Unschooling is not for everyone, and it can take a LONG time to get it. Like, years. It’s not something you can read a book and some blogs and go, OK, I got it!
For me, unschooling has been an inseparable part of my approach to parenting, as well as part of my self-healing process in breaking generational narratives.
Unschooling goes far, far beyond academics…IF you allow it to!
The thing is, humans are inherently holistic creatures. Truly, we live in a holographic world, meaning – we are all parts of a bigger whole, enfolded within each other.
Education is not just one part of our childhood – we are not brains in jars or empty vessels passively waiting to be filled.
The idea that we can separate out math from literature, or emotional responsibility from education…both are ludicrous when it comes down to it – because everything is connected in some way or another,
A common theme I seem to come across in those new to home-based education is a desire to shield their child from the harshness of the wider world.
I get it. There’s bullies at school, not to mention the fear of shootings, and much, much more. The world is changing rapidly and it’s difficult to be vigilant enough to protect our kids appropriately.
That said – I have heard so many times, “I’ll be my child’s only teacher!” exclaimed with happiness by new homeschoolers…and it gives me serious pause.
Do you really want to be the ONLY person your child is permitted to learn anything from?
Isn’t that an absurdly heavy burden to take on alone?
Does that mean you’re expected to be an expert in everything, and to effectively be omnipresent enough to become your child’s only filter and lens thru which he or she views the entire world?
That’s heavy. It’s a recipe for burnout, and it’s also pretty limiting…for both parent and child.
I unschool because I want to facilitate my children’s ability to learn from the entire world, NOT just the narrow and myopic version that’s dosed out by school.
I am available as a guide and support to them as they take it all in – both the beautiful and inspiring bits, and the unsavory bits too.
There’s a difference between teaching (a top-down, authoritarian endeavor that requires control and obedience) and facilitating (a cooperative, mutually-beneficial partnership).
I don’t want to shelter my children to the point that the siren song of The Forbidden becomes so strong that they are torn between stifled obedience or crushing shame – and I also don’t want them to rush out into the world at their earliest opportunity to escape from my oppressive so-called-safety, only to find themselves adrift in a shocking and confusing world that’s been entirely hidden from view.
For me, and for many unschoolers I know – our aim is to widen our aperture of the world for our children, not to restrict their view or only filter it through rose-colored glasses.
If you click on the Unschooling category on my blog, you’ll find more of my reflections about unschooling over the last 15 years – and about how to start shifting your internal paradigm a bit!
Unschooling is really more work for parents than for kids, because we’re having to decondition our minds and hearts from so much dogma and doctrine of modern-day “education”.
To get started, my best advice to start would be to just live life as if school didn’t exist. Spend time together, get curious, and start exploring together. Respect your needs and not just your child’s wants.
Trust me – you DON’T want to be your child’s only teacher.