The freedom of life without school

There are so many things I love about homeschooling. So many opportunities for my children, so much time together, so many adventures. But, when I think about our lifestyle, my favourite part of it is the freedom I feel.

We are a family of 5, with 3 daughters, from Australia. We have chosen to home educate and take a natural learning/unschooling/life learning (whatever you want to call it!) approach. Our eldest daughter is 5 now so this would have been her first year of school if we had chosen that path. Technically I guess that means we have been homeschooling for 6 months now. However, we don’t pay any attention to grades, terms, holidays, age, etc. We have been living and learning together since she was born and nothing has changed at all since she turned 5!

There are many many reasons we have chosen to home educate, but one of the main ones is the lifestyle we can provide for our children. When people think of homeschooling, they might see it as more of a burden than freedom. Being with your kids 24/7 without having the break of school 5 days a week? That sounds tough! But when you really think about what that means, it seems to me it is so much easier than sending them to school would be. School for us would mean scheduling our life around 9am drop-off and 3pm pick-up for at least the next 17 years!!

Every weekday I would need to squash in what I needed to do between the hours of 9 and 3. No more relaxed mornings, letting everyone wake up when they are ready, snuggling in bed when it’s cold, eating breakfast whenever they get hungry. No more holidays during school terms, enjoying the beaches, parks, museums, libraries, and art galleries when they aren’t overcrowded. No more visiting friends and family whenever we want. Instead, all I can imagine is rushing and stress, and never having enough time. The thought of having to be up early packing lunches, getting everyone dressed, fed, teeth brushed, and out the door by a certain time in the morning does not appeal to me at all. Having our afternoons become a juggling act of homework, dinner, stories, and the bedtime routine is not what I want. I am amazed that people can do all this!

Giving up our relaxed lifestyle to a schedule, and giving up the majority of the time I have with my children in a week is not a sacrifice I am willing to make. Instead, our life looks just like any other family’s life on the weekend or during holidays. That carefree feeling you get when you’re on holiday and there’s nothing to worry about…that’s what our life feels like.

We are free to wake up whenever we please. We get to decide how we spend our day, or change our mind at a moment’s notice. We have endless time to spend together and with friends and family, developing strong relationships. My children are free to learn about whatever interests them, however they learn best, whenever they are ready. There are no tests, pressure, or schedules. We can travel whenever we like, for as long as we like, or move to a different state or country without worrying about how it will affect their schooling. My children can spend their childhood learning through play and spending hours outside every day. We can have the unrushed lifestyle that my children thrive in, with time to explore and marvel at the world as children do. We have the freedom to really make our life exactly how we want it. Being able to have all this and also give our children a fantastic education perfectly suited to them at the same time is so freeing.
This life is the greatest adventure. It is not for everybody, but it is for us, and we love it.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

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