Maybe I really should start Unschooling in my life.
I am part of an Unschooling Homeschool Group on Facebook and I got really really angry at some posts yesterday and I felt that Unschooling was clearly not for me. I didn’t understand how a mother struggling with her 11yo boy wanting to play ONLY console games all day was STRUGGLING. How do you STRUGGLE with that? You’re the parent, c’mon! Get your act together!
But part of me felt that I was missing something.
Then another lady posts that she is happy with Unschooling because she had told her kids that she would concentrate on her own job list for the day, and she said that helping their mum was optional. I was thinking, how on earth is helping OPTIONAL??? So when her 14yo boy reminds her that she has to drop him off at the local shopping centre for him to meet with his mates, she felt angry deep inside, but realised that dropping him off was never contingent on his helping her. So she stops doing what she’s doing, drops him off at the shops, and comes back to the utmost surprise that the rest of her kids have worked through her job list while she was away.
I was thinking, ‘That’s all well and good but does that happen for you EVERY day?’
I still don’t think Unschooling is for me. I think it would be way too radical for someone who was brought up with very authoritarian parents, someone who is “the eldest”, someone who has always enjoyed organising, scheduling and dare I say it, controlling (or what I like to call CREATING), to suddenly throw everything she’s known out the window and say, “Let’s totally Unschool !!!!!”
What I want to do with my homeschooling is a mix of , what I think is mostly referred to as Natural Learning, and Structured Learning. And pockets of Unschooling, where for sure we’ll do whatever comes our way and go and LEARN.
I am seeing value in the Unschooling philosophy, not so much for schooling, but for the rest of LIFE. (In saying that, Unschoolers will tell you that Unschooling IS Life).
Today I have felt frustrated because I had planned a Family Day Out today. With the husband on holidays, I wanted us to go to catch the ferry, walk through an art musuem, go bikeriding along The River, and take Leah to the awesome nature-based playground near there.
But the day started off on a bad foot. We all woke up in spirits of wanting to delve into our own thing. I was on the computer – writing. The husband was on his phone – scrolling and websurfing. Leah was playing with her Lego.
Then I thought, ‘Well, I want to have the family day out’. I told Leah that IF she wanted to have a day out with Mummy & Daddy, to please go and get dressed.
An hour later and she was still in her pyjamas. I asked her why she hadn’t gotten dressed. She said she doesn’t want to go out today but would like to go out tomorrow. That she just wants to play with her Lego today.
I didn’t quite know what to say to that because she is in her legitimate right to not wish to go out today, and the husband is on holidays so tomorrow is perfectly available for going out.
I felt frustrated.
But I came away thinking that maybe Unschooling has some real value for life lessons. Unschooling is where “nobody tells you what to learn, nobody tells you how to learn, there is no authority but the unschooler themselves, you learn to deal with uncertainty and you learn how to motivate yourself.” (Leo Babauta, in http://sett.com/unschoolery/defined). Just to share a few key points.
Although it is not something I can do with Homeschooling (I do believe there is great value in structure because society won’t always afford your child the opportunity to become an entrepreneur – which is what Unschooling seems to be geared towards), perhaps it is something I can take with me into LIFE.
I began to ask myself some questions.
Why is it that I need to schedule our family calendar? Maybe there is a silly so-called “need” of mine to simply have control.
Today being a perfect example – when nobody else showed an interest in my plans of a Family Day Out it made me really mad. And why? Is it because I feel the need to be in control and to be in authority?
Unschooling takes that out of the picture.
Why do I need to be the authority in our home? I don’t need to be. I am merely mirroring what I saw in my childhood home – my mother was the authority of the home. Our home was very matriarchal, with the confusing preaching from Mum about patriarchy and respecting our father because he was our father, and he had utmost authority “apparently”. (But he never did). I am awakening to the fact that I am merely repeating history.
I am realising that I don’t really want this for my home or my little family. But you see, I just don’t know any other way. Being strict and creating the rules and standards etc etc etc, comes from the belief that my mother always taught us – that one must guide the child. That one must guide the state of the home, the essence of the family, in order to produce healthy, happy & successful human beings. But maybe, just maybe, I could open up to a different way of doing things?
I think that I need to relinquish control. I need to just BE.
And that’s really what I want for 2017. I want more zen. That’s my goal this year.
And maybe it starts with realising that … “nobody tells you what to learn, nobody tells you how to learn, there is no authority but the unschooler themselves, you learn to deal with uncertainty and you learn how to motivate yourself.”