“We’re going to have to homeschool aren’t we?” I said to my husband, with a sigh.
I remember the conversation. We’d read something about home education which led to something else, and then something else, and now we knew too much. We didn’t have the passion for it that we do now, we’d just fallen down the rabbit hole. There was no turning back.
Homeschooling (which turned quickly into unschooling) would mean that our children could keep alive that beautiful passion for learning that had been there since birth. We could spend their childhood with them, instead of apart from them five days a week.
There would be no pressure, stress, tests, bullying, comparison, or standardization. They could learn about what truly interested them, be in charge of their own learning, and spend their days however they wanted.
We could really experience life, instead of rushing through it. They could be in an environment where they were respected and valued, where they had bodily autonomy, where their minds were their own. And we could do all this while they got an amazing education that was not possible by sending them to school.
Once we knew all that, there wasn’t really a choice to say no.
I even remember googling what the disadvantages of home education were, only to come up blank. There was no drawback big enough that would cancel out all the benefits…
I had to be around my children all day? Great!
I might get stressed out? School and everything that goes along with it seems more stressful to me.
People would judge us? Doesn’t bother me if I’m confident with my choice.
Loss of potential second income? We were making do with one income anyway so we would continue to do that. We’re cool with giving up some luxuries to have this lifestyle for our kids.
The pro’s list just kept getting longer and longer, and that’s where we were at. We had to do this. You can’t really recognise that a certain choice is better for your children and family and then decide not to do that. It doesn’t work that way. At least, my brain doesn’t anyway! Choosing to send them to school in the face of this knowledge now would have been harder for me. But I was still reluctant.
“But it’s boring,” I told my husband, “I’ll have to teach them Maths and English. How boring!”
This comment makes me laugh now. I couldn’t have been more wrong! School had taught me that those subjects were dull and boring and I couldn’t imagine any joy in helping my children learn about them. Even though I recognised that home educating could mean an amazing lifestyle and that my kids would love to learn, I still believed that some subjects were inherently boring.
And now? Now there is nothing more amazing to me than watching them learn. Including reading, writing, and maths! To an unschooled child, these are not stand-alone subjects, separated from the rest of life. They are not parts of a curriculum to be imposed on them by adults. They are a part of everyday life! Things to be discovered, mused over, delighted in, and figured out when one is ready.
My part is not that of a teacher standing at the front of a classroom directing my students to turn to page 92 of a dreary textbook. That was the learning I knew but it is not what my children will know.
So what is my role?
- I answer questions like ‘what does this say?’ or ‘is there 60 seconds in a minute?’
- I wonder with them about big things and little things.
- I let them lead the way.
- I support their dreams and goals, without pushing.
- I get to witness the joy in their eyes when they make a new discovery.
- I am right there with them, seeing how and when and what they learn.
None of that is boring! It is amazing to watch! It is a different kind of learning that I never knew existed. Children out of school are alive with curiosity and passion and that feeling is contagious. You can’t help but be inspired and amazed when you’re around them.
I thought homeschooling would be boring, but I was so wrong. Living and learning with my children, playing the most active role I can, is one of the best choices I have made for them and me.