Unschooling thoughts.

I was looking back through my recent posts, and reading through some other unschooling blogs when I realized that lately, none of my posts have been about unschooling. Used to be, it was all I could post about.

I’d sit and wonder (and blog)…was I doing it right? Was there even a right way to do it? If not, how would I know if I was? Was I dooming my kids to certain failure? Was it the right choice? Were they learning enough? Was I doing enough with them? Were they being exposed to enough? Were we going enough places? Did they learn today? I categorized our experiences to make sure we were at least “covering the bases”, if not overtly than at least covertly.

It was all I read about. The Unschooling Handbook. Sandra Dodd. Joyce Fetterol. John Holt. And a thousand other blogs & articles.

Interesting, that at a time I was trying to let go and trust the process and the child(ren), I was obsessing the most.

And here I am, an official year of unschooling under my belt (and 2 years trying to do it without knowing what ‘it’ was) and I’ve gotten so wrapped up in life that I’ve forgotten to obsess 24/7. I certainly have my moments of doubt and questions, and hubby and I talk late into the night about lots of things related to the kids. I still keep my eyes and ears open to learn about other people’s experiences, and I still take stock of where we are and how we are doing at any given time, but it’s filled with less doubt and more trust. Less fear and more enthusiasm. Less rigidity and more allowance.

Yesterday, while going to the community center, the Golfer grabbed my hand and said so earnestly (which rarely happens in an 8 year old!) “Thank you so much for letting us do this. This….kind of school. Well, not school, but…..our own thing. Our own awesome school!”

And it hit me just how much joy I find in this whole experience. There’s a part in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where Ferris, Cam, and his girlfriend are sitting and watching a baseball game at Wrigley Field, and Ferris leans over to say to Cam: “Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?”

That’s how I feel everytime we pass by the local school on our way to the zoo, or the pool, or the park, or the library, or the Science Museum, or a co-op with other families, or the other 3495830458 places we spend our time. We aren’t playing by the rules, and isn’t it grand?

9 Responses

  1. Your son’s words make it all worthwhile. Bar none.

  2. What’s awesome is that your kids recognize how special and magical an opportunity we have to live life this way. And, Ferris Bueller? what an awesome movie. I need to let the kids watch that, except they’ll be totally grossed out by the Jenifer Grey/Charlie Sheen makeout scene.

    I was thinking about my blog in the same way as you, that I had gone from worrying and dissecting all the aspects of unschooling and writing about them to just living it and writing about how we live. I think it’s a wonderful thing to be past the angst, although I’m sure it will come up from time to time.

    Your blog is truly one of my favorites and such a fun place to read. I hope you know that!


  3. […] More of this reflection   « Educational Virtual World for Kids: PBS Kids Play |   […]

  4. Well said.

  5. That’s why I love your site so much…it’s all about the joy.

  6. The last few days I’ve been reading a lot about this particular joy.
    Everyone seems to be saying “Why would anyone do it any other way?”
    I think that, too.
    One of my first thougts when I woke up today was something like “I feel like one of those candies – if you poked me, all of this ooelygooey fruity syrupy stuff would come out.

  7. How do you all do it? I am a mom of twin 2.5 year olds who wants to unschool, but I am terrified that I am not capable of this. I believe in the philosophy, but no matter how much I read, I am having a hard time applying it to my home. I just freeze up. I feel like I just don’t know how to provide an environment that is educational without pushing the education. I don’t even know where to begin and I’m scared of ruining this opportunity. I keep looking at Montessori schools thinking that the girls would be better off with people who know how to educate children. What do I know about allowing children to teach themselves? Anyway, sorry to be such a bummer…I just really want this for my children too , but feel rather lost about the whole thing. Any insights, suggestions, avenues for research? Thanks.

  8. I’ve only just begun to allow myself to trust in unschooing and have been aghast at how well it works!!!! I’m AMAZED at the paths my children are taking on their own and they are enjoying what they do and what they are learning…. I’d never had believed it, but unschooling ROCKS!! ;D

  9. hi, I was going thru your post. Lately I have this idea. I will follow the unschooling basics even though my kids go to school. They have classes only till afternoon . So I have enough time.

    I always complain that I dont know my son’s area of interest . I think I should listen to him more . I should let him lead me. I have this feeling that I am not listening to him properly. Not to his words. but to his inner self and instincts. All along I must have been trying to make him fit with in school frame.


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