Unschooling Requires Lifestyle Changes

A recurrence in my mind and in discussions with other people is how to practically adopt unschooling.  Many people seem to understand the reasoning and logic behind it, but the changes to make it happen are so big that they just can’t really comprehend how to do it.

This is a challenge to the unschooling movement.

Often parents compromise by perhaps setting up or getting their kids to attend alternative type schools, Sudbury Valley style.  But this isn’t really unschooling.  And even these types of schools are few and far between, they are just not an option.

I’d love to spend more time focussed on this challenge over the next few years, to see what I can do locally to our area to create something that supports an unschooling lifestyle.

I’d like to envision a future where there is more choice and support for parents who want to unschool.  At the moment, in the UK, it’s full time school or nothing.  People who home educate are left to fend for themselves.  This can be hard for the parents and the kids.  And truth be told, most people do not survive it.  I’ve seen so many kids go back to school, which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t be as common if there was a better network of people/things for families to make use of.

A good example of this is, in the UK there are childminders who mostly look after kids until school age, then do before or after school care once they start going to school.  It would be nice if there was an equivalent set of options for home educated kids.  Infact, my 5 year old goes to someone twice a week who provides a nice Montessori home environment.  There should be more of these types of places for school aged kids.

Also a big part of the problem can be lifestyle for parents.  Usually they need to work and they get stuck in catch 22 that they have no where for their kids to go whilst they unless they are at school.  It really is a thing that schools are (free) baby sitters.

There probably isn’t an easy solution for this – my husband and I feel fortunate with the situation we are in at the moment where we fit our work around our kids, and vice versa. However, it has taken us 4 years to get to where we are now.  And it’s bloody tough at times.

This post is a bit of a ramble, but wanted to get some initial thoughts out there and start building upon it.  Thank you for listening 🙂

One Comment

  1. Karen

    I think looking for support for unschooling slightly misses the point. I think the best option is to develop your confidence in the idea of unschooling. That comes about by doing it. It’s not really frightening if you think of unschooling as something that everyone does naturally in a small way. For example, when a young child is at home with parents in the pre-school years, that child learns constantly. A baby learns to talk naturally via interaction with its parents. Most people don’t question themselves about ‘teaching’ their children to talk, or eat, or walk, or make friends, put their clothes on. We are so used to doing these things, they are not frightening; and children do their part in this anyway. Children are keen to learn. Unschooling is just a continuation of this natural learning process and interaction with parents. Why lose confidence in it just because a child reaches the age of five and the authorities say it’s time to go to school? As a family we’ve been unschooling for some years. My daughter who is now fifteen has published a Kindle eBook called ‘Unschooling: A Teenager’s Experience’, on Amazon. She wanted to describe her own experience of unschooling. In itself it was an educational project, involving her developing many new skills, but she also had strong views on education and the value of unschooling. Children are capable of so much more than traditional schooling allows.

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