As far as the current crisis goes: I don't want to talk about it. Hopefully it will be wrapped up soon, and I'll let you know once that happens, but for now- I just don't want to talk about it. I'm thinking about it enough as it is.
What I am thinking about right now is the upcoming summer. More specifically, what exactly Ezra and I are going to do with it. I must admit, I am partially dreading it-- in that Ezra is such a whir of energy and activity these days that the whole thing sounds exhausting. Simultaneously, I am really really looking forward to it. He's been in full-time school this year, and I miss him a lot. I miss really being a stay-at-home Mom, guiding him and learning with him. So, in the name of channeling his energy and giving him some time to learn on his own terms, I am looking into summer Unschooling and trying to plan out some ideas, at least to get us started.
I don't yet know much about Unschooling, other than that, on a daily basis, you follow the child's lead. That means that whatever Ezra is interested in, I will find activities and lessons to enrich his interest. I really like this idea. I feel like it will keep us busy and happy, and give both of us guidance on how to spend our time, without taking over all of our time.
Right now, Ezra is excited about summer swimming, so I'm thinking I will start with a "unit" on water. We will probably visit the local resevoire, and the park with the fountains for playing. Of course, the local pool is on the schedule for much of the summer, but I'm going to enroll him in swim lessons too. I'm thinking this interest in water might be turned into an interest in water ecosystems, so I'm working on finding a good creek or pond where we can chase frogs. If anybody has any suggestions for that, please let me know! Along with a "unit" on water ecosystems, we'll probably include some fishing days because Ezra LOVES fishing. Hopefully, our planned beach vacation will add a lot to the water "unit". Of course, we'll use a LOT of books to help us learn, which will help strengthen his reading skills.
Ezra's other current interest is math. That's not really my strong point, particularly where coming up with fun outings and activities to enhance his math interest goes. The way we do math now is just to find geometry in the world around us, and to use mathematical concepts as we go along (how many of x are there, categorize them, what if we took away y number of them). I would really like to build a unit on math that would include lots of outings. I'm sure I can come up with lots of crafts for a math "unit", but right now I'm coming up short on outing ideas. I have time though, so I'm sure it will work out.
We will also be expanding our food garden this year. Ezra is determined that we should grow corn, so a "unit" on plants and food will form from that, and with the harvesting of the corn, I envision a history lesson on Native Americans.
I know this sounds like a lot of planning for something called "Unschooling" and it probably is. But I'm a planner and need a bit of a framework to work from, or else we'll end up doing nothing at all the entire summer. I'm basically getting my framework together now, so that I can refer to it this summer. I think that will help us stay busy but remain plenty flexible. And as his interests change and he finds new interests from each subject, I think having a framework will help me to adapt.
For more information on Unschooling, check out This Vintage Chica's site on Unschooling: http://vintagechica.typepad.com/summerunschool/. I'll be following along with her all summer, and sharing our experience here.