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.
What I’ve discovered in the past few years of unschooling my son is that the best preparation for living a real life is: living a real life. And real life doesn’t wait until adulthood. Kids everywhere are living real lives right now! (Shocking!)
But this lesson isn’t merely one of philosophy. I see my son learning and practicing real life skills every day. He has more time and opportunity to do this because he isn’t mired in fact memorization and busywork. He learns about the world by being out in the world. (As well as by 4,235,345,235,234 discussions and books and movies and documentaries and projects and classes and chores and …)
At the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss, the reason unschooling prepares kids for life is that they learn what they need to learn to live the life they’re living.
That’s what grown-ups do. We live life. We come across something we need to know. We learn it and apply it. The End. Teaching our kids how to find things out for themselves is one of the best gifts we can give them. It’s an essential skill for living a real life. Now, and in all the days to come.