Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goodbye Illinois

Due to my move to NYC, I have decided to discontinue this blog and begin a new one at some point down the road. Moving brings change in more ways than just physical location. It also makes one take stock of where they have been going in life, what has been learned along the way, and what new direction one would like to head.

I have learned much during my time here in Illinois. That a warm sense of community can be found in the independent shops and restaurants of small towns. That environmental stewardship can be a rewarding way to forge relationships with like minded people. That old true friendships never die, and that some new untested ones may. That much can be enjoyed from the seat of a bike, along a forest preserve path, by taking a stroll in town or just sitting on the patio.

A week from now, I will be living in a new place with new adventures to take me further along on this path of discovery. Not sure where it will take me just yet but I am sure it will be interesting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Public School and reading

It's funny. Originally I took Ryan out of public school in order to homeschool him because I saw his interest in reading start to wane. But now that Ry is back in public school for part time math and science, I am finding that he has increased his interest in reading, even more so than when he was exclusively homeschooled. The reason for this is due to his exposure to the kids in public school and their enthusiastic response to the books they are reading in their spare time for enjoyment. These kids share the titles of their favorite books with Ryan and he comes home many days with "must read" books from his friends at school. As a result, Ryan tends to have about four books going at any one time.

For a few years of Ryan's initial homeschooling experience, we were in an unschooling group and many of the radically unschooled kids of the group did not read much and tended to watch TV or play video games all day. This was how they were schooled and due to this, many of the children had poor reading skills or did not read at all and thus really didn't know the enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Consequently, these kids rarely had book suggestions to share and the quality of Ryan's reading was diminished.

All of this is not meant to imply that public school kids read more for pleasure than homeschooled kids, just that some types of homeschoolers, particularly unschoolers, may be getting the short end of the stick because their parents don't encourage reading, or much of anything from their kids. Unschoolers tend to talk as though public school kids hate to read for pleasure and I am just not finding that to be the case.

I am glad that we have found the balance we need