How I Know Unschooling Works

So I’ve known for quite a while now that unschooling rocks and works. But today I got conclusive proof of how incredibly awesome it really is.

I’m working with another homeschooling mom to put together a presentation at the local library’s summer reading club for kids on the theme “The Library is Your Kingdom.” I got pulled in because, hello, my name is Mari and I’m a total medieval geek. But I’m the kind of geek that doesn’t feel the need to take things tooooo seriously so this presentation is partly educational, partly action-packed, and fully hella fun.

Guess what you need for a medieval re-enactment? Yep, reenactors. And I coerced my children a little to help me out on that front. They were both initially reluctant. Mindie doesn’t enjoy performing for an audience. The compromise there is that her performance consists primarily of sitting around looking pretty, which she’s moderately comfortable with doing.

Shan was reluctant because it’s not historically accurate for her to be involved in swordplay, which is the only reason she would want to participate. No problem, though. We’re set in the late middle ages with the Maid of Orleans (Joan of Arc to the rest of you) as a potential role model. This is her chance to share some of what she’s learned recently about women’s status (or lack thereof) and place in the medieval era.

But here is where the story gets awesome. Today I took the girlies and some other kids who are performing with them to the theater costume shop to see if we could possibly find a way to fake together some plausible-looking if totally inaccurate medieval costumes. Because we’re cheap and lazy that way. And as I tried to cram my daughter into the umpteenth dress in the costume shop, Shannen looked me dead in the eye and said, “You owe me BIG for this. I demand extra history lessons for a MONTH for doing this.”

Yes, you read that right. My daughter demanded education in exchange for dressing up in pretty clothes and pretending to be a princess, something most girls apparently consider to be fun. And that’s how I know that unschooling wins. While public school educators are winding down their year and breathing a sigh of relief to get a break from cramming “knowledge” into unwilling heads, I’m bartering education for favors to a kid that craves knowing all the things. While my home SCHOOLING friends are having fights with their kids that ends in tears over doing one more page of copywork, my daughter is preparing to share a thing she decided she wanted to know with other kids and getting “paid” in more things to know.

And she’s happy about it.

~ Mari

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