, they attend different classes, and they are learning as the more strict worksheet and text book worshiper claims to be. What we don't like it's the fact that in our eyes many of those who declare themselves unschoolers are to us very permissive, and again this may very well be our bias for there are ideas, principles, and I'm sure, families, who thrive on this philosophy. Being bleeding honest, many of these families who unschool seem to us to be atheist, and we are not, so our inclination is toward a philosophy of education that we believe is more harmonious with those who, like us, have the Scriptures as our anchor.
What about Charlotte Mason. She has not fail me up to today, but I may have failed her. Am I then an unorthodox Charlotte Mason type of educator? I can't say I follow all I should to perfection, but still her methods and principles are what I favor and try to implement. My friend Cori is experimenting with Waldorf now, I felt a bit tempted to look into that, but I have retrieved to Charlotte Mason. I´m seeing fruits in my girls, and it´s where my heart and mind are. Even though I haven´t read her six volumes front to back yet, even though I´m taking baby steps with nature journaling, even though we haven´t done much artist study...I´m still committed to time outdoors, nature walks, NARRATION, reading the Scriptures, HABIT FORMATION (my ongoing battle), though we read books that probably will be considered twaddle, I´m still putting all my marbles on the wholesome literature, I plan to start with AO year 1 next fall with my oldest, and I have this year to continue working toward a CM education, even if we look like pitiful impostors at times.
Back to the labels and the question, who am I? I don't know, but I'm going to have the boldness of describing some of you, friends:
I see Jeanne as a unique Australian Charlotte Masoner, her blog about her life and adventures with her family and daughter whom she homeschools are fascinating, Heather, she is this mom I want to be in my second life as a homeschooling mom, she has this exceptional insight to know how to gently guide her children, and create the perfect atmosphere for learning to occur. She likes Charlotte Mason and John Holt, and reads books from the Ambleside list and OUT of the Ambleside list too, she reads MANY books, including The Story of the World by Wise-Bauer and some that are just fun, so I can't describe her either. Amy in Peru is an extraordinary Charlotte Masoner too with a great sense of humor and practicality, the best tutorials for nature study, hymn study, composer and artist study, math, phonics, you name it! right now she is in KINDLE mood (I'm so jealous), Ellen is a mix of classic education and Charlotte Mason, very bookish, classic and solid, but with a great dose of outdoors too, Bloosom is an eclectic homeschooler with a Charlotte Mason desire that shows more than she credits herself for, Joy...I don't know how one would label her, you should check her blog and decide yourself, she also has the BEST curriculum guidelines and recommendations, and her son and daughters, specially the oldest, have an out of this world talent (if the mom had not her own share, soon her daughters will surpass her...sorry Joy ;-) Jimmie is...Jimmie, a fantastic mom who homeschools in China with an incredible wealth of knowledge and unique mix of curriculum and resources, Nancy, she is Charlotte Mason perfection, when I read her blog I always remember why I was drawn to her in the first place, she rekindles my passion for CM every time, Pam, wow, she is strong, generous, and she never gives up, also a Charlotte Mason person with this gift for sketching, great inspiration to read about her days, her worries, her solutions, Jamie has this capacity to adjust to the always changing and challenging circumstances in her household with her two daughters, the one you want to read when confronted with dilemmas such as hybrid school, adoption, etc. Cori, Cori is another mom that will inspire you, she travels the main philosophies of education like a explorer, camping here and there, sharing and discovering new lands where Charlotte Mason co exists with Waldorf. For her philosophies come second, her tailored education for her boys come first. She truly makes that maxim of making curriculum your slave a total truth.
And finally us...I think we are the Charlotte Mason aspirer type of homeschoolers. We start as Charlotte Mason and end up as...I don't know very well yet, stay tuned, I hope we end up as stronger Charlotte Masoners, but I don't know if I've laid down the proper foundation to make it work (I hope so), I'll tell you about it in the future. What I DO know is that many things are going great, some need attention, and some will stay and some will leave. And that we will continue doing our best to obtain that label that says LIFE LEARNERS.