On Desiring to Unschool (Part 1)
You may be surprised to know what we often hear from parents following the first few years of home education experience.
Now before I tell what this request is, I must remind you of the fact that school and all its related activities and applications are so normalized that most everybody just assumes that it is the only way a child can possibly get an education.
Most parents have been educated in a school. It is all they know. When religious groups create their own private schools, it is usually nothing more than a variation of the school theme, grades, subjects, marks, report cards… you know what I am saying. Same for charter schools, alternative schools and any other manifestation of … school.
Those who did learn at home may also have been schooled, that is, their parents may have either brought the system home in whole or in part or simply emulated school in every way.
Therefore it is safe to say that the vast majority of parents know virtually nothing outside of the status quo school education that is ubiquitously normalized without question or challenge.
Indeed, it is almost as though to even consider questioning school ideology is to commit a most grievous act of… treason or something. Think about this. How many organizations, religious or otherwise, ever bring up any alternative to government or private schooling?
There may be some complaining about how schools may be failing or advancing causes contrary to common sense or faith, but where or when do these agencies suggest any alternative to the status quo education system?
Schools have become so normalized that the first thing most missions construct after the church is a school. Like automobiles, schools just are. There is no alternative, right? Who would want to return to the horse and buggy days except maybe those nostalgic old souls who believe that the clock can be turned or held back?
School and school thinking is as common and unquestioned as electricity. That is just the way things are.
Back to home education. Even though it is now pretty well universally accepted, nearly everyone assumes school was accomplished or completed … at home. In fact, most advance this process as home schooling and quite often it is, even when called “traditional,” as schooling is about as traditional as it gets.
New home educators are almost always home schooling, complete with classrooms, desks, grades, schedules, curriculum and work in every subject, to name but a few indicators.
Then after a few years of frustratingly trying to fit this “square peg into a round hole,” parents realize a most critical problem. School does not work at home. Some may even go so far as to say that school does not work at school, either. I would be one of those people.
So, we often get this request. Please “help us to unschool” or “teach how to be unschoolers.” No one is at fault here. If school is all that a parent has experienced, it is normal for them to bring that system home.
Nonetheless, there is one thing most everyone misses and that is home is home and school is school. The two cannot be interchanged and so the request for help to leave the school at school so that the family can learn at home.
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