Well, there is an old saying that goes something like, “No matter where you go, there you are” and that couldn’t be more appropriate for our life right now. We never imagined the twists and turns our life would take when we began our homeschooling journey in 2007. We have tried many, many things along the way yet I always find myself coming back to roost in the same spot – unschooling. We are not radical unschoolers as we do have the boys using some online courses for math and language arts but, for the most part, we allow the boys the freedom to follow their passions and assist them along the way.
The idea of letting go of all things schooly is hardest for me and my husband. When you spend your life in school, being told that school is the only way to achieve success in your life, it is really hard to totally turn your back on it and trust in a child’s inherent interest in the world around them to teach them. Even in the face of seeing our boys learn without school, we experience periods of fear that we’re doing something wrong which causes me to write up lesson plans, purchase textbooks, and study what they would be learning in their grade at school. We went through a period like that recently which was brought on by my youngest announcing that he wanted to go to school this year. Well, immediately I began to panic because, although both boys are incredibly smart and have a wealth of knowledge, there are plenty of conventional things they don’t know. Ryan’s desire to go to school was short-lived but the panic within me remained for quite a while. In fact, until today, I wasn’t ready to let go.
Then, while I was cruising my Facebook newsfeed, one of my unschooling friends posted a link to an article that radically changed my perspective. It was a Jerry Maguire moment for me, or perhaps a Dead Poets Society moment. Whatever movie it relates to, it made me change the way I plan to approach our daily living. If you would like to read the article, you can do so here: http://johnnybtruant.com/disobey/
After reading that, the boys and I sat down and made a list of all the things that interested them and it included everything from going to the zoo, to studying American inventions, to the American Revolution, to how do manufacturers make the color blue if it’s one of the primary colors. It is a fun list and I’m looking forward to spending the time going through it together with them. That is one thing that I have been doing “wrong” for a while now. I haven’t been connected with my kids at all and that is going to change. It has already changed. But for a long time, I was content to let them do their own thing as long as it didn’t interfere with me doing my own thing. I forgot that one of the most important things about unschooling is dropping what you’re doing when your kids come to you with something they want to do or ask you. Obviously, sometimes you have to choose to keep doing what you’re working on but many times, I opted to put them off because I just plain didn’t feel like exerting the effort to look up something for them. And for that I feel quite ashamed. In spite of that, they did learn a lot this past year and I’m grateful. But from now on, we’re going to be traveling this road together and we’d love to have you along for company. :)