Thursday, April 23, 2015

Unschooling and High School

So as we revert back to a more natural, organic education for W, I can honestly say my anxiety about the teen years has lessened tremendously.  When he originally came to me requesting a more formal curriculum and schedule (about 6 years ago, following J's lead), I was hesitant, but obliged.  I know he wants to want the structure, but the older he got, the less willing he was to follow through.  I felt I was the one who needed to push and prod and dare I say "coerce" him into doing his work several days a week as we'd planned.  Well, it made us both miserable and I won't do that anymore.

I mean, it really doesn't make sense.  If there is no intrinsic motivation to learn something, then there won't be much learning taking place.  I feel it's a huge waste of time and energy for the sole purpose of checking off a box that "it got done".  But the checked box is a ruse because most of the info covered is usually forgotten in only a few days.  How is that ok?  That's not learning.

In the few months since we have started unschooling, W has done more academically than ever before.  He asked to have my new tablet (that I'm not using) and if I could download certain books on it for him.  I think this is the first time in his life he expressed any interest in reading a book.  He has rekindled interests in piano, cooking, bike riding, and building.  He is in the process of building a skateboard (long board) from scratch.  When W finds something of interest, there's no stopping his research.  For example, the other day B was wondering what other foods the bearded dragon could eat.  W spent over an hour on various websites, taking notes, and following the many rabbit trails pertaining to overall bearded dragon care.  I guarantee he won't be forgetting any of it.

He's also started thinking about college.  As a matter of fact, we sat down together researching colleges, majors, requirements, and what he'd like to do for high school.  We also looked at trade-schools, graduate schools, and what kinds of jobs and careers fit his current interests.  The 4-year (tentative) high school plan is set and I haven't felt this relaxed about anything in my life.  It includes projects, research, reading, standardized tests, college-level classes, volunteering, apprenticeships, employment, field trips, restaurants, and homeschool group classes.

It's all about intrinsic motivation.  I believe it's the real key to a happy, meaningful, and productive life.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Great Restaurant Adventure #4: Bangladesh

Today we went out to Jackson Heights, Queens for some Bangladeshi food.  A lot of the restaurants in that area are buffet style and you kind of have to know what things are.  We have no idea what's what, so we decided to go with our favorite cart food - Sammy's - on 73rd Street and Broadway.  They have this incredible chicken over rice with salad and white sauce.  They even won the highly coveted Vendy Award.  It's very South Asian, but I'm not sure if we could say it was specifically Bangladeshi.

There's always a line (pic from yelp)

Sooo, we stopped in an authentic Bangladeshi restaurant called Khaabar Baari to grab some dessert.  Thankfully, they were all in the glass counter up front and we were able to ask what they were, lol.  W and I chose little milk sweets.  One was called "sandesh" and the other was a type of "ras malai".  We ate them in the car on the way home.  They were sweet, milky-cheesy tasting and crumbly.  Really yummy.