Unpacking the Parent-Child-Education Conundrum

In a recent conversation about homeschooling special needs (dysgraphia, dyslexia, etc.), a new homeschooler/education adventurer said the following to me. It’s a common reaction, especially if you have limited experience with homeschooling overall.

“I don’t think unschooling is for us. I like the ideas, but I panic. My kids are already middle-school age and I only have a limited amount of time left. And it makes me really uncomfortable. And, I’m a writer. That’s really important to me. I want them to read. Everyone in my family reads. I really think they need to as well.”

I chose not to respond at the time, because it felt like anything I might say would add pressure to a person already putting intense pressure on herself. Knowing that this woman was already maxing out her courage, it seemed like a time to just listen.

Someday, sometime, this is what I’d wish for her to think about. 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

Unschooling Prepares Kids For Life

One of my biggest concerns upon starting out on this unschooling path was that a relaxed, unstructured learning lifestyle couldn’t possibly prepare my child for real life. My rationale went something like this:

The vast majority of the adults in this country went to a traditional school, studied traditional subjects, and did so in the traditional way. Those people are living real lives. Therefore, to be able to live a real life, one must follow the traditional path.

And it’s certainly true that the traditional educational path works for a lot of people. It worked for me, so I’m not knocking it.

But it’s also true that it’s not the only path. Or necessarily the best path. 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

From Public School to Unschool: Part 2

 

If you haven’t already, please read Part 1: From Public School to Unschool.

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So, why am I being a bit harsh on the current educational system? Well, I’ll tell you one big reason I feel qualified, in part, to criticize the current educational system, is because I am a product of it.

Hello, my name is Jessica, and I’m a Public School Graduate. Continue Reading

From Public School to Unschool: Part 1

Just about everything I believe about education has changed in my first year of homeschooling.

I’ve thrown myself, full throttle, reading, thinking, delving towards the truth I know is at the bottom of this educational pit somewhere.

I’ve been challenged to reconsider everything I’ve previously thought about education. I’ve questioned every model I’ve ever personally experienced. Continue Reading

Why I Stopped Stressing Myself Out With Classical Homeschooling

I am a questioner. I just am. I see everything in layers and take practically nothing at face value. I can’t stop myself, I question everything and constantly seek deeper definitions for simple things.

So you can only imagine what happened to my brain the first time I saw this animated version of Sir Ken Robinson’s famous TED speech. Seriously, go watch it if you haven’t already. Or watch it again, even if you have!

I am a sucker for logic. And that there just makes a darn lot of sense. Continue Reading