Unschooling in 2015: Our Year

It’s not about school

It's not about school | Happiness is here

Since making the decision to home educate our children I’ve often been asked if I disliked school myself, and I have to say the answer is no! If you had asked me as a child if I liked school I would most definitely have answered ‘yes’. There were times I didn’t enjoy it so much, but on the whole it was a positive experience for me. I liked spending time with my friends mostly, and I did pretty well. That confuses people a bit! They assume that because I’ve chosen to home educate that I must have had a bad school experience myself.

The fact is, in our case anyway, the decision to home educate is not about school at all. Sure, in the beginning when we were first making the decision we did talk about some of the negatives of schooling and how they wouldn’t be an issue for us if we chose to home educate. I’m sure no one believes that school is perfect and we all know it has it’s flaws. In the absence of a personal bad experience with school people assume that these flaws are the reason we chose to opt out. So I’ve often heard that:

‘school is different now’

‘it’s not like when we were at school’

‘the classrooms are so different, you’d be amazed’

‘there’s much more individualized learning’

‘it’s much more interactive’

And you know what? I think that’s great! I hope that things keep improving, I really want to see that too. But it’s not going to change our minds. Because, the decision to continue homeschooling is not really about school at all. If I try to imagine a school that could change my mind and make me happy to send my kids there, my mind is blank. Because one is never going to exist for me.

Homeschooling or unschooling is not about keeping our kids away from all the negatives of school. While that’s an added bonus, for us it’s much more about the whole different lifestyle that we can all have together. The practicalities of educating a large number of children at once mean that school can just never give my children the same experience of life and learning as I can. That’s ok! School provides a different role than I do and it will always be needed.

It's not about school | Happiness is here

So what makes me keep homeschooling? Why am I never going to be tempted by school, no matter how fantastic it is? Because quite frankly this lifestyle is amazing. For all of us. And it’s something I don’t think we can get anywhere else.

My kids can follow their interests and passions, no matter what they are. They can learn at a pace and time that suits them. Each day is up to us! There is no stress or pressure or rushing.

We have unlimited time together. Time to deepen relationships with family and friends. Time to form sibling bonds that will last a lifetime. Time to spend with all the people we love. Time to play! A whole childhood to play.

Everyone is free to be themselves, to make their own choices, and pursue their own interests. I can spend so much of my children’s childhood with them. I get to watch them grow and the joy of them learning every new thing. And we can do all this while the kids still get a fabulous education? Well, there’s no way I’m giving it up.

So, I’m sorry school, it’s not you, it’s us. It’s really nothing to do with you at all. I hope you understand.

It's not about school | Happiness is here


January 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

OMG! This post makes me more excited to homeschool my daughter. πŸ™‚

January 8, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Yes!!!!! THIS is exactly spot on. I enjoyed school too, but its not about that.
Great (and very timely) post.
Thank you x

January 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

It really isn’t about school at all πŸ™‚ It’s just a different lifestyle choice. Some people choose to live in the city – and wouldn’t want to live in the country, and some live in the country – and would hate living in the city. Neither one is better, or worse, it’s just where your heart lies πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    January 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Yes, exactly! Different families are suited to different things. I’m sure some people would never want to do what we do, LOL.

      Jacqueline Brand
      June 20, 2016 at 2:05 am

      I accidentally came across your post. we are also new at home schooling. My 2 children are 8 and13 and I am home schooling them due to the fact that schools here in Botswana are quite expensive at P7140 per month for 2 kids. Home schooling is not only an affordable option but it gives me the opportunity to evaluate what they know and touch up on certain concepts that they have not mastered in school. I am able to spend one on one time with each of them to focus on specific topics in order to ascertain that they fully understand the concepts and encourage them to work to achieve specific goals. We also enjoy being informed in regards to what exactly our kids are being taught. Our kids have regular playdates and activities to ensure that they have a healthy social life.

January 8, 2015 at 10:50 pm

I’m glad I saw this post. I have been trying to understand my brother and sis in law’s decision to homeschool and this post has helped me a lot.

January 9, 2015 at 12:26 am

I love all of your posts and always look forward to them, but this one struck home in a special way. We arrived at homeschooling unexpectedly. It was never on my radar. I, too, loved school as a kid. That said, I now can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m currently struggling because our youngest two are in preschool and my daughter will be in K next year. She really, really, REALLY wants to go to K because she’s so social and wants to see her friends. I am struggling. I think this is a better path but I also want to respect her wishes. Sorry to ramble!! πŸ™‚

    January 9, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I’m lucky we haven’t had that, I did expect it! Most kids go to school and it looks so fun on TV and in books! Maybe you could get to know some friends at a homeschooling group near you? That way she can see there’s lots of opportunities to play with friends outside of school πŸ™‚

January 9, 2015 at 12:42 am

I LOVE this!!!!!! So much how I feel about the home school life! I do have issues with school system, but this post is so on target! Thank you for sharing this with us! I hope it will inspire others as well!

January 9, 2015 at 12:51 am

As a teacher I know not all schools fit every child. I am glad there are many options available to parents. Kudos for finding the right fit for your family. What a blessing!!!

January 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Beautiful written Sara! Your thoughts are very encouraging as this is how I think about our home education journey.

