Natalie's Dad decided Natalie could have Turkeys today. Since he'll be in charge of making their shelter and of butchering, it has really been his decision alone. Natalie, however, does have to feed them and water them and clean the tank they stay in until they are old enough to stay outside. She does this already with the Pullets (future Egg Laying Chickens - they are about pre-teens right now), but this does add to her chores. And, she had to spend her own money for the Turkeys. However, she will be getting that money back (and probably more) when it comes time for eating the said Turkeys. Funny thing is, none of this seems odd to our farm girls. They are used to the idea of raising, getting somewhat attached, and eating your food. I, on the other hand, have a strict rule with my husband that I do not know any details about which steer we ended up having in our freezer. And, that took a bit getting used to.
True Unschooling is something I do not believe in. Basically, you let your child determine what they want to study. Your role is simply to open the discussion about topics, provide materials, and answer questions. The biggest area of disagreement I have with Unschooling is that True Unschoolers usually don't believe in parental authority - parents are merely guides, helping the children to determine what they believe to be right or wrong. I am so on the other side of this. I believe it is our God given responsibility to teach right and wrong and to shelter our children, when appropriate.
Anyhow, Heather over at Special Needs Homeschooling, has written a couple of articles about Unschooling, with links to other articles. It got me reading and thinking about this topic. The other day, Natalie's violin teacher asked if we watched TV. I answered that we occasionally watched videos, but that we didn't watch TV per se. I commented to her that I felt that children learned automatically, if they don't have TV and video games and if they have materials to learn with.
All these topics are encouraging to me, especially right now with a more limited school schedule imposed by pregnancy. I do make my children do things. I'm downright mean when it comes to making them learn math. I teach them phonics and we read together. They have to do chores. And whether I cross every T right now during this pregnancy, my children are learning. And I am so impressed with them and their natural interests. Natalie is excelling at Violin this year...I think because of a really enthusiastic teacher, combined with maturation, and self motivation. She is also really blooming in her art class that she and her sister are taking. My six year old has become an amazing little reader this year and I was SOOOOO worried about her last year. Both of my school age girls have wide interests - from singing hymns (which they are doing right now), to arts & crafts, to science, to farm skills. It's good. When, I'm discouraged, I need to remember this. I may not keep a perfect house, I may need to work on my patience, I may be in a season where tiredness is more the rule than the exception; but, I have a great family, who is doing great.