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A Reflection On Seven Years Unschooling

by meggf (follow)
Mothering (64)      Unschooling (19)     
When I woke up this morning I realised that itís been almost exactly seven years since I last took a child to school. That means Iíve been unschooling for seven years! Thatís a reasonably long time when you think about it, so I thought I should probably put something on paper Ö. or screen, that captures something of the seven years.

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The day I pulled my daughter out of school the rain clouds went away and itís been all unicorns and rainbows ever since! No Ö not really. There have been good and bad times, times when I have questioned this path Iíve taken, times when I questioned whether I was doing the right thing, and times when I wondered if school would offer ME something as well as the kids.

Unschooling was a giant leap of faith for a family of boringly middle class people living in the middle of a major city. There are about a hundred teachers in the family that all pressured me with their worries in the early days. Well maybe not quite that many, but when I was only just figuring it out it seemed like it.

They all had a million questions about how I planned to carry out this crazy hairbrained idea. How would I teach maths? How would the kids have friends? How would I afford it? And plenty of things I myself was still grappling with.

At first it was hard to explain it all to them because I was still in the throes of de-schooling myself Roughly explained, de-schooling is the process of coming to see life itself as learning rather than schools as the venues where children must learn.

Sometimes I felt completely frazzled and as if I was being put on the spot by the probing, but in time I realised a couple of things. Firstly, that de-schooling provided me with all the answers I needed, and secondly I realised that I was the only person that needed the answers!

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


On top of that - and one of the biggest things I had to conquer - I realised that nothing I could say would ever convince a worried grandparent, but what did help them was seeing the kids growing into wonderful little humans, without a school.

When I first started unschooling I had a ten year-old and a two year-old. Now I have a sixteen year-old, an eight year-old, a four year-old, and an eighteen month old toddler. They are all just normal kids. They argue with each other, and their parents, they complain about various food groups, they like movies and running at the park, but they are no more unruly than any other child, despite not having a set routine or curriculum.

What heartens our relatives is that they are interested in the world around them, they love working with numbers and letters, they are confident, and articulate, friendly, and they are perfectly social. The teenager is teaching herself chemistry, and the eight year-old is teaching himself to read - and loving it. None of it has happened in the way the family teachers expected, but the fact it has happened has put their minds at ease.

Thereís nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that, using their own self motivation, they are learning a wide range of really interesting things! Many I would never have thought interesting, like rat DNA, the toxins produced by frogs, and monster trucks, and yet all have far more to offer an interested person than you might imagine!

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There have been times when I have worried that I might be making a terrible mistake, disadvantaging them beyond repair, and in those times I know I need to get back to de-schooling, back to the roots of life and learning. Amusingly enough, I often find that having a chat with some of the previously doubting relatives can help refocus me.

Unschooling has challenged everything I once believed, and shown me that I have far more staying power than I ever thought, and when my powers combine with those of google we are pretty unstoppable!

The most important thing I learnt in school was basic numeracy, and literacy (although my mother taught me a great deal of what I know). With those skills you can navigate your way through the world with ease. Assuming my kids learn the same basics - and theyíre off to a great start - they will probably be ok!

Seven years of unschooling has been the most amazing journey for the whole family. Unschooling changed our lives in so many ways, too many to list. People often say to me that they could never unschool (or homeschool) their kids, but after the last seven years, I donít think I could ever send my kids to school! Unschooling is just living now, schooling would be a neverending chore.

Read more about unschooling here:

Oops my Unschooled Teen Knows Chemistry (HERE)

6 Reasons NOT To Send Your Kids To School (HERE)

I Could Never Home / Unschool (HERE)

Unschooling Maths - Easier Than Schooling It! (HERE)

#Unschooling
#Mothering

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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