Thursday, February 05, 2009

nurturing, unschooling,independence

I have been observing my kids all of their lives.

My kids have never been schooled.

They all have different interests, abilities, learning styles and personalities.

I have spent all of my time with them, I have taken care of them since birth.

They have always been unschooled.

They have never had their time controlled by bells and teachers and rules and tests and homework and grades and everything that school has to offer.

I am their mother, I nurture them, I love them, I listen to them, I observe, I talk to them, I spend time with them, I play with them, I respect them, I give them time, space and freedom.

I also facilitate and by that I mean answer questions, look things up, take them places, offer suggestions, ideas and pretty much just help them figure out their world.

As they grow they become more and more independent of me.

They can bathe themselves, feed themselves, look up info themselves and spend their time doing what they want.

I have noticed more recently, probably because I haven't been feeling great that they are growing up on me.

What I mean is they aren't totally dependent on me like they were as babies and toddlers.

They spend their days playing and learning and developing thoughts, ideas, games. They use their minds, they create things, their imaginations are huge.

Kids who are not schooled do not look for school. They have friends who are homeschooled and public schooled.

When they have a want, need or desire to learn something they don't look to traditional ways. They don't ask for curriculum or classes or tests or grades.

While those things can be used by unschoolers if the person decides that is the way to go but it certainly isn't the first option.

Watching the natural learning process unfold and connect is priceless.

It's hard to convey to people who are so engrained with traditional school in a box. I have the privilege of living with 4 real, natural learners who have not been indoctrinated.

I presume that only other real unschoolers will get what I'm trying to say.

My kids blow me away on a regular basis.

They are bright and articulate and have a vast knowledge of various things.

They ask tons of questions, some are regular questions like what is 32+26.

Some are normal like how far away is the sun.

Some are challenging like who created God and what are sexual themes?

Those are the fun ones :)

Unschooling is natural and schooling is artificial.


unschoolermom said...

I love this post, Stephanie! I totally agree! I love unschooling! It definitely nurtures the individuality in each of us!


Keowdie said...

I have a question. I absolutely am asking this question out of sincere curiosity, NOT as some veiled attempt to criticize you or your choices, so please don't react angrily.

How do you think your unschooled children will do if they decide to go to college, or when they have a job? I mean, I have a job, and while I absolutely love my job, it's not about doing whatever I want whenever I want. I have to function successfully inside an artificial structure of time and responsibilities that is imposed upon me by my employer (or by my clients in the case of my private practice). How do young adults adjust to that without having had that experience via school?

Feel free to email me your response if it will be too long for the comments section.

Stephanie said...

I plan to address this in another blog post.
I also might add replies from other unschoolers to give a variety.
This is a typical question from those new to unschooling.

Show Us The World said...

This was such a great post. I love seeing all of the new things my kids dig into daily and how well they do it all by themselves. It is amazing when they are given such freedom to be themselves how much they bloom and grow. I have zero concern about how well they'll do when grown, I see how well they are doing now while still teens!

Donna said...

I find it so fascinating that people think everything in life needs to be rehearsed. Do we practice giving birth when we are teens, or do we learn about it and do it when the time comes? I do not believe childhood is a rehearsal for "real life". When the time comes and one needs to do something, most people are quite capable of stepping up and doing what needs to be done. I never practiced being a mom, but I think I learned on the job and am doing a fine damn job, thank you. If children are allowed to discover what their talents are, and are allowed to follow those passions and really do what their heart tells them to do as adults, they don't need to have "practiced" how to behave in the "adult" world. Treating children with the same respect that is shown to adults, only enables them even more to be better equipped at handling situations as adults. It is maturity that breeds responsibilty. Not rote memorization and being forced to do things that have no bearing on your current life, but may affect you in your future. Why is it assumed that because a child may not have been forced to obey some rule or standard that as an adult they will not understand how to behave in the workplace? The two are not even related and it really is insulting to the child when an adult thinks this way.

Show Us The World said...

Donna, that is one of the most brilliant responses I have ever heard in response to that question!

Mette G said...

THanks so much Stephanie for this post, particularly for the brief and conscise statement about "helping your kids to figure out their world". This is SO, SO, SO eloquently, simply said - yet it is exactly what it is all about. Unschooling in a nutshell. I am going to use this from now on, when people ask me if I don't think I ought to to do something. Yes I do. That.

justjuls said...

This is a great post - and lots of awesome comments. I sent my thoughts to you at RCU. Keep challenging us Stephanie.

JoAnn said...

Great post!

"Kids who are not schooled do not look for school."

Unless they are my kid. *sigh*