I find myself on a regular basis up very late at night searching endlessly through various homeschooling boards and websites. What am I looking for? Support and encouragement, to be sure, but it is often something else. Why am I constantly reading and re-reading other families homeschooling philosophies? Other people's methods. Definitions of Charlotte Mason homeschooling, Living Books, Real Learning, Unschooling, School-at-home, Relaxed homeschooling, unit studies, lapbooking, notebooking, Classical, Montessori, eclectic homeschooling...yadda yadda yadda.
I think I am on a quest to name what it is we do here in our little corner of the homeschooling jungle. Why? I'm not sure. But I am not the only one. I see it over and over again in the threads I visit. Mothers batting back and forth descriptions of what they do, asking each other "Is this unschooling? Is this what is meant by a unit study?" I think it must be inherent in human nature to want to put a name on things-to define everything in terms of a single label. Adam's task.
Also, I sometimes think if I could just settle on a pre-determined label then it would take away some of the worry and work. If I could just say"Oh, we use the Classical method," then I wouldn't have to do the constant re-evaluation, checking, tweaking, seeking that I do to match my child's interests and talents to our lifestyle of learning. I could just go with what has already been laid down for me. Simple.
Problem is...none of the labels seem to fit. And I am the last one to settle for a poor fit. We are too relaxed to be Charlotte Mason, too structured to be unschoolers. We read living books, but also do some workbooks. We like some classics, but are no where near classical. I try to link things together thematically, but not in an organized unit-study. We do hands on...most of the time. We are often delight-directed, but Mom doesn't give over the reins completely. I guess the label "eclectic" fits us best, but that feels like just a cop-out, defining us as having no real definition. That doesn't feel good to me. After all, I really LIKE what we do. There MUST be a name for it because it is just too good to remain nameless. But it is so very much a part of who my son and I are, I can't imagine it fitting into some generic category. It is who we are, how we learn, the way we live. It is US defined.
I guess I have a label after all... "Us-schooling"