What I hoped to see happen in unschooling my children was simple. I wanted a life where school simply wasn’t. I wanted my kids to fully experience life–not a different kind of schooling, not school at home, not superior curriculum. I wanted to continue raising kids that love life and love learning about all kinds of things this spectacular world has to offer.
One of the first ‘a-ha’ moments, if you will, happened one warm September afternoon when we were all just hanging about outside. The kids, around six and eight years old (if I’m remembering correctly) were looking at various things under the microscope my husband had set up on the picnic table. They were bringing us all kinds of things to look at–water from a puddle, grass, toenails, bugs both dead and alive, hairs both human and dog/cat/critter…you name it, they wanted to put it under the microscope. We’d been at this for awhile on that evening, the four of us enjoying our time together outside and exploring the microscopic world.
A neighbor child around six years old came across the field to play, as she did most days, and asked ‘What ya doin’?’ Meghan said ‘Annie! Look at this!’, moving away from the microscope to make room. Annie hooted and ran away from the picnic table yelling, ‘No way, that’s SCHOOL eeewww!’ Meghan looked at her funny, continued looking through the microscope and talking with us for a bit, then ran off to play on the swings with her friend.
My husband and I looked at each other and we both knew what a big moment this was for us. Annie’s reaction cemented our thoughts that, sadly, school does not promote a love of learning, a love of exploring the world around us.
This was a huge moment for both of us,but most of all for him. Having come from a less than ideal home situation, school was an escape and an opportunity to improve life for that Husband o’ mine. As a result, he was not keen on homeschooling at first. Thankfully, our children’s time in school was very brief as my prayers were answered and he saw the light.
What I hoped and prayed would happen in unschooling our children was that we would raise people who not only kept their love of learning intact, but often fanned their own flames into a full blown fire. Now that we’re parents of young adults ages 19 and 17, I can tell you that what I got was exactly that and so, SO much more. A life lived as if there is no such thing as school is a rich, fulfilling life, indeed.