The room was nearly silent. The awkwardness was palpable. Even the speech therapist … bubbly, outgoing and friendly until just a few weeks prior, absolutely refused to look us in the eye, instead staring down at some imaginary spot on the table. I remember looking at the clock – a standard issue, one-in-every-room school clock – and watching the second hand slowly sweep around until I heard the audible click that signified that another excruciatingly long minute had gone by. Continue Reading
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
“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.” ~Mark Twain
I saved this post for last for a few reasons. First, in many ways it’s the most important, because it ties everything together and is at the crux of why we do what we do. It’s also one of the hardest and most frustrating to write, and the one I’ve been losing the most sleep over.
I’ve come to a disheartening realization lately. What I said in part one about feeling like I’m alone in many ways was the truth… too Christian for the unschoolers, too unschooly for the Christians. But the fact is, in some cases that feeling is self-imposed. The unschoolers I know have, as a whole, been extremely welcoming and non-judgmental. As my unschooling circle grows, I’m just more and more thankful for its presence, and proud to be part of it. Continue Reading
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
Jesus had a pretty high opinion of kids. The verse directly before the one above says that “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” The one before that says, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I think of these verses every time someone questions whether or not it is biblical to unschool. I think of these before I think of those about freedom. I think of these before I think of those about parenting. I think of these before I think of those about education. Why? Because no matter what else an unschooling journey is, it begins with the children. If it were not for the children, there would be no unschooling. Continue Reading
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
I don’t like being told what to do. I’m the person who, when told to do something, will likely want to immediately do the exact opposite, just on general principle. Lots of unnecessary rules make me uneasy. Unsolicited advice makes my skin crawl.
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
A friend who replicates school at home in her homeschool once said to me, in a comparison of our parenting and homeschooling styles, “I know you give in to your children, and that’s okay, that’s your choice …”
Frankly, I was too taken aback at the flat statement to respond at the time, but I thought about it a lot afterward. And here’s what I thought: I don’t give in to my kids … but I can see why she thinks that I do.
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.