What is Unschooling?
In a nutshell: realizing that an education is not necessarily garnered through traditional means, with an institution trained educator, textbooks, 8-3 in a conventional schoolroom, age-segregating, testing and report cards.
It’s a radical notion.
Perhaps our educational system doesn’t have education perfected.
Is an education a progressive instilling of knowledge bits into a human brain? Don’t we have Google and God for that. What does getting an education really mean anyway?
A famous veteran, award winning thirty year educator once said,
Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die. John Taylor Gatto
Since we were all born unique, shouldn’t we each have a unique education? We can then become the independent, unique contributors to society that we were created to be.
Don’t think you can be the parent who uniquely enables your child’s education?
Oh wait, you already have.
“Did you teach your child their ABCs? Their 123s?
To tie their shoes, and the colour blue?
Did you read them books and make them look…
At the Monet on the wall?
Did you show them how to count some beans,
And be kind, and to your sister, don’t be mean!
Did they ask why the sun goes round the earth?
And you told ‘em it didn’t, that notion’s on reverse…
You are an educator…you just didn’t know it,
So just live your life and go show ‘em it.”
I’m not a poet, and I know it.
But did I make my point? You’ve been teaching them. And you’ll learn along with them when don’t know something.
Children’s time is scheduled for them from about the age of five (sometimes years earlier) to adulthood. They’re a wee bit tired when they make it home from school. Just want to chillax. Who can blame them?
Did you notice that your kids want to learn? No, not necessarily from that printing workbook. Not necessarily what you’re interested in. Not necessarily an extra hour of homework after school.
But does their interest in learning disappear? Nope.
In their spare time, they might tinker with electrical widgets and learn the ins and outs of volts and wiring. They might read about American history, though they’re Canadian, and grow up to be emotionally invested in the choice of American presidents. They might crack that fresh journal and write their short stories till the main character has been proposed to a dozen times.
From the eyes of another thirty year schooled educator who studied how children learn:
“Children don’t need to be made to learn about the world, or shown how. They want to, and they know how.” John Holt
You are your kiddo’s parent. What do you want your child to learn? Sit a spell with a notebook and muse, what do you think makes a valuable education? These are your children. You know them best—it’s your privilege to educate them as you so choose.