How to be a sneaky unschool missionary in your local homeschool group

Guys, I’ve been writing/complaining lately about how my homeschool group has been shrinking and becoming lame. Well, I’ve been pumping myself full of vitamin D and I finally feel ready to come up with some solutions instead of just feeling sad about it. Today’s post has 2 problems and 2 solutions.

Problem 1

The free skating on Wednesdays that used to be a popular homeschool event has stopped being popular. My kids don’t want to go because their friends don’t go, and so they’re not practicing their skating skills. What kind of Canadian children don’t know how to skate? (Lots don’t. That’s my mom guilt speaking and I know it….)

I happen to know that one reason that people no longer come is because they are too busy with school work and they just dont have the energy.

Problem 2

My kids have participated in a bunch of homeschool book clubs and novel studies that have been really “schoolish” with essay writing, worksheets, being lectured about plot, character, setting, and vocabulary word lists. To me this seems like how you ruin books and make a child never want to read anything. I love literature and I hate to see it abused this way!

Solution 1

Two nights ago I ordered a pair of skates for myself from Amazon. I figure if the kids friends don’t come to skating, I will have to make it a “cool fun thing you can do with mom” instead. I’m not good at skating and I am going to fall a lot. (What kind of Canadian kid never learned to skate properly? Me! Haha) This is fine. I will do it for the kids.

Solution 2

The “Lovers of Literature League” or the “Students of Stories” hmmm the name still needs work. But anyway, I’m starting a literature club. I have been in love with classic literature since I was a teenager so I have lots of passion to share, and because it’s ME in charge, we are doing things unschool style.

The club will be held Wednesdays right after skating. That’s called killing two birds with one stone. I’m hoping that if people feel their kids are getting “educated” afterwards they won’t feel bad skipping a morning of school work to come skating with us. Maybe?

I only have one rule for this club. The kids who come must want to be there. If they express boredom or reluctance, I will make sure they know they have the free choice to stay or to leave. No parent shall coerce their child to participate. I think the kids will be excited when I explain this fundamental rule to them. I plan to reiterate this rule at every meeting. The meetings will take place in a room within the library so if a child wants to leave, they can go to the library, no problem.

The literary material will be short stories. I’ve just bought a new literary short story anthology for “middle school” aged kids which will be my main source. There aren’t any age limits on the group, but the works we will study will be challenging. So whoever comes needs to want to listen to a challenging story.

At each meeting I will introduce the story by explaining whatever context they’ll need to understand the story. Then I will read aloud the story. Polite interruptions will be allowed to ask the meanings of words if necessary.

After the story, I will facilitate a discussion of the ideas in it. I won’t be teaching a lesson, but I will help the kids begin to think about and discuss the ideas. I am hoping the kids will mostly speak to each other and I will be there to facilitate.

There will be no other work assigned.

I’m pretty excited about this club. A few of the unschooly types who lurk within the Facebook homeschool group have even come out of the woodwork to express interest.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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