Sunday, November 14, 2010

Anything Worth Learning

NOTE: This post is for my own personal documentation.

It's been a whole year since we began the practice of the term coined "unschooling" a.k.a child lead learning.

Yes, in the beginning I was terrified and the wee hours of the morning and late at night I still am. My fear is based on patterns of thought that I am trying to break away from. Beliefs about the way children should be raised and what is expected from them. I want my child to be free. Free to pursue the the things that interests her. I want her to feel confident and able to jump in with both feet without thinking about whether it will be "allowed" or if it's "socially acceptable".

I want us to smile and laugh together. I want us to use our free time enjoying each other's company and not stressed about a project that has been assigned and needs to be completed by next Friday. Or homework that takes up free family time and that sometimes requires jumping through hoops to complete.. I don't want to mold my daughter into the robotic puppet that the school system or authoritarian parents adhere to do.

Yes, for a whole year I have done the unthinkable to general society. I have not "taught" my child anything. We have not opened not even one textbook. We have not practiced our multiplication tables nor have we had a weekly spelling list. We have not read about historical events that are "politically" correct nor have we practiced cursive handwriting. We have not learned anything in the traditional way.

For the past year we have just lived our lives based on the moment yet have been mindful of the future. We have done exactly what we have wanted at any given moment. We only have to answer to ourselves. Who the hell else's agenda really matters anyway??? I'll never be able to please everyone so I choose to follow my heart.

We pass our days by going to museums, we visit state parks, we hike, we hunt arrowheads, we have playdates, we read and watch what peaks our interests, we do crafts, we draw and write, we visit art galleries, we take walks, we watch shooting stars, point out constellations and watch space stations cross the sky, we cook, we spend money, we pretend play, we listen to different kinds of music, we visit with friends and we surf the net. We do exactly what WE want.

It's how we's what makes US our definition of normal.

Of course, to general society none of these things are considered to be normal for a 9 year old. She should be in school behind a desk doing what she is told whether it interests her or not...because that's what everyone else does. But that's not our life or what WE consider normal.

And you know what???? Somehow...somewhere along the way...without being taught...a child has learned to read without assitance, write legibly, compute everyday math computations..especially when it involves her allowance, and confidently ask many insightful questions about many different things. She is also able to see things outside of the box. Things that I have ever even noticed because I was raised in the one size fits all mentality.

Her public schooled friends are in awe of her imagination and ability to create. They believe she has been blessed with something they weren't. In reality, its just because they are not able to explore their own creativity because they are told what to read, what to write, how to behave and what to do on a daily basis. They have been stifled. Unless someone rescues them they will have that sentence for the next several years..or more.

All this happened without being coerced or force-fed knowledge.

I CHOOSE to unschool. I don't ask permission. I have chosen to live a life very different from most people.

Anything worth learning can't be taught - Oscar Wilde


  1. Good for you! I applaud your courage to take the harder path, the one that makes you different. Who says different is not better?

  2. For 3 years we have done the traditional "school" I love what we are doing now. We are not unschooling but we are alot more flexable than we were a month ago.

  3. Nice post! Isn't being comfortable enough with yourself and your lifestyle to tell everyone else they can like it or suck it wonderful?