Wild and Free Book Review

I post a picture like this with my kiddos playing on the river and I’m so #wildandfree right? #charlottemason? #adventurelearning ? or whatever else. I don’t know about all that.
Sometimes we go to the river when we feel like it.

Whatever.

Can I just leave it at that? 😂

Sometimes this homeschool mom gets caught up in all the educational philosophy jargon. Today I heard a mom describe herself as wild and free but does Classical Conversations. The term “wild and free” doesn’t seem to go with “rigorous education”. for my literal-thinking brain. I’ve read the latest book on the Wild and Free movement to understand what is really meant by that phrase, because it has been a bit of an enigma to me since I first heard it years ago.

You will usually find the buzz phrase Wild+Free hashtagged under an Insta pic of kids in the woods. It’s been a bit of an enigma to me as I know many friends who lay claim to this style of hs while also implementing other philosophies. I’ve noticed there are very few purists in any philosophical educational camp and blending methods is the M.O. these days. But for an absolute person like me, I find it hard to hear relative terms being thrown around.

I was excited to see the woman who coined the term Wild+Free write a book to explain her theory. After reading it, I understand why I have always been confused by the term. The term is a misnomer. Her method isn’t wild and it isn’t free in the sense a person assumes when hearing the phrase without any explanation. Many descriptive words were used repeatedly in the book. I wish she would have called her lifestyle Intentionally Passionate. That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, though.

Wild+Free is this: her kids go outside a lot, then she has them do typical school, then gives the kids lots of time in the afternoons to pursue their interests. It is clear her kids aren’t running amok like the “Wild+Free” label lends itself too. She is intentional with her kids and listens to their desires to cultivate an education that will prove useful to their unique skill sets and interests. Which we can all agree to that! A huge part of her lifestyle is nature. She “found myself in nature”. This is where I would argue that I find myself in Christ. I do not need to walk in the woods to find myself. However, I want us to love nature in light of God creating it and using it to His glory. If you aren’t fully discerning, her book can lean towards nature as an idol; she prefers to quote Confucius and not the Bible.

2 of her kids are tech heavy
The W+F idea is not new, but she’s packaged it in a way that is relevant and easy to follow in today’s world, which is awesome. By her definition, Ben was raised #wildandfreechildren while doing Abeka.

Now knowing her definition, I don’t know a single homeschooling family who isn’t wild and free. A huge part of homeschooling is to allow time for interest lead learning.
Also, there’s nothing in the Bible that describes what a proper childhood is. And if you are someone who doesn’t like nature, you are not wrong for not being in nature. Don’t let others lead you to believe that childhood=nature adventures. The only example of Jesus as a child is him studying.

There’s a lot of useful things in the book, but read it with a lot of caution.

Our Summer Homeschool Schedule

What does our summer schedule look like? We do a little bit of all of it year-round, minus July. I love the chill 4-school day a week schedule! There’s no uber long break that makes the kids and I forget what we learned and we’re not so stressed out that we absolutely need a 2.5 month break. In the summer months it’s fun to work on some other projects that we didn’t get to do throughout the regular school year. Even with only four days a week we can easily finish the “core” studies and do more fun things. We are doing Institute for Excellence in Writing’s FixIt Grammar and love it! It’s reinforcing the English we learned this year with a fun story. Anyway, happy Tuesday everyone! Get ‘er done, wether you are trying to finish your school year strong or continuing on through your year round schedule! You’re doing great, mama!

Does Curriculum Matter For College Applications?

With Guest Speaker, Hannah Tung.  Hannah was first a college admissions officer and is now a professor at an accredited private college. She has experienced all sides of college admittance and student performance in college.

Our ultimate goal may not be to have our kids go to college, but it doesn’t hurt to think towards that goal until it becomes clear which direction your student will go.

  1. Unless you are going to an Ivy League college, the school doesn’t care what curriculum you used. All they care about is did you learn the subject to the entry level standard for college.
  2. If you plan on doing a heavy math degree, then yes, you should choose an upper-level math program in high school to help with that.
  3. It is more important to keep a record of your student’s subjects and transcripts the moment the kids are in 9th Start in 7th grade to practice and get it down by 9th grade. You can ask for a sample transcript from your local high school.
  4. Your school name doesn’t matter, so have fun with it! What matters is that you stay consistent with writing the name of your school on all forms and application. The one piece that connects all random documents together is the original application, with the school name on it.
  5. The professionalism of your transcript is much more important! The formatting and look of the transcript is important and you should do what you can to make it look as professional and “mainstream” as possible.
  6. It is evident when students have been given higher grades on their transcripts than what was the appropriate grade once the student is in class. Give your kid the correct and honest grades!
  7. Homeschoolers fail in being able to listen to a lecture, take notes, and write a paper on the lecture. Due to mom sitting across the dining table with a reading based program, it’s important to train your upper-level high schooler to be able to do lectures. Watch Ted Talks or listen to Podcasts and assign a paper on them. This will greatly help their college-level learning.
  8. Running start or Dual Enrollment programs are wonderful! Most universities look at transfer students differently. It really differs on the college and degree desired on if they prefer transfer students or not.
  9. Take your students to the schools they are interested in! It really helps to make decisions.
  10. Call the college to ask what they are looking for in good applicants. Colleges are happy to give you all sorts of information!

What We Don’t Do During the “Regular” School Year

This is the quick notes in written form of our podcast on February Slumps! If you’d like to listen to the full talk, please find us in your podcast app!

There is SO much that we want to share with our children. How do we pick and choose what to teach them and when? Especially for those who go to Classical Conversations, it can be tough to figure out the supplemental “must dos” throughout the traditional school year.

We school 11 months out of the year. Meghan takes December off, I take July off. So with that kind of schedule, it lends itself to block scheduling. Here’s what we don’t do during the traditional school year (which means we do these things in the summer months).

  1. Not super heavy in Latin. Meghan will be using Sing Song Latin this summer Molly will be using Henle Prep Latin(https://www.henleprep.com/) with her 4th and 6th grader this summer.

 

  1. No real curriculum for 4 year olds or younger. But a great book to do some basic work is the Learning Bridge books from Costco that are usually for sale in the Spring and Summer months.

 

  1. Spelling/Penmanship I want the kids to focus on creative writing, proper MLA format, fact checking, and grammar. I push aside poor penmanship and spelling for the time being so we can focus on the things that a computer program can’t fix. Ha!

 

  1. In depth science projects. I keep those for the outdoor summer months when we can get a little messier or are able to study the earth and all the science that goes along with that! Science projects take a lot of time when done right. So we wait to allow for lots of time.  Check out Homeschoolsciencetools.com for super cool kits to dissect!

 

  1. Organized Sports. We love sports and being active, but it’s so time-consuming! But the kids do 2-hour ice skating once a week and rock climb indoors. In the summer the kids run hard, of course.

 

  1. We don’t go crazy with cleaning or allowing huge messes when it’s avoidable. My kids reuse their plates and cups all day long. That’s right, the breakfast plate gets rinsed off and reused for lunch. Or I use a paper towel for a “plate”. Less mess=less time cleaning.

 

  1. The kids make their own meal to save mom time. Having the kids making their own meal allows me time to get school prepped for whatever subject is coming up next. It totally saves time! Meghan’s kids make breakfast. Molly’s kids make their own lunch.

 

  1. Do our own grocery shopping. Click List saves alllll the time in the world! And money too 🙂