OK just in case there is one person out there who hasn't heard about my goal to raise alpacas ;-) I posted about it on the TN Unschooling list in response to a mom who asked about unschooling. OK so yes I can turn anything into a way to talk about alpacas and my dream, LOL. I thought I would repost it here:
>>>>>>My question is, in keeping with the unschooling way of life (not a structured, sit down and teach from school books and take test), how do you teach your math and english. My children are in the seventh grade and I am concerned that these skills may not be up to their level.<<<<<<<<<
Unschooling is a different creature all together. You really have to get your mind around it, and that takes a lot for many people. Coming from a "school" society it takes a total mind shift. See with unschooling there is no "level" to be up to. Each child, each person, is an individual with unique gifts. There is no level, no grade, no grouping of subjects that each child should know. That is school thinking. Schools have so ingrained in this society that each 12 year old needs to know XYZ to move on and "progress" it is very linear. With unschooling you just work toward joy, living joyfully, working on with things that you are interested in. Different things are important to different people.
Think about adults. There is nothing that says that I have to know what other 42 year old women know. And when I want to learn something like knitting for example (since I learned that in the last couple of years), I started asking people. I knew how to read a pattern from crocheting, I asked someone about knitting, she showed me how to knit but it seemed slow and cumbersome, so I kept asking people and reading and looking on the Internet. I mean there must be more than one way to knit. And I was right, someone showed me a different way that was so much quicker.
Then the yarn, just so much out there, I had to experiment with what different yarns of different materials would do. What colors look good together and what do not. What size needles to use with different weight yarns. I was knitting away, but oh my gosh, from there I got into felting, first by accident when a sock got mixed in the wash, then on purpose with knitted wool. So I started reading about that, how to felt on purpose and bought myself some roving and started wet felting and needle felting (whole other world) and making little bags.
Which has led me to spinning, I mean come on how cool to make your own yarn. And I have just bought several books on spinning, and my dh is getting me a wheel for Christmas (you can't imagine how excited I am about that) if I was to be able to spin my own yarns.
OK so my next project is alpacas. When we were at the Live and Learn Conference in NM I took a tour of a small alpaca ranch, just fabulous. This woman is amazing with these animals, and her approach to the whole thing is very organic, she just bought some alpaca with her dad and jumped in and now 13 years later has a ranch with over 200 head. I bought some of her yarn and it is the softest yarn I have ever worked with. We have 12 acres here so I want to fence off some and buy a few fiber animals, so that I can have alpacas. And there are a couple of small farms around here that I can learn from. I have bought a few books and read on a couple of alpaca yahoo lists so I can learn all about them before we make the purchase.
See how one thing just leads to another, and I pick up what I need to know as I need to know it. If someone had told me that I had to know about alpacas years ago it would not have done me any good. If I had to learn it for a test and I would have forgotten all about it. But now it is important to me, now it is something I am interested in. Now it is exciting. But does every 42 year old woman need to know how to raise alpacas....no...that would be silly.
So just relax, don't compare your child to any other child. Help him live a joyful life and he will make his own path in this world. Be there to help him find the answers to his questions, listen to his hopes and dreams, be his chauffeur, and his life will work itself out.
OK now looking at your question, LOL, I realize I didn't really answer it. My answer is I don't teach my son math or English. That does not mean they do not know how to work with numbers or read and write. But those things are things they can't help but bump into when living in the world. So they pick these things up as they need them. OK that was the short answer. LOL