Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Unschooling is the choice for us!

Right now I am sitting here with so much passion in mah belly that I can physically feel it!  I haven't felt this way since I discovered Attachment Parenting!

So this is it, my family have made the decision, we are unschooling! And I am SO damn excited!  I can't wait to get started... oh wait, thats the whole point of unschooling, we HAVE started!

Recently I came back to facebook (for a while there I deleted all friends except immediate family).  I joined up with an unschooling group on facebook, and felt what it is like to actually have some support on the issue.  Because, lets face it, support is hard to come by for homeschooling.  I am pretty open about my choice, yet mostly refer to it as "homeschooling" because "unschooling" comes with a million more questions (and homeschooling arouses enough, dammit!).  I've had people say to me outright "oh, I don't agree with that at ALL.  I'm a teacher and have found that kids that go to school take direction from other adults much better than homeschooled kids" and have not really spoken to me since.  Its interesting, but "ability to take direction from adults" is not high on my priority list... I'd rather have a free thinking individual who is confident enough to ignore a direction if they disagree with it!

The questions surrounding homeschooling can be really rude, and irritating.  It depends who is asking, and their reasons for asking. Some are truly curious, and I don't mind expanding a few minds.  Others just grind my gears. 

What about socialisation? How will they get into uni?  Won't they get bored?  How will they function in the "real world" (is school really the "real world?")

I'm writing this knowing full well many of my audience will be sending their kids to school.  Most people do.  How would you feel if an unschooler grilled you on your decision to send your kids to school?  How would you answer?  The same questions apply... What about socialisation? How will they get into uni? Won't they get bored? How will they function in the "real world". 

But, for the most part, people who choose to school aren't required to answer for their choice.  After all, the majority of the world have made the same decision as them.

So before you shoot off questions, remember that unschooling is not a default choice.  Its a parenting philosophy that has developed over time, and much research has been put into the decision (books, blogs, the experience of parents on both sides of the fence).  So do what an unschooler does, and TRUST. Trust that the parent is making the best decision they can for their child.  Trust that the parent has, at one time, had all the same questions and gone seeking the answers.  And still, they chose to unschool.  Trust them.

I have been through periods of doubt, of questioning, of reflection.  I've done a lot of thinking about my own schooling.  I kicked the school systems ass, I got an OP of 1, with A's in almost every subject.  Plonk a bunch of grade 12 exam papers in front of me today... and I would probably fail the lot of them.  Truth be told... I would probably not pass them if they were grade 8 papers!  That is the school system, to me, in a nutshell.  On paper I am Smarty McSmartpants.  In reality, the knowledge I have actually retained is the few small units within subjects that interested me.  Or on weekends or school holidays, when I learnt by doing something.  I used to be able to solve differential equations.  Ask me to do it today?  I'd have to google that shit.  The only head start I would get is knowing they were called "differential equations"

So I don't worry about what Butterfly will learn.  I trust that what she does learn will be relevant to her and therefore she is more likely to retain that information.  I will foster and encourage her passions, and if she needs to attend university to make her dreams come true, I trust that she will work to make it happen.  Now that I have finally "unschooled" myself, I can relax and trust the process of life!  And I am SO excited!

Something that is said often about homeschooling "oh you are brave, I could NEVER do that!" 
A very wise, unschooling owl said to me today, "they send their kids to school? They are so brave, I could NEVER do that!"

Every parent has the right to choose what they believe to be the best for their child.  Are you sure school can provide your child with as much as you can?  If you have doubts, then unschooling might be for you :) I welcome questions from people who are seeking information to make a choice for their own family.  I do not welcome questions from people who are intimidated by my choice and seek to trip me up.  So if  you have love in your heart, ask away :)



  1. How old is/are your little one/s? Hubby and I are unschooling our Little Miss 6 and Little Miss 4 while we travel around Australia for a year or 2 or whenever we feel like settling down again really. It has been the BEST! I've actually learnt heaps myself since we've pulled the eldest out of the public school. Travelling provides a whole lot of opportunities for exploring and questions so not only do my little ones learn, but hubby and I do too! We have loved it and have found it to be awesome for our family. We are still tossing up whether to enrol them back in school when we return to a stationary life somewhere down the track or to continue unschooling them. We'll make that decision when that time comes. Anyway, congratulations on your decision SCF! :)

  2. I have one Butterfly Rachael, she is 3 :) we plan on having a few more though! I love the idea of travelling, I have said to hubby that we will do it when our family is older and he has long service leave :D

  3. yay,so glad i have you with me on this awesome journey my friend :D
    i have a lala,who is 7 and bunny,who is 5 and we have been learning since birth so just continuing on!we want to travel too,we are so excited to share the world with our girls and natural learning makes that possible.
    racheael,lovely to hear from a fellow unschooler and that travelling has been so great for you :)

  4. I never thought I would homeschool/unschool but life is heading in that direction for us too. It is pretty exciting. Will you use any curriculum? If you do decide you want text books where do you get them from? What I love about the unschooling community is how much they actually do with their children. There is so much time invested in them and I love that. I don't know any families that unschool that just sit at home, I think that is a common misconception. Generally, they are doing more than anyone!

    1. Hi Me! No I don't plan to have any sort of curriculum. If I need textbooks I will just seek them out on the net as needed :) or go to the good ol' library!

    2. I don't know why my name comes up as Me, when did I do that? haha! I love the idea of stumbling across cool books and learning that way.