UNSCHOOLER at HEART
Boy I’ve changed a lot over the years. I’ve become truly comfortable in my own skin- education wise. Oh I’ve always thought I was fairly comfortable but inside I’ve always been striving: pushing myself to do more, to be more.
Take time to stop and smell the roses.
I’ve often thought that I need to take the time to stop smelling the roses and actually do something. And I have tried to. But after awhile it slows down and eventually comes to a grinding halt. We drift back to our lifestyle of learning…one that looks almost the opposite of a school based system.
As homeschoolers, we all agree (most likely) that there is no separation between learning and real life, right? However, that means different things to different people. To me, any activity can be learning. Yes, reading comics can even be educational, if one has an attitude to learn. Yet, even a textbook or good living book may not be ‘educational’ if one doesn’t have an attitude or hunger to learn.
I don’t really understand how some people think that unschooling is easy. I think unschooling is an attitude- a belief. I also don’t understand how some people say that can unschool for a short period of time but they return to a more systematic (school-at-home) approach as they “felt lazy“. Wow! I’ve always felt the opposite. Somehow, some people see unschooling as an easy way out- the slacker’s way. Wow!!!! I don’t see that at all. I think this could be the case if one doesn’t truly understand unschooling and still has fears or dreams or ideals. Unschooling isn’t something you ‘do’ for awhile to see how it works. That’s just a band-aid solution of an issue- it doesn’t address the root. I’ve always felt that I needed to do less, as a teacher, when we use curriculum or are more structured in implementing our lesson plans!! True!! When I need a break I pull out the workbooks or system and attack them in our own relaxed homeschooling way. I’ve had to do more as an unschooler. I’ve also had to learn to rely on God more as an unschooler. I’ve tended to learn more about my children as an unschooler. I’ve learned more about myself when I’ve accepted that I am, in fact, a radical unschooler– to quote Sandra Dodd.
Sandra Dodd, on her website, says this
Some want to give their kids uninterrupted learning opportunities and time to pursue their interests during “school hours” so that on a school day they’re free to do what they want as long as it seems somewhat justifiably schoolish. And they might accept that Lego or sandbox play is schoolish because there are math and engineering and physics and nature elements, and they want to document some of that. But they might not want the kids to just sit and look out the window, or to read magazines about movie stars, or to play a video game during that same time.
If you read that and thought, “Yeah, but looking out the window, playing a video game or reading ANY magazine is still learning,” then you’re probably a radical unschooler.
I have continued to grow, develop, change, learn, evolve as a woman, a parent, a person, a homeschooler. I’ve realised (and still trying to accept and embrace) that I’m actually a radical unschooler at heart who has some ideals or struggles that propel me toward being an eclectic, relaxed homeschooler. Okay, so I’m not as ‘radical’ as some mentioned on Dodd’s website because my core Christian beliefs come into play and affect my thinking and actions. However, with that in mind, understanding the true nature of unschooling compels me to admit that yes, I’m an unschooler. Tehee, most people I meet are more conservative learners who *try* to or dabble in unschooling. I feel like I’m an unschooler at heart who tries or dabbles in being eclectic and a relaxed homeschooler.
Hmmm, realisation, acceptance…now I need to fully embrace who I am and totally stop striving to be or do ‘more’. This shouldn’t be hard. We, as a family and as individuals seem to learn more when we just live, instead of trying to learn…but it’s my insecurities, my fears, my letting go, my lack of faith in both God and in trusting the children’s curiosity that stop me from fully embracing myself as a radical Christian unschooler.
Oh, in case you’ve wondered what brought me out of my hidey-hole to post, I was prompted by Leonie’s post.
*ETA: Sandra Dodd’s site is not Christian and this will be reflected in the articles. Just because I link to it doesn’t mean I agree with everything.