Now that I’ve put it out there, I have had many people ask me what Unschooling is. It’s hard to explain because it means different things to different people and one family’s way of doing things is completely different from another’s.
If I had to sum it up in a few words, it is living your everyday life with the understanding that children learn in their own way, on their own time, and when it has meaning to them. Just like they learned to walk and talk, they will want to learn things in relation to their world and be like the adults of this world. That is the basic idea.
Our kids got a really bum deal their first years of life. The effects of past trauma and neglect are undeniably evident. Continuing to try and force them to conform to a system that says they have to know “this information” at “this time,” or there is something wrong with them, is ridiculous. All it has done is discourage them, and make them feel stupid. My youngest son literally yelled at least a couple hundred times this year, “I’m the stupidest kid!” Unfortunately, I was the one pushing him and forcing him to do more than he wanted or probably could even handle.
As I continue to read and learn more about it (because it has meaning to me) and let go of all I have ever thought about school and life, I can see so clearly how my homeschool road has led here. I was already practically there, just somehow missed that it was okay to let go. Our kids are still going to be alright. I can see this more now than I ever could see it trying everything else. So right now, for us, it just means we are living our life and learning all the time. On their time.
What does Unschooling look like? It looks like Sunday. In August. The boys decided they wanted to try to fix a broken TV we had in the garage. They each looked online for information about fixing the problem and then got to work!
They took it apart (I mean completely apart) and then put it back together again. That in itself is beyond my knowledge and amazing to me!
Dad got in the act at the end, for safety reasons, to test it out (I’m picturing explosion here). When they plugged it in, he told them if it worked, they could have it in their room. It didn’t work, but it did turn on! Hello?? I never could have done that! Of course, they want to keep trying. I’ll keep you posted on whether they end up with a TV in their room.