A new school year is starting this week in Australia and once again we’re left right out of it. Thank goodness!
Instead of waking up early, packing lunches, dressing in uniform, and heading off for a day of following orders, we celebrated! Yep. We always have a ‘NOT Back to School’ party with our unschooling friends on this day.
The kids ate treats, danced to music, and then ran off to play as they usually do. That’s right, we totally celebrate this day!
We celebrate this awesome lifestyle of freedom and joy and fun and living life the way that makes YOU happy. Absolutely we talk about how lucky and grateful we are and how fantastic it is that we choose to do this. We celebrate being brave and following your heart in the face of what society tries to pressure you to do.
There are so many reasons I’m happy we’re NOT back to school again for another year.
10 Reasons I’m Glad We’re NOT Back to School
1. My 5 year old spent the day comfortable, not crying
While many 4 and 5 year old’s were full of nerves and shed some tears at the separation from people who have cared for them for all of their short lives so far, my tiny girl was surrounded by her favourite people. Family and friends. This is what I want to provide for her; a childhood where she is surrounded by love, security, and support. Free from pressure and the demand to grow faster than she should. At 5 years old there is absolutely no need for forced separation from everything she has known so far. No one learns best when they are afraid or uncomfortable.
2. Play can be our priority
All day long our children played. Why? Don’t we care about their education? Absolutely. That’s exactly why play is such a priority to us. Play is how children were designed to learn. There’s no way I’m sacrificing that with school and putting them at a disadvantage. Real learning doesn’t look like school.
3. We eat when we are hungry
The only time the children all ate together was when they sat down and had party food and sang songs together. Although, of course no one was forced to sit and eat. That would be absurd. Or would it? If they were at school it would be commonplace that they would need to sit at specific times to eat and finish their food before being allowed to play. If they weren’t hungry at that time they’d likely have to wait until the next scheduled eating opportunity. We’re kinda into respecting basic human rights here. Kids can eat, use the toilet, drink water, sit, stand, lie down, whenever they like. They can also choose their own clothes, shoes optional! We value that kind of thing.
4. Kids can continue following their unique interests
One of my children is into whittling right now and a lot of the games with friends involved making spears, axes, swords, bows and arrows. I’m pretty sure these skills wouldn’t be on the curriculum if she were in school. Without school, children are free to follow their unique interests. It’s fascinating the things that capture their attention.
5. We are together
The thought that all four of our children would be separated this year is heartbreaking. It’s pretty naive to think that would have no impact. The disconnection that would cause in their relationship does not appeal to us at all. We value family togetherness.
6. No morning rush
Our ‘not back to school’ party started at 10am, like all our meetups. Rarely is anyone on time, ha! No school means not having to get out of the house by 8am, thankfully, because that would surely be stressful if we can’t even get places by 10. We are free to move at a stress free pace.
7. All the cool places are free
It’s quite funny to me that people think homeschoolers spend all their time at home. Actually, the time we spend at home the most is during school holidays. We’re used to having all the museums, galleries, parks, and other cool places pretty much to ourselves. We get to enjoy things without the crowds.
8. Positive socialization
So far the children have not experienced any bullying. They have healthy relationships with friends. When there is a disagreement that they can’t work out themselves, there are supportive adults around to help mediate. They aren’t punished for mistakes, but helped to move past them. They value, support, and encourage each other because that is what they know. They would never dream of purposely upsetting a friend because they are not in an environment that breeds competitiveness or models shame, blame, and punishment. Opting out of school gives them a social advantage.
9. Real learning
We get to experience what real, authentic, meaningful learning looks like. Most people rarely see it. Schools have taken over learning and stolen the credit for it. The fact is, children are the experts on learning. If they are allowed the time and space to discover and learn on their own terms, they are more capable than any school will ever be. It’s beautiful to watch unfold.
10. We don’t have time for school
There is so much life going on here that we absolutely wouldn’t even have time for school. We have dancing, meeting up with friends, projects, classes, fairs, book club, and so much more! There is nowhere that school could fit, and no benefit from adding it to our life. School would mean having to give up so many of these experiences and that makes very little sense to us. Give up real life for a classroom cut off from the world? No way.
We couldn’t be more glad that we are NOT back to school again for another year, and that’s worth celebrating. The freedom and joy we have as a consequence of opting out and choosing life is something we would never trade. Happy NOT back to school! Here’s to another amazing year!
If you’re thinking of homeschooling or unschooling your kids, you can find more posts on that topic here. It’s an amazing life!