January 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Totally honest question (I don’t intend for it to offend and if it does I apologize), but what made you feel comfortable in your role as teacher? I just came across your blog post, and it was very well written with great photos so it lured me in, so I’m not sure if your background is in teaching or whatnot. Just curious, since I was a school administrator and teacher and I am always so curious about those who make the choice to homeschool. Good luck on your journey!

January 10, 2015 at 9:03 am

Beautiful post! As an accidental homeschooler, in that it wasn’t part of plans until prep hit us like a tonne of bricks. I can absolutely agree. The way of life in itself is simply one you wouldn’t to ever give up.

It concerns me that outsiders feel we may be homeschooling due to our bad experiences because all this tells me is that they think I’m homeschooling out of fear. Fear that my child will have the same negative experience as I did (not that I did by the way, I loved and did well at school) and doing anything from a place of fear is never a good option.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and lovely photo’s πŸ™‚

January 15, 2015 at 12:32 am

YES! This post is spot on. I actually didn’t enjoy school, I had a horrible time there, but even so, my choice to home educate my daughter is much less to do with the fear of what school might be like for her, and much more to do with the joy of what home ed can be like. There’s a good chance that if my daughter did go to school, she’d have a perfectly nice time there, but for us, home ed is something even more. It offers something which no school, not even a good one, could replicate.

February 17, 2015 at 1:11 pm

You inspire me a lot!!!

We are moving to Sydney this June and iv been preparing stuff to homeschool my 2yo daughter too..!!!

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts all the time!!

February 21, 2015 at 8:44 am

Thank you for this post. In a few months we will be taking our 4 year old out of a Montessori preschool program and begin our homeschool journey and as that draws nearer I feel anxious and a tinge of self doubt if we are making the right decision. I know in my core that it is what we want for our family but explaining to others… and even myself why has become a bit muddled. It is good timing to have read your post. It affirmed that we are making the right decision. That, yeah, we want that lifestyle, and that relationship with our kids, and that quality of learning.

February 23, 2015 at 10:18 am

I recently started blogging about my experiences as a wife, mother, and home schooling mom (wwww.marriagemotherhoodandmore.com) I think it’s a concept many still do not understand. I applaud you! You home school with the right intention. You are not running away from something; you are running to something–a closer relationship with your children and the opportunity to influence what and how they learn.

I have five children and have home educated them all. Two are currently in college–one at a Colorado university and one at West Point. I have two still in high school and one in elementary school. I have home schooled them for most of their academic careers. My older children have thanked me and none of them would rather have it any other way.

When people asked me what qualified me to home educate my children my answer was: I gave birth. LOL! Bless you. Keep up the good work.

March 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm

I’m so glad I’ve found you!!!! Your essence, writing, thoughts, vibe, family all resonate with me so much I’m in awe! Thank you for sharing your story, keep doing what you are doing, you and your family are AMAZING! XOXO <3

March 28, 2015 at 9:32 am

I’ve often said the reasons that bring parents to the homeschooling are often different from the reasons families continue to homeschool.

August 15, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Your posts erase any doubt in my mind about homeschooling! Although, do you know anyone who homeschools special needs children? My son (going into 2nd grade) has Autism and he has trouble staying focused at home with me, but is thriving in school with his teacher.

David Woodberry
August 20, 2015 at 4:19 am

Only this morning, as a reaction to the numerous “not-back-to-school,” posts felt myself cringing at the proliferation of anti-school bias, a rubbing-it-in if you like. I mean, yes, school made my larger-than-life son miserable so we started unschooling last November and he is now enjoying being himself. I was also miserable at school, even back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, only being saved by sports and living on a farm where I could run free. I also think schools generally are not healthy places for some children to grow: too little self-expression and self-direction and not nearly enough exploration through play. However home education is not for every child, or every parent, and sometimes it’s just not possible, even if desired. Some kids thrive in school, some parents simply cannot do the home ed stuff, and some parents can’t afford it. And there are some schools – like those based on the Sudbury model – that are amazing, and some teachers are out of this world good. The real problem is not being thoughtful about our children’s education, just mindlessly following the culturally dominant idea, i.e., school is automatically necessary, and, despite our children’s reaction to it, going along anyway. It’s just not right to lambast schools generally. It’s no different than criticizing home education because of a belief in school education.

August 20, 2015 at 5:20 am

I was just pondering some of these notions today on my blog. Thanks for a great post!

August 20, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Amazing. Amazing. Just exactly right!

August 20, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Great perspective! I liked school as a kid too, and we live (and until last year attended) a very good public school in our community, one that people relocate to be a part of. It was hard to explain, at first, that our choice to homeschool was not about a deficiency in the local school (a school I still recommend to families), but a larger decision based on our individual family, our lifestyle, and our investment in raising kids who love to learn. Schools can and do create life-long learners as well (I’m living proof), but this was a path we wanted to explore for our family.

August 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Loved this, such a great post. So many people tend to focus on the negatives of both choices but it’s nice to see a homeschooler that doesn’t bash schools.

jayne vanderlind
November 24, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Wow, you are right on!! A lot of kids rarely have the chance to play outdoors and explore Gods green earth. Who but a better teacher is the one who created us.

Teresa Dennis
June 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Beautifully expressed truth…

October 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Excellent article but that last photo caught my eye. It looks like a lovely spot. Whereabouts is it if you don’t mind sharing?

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