I realise when I wrote my last post on homeschooling it was a bit of a splurge of passion for this new topic. I didn’t make clear that this is for our children not everyone’s, and I support whatever decision parents make for their own children. I appreciate that people won’t want to follow the unschooling path, that people might want to but can’t because they need two incomes, and people who agree somewhat but want to do it differently. It’s put more beautifully than I ever could here.
Here is more specifically, what I’ll be doing.
Unschooling. We are all born with a natural curiosity and passion to learn more. That’s how we learnt to walk, and talk. This school of thought (ha ha) lets children decide what they learn about, and how. This lets them be kids; jump around, question things, and shout (maybe outside). But it also allows them to grow up, at their own rate. They’re learning how to be adults from those around them (parents, grandparents, friends’ parents, community figures, living libraries) rather than fellow children. I won’t be imitating school and providing lessons and breaks. I won’t be a teacher. I will let them know that even though I’m an adult I’m definitely wrong sometimes, and they don’t have to agree with my views.
I’m passionate about volunteering. It’s a joke between me and boyfriend when I’m filling in a form and it says ‘Do you have experience with volunteering? Please list here’ with a tiny box, and I’m tempted to just write ‘Yes’. I can’t even remember all the things I’ve done now, and I’m pleasantly surprised each time I’m reminded. I’d love for my kids to be able to join me but most of these things happen in the daytime- hence why I couldn’t do that much while I was at school myself. If they want to I’d love them to help with things like soup kitchens, teaching older adults how to use computers and painting community playgrounds.
One thing that’s made me so sad working as a nanny with this family is how unchildlike the children are. When I say ‘you can do anything you like’ they only suggest activities that I suggested once, like making bubbles from soap, or pictures using twigs and leaves. Or they just want to watch cartoons.The six year old goes to two tutors and learns violin. She asks me every time to let her off. The five year old begs to learn piano and isn’t allowed ‘yet’. They are categorised; the first child (9) is artistic, the second does drama and is the cute one, the third intelligent. I just want to say ‘No! They’re all multi-faceted’, because they’re human beings. They’re all crushed by the amount of work they’re forced to do. When they’re finished with their school homework, the parents print off more worksheets. I think it’s because they feel if they’re working then they’re doing something ‘useful’. The children’s opinions and feelings are never considered. It’s ‘Oh she’s just tired’ or ‘Stop being a baby and complaining’. Sometimes this might be a fair point, but it’s constant. They never want to be read to (because they never have been) and they don’t pretend play (because it’s discouraged). It’s adults versus children, from breakfast till bedtime. I don’t want my children to be like that.
It’s about children having the time and energy to be happy. Not to be so knackered after school that they burst into tears repeatedly. Not to be unable to occupy themselves because their every moment is scheduled. I want them to be able to discover what they enjoy doing or learning about, because that’s what adults do in ‘the real world’, they follow their interests.
I dont want this
We’ll be making sure things get learnt along the way. Reading, writing, daily maths, record keeping, other cultures and countries, history of the world, etymology, hundreds of things. And later taxes, cooking for yourself, driving, job interviews, etc. No doubt boyfriend will have his own opinion on what things are crucial- a knowledge of cars and aircraft no doubt!
We’ll be gathering inspiration for new things to learn about from TED talks, Radiolab podcasts, documentaries, tv shows and of course the magical internet. We’ll point at a globe and learn about that location. We will be creating and crafting. We’ll make music with whatever is on hand from tables to pianos. We will be volunteering. We will be exploring the city, and in nature. We’ll be meeting as many people as we can, and getting to know them and their way of life.
We’ll be following our interests, our heads, our hearts. We will be aiming for lives filled with; interesting, satisfying, tiring and meaningful, and with fun, ambition, empathy, contentment, and good relationships.
This has been a pretty serious couple of posts, but future children’s lives is a pretty serious topic. Let me know what you think below!