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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Radical? Me?

I plan to keep my children at home for their education. But it doesn't stop there.

I say "homeschooling". But I mean "unschooling". The difference? Hm. Well, for the most part, "homeschooling" conjures visions of "school at home", where Mom hands out worksheets and assigns reports. UNschooling, on the other hand, is a much less structured, much more learner-led experience.

I could give my whole "reasons for my choice" sales pitch, but that would make for a verylong post and it will all come in time. For now I just want to focus on the coming out.

It's hard enough to merely shake up the paradigm. People tend to act suspicious, or defensive, or even angry if you dare to do something so outside the norm. Gracious, I haven't even told the grandparents yet...just a few close friends who I already know to be friendly to the notion. We have a lot of teachers on both sides of the family, several of whom are sure to take this as a personal insult. So I'm treading carefully. Someone else said it better:
This reluctance to evangelize unschooling has a number of causes. Part of it is sensitivity to conventional skepticism or even hositility toward homeschooling in general; if the general public doesn't approve of parents teaching their own children at home using conventional methods, what are they likely to think of unschooling?
(Mary Griffith, The Unschooling Handbook)

So, yeah. That.

What's in a word, though? I mean, my oldest is's not like we're under any scrutiny yet. Does it matter what we call it? Well, sure. To me it does. My goal is not to do the same job in a different environment. It's to do something different. And, we hope, something far better. Again, I'm going to rely on someone a bit more eloquent to explain. Yeah, I'm a copout with the quotes tonight, but my friend Patty really nailed it when she said:
I completely understand why people feel a need to use curriculum and be more "schoolish". It's just not so much in my nature to be so structured - that's just me...It's more than academics in my mind. It's about nurturing his essence, his being, and allowing him to BE. I have faith that the learning just happens as long as he has the freedom, nurturing, and resources available to satisfy his curiosity about the world.

He's more my teacher than I am his. It's an amazing journey.
You can say that again.

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