Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why do you unschool?

October theme for Enjoy Life Unschooling blog carnival is *Why Do You Do What You Do*

Why do you unschool?

Why do we unschool?

Short answer is unschooling is natural and school is artificial.

We planned on homeschooling before we had kids, sending our kids away was not an option that we wanted.

I always treated my babies like people from birth, worthy of trust and respect. I held, rocked, nursed, slept with, talked to, shared with them etc... Just because we don't know what they understand, I always talked to them and told them what I was doing. Since I held them all day they were doing everything with me.

They learned how to sit up, roll over, crawl, walk and talk in their own way and time frame. I did not *teach* my children to walk and talk and either did you.

Learning is as natural as breathing when the process isn't interrupted by teaching and schooling.

When my oldest was 6, I like many people were under the impression that it was time to start school, homeschool in our case.

I did buy curriculum and we worked on it 1-2 hours a day for about 4-6 weeks. It was awful, he resisted, I pushed. We just got to where we would hurry up and finish so we could get on with our day, our life. That isn't natural. Making my son write spelling words didn't teach him how to spell, it made him hate to write.

We weren't happy so I put the books on the shelf and left my son alone. I got online and searched for others. I knew there had to be a better way but I needed to deschool because even though I disagree with school, it was the only model I knew.

It didn't take long to figure out that unschooling was awesome, that people learn by living. That his 6 years of life he learned so much, he didn't need me messing with that. I found so much info online, joined a bunch of yahoo groups and the rest is history... That was 9 years ago since my son is 15 now and has never been *schooled* since.

My other 3 kids were never subjected to curriculum or lessons, they are truly always unschooled, my oldest was only *schooled* for 6 weeks out of 15 years so I think that's pretty awesome!

Our parenting principles made the idea of life learning and respect very simple. We never had rules and chores and limits on activities. We are open and honest, we discuss things as they arise. No two situations are alike and therefore warrant different courses of action.

"Birds fly, fish swim, man thinks and learns. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can into the school and classroom (in our case, into their lives); give children as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest."
 - John Holt  "How Children Learn"  

"I never see the negation as negative in a value-judgment sense when I use the word--to me unschooling is as positive as unchaining, unbinding, unleashing, unfolding, unfurling, unlimiting....

"All mean freedom and growth and vast possibilities to me."
~Suzanne Carter

I don't even know if I answered why...Why not? Unschooling is awesome, kids are awesome, they are only with us a short time and sending them away is not something I'm willing to do.


Anonymous said...

Love this post! You could have been talking about me. Except for the attachment parenting (which I wish I could go back and do over) I did the same thing. I tried several curriculums, Trying to make one work. It all felt to fake to me, I felt so terrible trying to "teach" them. Anyway I love the post!


Christy said...

Great post...I enjoyed reading about your experience. I was not exposed to the idea of unschooling until my son was beginning his high school years...he has finished his 'required' schooling and is moving toward a life of freedom. I am grateful that we were able to spend the last 4 years growing and learning together. Thanks for sharing a part of your unschooling journey ;)