Gaining Perspective On “Unproductive” Days

When I think of a typical unschooling day, I tend to start blending all the awesome things that have happened over several days into one amazing experience.

There are days for us that are filled with life, learning, and adventure. But more often than not those things are spread over weeks, and in between we have what I often fear are unproductive intervals. Continue Reading

Fear is a Lousy Pedagogy

 

In January, our family will move to Argentina for five months.

I speak Spanish already. When we first decided to go, I felt relief that I was going to be able to practice the language with my kids before we leave. The more I exposed them to it, the easier our transition abroad will go.

There was only one problem: my girls weren’t interested.

And when I say “not interested,” I don’t mean indifference. It was more like anger. I wasn’t quite sure whether to feel pride or exasperation when my two-year-old loudly told me to speak in English when I tried reading her Spanish board books. Continue Reading

The Guide to UNsuccessful Strewing

During my years (yes, years!) of deschooling, as I journeyed towards really getting unschooling, I struggled with one main question:

HOW MUCH SHOULD I DO? HOW MUCH SHOULD I SUGGEST AND OFFER IDEAS AND ACTIVITIES?

I couldn’t get my head around it. I was learning to trust that my children would learn from living life, I was learning to set them free … but I wasn’t sure how much to “let them be,” and how much to suggest ideas for activities and outings, etc. How active should my role be? When I heard about the concept of “strewing” I realised I had found my answer! The problem was how I went about doing it. Continue Reading

What I Learned in High School (Or Didn’t)

I was thinking about my compulsory education recently – high school in particular. And I was trying to remember a single thing that it taught me. I thought long and hard.  Truly.

What did I learn in high school?

After much deliberation, here’s what I came up with:

Wait for it …

Wait for it …

  1. Nothing.

The end. Continue Reading

5 Things I Had to Unlearn From High School

Hi, my name is Vanessa, and I am a product of public school.

I hated school. I never placed much personal value on it. But, because my parents and culture placed so much value on it, I tried hard. I got good grades. I was a “gifted” student.

Because most of what I “learned” academically in school was cut and paste – remember the correct answer from the textbook and regurgitate it on a test, only to forget it a week later – what I spent most of my time learning were “life lessons,” if you could call them that.

Here are five things I had to unlearn from high school. Continue Reading

What I Learned in High School (And How I Unlearned It)

I got pretty good grades in high school. Sometimes I got really good grades. I was your average A/B student. I took (and did well in) honors and advanced placement classes, and my extracurricular schedule was nicely padded with sports and clubs and all those other things that colleges like to see. I didn’t dislike school, nor did I love it. School was a necessary evil. It was a place to go in between writing and drawing and daydreaming. It was place to be told what to do and how to do it. It was like a game to me, and it was a game that I felt I generally played well. Continue Reading

Perfect World Meets Real World

When I first envisioned unschooling in our home I imagined rich days full of a variety of obvious “learning.” I would look on with pride as my children miraculously volunteered to write essays, read the classics without protest, demonstrated flawless mathematical logic, and excitedly read about faraway places on the internet.

Reality check: it’s unschooling, not utopia! Luckily, I wasn’t heavily invested in that fantasy world because it hasn’t come to pass. Continue Reading

Unschooling Ourselves: The Search for Joy and Fulfillment

My journey to unschooling started off when I was very young. It’s impossible to explain my own philosophy of unschooling without taking you through a brief history of my own schooling. It has shaped how I view education for myself and for my children more than any book or influential speaker.

Apart from the occasional alphabet lesson I gave to my oldest son, under pressure to begin “schooling,” I have never really liked the idea of school-at-home models. They always seemed to interfere with the natural progression of our lives, of fun, of freedom, and of true fulfillment through passions.

Geography has been one of my oldest son’s interests since he was 4

Continue Reading

Less is More: An Unschooling Journey

I was raised in a very schooly family. My mom was a high school history and English teacher. My older sister worked her way from elementary teacher to elementary principal in a huge school district. My other sister is a school board member. You could say public education is in my blood. Being the black sheep of the family didn’t fully release me from the hold of public education although it did give me a healthy skepticism.

My husband attended a tiny rural school. He insists that he flourished in that environment. But he, too, has a healthy skepticism of public education in general. Continue Reading