Unschooling, why does this word seem to evoke such fear and great misunderstanding when maybe could it be explored and provoke some curiosity.
It is not a new educational method, the concept has been floating around for quite some time now. The term « unschooling » was coined in the 1970’s and used by the father of unschooling John Holt. He became an avocator for homeschooling after working within the school system for several years, and realised that the reform of the school system was not possible.
I have to agree, from what i see at least here in France the possibility of real change within the school system is not going to happen over night and probably not for a long time. I understand that the system has been created to educate the general masses in what is thought to be the most logical way, but a person should never just be seen as a general mass and educated in a « one size fits all » manner.
Yes i know, it is impossible to dedicate time to each any every student in each and every school in the world, realistically there are not enough teachers to do this. Sure it’s a great place to make friends, learn how to read, write, count and be exposed to lots of general knowledge. But, lets be honest school is far to generalised to really cater for individual needs of any child.
What i’m getting is that it wouldn’t be a horrible idea if parents took more control of their children’s education themselves, and i’m not talking about doing more homework in the evenings or on weekends. As i honestly feel homework is a huge waste of time and energy which could spent on doing for more important things like spending real quality time with family, or maybe learning how to play a musical instrument.
Firstly I feel that we should all say no to homework, hahaha. Yes, no to homework, the school has already taken up most of your child’s day. Ok, there are some kids who just want to do homework, just let them if they really want to do it.
Maybe if it’s possible take a day off from work once an awhile with your child and plan a fun filled day outside in nature doing something fun and simple. Or taking a little day road trip to go visit some place you’ve been meaning to see. Your child does not have to go to school everyday, a day off once and a while is not the end of the world, especially if you’ve planned to interesting fun little adventure. Yes, this can be done on the weekends too, and during holidays, especially if you are unable to just take off time from work. Sometimes kids just need a day off too, they get tired and overwhelmed so quickly. That day off could just be what they needed to get through the last couple of weeks of school before the holidays. Children are under more pressure that we as adults realise.
Children are natural learners, they will learn something new where ever they are, and the truth is they will learn faster and easier when they are not forced to do so. In the school system children are expected to learn how to read and write at specific ages, but since when did we decide that people need to fit into little boxes and everyone learns exactly the same new skill at exactly the same time.
Sometimes we as adults just need to step back and stop thinking we need to control these little people, they just need time and encouragement. They will let us know when they are ready to learn new things, or they will just take it upon themselves to learn it without help or interference.
Don’t get me wrong, i am not against school at all, my children go to school. I think it’s important to learn how to be in a group, play with others, general social skills. Being at school also provides a fixed learning atmosphere. Children know they’re there to learn and the teachers teach them with the knowledge and skills they have. Teachers are also human, they are not always at their best and sometimes they make mistakes. Being a teacher is a hard job, and it really does require more praise and respect. It’s a very noble and generous job.
I do not agree with extremes of anything, finding a nice healthy balance between work and play is exactly the kind of skill you can teach your child.
Knowledge and wisdom is not based on how well or how quickly you learnt your ABC’s!
Here are a couple photos of my kids having a fun beach day on a day off from school.