Monday, July 6, 2009

reconsidering the records

Its nice to know at 30 years old, when you might think you have a grasp on what you're doing, you wake up once again and realize you're just punting and what you thought you were doing right was just a step in the process of getting to wherever it is you're going to end up.

A little while back, I posted about trying to figure out the legalities of unschooling and recordkeeping. I had found some information and a seemingly simple way to document our learning that would satisfy the state. Its now been a month of that system, and my verdict is in.

Positive: Dang it, it is amazing to look through all that note-taking and remember the bazillions of things we have done in 30 days. Especially amazing because most days, by the time lunch rolls around, I can't remember what I had for breakfast. Or if I even had breakfast. So trying to remember what tidbits the kids might have picked up a week after an amazing revelation took place is practically impossible.

Negative: Seriously? Come on. I am dissecting every single day of our life. Although I was convinced of the fact that learning happens all the time, I went overboard on trying to figure out what exactly that learning was, where it could be categorized, what it fulfilled, etc. You know, trying to prove it to the state. Talk about a headache.

(And yes, I realize that for another year we will still be flying under the radar. So I don't technically even need to be worrying about this at all. But I still feel the need to be prepared in certain areas of life, and making sure I know how to be legal with something that no one else in the family tree is even remotely attempting, is one of those things. Especially since half the family tree works in law enforcement. So I guess I'm supposed to know.)

Neither the strong coffee nor the glass of red wine was doing anything to remedy the headache, so I figured it was time to reassess the whole recordkeeping thing. Figuring I probably needed to be redirected, I found myself a life long MN unschooler(with high school/college aged kids) and asked my questions.

Stop worrying about it, she said.

I should have guessed.

According to Ms. Ultra Experienced MN Unschooler:

1. Its very rare that someone steps in to check on records.
2. There are a great many people unschooling in MN who don't keep any records at all.
3. She did very little recordkeeping when her kids were younger, and when they got to be high school aged, her record keeping was for the sake of creating transcripts to be used for college - not to satisfy the powers that be.
4. If she had ever been called upon by the powers that be, she'd have made an appointment for a couple weeks out, and spent that time on compiling an amazing list of resources they've recently used...and completely overwhelm the aforementioned powers.
5. She suggested a once a month simple journaling of places visited, topics touched on, library books checked out, etc. Nothing tough. Nothing stressful. Because it shouldn't be stressful.
6. If they call on you and want to check your records, she said, call me. I'll help you.

Well, then. There you have it.

So for June's summary I have a list of books/DVDs we've checked out, a few websites we've played around with, the more memorable things we've done the past month, some places we've visited, etc. Way less stressful. And, as i tuck it into the file, its amazing to me, even though I know there are so many things I didn't even mention in the "records", there is still a rich and varied learning thing that's now been documented.

I'm feeling much better. I even did a little thinking on the whole need to prove learning...but that post is for another day.


Jennifer said...

See, didn't we all tell you that you were doing a fabulous job? lol
Have you checked out Magic and Mayhem's blog? She's also a MN unschooler with young kids like ours.

MamaTea said...

How did I miss out on that one? Perfect! Thanks for the link to her site...

Stephanie said...

Our laws are soooo easy.
Agree to 180 days, x hours a day.
Done! I figure we do that. :)

Sometimes I wonder why I write so much of our stuff down. I don't get (write) everything, certainly - nor do I break it down into convenient -or inconvenient- subjects...
I've come to realize that it's because I like to appreciate the magic happening, and too, to encourage people (whatever three people read our blog) to see that children are learning all the time.

And, too, [grin], to remember!!! I forget two minutes later.....

Green Mamma said...

Gosh, I hadn't even thought about this . . . now you've got me thinking.

Well, I'm glad to hear you've got a mamma unschooler mentor; that's awesome to be able to turn to someone who's been there, done that, and can confidently guide you through dealing with the "powers that be."

Keep us posted on how this unfolds.