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How to Get Started in Interest-Led Learning asked me to post about unschooling in their forum. I wrote about the definition of unschooling/interest-learning, the benefits, a typical day for us, and how everything  worked out in the end. It's nice to have all that organized in one article. Join the discussion!

Almost done with my master's degree

A few years ago I started my master's degree, taught reading for one year, took one year off, then last fall started taking classes again. The coursework is over and now I'm working on my thesis. I hope to finish it soon. I'm reading 47 fiction/nonfiction books for middle level readers, all with LGBT characters or topics. My project is called a content analysis, and it's just what it sounds like. I'm analyzing the content. I hope it will be a resource for teachers, saving them time looking for books that might be useful. It's interesting and I'm learning a lot, but it's also taking longer than it should.

What will I do with a master's degree in elementary education? I don't know! I'd love to find a school that would let me teach with an interest-led approach. Or maybe I'll mentor homeschoolers or write a book, or all of the above.

My classes have been fun. I truly am an education nerd--there's nothing I like more than talking about the history and philosophy of education. One of the biggest surprises was to realize that education academia is all about letting kids follow their interests, take charge of their own education, and show proof of learning with real world application. Huh. Too bad it takes the outside world about 50 years to catch up with academia.*

I hope to write more about how research and classic education theory agree that interest-led learning really is the best way to educate a child, and why the public school system has such a hard time doing it. Wow, I get excited just thinking about that!

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope it helps you find ways to help your kids.

*Allington, R.L. (2013). What really matters when working with struggling readers. The Reading Teacher, 66(7), 520-530.

The Joy of Childhood and the Joy of Learning

Melissa posted this on Facebook today and I wanted to post it here as a reminder that when we homeschool, we have to keep the big picture in mind. What do you want your kids to say when they look back? My guiding principle was to maintain the joy childhood and the joy of learning. She's 20 years old now:

A lot of Facebook posts are about how being a grown-up sucks, or how we all rushed to grow up and now regret it, etc. I feel very fortunate to say that I don't regret the pace at which I grew up, or feel like I missed out on anything. Quick shout out to my mom for homeschooling me, because I was able to explore the world and be a kid while everyone else was stuck in a classroom. So thanks ma, because of you I will forever be a kid and have an INSANE love of learning. — with Jena Borah.

I just found this TED Talk from a 13 year old student who has been freed from public school to follow his interests and his learning style. Love it! Also, check out Sir Ken Robinson for more reasons why interest-led learning makes so much sense.

What the Kids Think About All This
I've been writing at Simple Homeschool for a few years, but today is my last post. I asked Peter, Meg and Missa to give their reflections and advice for homeschooling parents. It's pretty fun to hear what they think after living it!

Here's the article: Homeschooling advice from graduates who have been there

And if you want to read all my posts on Simple Homeschool, you can find them here.

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At 8:55am on May 29, 2008, Jena said…

I went to Ravelry and found 48 people doing this sock. They've posted pictures and comments. I can see that the top few rows curl. And I can see that a rib is not exactly what you want. How about a seed stitch? or even a garter stitch. Those two would blend more with the overall effect and they would lay flat.
At 8:05am on May 29, 2008, Vicki said…
Thanks for the advice on that sock cuff I asked you about. It is a Knit Picks pattern that I downloaded. The cuff is not rib at all; but, it has very nice diamond pattern lace to make it a little more dressy. The sock is actually started with 4 rows of knit (I'm using 5 dpn's). I could email you the pattern in an attachment so that you could figure this one out.
At 5:36pm on May 28, 2008, Vicki said…
It's always amazing to know that the world is really a small place! Sounds like your family has a rich history in this area. Fritz's drug store is still in Staunton! As a matter of fact, I was just there yesterday to pick up a prescription for my husband.

This was my first year teaching in Staunton. I'm employed there are a Title 1 language arts teacher for kindergarten and first grades. Prior to that point, I had been a classroom teacher in North County, St. Louis. Staunton is such a nice place to work and this year has truly been a blessing. It's much closer to home, also.

Thanks for explaining where your town is located. I'm still learning Illinois geography!

I have a knitting question for you. I'm making a pair of socks right now from the Knit Pick pattern "Girl's Best Friend Socks". It is a cuff down sock. The cuff begins with 4 rows of knitting before beginning the diamond pattern on the band. My question is how to keep those initial rows from rolling up. I know that blocking it would help; but, I'm afraid of possibly stretching the band while trying to get those rows to lay flat. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

I am not familiar with "ravelry". What is it?

At 2:04pm on May 28, 2008, Vicki said…
Hi Jena,

I've lived in Mt. Olive for the past 3 years. My husband is originally from Staunton and that is where I teach. I'm originally from the East Coast and have been out here for 16 years now. I'm not familiar with Charleston, IL. Is that near Chicago?

What do you enjoy knitting? My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 7 years old. I also have a knitting machine and have mostly been knitting on that off and on for the past 18 years. It's only been in the past year that I've been drawn back into hand knitting. My quest last summer was to find a good mitten pattern. Then, I started knitting socks and truly love making them.

Thanks for saying "hi".


Profile Information

Central Illinois
About Me:
I've lived in Central Illinois most of my life, met my husband in college and have been happily married ever since.

I learned to knit in college from a philosophy professor. She loved Elizabeth Zimmermann, so I learned her methods and bought her books. That kept me knitting for about 20 years until I discovered knitting on the Internet. One day I decided to search for affordable wool yarn, and that's how I met Knit Picks and started Chapter 2 of my knitting adventure. Chapter 3 started when I discovered Ravelry. Now I'm in Chapter 4, on the road to becoming a Master Knitter through The Knitting Guild of America. I'm blogging my journey, so if you want to know more, click on my blog below.

When I'm not knitting, I'm helping my husband with our non-profit organization and raising three teenagers. One will head off to college in the fall, another is home schooled, and the third will start full time public high school next fall. Times they are a changin'.
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