Unschooling? What the heck is that? Is it when you decided your child is no longer going to school? Are they not going to learn anymore? Has everyone given up? No, none of these could be farther than the truth.
John Holt’s definition of unschooling is allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world as their parents can comfortably bear.
Basically what this means is that we are letting our children decide what they want to learn this year for school. They are not going back to traditional high school and will be home schooled. Unschooling is just a way to home school your children.
Unschoolers learn from everyday experiences and choose the subjects and topics they want to focus on. If a child is interested in Art then they study all aspects of art. If they are interested in video editing, then they learn whatever the can about editing.
My personal opinion regarding traditional schools, at this point in my life, is that it is too focused on standardized testing. They expect children to be cookie cutters and sit at a desk for 45 minutes and not move. Children are not able to question the teacher and if they do they are reprimanded. A few years ago my son was in class and his teacher said that the president was part of the legislative branch of government. I am not sure if the teacher misspoke or was just misinformed. Well, my son questioned him on this and was scolded for talking out of turn. My son is very opinionated and cannot be hushed easily, continued to try to correct the teacher and was asked to leave the class.
Not every child can sit at a desk and focus on the boring lessons that their teachers are feeding them. Schools are not equipped to teach to the individual child. There is not enough staff and/or funding to take on this type of learning approach.
There is also the policy “No Child Left Behind”, which is great in theory. No child should be left behind. Every child should be able to earn an education. However, the way it is structured, all children in a specific grade are in the same classroom, with no regard for their ability. So, the teacher teaches to everyone the same. In a particular lesson some kids get it immediately, some get it after a few minutes and some it takes a couple of lessons to understand. There is nothing wrong with any of these children, they all just learn at different paces. So, how are all these children supposed to stay engaged in class when they got a concept 30 minutes ago and the teacher is still drilling it in. Now they are bored, not paying attention and quite possibly are disturbing others.
I don’t have all the answers and I have no idea how to fix this problem. However, I do know that I don’t remember 90% of what I learned in high school, do you?
Another reason we decided to unschool, was due what was being taught to our children. A lot of the facts in history they are teaching children are sometimes not accurate. For example, who invented the automobile, many of us learned that it was Henry Ford, well that is incorrect. Actually a man named Karl Benz developed the first working car in 1885. Another interesting fact that they don’t teach in school is that black men owned slaves too. Just read about Anthony Johnson.
Enough about the educational side of traditional schools, let’s talk about the social aspect. Anyone who has followed me for awhile knows that I was severely bullied in middle and high school. I know I am not the only one either. We experienced a lot of social issues in school with our children. Between mean girls, sexism (both male and female) and acceptable norms, it is terrifying to send your kids to school.
I remember a story my niece told me once when she was in middle school (She is married with children now) and it has stuck with me all these years. She was at a school dance, in MIDDLE SCHOOL, and she said that there were kids under the bleachers performing oral sex! WTF! In Middle school? I know that teachers and faculty can’t be everywhere all the time, but seriously??? Let’s face it, if it is dark and doesn’t have a lot of traffic flow, kids are going to sneak there!
I am not bashing traditional school, my kids went most of their lives. If I could go back in time I would have homeschooled them from the beginning, but nothing I can do now, but move forward. Traditional school may be a great path for some, but not so good for others. Luckily we live in a country that lets parents decided what the best way for their children to learn.
I am looking forward to this adventure with my kids and can’t wait to see how much they grow and thrive. Keep following along and I will share our journey with you.
Remember do what is right for you and your family. Don’t let others dictate what you believe is right. No two families or children are the same and everyone needs to make decisions for themselves and not be shamed for it.