Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our week in Afterschooling

reading time

What is Afterschooling? I define it as the state of mind in which a parent realizes that ultimately, the parent is still part of the educational life of their child, no matter what kind of school they attend. For us personally, it means that we do our "Core" subjects at home because Carbon attends a very sweet Sudbury school and Sudbury = unschooling in a group setting.

As a friend commented on the phone this week: "wait, you're sending him to school but you still have to do all the school at home stuff?" Yes, that's about it in a nutshell. He is getting an incredible learning environment for social learning at school, in fact he is held to a standard of accountability and responsibility that I can't match because I tend to just do things for him. In no way do I consider the time he spends at school "wasted". It's just that I'm not comfortable completely letting go of core academic work, either.

So after he gets home from school and has had a chance to unwind, we do our afterschooling. Each day I try to do two things with him, and at least three times a week one of those things is reading practice. At least twice a week that thing is a page of math. At least once a week it's Spanish. The rest of it is his preference - science and history (both of which are his favorite subjects). We also always read a chapter of his current read-aloud before bedtime, and I keep him stocked with a rich assortment of audiobooks to listen to. Sometimes life gets pretty busy, but it averages out.

In the last week it's looked like this:

Wednesday (the first day of school): a page of math and read a book to Mom
Thursday: a game of Spanish Bingo, and read a book to Mom
Friday: a boardgame with Dad
Sunday: read a book to Dad
Monday: science experiment - at the local children's museum
Tuesday: a page of math, some history read aloud
Wednesday: math and reading on the nintendo ds (a real lifesaver if my work schedule gets wonky).

Doesn't seem like much, does it? It's totally do-able, and he's making real progress without being overwhelmed.


  1. I can't believe there's someone else doing this -- someone I "know" from the blogosphere, too! The big kids are attending the Albany Free School, a forty-year-old institution that is basically unschooling in a group. I'm afterschooling them. I haven't completely settled on which subjects to supplement or how to schedule schoolwork. We've been experimenting this whole week, looking at how much time each subject takes, how much energy they have for mom-driven work after a day at school (a lot, it turns out, almost as a rest from the self-driven day at school), and especially at which subjects they are voluntarily doing at school and how much they're actually learning in those settings. I feel like a new homeschooler again.

  2. Cool, Rose! I can't believe there's someone else doing this, either! Watch - it will become more and more the way to go. :)