If you donít get the joke youíre probably not an unschooling mother. The truth is that we DO love not having to leap out of bed in the morning, weíre only human! Not fighting the kids into uniforms, arguing over breakfast, packing bags, making lunches (that wonít get eaten) finding lost items, discovering unfinished homework, unsigned permission slips coated with squashed banana Ö. yeah unschoolers sure do love that! But itís not why we unschool. We genuinely love what we do but there are some more convincing reasons.
No Standardised Testing: How many of us could pass the same exams we passed in school if we were to sit them again tomorrow? Testing tells us how much children can remember of what theyíve been taught recently but thatís it. It doesnít tell us how much they will remember as adults. Testing does not prepare children for life outside of school. For testing to be useful, the results of the testing would have to alter the lesson plans for future teaching, however what is taught and tested is set in the curriculum and not altered by test results. There are no benefits to testing, so not testing is something we unschoolers hold dearly.
So our kids can immerse themselves in the things they love: If kids want to learn about dinosaurs they can devote a week or a month to reading everything they can about dinosaurs. The beauty of unschooling is that in devoting that month to dinosaurs they also learn the other stuff they need to learn (reading, writing, art, maths, science, history, computer skills and more or less anything else you can think of). Learning isnít broken up into subjects for unschoolers, it follows many tangents and covers everything on the way.
They are their own competition: They arenít hindered by the possible insecurities of grading, they always just work as hard as they can. They strive to create new personal bests every day and when they do theyíre proud of themselves.
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They learn at their own pace: When their brains reach the right stage of development for reading, writing, and maths, they just do it. They ask the questions the need in order to develop the skills and they never look back. They learn it by living it, not by separating it from life.
They have adults present as they learn to play with other children: Note I didnít call it socialisation? Spending 30 hours a week with a group of people who are all the same age (and sometimes sex) is forced association - much like a work place. At unschool play days the kids have all the freedom in the world, they play with children of all different ages. If something erupts there is a good adult to child ratio to help them all sort it out.
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The venues are all empty: We can choose when to visit the zoo, museum, aquarium or the art gallery etc etc we donít have to do it on weekends or school holidays when you can hardly move for crowds. Everything is empty, no long queues with hundreds of other people all waiting to catch a glimpse of an exhibit. Furthermore we can take holidays at any time of year and working parents donít have to vie with other parents for the privilege of time off in school holidays.
You get to sleep in: Sadly for us, this is only true if the kids sleep in. Kids are generally early risers so you donít actually get to sleep in til midday every day. The difference is that mornings are social as opposed to panicked. We can eat breakfast together, talk about dreams, tidy up a bit, get dressed and go about our day without stress!