We live next door to an elementary school. This is a fact that amuses some, since we’ve decided to utilize ‘family schooling’ instead of the ‘community school’ that we support with our taxes.

Because of our proximity to this school, we are very aware of the ebb and flow of school schedules. The sign out front says that school starts Wednesday. Seems like too short of a summer to me.

But we do mark our days by when the buses drop children off and by the line that snakes out of the parking lot and down the street at 2:30 each weekday afternoon. The big yellow buses come and go; the parents in vans and suvs come and go. And we continue family-schooling while observing it all.

Last time I checked, Indiana had the suggestion for homeschoolers that they maintain a mimimum of 180 days of instruction, just like the schools.

But how do you keep track of all of this when you don’t ‘school at home?’

There’s some learning of some sort that goes on here everyday. Even when we say we’re taking ‘a day off,’ there are still great discussions and explorations. So we really do our version of schooling daily.

Nic has really flourished with unschooling as of late. I don’t really have to tell him anything, just put resources where he can access them and then get out of the way. He’ll spend his whole day learning and exploring and doing and thinking.

It reminds me of something one of my college professors said. She said that she never told students what the ‘mimimum requirements for any given grade’ were. “The minimum required becomes the maximum offered,” was her belief. Once a student knew what mimium effort they had to expend to get a B, they did that and nothing more. She believed it was far more beneficial to the learning process to encourage her students to learn and to blossom and to ‘do more than the minimum.’ As a facilitator in this family-school of ours, I have to remind myself of this daily. If I tell Nic a timeframe of what I want him to do…I’ve robbed him of his freedom of exploration and turned him into a clock-watcher. When I don’t interfere he is an eager learner instead.

There’s the beautiful irony:

Eager, curious, intelligent & loved children learn.