Sometimes I forget just how ‘crazy’ some things I say might sound to an outsider. To someone who has had no experience of what unschooling is before, my life must look totally foreign! I forget this though. To me, it seems so natural. But looking at some of the things we do, they are very different when compared to what is ‘mainstream’…
We have no curriculum. The kids can learn about whatever they want. We give them lots of opportunities but they are never made to learn anything.
There are no formal lessons.
Learning is not separated from life. There is no ‘school time’, terms, or holidays.
The kids can choose to play all day/week/month if they want to. We value play!
No subject is more important than another. Art is just as important as reading or maths.
There are no tests.
There are no deadlines for learning anything.
We trust that our children will learn what they need to for their own life, in their own time.
We’re more concerned with having fun, nourishing relationships, and being passionate about life than ticking off academic outcomes.
We’re not scared when we don’t have the answers. We learn together with our children.
We don’t use praise or rewards.
We don’t use punishment either.
We’ve scrapped ‘bed time’. Wake, sleep, eat whenever you want, no matter your age.
We’ve let go of control over our children’s lives. We’re there to guide, but it is their life to live. We trust them to make their own decisions and mistakes.
We’re basically all about freedom and trust trust trust. These two things seem increasingly uncommon for kids these days.
But just because it’s uncommon/different/alternative doesn’t mean it can’t work. You may have no concept of what childhood and education look like without school, but there is more than one way to do things and quite frankly we find this lifestyle amazing. If you have never heard of unschooling or gentle parenting, or if you’ve never met anyone who chooses to live this way then it can sound totally crazy. You wonder how it could possibly work until you see it in action. If you’ve always believed that children need control/rewards/punishment then you might think that without that they would end up spoilt and unruly. Thankfully, not true.
Maybe unschooling is crazy when viewed thorough the eyes of the majority, but to us it is totally natural and ‘normal’. Sometimes you’ve got to do something crazy and step out of the box to live the life you dream of. It can be amazing.